What’s happened to country music?

By | July 26, 2017

I’ve always enjoyed country music, but I haven’t listened to a country radio station in a long time. I didn’t realize how long until I was talking to someone about a concert they’d bought tickets to, and I’d never heard the artist’s name. After then hearing the names of several big country stars and not recognizing a single one of them, I realized it really had been a long time since I’d listened to any new country music.


I decided to do something about it. The next time I was in my car, I put it on a country station.

After two songs I thought, “What’s happened to country music?” I forced myself to continue listening, and here are some thoughts I have about modern country:

  • Many of the songs are really poppy, much more pop than country. It’s like a Justin Bieber song with just a hint of twang to be able to call it country.
  • There’s rap – rap! – in several of the songs. If I wanted to hear people rap, you know what I’d do? Listen to rap! But I never, ever want to hear rap, and I assumed I wouldn’t have to when I turned to a country station.
  • There were swear words beeped out. I expect to hear swearing in hard rock – can you imagine Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction album without swears – but in country it just sounds like they are trying to be hip and cool. It’s better than rapping, but that’s not saying much.

I’ve also noticed in concert ads that male country singers all look like male models in a clothing ad. All flash and no substance.  Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and all those other rough-looking legends probably never would have gotten a shot in today’s country world because they didn’t have $500 haircuts.

Does this make me sound old? Definitely. Back in my day we didn’t have haircuts…. But really, I’ll try listening a little more. Maybe I’ll become used to it. If not, I have a few country cd’s with Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam and others to keep me entertained. That way, I don’t have to learn the names of anyone new.

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