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Lovin’ Country

Chris Naidus | Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Most people know what you get when you play country music backwards: Your wife back, your job back, your truck back and your dog back.

Sure, this is the typical stereotype, and that is just what it should be.

I am proud to say that I listen to country music all the time, and I tune the radio to it because I like to hear about broken hearts, pickup trucks and crossing the county line. Anything else simply would not be country music.

Sadly, the airwaves the past few years have experienced a severe lack of tears and twang. Even Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow made it to the top of the country charts. Don’t get me wrong – “Picture” is a very good song, and there is nothing wrong with music that has more of a pop sound to it.

However, there is already a genre for music that sounds like pop. It’s called pop. Go figure.

Just by looking at the lyrics of the music played on country radio today, versus seven or eight years ago, it is easy to see the change.

Back then, Clint Black released songs including “Like the Rain,” which has more traditional lines like “Every thunder cloud that came was one more I might not get through.” It’s depressing, it’s kind of corny, it’s country.

More recently, Shania Twain hit the charts with “Up!” which contains the line, “Even my skin is acting weird. I wish that I could grow a beard.” Okay, maybe this is an extreme example. After all, Twain has become one of the worst lyricists ever.

Either way, the point is not that the quality of country music has gone down. What matters is that many of the country songs lately are losing the qualities that make country what it is.

Rap fans choose to listen to rap because they happen to like it. Classic rock fans like their music because they enjoy classic rock. Those of us who like country don’t turn on the country station because we want to hear pop.

Once again, liking pop is not wrong. It has its qualities just like all things. It is not my place to say what genre of music is the best, but country at least deserves to stay what it has been: the music of pain.

I have heard, on more than one occasion, someone say, “Oh, I listen to all kinds of music, except country.” While this does hurt me to hear, I can still respect their opinions.

A lot of people hate country music, and I think it would be a true shame to rob these people of their hatred by disguising country to sound like something more mainstream.