Sunday Confession: For the Love of Pop Country

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I don’t know if this really qualifies as a confession, because I’m not ashamed and I won’t repent. . . .  I listen to pop country.

I listen to plenty of other genres, including folk and blue grass, but I love pop country.  Love it.  I love it for being ridiculous, but I genuinely love it.  When I say pop country is ridiculous, I don’t mean any disrespect.  I actually think it’s really awesome that the difference between pop and pop country is a slight twang to the guitar, an accent and a few key words: truck, boots, mud, beer, truck, Mississippi, corn bread, truck, farm, truck etc.   To me those key words make pop country superior to current pop music.  I’d rather listen to yet another song about picking your sweetheart up from the diner, driving to the lake, popping open a beer and watching fireflies than yet another song about how much some guy wants to sleep with some girl he met in a club.

Cross over stars like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood crack me up, because I never would have noticed that they were “country musicians” if I hadn’t been told.  Good for them for increasing their audience by making pop music and calling it country.  I love both of them.  I love that women don’t have to be hypersexual to be country stars.  Taylor Swift is a superstar who doesn’t hump things in her music videos (Nicki Minaj) or make sex noises in her songs (Rihanna, Britney Spears, everybody).

Right now, I am listening to a song called “Farmer’s Daughter.”  Lyrics: the fence needs fixin/the peaches need pickin’/and the cows need bringin’ round.  So awesome!  So much better than: I bet you I’m guilty your honor/That’s just how we live in my genre/Who the hell done paved the road wider?/There’s only one flo, and one rida.  Huh?  Country music is holding on to the storyteller song writing style, whereas pop and hip hop have abandoned sense entirely.

Here’s a song I have been loving lately:

For those of you (Jason) who can’t bear to listen to it, the chorus is:

Shake it for the young folks sitting in the honkytonks,
For the rednecks rockin’ til the break of dawn,
The DJ spinning that country song,
C’mon! C’mon! C’mon!
Shake it for the birds! Shake it for the bees!
Shake it for the catfish swimming down deep in the creeks,
For the crickets and the critters and the squirrels.
Shake it to the moon.  Shake it for me, girl.
Country girl, shake it for me girl.  Shake it for me, girl.  Shake it for me.
Country girl, shake it for me girl.  Shake it for me, girl.  Shake it for me.

 

What I need to know is WHAT KIND OF PAGAN MAGIC DO YOU USE TO COMMUNICATE TO THE CATFISH THAT THE SHAKING YOU ARE DOING IS FOR THEM, SPECIFICALLY?!?!?!?  Please tell me, country girls.

Ultimately, I agree with Hank 3 that the Grand Ole Opry ain’t so grand anymore and this song is an insult to the country music tradition.  On the other hand, I freakin’ love it.

I should note that I was raised on pop country.  My parents are from the South.  We listened to a lot of Naomi Judd and Garth Brooks when I was little.  “Achy Breaky Heart” was a family anthem.  I loved “Friends in Low Places” long before I understood the lyrics.  That song still makes me smile.  I learned to hate pop country as a teenager, because of peer pressure.  Then I went to a college for music snobs and weirdoes.  The two grand, overriding messages I learned at college were 1) The Velvet Underground is the only band that matters; 2) Be yourself even if it’s scary.  Being myself means listening to over-produced pop country music.  So, amid all the music snobs, I started listening to it again.  The Velvet Underground is one of my all-time favorite bands, but sometimes I just want to listen to a song about a truck.

Go ahead and judge, y’all.   Never again will I give up on pop country.

 

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