Country music does something well that many other genres struggle with: elicit a feeling of nostalgia. In a society such as todays where new conflicts arise daily and happiness is rarely depicted, a subconscious yearning for the “good times” dwells in a lot of people, and country music as a whole plays well into this need. Whether a memory of love or hate, summer or winter, family or friends, country music can bring you there. Just like that, an artist becomes a friend and a song becomes a happy place.
Thinking back on important times in my own life, it’s not hard to remember which country songs I have carried with me from it.
High school: freshman year.
It was a new school, but same quirky me. I hoped to thrive and learn, and of course have the perfect group of friends. Obviously all of this was wishful thinking. No better song to sum up my expectations and then, reality, than the classic Taylor Swift song that I jammed to on my way to the first day of 9th grade, “Fifteen.” Hearing this song brings back all my excited and awe filled emotions from that day, and I cant help but reflect gladly on a year that didn’t begin or end the way I had imagined.
First love: a one and done ordeal.
What a weird but happy time it is to find a person whom one connects with so easily and matter-of-factly, a great time really. Country music does this topic well; everyone has a first love. “Sunny and 75” by Joe Nichols, always takes me back to those times where I was sitting shot-gun next to my person going who-cared-where, feeling inarguably content. Country love songs highlight that feeling of when your time is consumed by the person you love, and how just looking at them makes you smile. A happy-go-lucky song, a first love must.
Summer: now please!!!
No matter how much I love winter, every time I hear “Beachin'” by Jake Owen, I get excited for those hot June and July days. The beach, friends, no school, 4th of July, swimming, free time: summer has all things that are good. A song that connects with these good times is a great way to get people to relate to your music, especially teens and young adults. So many artists do this well like Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, and Brad Paisley to name a few.
Home: with the people who love you.
Families can have all different types of dynamics, but there is something special about each. Being in college and away from my family has made me incredibly aware of just how much I depend and count on my own family for just about everything. Feelings like missing home, growing up, and moving forward all remind me of my family. Listening to “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert gets me every time, because it reminds me of how I grew up and became who I am now.
Genres like rap, indie, and techno are in a different universe when it comes to making listeners feel nostalgic. Song from those genres might remind me of certain people or memories, but they don’t take me back to them like country music does. There are so many other country songs that make me nostalgic from the things previously listed and more, which is another reason this genre stands alone when it comes to eliciting nostalgia. Every story has two sides, and country music is able to touch on them both. A genre that can evoke so much feeling SHOULD stand a part from the others. In an ever-changing present, it is comforting to be reassured by the past.