At the moment, the sentence “I hate country music” seems to act as a conversation starter or shared sentiment that brings people together. This belief is particularly common in teenagers. I have never understood this hatred since I grew up on the sweet sounds of Zac Brown Band, Kenney Chesney, and Brad Paisley played all around the house.
I remember the road trips my large extended family took to Gulf Shores, Alabama, in the summer. My whole family would pile up in the minivan and suffer through the 12-hour car ride since in 2010, you couldn’t watch Netflix on your phone yet. The one thing that quieted my sister’s and my “Are we there yet?” whines was the constant loop of country music.
To me, country music will forever take me back to feelings of my childhood summers on the beach and the simple but fun adventures I had with my sisters and cousins. This is essentially the goal of country music—to take you back to a special time in your life.
There is a difference between appreciating a type of music and what it has to offer and actually listening to it regularly. For me personally, I have never been able to listen to straight rap music because I don’t like how it sounds. I can appreciate some rap, like Logic, for his thought-provoking lyrics, or Khalid, for his songs that are fun to sing along to.
I am not asking Ursuline girls to listen to country music regularly, but simply to see country music beyond its stereotypes. Maybe the guitars and the accents sound like a needle on a chalkboard to you, but you also might only be hearing really cheesy country songs like “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”
Country music subjects span beyond hot girls, trucks, and beer, with emotional songs dealing with heartbreak, the effects of war, losing a loved one, and self-discovery. On the other hand, there are many upbeat songs that remind you of that one incredibly fun night or that amazing guy you’ll never see again, or in my case, summer spent on the beach with my family.
If I have succeeded in convincing you to try country music again, I have a few great recommendations. Zac Brown Band, my favorite country band, has voices that sound like actual honey, and they would be the definition of great country. I haven’t heard all of Thomas Rhett’s new album that puts a pop spin on country music released last month, but I have loved the songs I have heard. Little Big Town’s mix of female and male vocalists create beautiful music sung about unique subjects. If you liked Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad,” there are many more songs of his that you will love too.
I hope you find at least one good country song that brings back fond memories so that you can see all of the great music you have been missing out on.