Country music has more complexity than often assumed

Music listeners outside of the country music genre may be missing what makes it special


Noel Major

Country music popularity peaked most notably in the 1960s.

Skylar Whalen, Editor-in-Chief

I have listened to an assortment of music genres. One that has caught my attention currently, and is not usually covered in the media, is country music. My main focus for the past few years has been rock heavily influenced by punk. Though this music is still a big part of my life, country has worked its way into being another of my favorite genres.

I have always had country music in my life. Some songs even take me back to childhood memories, but I never fully appreciated country. For a while, I oversimplified country music as always being about objectifying women and getting drunk. I even half jokingly called one of the country singers “girl-girl-girl Dude” because he annoyingly repeated the word “girl” over and over again in his earlier songs. I later learned that his name is Luke Bryan. 

I now appreciate country music as being about the simple values in life: everything from God to family to figuring out life. Many of the songs are beautiful and full of passion — things I often see lacking in pop music today. Country makes me as a listener feel all the emotions being conveyed by the singers, and it teaches us to appreciate the little things in life.

There are some really beautiful love songs in this genre too. I especially enjoy 1980s and 90s country love songs.

Some of my current favorite country songs are “Check Yes or No” by George Strait, “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs, “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts, “Then” by Brad Paisley, and “Greatest Love Story” by LANCO, my personal #1. 

I first heard “Greatest Love Story” on the radio when I was younger. The radio host said that the song’s music video showed the song like a story. He was right. It was beautifully told. This is the case with many country music videos.

There is a certain passion that I’ve heard specifically from some female country singers. Some of these songs sing about being a strong woman and treating ladies with respect. Others sing about breakups. Some of these no-crap-attitude songs are sung by artists like Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert. My favorite country songs with this type of feel include “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood, “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry, “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, “More Hearts Than Mine” by Ingrid Andress, “XXX’s And OOO’s” by Trisha Yearwood, and more.

Songs about God, family, and growing up have a special place in my life. There are so many that I love to crank at full volume. My top five are “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, “There Goes My Life” By Kenny Chesney, “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood, “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton, and “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins.

Country music is a genre with so many layers — it can’t simply be explained in one sitting. It may look the same from the outside or on the surface, but when you actually take the time to listen to country, you’ll find the beautiful complexity within it. Here is a playlist that can start new listeners off in this genre of music.