Country Music – Good or Bad?

The most divisional genre may have more in common with you than you think


Katie Ulrich, Reporter

Do you like country music?

If not, you are likely to find quick allies. A lot of people dislike this genre, easily identified with twangy singing, odes to trucks and small towns, and instruments like banjos and fiddles. Country is often associated with negativity. Some songs have political subtext (or outright text). Some people have a hard time relating to the content, especially if they don’t live in a Southern countryside town.

Yet country remains one of the most iconic genres in America despite those who forswear it. Chances are you enjoy at least a few songs. According to the Country Music Association, about 76 million Americans enjoy it weekly. So what exactly makes country music so popular? One reason behind its appeal is emotion. Country is not the only kind of music with songs about love and heartbreak, but those are staples of the genre. Besides love, other emotional topics- like loneliness, pride, patriotism and faith- often have starring roles. Some examples include “The Love in Your Eyes” by George Jones, about a man finally finding love, and “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack, a message of encouragement and carpe diem. Songs that touch the heart endear themselves to the listener.

Despite all the great things about country, you might still condemn it. But before you close this article, think about a few songs that have become mainstream alongside their country identity. “Before He Cheats” (Carrie Underwood),”‘Meant To Be” (Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line), and several of Taylor Swift’s older works are among the most popular country songs. One of the most celebrated country singers and celebrities in general is Dolly Parton, a figure beloved for her generosity, kindness and songs that have become modern classics, including “9 to 5,” “Jolene,” and “I Will Always Love You.” Songs like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver are so widely known, they are iconic to the American experience.

Country isn’t my favorite genre of music, but I enjoy it. I like when the steady beat evokes images of highway-cruising and blue skies, and when the tune is so distinct I can hum along after hearing it once. I think it’s fun how significantly the sounds can shift from song to song; despite belonging to the same genre, the diversity in instruments and styles spans wide in different tracks. But that’s just my preference. Whatever music you like or don’t like, what speaks to you and what doesn’t, every genre has space for people to feel at home listening to. So if you like country, don’t be afraid to express that. There are plenty of people who share the same feeling.