Country Music: Today’s Time Machine

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.


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5 Responses to Country Music: Today’s Time Machine

  1. Ginny

    I really enjoyed this post! I love the nostalgic side of country music and I completely agree with you that it sets country music a part in such a good way! I love the song Sunny and 75, and Fifteen by Taylor Swift is a classic! I was also excited you included a song by Jake Owen- I feel like he gets overlooked sometimes but his songs are some of the best if you want a reassuring, feel-good, nostalgic song. Great post!

  2. Sierra Smith

    Alyssa, this was a fun post to read! While looking at some of the songs that bring back so many memories for you I caught myself doing the same thing with the different topics you covered. The song “Love Story” by Taylor Swift always makes me remember my boyfriend at the time because it was such a popular song that was constantly playing on the radio. One other song that could possibly fit the topic of love and nostalgia is “Springsteen” by Eric Church because that song talks about him looking back on his adolescent years and talking about his memories with a girl. This song in particular reminds me of one of my best friends because it has always been one of his favorites. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your post!

  3. Matt Wills

    Country music undoubtedly elicits a feeling of nostalgia for many people, and I believe that is one of the main reasons that the genre has become so popular (like the mountaineers at the start of the genre). Personally, “Sunny and 75” and “Beachin” also carry nostalgic feelings for me, and I turn it up every time I hear either song on the radio. For me, there’s not much greater than a song which can bring you back to a time you hold dearly, and that’s one of the reasons that I have become such a fan of country music. With songs that have the capability to bring back such nostalgia, it’s easy to see how country music has become so popular over the past decade.

  4. Morgan Lohmeier

    This is such a beautifully written piece. Reading about the memorable moments in your life and the songs that go with it brought so many flashbacks to mind and those country songs I’d listen to at certain points of my life as well. I think it’s very true that other genres of music may bring back a memory of being at a party or a concert where that song was played, but they don’t hold as much meaning as country songs that truly apply to us do. I will always cherish listening to Turnpike Troubadours on repeat every time I drove to my family ranch that we no longer have. The songs alone bring back nostalgia for the good days that I wish I hadn’t taken for granted so much back then. I really enjoyed reading this post.

  5. Darah Welch

    Alyssa! I am totally on the same page with what you are saying about nostalgia and country music. I agree that songs from other genres can unintentionally remind me of a certain person or time in my life. Country music, on the other hand, makes a specific effort to evoke those feelings from you. It is as if the artists themselves know that as they write the song it will resonate with many of he listeners. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you knew about the song back when you were going through a certain time in your life because you can easily apply it to that time looking back.

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