Friday, November 12, 2010

Confessions: I kind of like country music

All throughout my high school and college days -- when my music snobbery was at its peak -- if you asked me type of music I listened to, I would probably have told you "everything ... except country."

Country music is hokey. Country music lacks any real musical skill. Country music is for girls with big boobs in too-small tank tops, cowboy hats, jean skirts and boots. And boys who were below my intellectual level. The type of boys who wear jorts and John Deere t-shirts with the sleeves cut off. And as if I needed any more reasons for my severe aversion to country music, just about every girl who I have ever disliked in my lifetime has coincidentally also had an outrageously obnoxious obsession with country music. Clearly, country music was for idiots and obnoxious people who have bad hair and totally suck up to the teacher in geometry class and DOESN'T THAT JUST DRIVE YOU CRAZY?!

I couldn't name one current country star, and the albums in most constant rotation on my iTunes were by bands like Ryan Adams and the Allman Brothers. This irony is not lost on me.

Towards the end of my senior year of college, my roommate brought Rascall Flatts into our house. We would turn the volume up and scream the words while we zipped through the streets of Baltimore in Mojo's white Honda Civic. This was the first time I dipped my toe into the country music pool.

Eventually my computer crashed and I lost almost my entire music library, including the single Rascall Flatts album I copied before graduation. But without Mojo, screaming the words to "Stand" just wasn't the same anyway. And that was the end of that, much to B's relief.

And then I kind of just forgot about country music. I was too busy drooling over bands that I wasn't embarrassed to talk about, like My Morning Jacket and Flaming Lips and Chromeo and Bon Iver and the Black Keys and Iron and Wine and and AND AND AND. I lived in Philadelphia. No one listens to country music in Philadelphia. We wear skinny jeans and t-shirts and sit in dive bars drinking Yuengling and listening to the old black guy from around the corner play jazz.

But then I moved to Massachusetts. And this summer I overheard people talking about something called Country Fest and I'm pretty sure I visibly recoiled. Could there BE anything worse in the world than paying money to sweat it out on a giant lawn with a bunch of girls with big boobs in too-small tank tops, cowboy hats, jean skirts and boots and dumb boys with jorts and John Deere t-shirts with the sleeves cut off and listen to bad music? COULD THERE? Me thinks no.

But then later this summer I read an article in the New Yorker about Brad Paisley and his many, many hats. And the thing that stuck to me was not any discernible fact about Brad Paisley or his hats, but about the culture of country music itself. And not the whole cowboy hat and John Deere thing, but the topic of most country songs. Unlike most pop music, the chart toppers in the country world are not typically about girls kissing girls and liking it or Cristal poppin' in the stretch Navigator or even dancing at the club, staying out until dawn and gargling with Jack Daniels. Most of these country songs are about first kisses and coming home to the girl you love and kissing your babies on their little baby heads and enjoying a beer in the back of your truck.

Interesting, I thought. That's kind of nice. And that's about as far as it went.

Then recently, while driving home in the dark after a 15 hour day, I couldn't find anything to listen to on the radio during my hour-long drive home and the thought of hearing one more goddamned Kesha song made my brain juices hurt. I was tired and cranky and just wanted to curl up on my couch and the dude in front of me was driving like a goddamned idiot and I was starving and then it started to rain and CHRIST. When suddenly that New Yorker article popped into my head. And then I did it. I lifted my finger and paused over the scan button. And then I pushed it. And stopped at the local country station. And I listened. And you know what? It was just what I needed.

It's kind of true. All the songs I heard were about first loves and kissing in the fields and sipping on beers in the summer sun and I totally dig that. After 20 minutes I was thinking about men in Levi's that sit well on tight asses and tight white t-shirts and men with bulging arms lifting bales of hay while sweat dripped down their nicely tanned backs. I don't exactly know what they'd be doing with those bales of hay, but they'd be lifting them -- over and over again -- and looking damn good while they do it. Yeup, maybe country music wasn't so bad after all.

And you know what, the music itself isn't all that bad either. Like I said, I've loved the twangy tunes of Ryan Adams and other Southern rockers and Bluegrass strummers for, like, ever. And there is a very fine line between Southern rock and country. Right? RIGHT?

So yes. I admit it. I ADMIT IT. When I'm driving home and I'm tired, sometimes I do turn on that country music station and think about a good romp in the hayloft. SOMETIMES I DO. JUDGE ME.

I still don't know any country music star's name, nor can I discern between one voice or another. They all sound the same to me. Kind of like how all Asian men look the same. LOLLZZZ JK, ya'llz. Let the hate mail cometh. BUT AT LEAST I NEVER SUCKED UP TO THE GEOMETRY TEACHER.


deannelynn said...

I was totally the kid that sucked up to the geometry teacher. Mr. Waltrich was super cool - don't judge me. If you're looking for some new country music (beyond Rascal Flatts, my personal fave) I'm a huge fan of Pat Green. YEEHAW!

bridget said...

i had alittle thing for a garth brooks song when i was a junior in college. and now for the life of me i can't remember which song it was. nor am i willing to listen to all his songs to figure out which one it was

Becky Mochaface said...

I do like that country music is more about life like I can relate to it as opposed to rock music. And some of it I'll listen to. But I can't bring myself to listen to it on the radio.

Falko said...

Songs to listen to that you would probably enjoy...

Summertime - Kenny Chesney
All I Want To Do - Sugar Land
I'm Pretty Good At Drinking Beer - Billy Currington
Red Dirt Road - Brooks & Dunn

Oh yeah... I'm still awesome at geometry

rory said...

I agree.
I listen to bunches of stuff but I like, ok love, country music for it's limitless good-heartedness.
Makes ya feel like maybe it's all gonna be alright.
Next thing you know, you and B and gonna be going to NASCAR races.

Bailey said...

While the Midwest may SOUND country, I grew up in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa; not a huge city by any means, but certainly not country.
I went to school in Lawrence, KS and have not yet moved away from my college town. Around 100,000 people but definitely not a small Midwest town, either. Full of culture and a very diverse music scene; Lawrence has actually been referred to as the "Berkley of the Midwest".

That being said, I love country; especially in the summer months.

Melinda Owens said...

Too funny. I was that anti-country music snob, too until...a recent obsession with the Dixie Chicks and The Wailin' Jennys. Also Keith Urban may have had a little something to do that with it...ahem.


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