Updated: May 21, 2019
Okay this may sound counter productive considering my job for this website, but hear me out. Is this my favorite genre? Absolutely. Is this my music of choice for a Friday night, around the bonfire with my buddies? You can bet your boots, it is. Do I love everything about the genre? Not a chance. Just like any normal person, I have complaints about many things, even my favorite kind of music. I am well aware that country is not the most popular music (well, statistically it kind of is but I will save that argument for another time.) Here are the ten things I absolutely cannot stand about country music.
10: Where did all the ‘Outlaws’ go?
In the words of Luke Combs, “Can I get an outlaw?” Country music today has been plagued with “wannabe outlaws” who use their pop sound and pandering lyrics to try and relate to their fans. Gone are the days of rising artists paying their dues by playing smoky dive bars. Gone are the days of true outlaws who really didn’t give a damn what people thought of them, your Merle Haggard’s, your Waylon Jennings’s, your Johnny Cash’s. Country music is longing for a new badass, because the current crop of artists is seriously lacking.
Luke Comb’s song “Can I Get an Outlaw?” is the perfect personification of the direction I feel country has gone, would highly recommend.
9: Fake Country Artists
It seems today that today anybody can throw on a pair of cowboy boots, a big hat, a shiny buckle, and call it ‘Country.’ You have artists like Dustin Lynch who will dress like this and claim to be country and then use auto-tune and pop music in the background of their songs. Even if they aren’t putting on a costume, you have artists like Florida Georgia Line (don't even get me started on them) who sing pop songs with country lyrics.
8. Pandering Lyrics
Country music is supposed to be honest, and today’s country is the complete opposite of honest. Today, artists sing about plowing fields, working in the hot sun, and just trying to get by. While there may be artists who have lived their songs, and I applaud them for it, you have a lot of artists and songwriters who have just figured out the right words to string together to pander to the actual people who are plowing the fields, working in the hot sun and struggling to get by.
7. The Labels Own ‘Music Row’
Money runs the world, right? Well that’s the way it seems. As a business major I really should understand this and be ok with this. However, money has been ruining country music for a long time. Like Eric Church said in his 2014 song 'Devil, Devil (Princess of Darkness)':
“You see, it all comes down to money. Not romantic art of days gone past, if you forget that rule, you can bet your backside she will bury it in your ass.”
The amount of money in the genre is making it harder and harder for young musicians, singers and songwriters to get their start. This seriously dilutes the quality of music in the future, so maybe the executives should stop looking at bank notes and start looking at music notes.
6. Typical Country Clichés
Beer. Trucks. Girls. Whisky. Guns. Come on guys? Is that really all you have? We can do better than that. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great songs with these themes. My problem is with the songs that try to mimic the good ones and end up being garbage, making the genre look simple and unoriginal.
5. Florida Georgia Line
* See Number 9 *
4. ‘Meant to Be’
Okay, I understand this may be an unpopular opinion, but 'Meant to Be' by Bebe Rexha ft. Florida Georgia Line is not a country song. It is not by a country artist, it does not have country elements, and it is Florida Georgia Line piggybacking off of a pop artist’s popularity to try and expand their brand. I understand music is a business and they are trying to gain new fans, but do not put this on radio and tell me it is country, keep it on pop radio. Plus, Bebe Rexha's arrogance pertaining to the popularity song has really ticked me off. No Bebe, you have not been paved the way for up and coming country artists, get off your high horse and stay in your lane
In addition to this, this song destroyed George Strait’s record for number of consecutive weeks as a #1. It hurts that a pop song stole this record from the true King of Country.
3. Country Rap
*Sigh* Does this even warrant an explanation?
2. Blatant Sexism
Where do I begin with this one? Misogynistic lyrics? Lack of radio airplay? Let’s just jump right in. Women of country music are being played less than they were 10 years ago and far less in general than their male colleagues.
In addition to this, there is the misogynistic and suggestive lyrics that have been plaguing country music for far too long. I have no problem with two people getting down in the back of a pick-up truck as long as they are consenting, but a lot of the lyrics today in country leave a very grey area in terms of consent.
If you want to read more about sexism in country music, stay tuned for my upcoming article about how sexism is ruining country music.
So, this one combines almost all of the previous nine things I hate about country music, however I feel this deserved its own spot at the top of my list. From the sexist lyrics, to the overused clichés, to the ‘wannabe outlaws,’ ‘Bro-Country’ is plagued by all of this.
I understand that the days of Cash and Waylon are long gone, but this is not what our genre has to be. What sets our genre apart is that music is made about real life experiences, more than just partying and trying to get the preachers daughter into [the truck] bed with you.