“THAT AIN’T COUNTRY! THEY’RE RUINING COUNTRY MUSIC! WHAT A DISGRACE! HANK IS ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE!” Calm down, guy.
If you don’t like the state of country music these days, that’s totally OK. You’re allowed to have your own opinion. But seriously, you need to calm down about the “ruining classic country” argument. All of these guys grew up listening to the same country music that you did… Alabama, Tanya Tucker, George Strait, etc… they just saw a different form of the art being possible. And it’s being well-received by today’s country fans. So get off your high horse.
Now, if you’re like me, and are a fan of every form of country music (the greatest music) in every era, all it takes is an open ear, and a few bullets in your pocket to make our side of the argument.
Florida Georgia Line – This is the argument du jour of the THAT AIN’T COUNTRY crowd. The most popular reference people make to prove their TAC point. But there’s one song that you should reference that will shut down this argument… Confession. I put the video in a link above to refresh your memory. This song is 100% Grade A, down-home COUNTRY. It’s about a man driving through the farmlands, trying to find a place to sit in his truck, smoke a cig, drink a beer, pray to God, and try to find himself. There’s nothing more country than that. Sure, FGL has had their share of “Bro Country” songs, but they proved themselves with this one.
Taylor Swift – Most of modern country fans can point to Taylor Swift as the time they first heard THAT AIN’T COUNTRY. Truth is, it’s always happened… with Garth Brooks being a good example of people shaming him for not being cowboy enough. But Taylor was 100% country for the first half of her career. Even when she started added in some more uptempo beats in her songs, the songwriting remained true to form. She’s country. Or she was at least.
Sam Hunt – The newest victim of the THAT AIN’T COUNTRY argument, and admittedly, the hardest to defend. If you want to battle a Sam Hunt hater, stick to the songwriting argument. He is a tremendous lyricist, with clever turns of phrase that are SO relatable. The song I want you to use as an example is the video above, Break Up In A Small Town. “She was over me before the grass grew back where she used to park her car.” That’s an unassailable country music lyric. Important Battle Tactic: Yes, Sam raps in his songs. But you know who else used to rap? Charlie Daniels. You don’t think Devil Went Down To Georgia is a rap song? Listen again.
Thomas Rhett – The man in country music who is taking the most risks musically is Thomas Rhett, and because of this, is suffering some THAT AIN’T COUNTRY shade. This one ain’t hard to defend. He’s the son of Rhett Akins. He’s been country since country wasn’t cool, literally. And he embodies every value that country music fans pride themselves on… love of life, love of wife, and love of strife. There’s no argument here.
Remember, every country fan ever started out by hearing ONE country song, and liking it. Then they liked two, then 4, and pretty soon, they’re in section 101 at the Moda Center, listening to Blake Shelton rule the genre of music that he helped create.
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