As I was scanning the radio today I came to a shocking conclusion. There are basically only five types of country songs. No matter how many hits your favorite country station crams into each hour, almost all of them are carbon fucking copies of one another. As always, there are exceptions to this rule, and by no means am I talking down country music (it’s my favorite genre), but it was a little upsetting to realize that many of the tunes I’ve been listening to for the past twenty years have just been half-assed copy-paste jobs. Without further ado, here are the five variations that you’re bound to hear again and again whether you like it or not.
1. God/America Songs
“God Must Be Busy” “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue” “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning?)”
This is probably not a huge surprise, because country music’s deep southern tradition goes hand in hand with religious devotion and patriotism. That’s all fine and dandy, but do we really need hundreds of songs to deliver the same message? I’ll tell you what these songs really are: desperate attempts by artists to get noticed. By taking one of the absolute safest routes possible via religion or the love of our fine nation, they hit listeners with a moral obligation to like the song. What country music fan out there is really going to say he hates an artist’s new song because it’s “too Jesus-ey” or that he “likes America too much?” I’ll tell you who. Nobody. Because talking shit about Jesus or America is worse than taking a dump on a Hank Williams photo while operating a Ouija board dressed in full ceremonial Muslim attire. I’m all for expression of religion and beliefs, it’s a beautiful thing, but next time you hear one of these songs remember who the artist is really worshipping: the almighty dollar.
2. Drinking Songs
“The More I Drink” “Red Solo Cup” “Alcohol” “One in Every Crowd” “People Are Crazy”
This breed of country song is my personal favorite, and I’m sure it’s yours as well. Even though there are literally thousands of tunes about whiskey and bars and binge drinking, for some reason I find myself singing along to almost all of them. These songs are obviously the most relatable to a crowd like ours, and that’s why you’ll most likely hear on a regular basis. While there is some originality in this field, many of the songs follow the simple formula of “I drink a lot, and______ happens.” That blank can be anything from setting fire to your ex’s belongings, ending up in a ditch somewhere, or amassing some anonymous inheritance out of sheer luck. While very few of my drinking nights turn out this ridiculous (some certainly do), I can always enjoy a good drinking song at the bar of my choice. Something about them just makes the whiskey go down smoother.
3. My Yankee Friend Songs
“He Cant Even Bait a Hook” “Holler Back” “Country Boy Can Survive”
This may be news to you, but apparently most country singers have an embarrassing Yankee friend that has somehow gone his whole life without ever learning a single fact about the southern states. Now, I’m not sure if this is entirely true, but there are enough songs about just such a friend to make me believe it. These songs are always cookie-cutter copies of one another, and tend to dive into scenarios such as seeing his first truck with four wheel drive, trying his first lip of Skoal, and experiencing good home cooking for once in his life. These songs feed solely off of clichés and stereotypes, consequently making them some of the most boring country songs of all.
4. Life in the Country Songs
“Where the Green Grows” “Small Town USA” “We’re From the Country” “Dirt Road Anthem”
Judging by songs like these, you would think that every small town in America was busting at the seams with untapped country music talent. However, this is a load of bullshit, and most country artists who sing this song haven’t seen a real “country town” in years (possibly ever). This is just another prime example of country music stars reaching out to the audience they are so blatantly disconnected with. While rural America might be the target audience for a lot of country singers, there are only so many ways that one can portray the exact same image. Yes, you have a tractor. Sweet tea is delicious, I know. And I even believe that it must have been incredibly enjoyable working the fields as a child. I just don’t want to fucking hear about it anymore.
5. Sappy Love Songs
“She’s Everything” “Don’t Take the Girl” Any Keith Urban Song
Last but not least, who could forget the go-to, guaranteed on every album smash hit love song. These songs can be found most commonly on the mixtapes that 4th graders make for one another, and in good old Middle America where 50-year-old women use them as a masturbatory aid. Every overused simile and metaphor can be found in these lyrics, and they’re not so much creative as they are corny. But for some reason, girls seem to really enjoy them, thus giving them value in society. A sappy country song on the radio during a pledge-ride home has indirectly led to a blowjob more often than not. I can talk down about the songs’ simplicity all day, but I’ve never been one to talk down on something that can lead to sexual pleasure.
That’s it for now folks, I’m sure there are a few you can add to this list, but in my experience these are the biggest repeat offenders in the ever-expanding world of country clichés. Remember, just because it’s simple music doesn’t mean it’s bad, and even if you’ve heard the same idea in 25 different songs, sometimes you just have to say “fuck it,” finish your beer and sing along.