When I tell people that I like Country music, about half the time they say something along the lines of, “they just sing about the same stuff: trucks, dirt roads, and drinking.” Whenever I hear this I try my best to tell that person about the heartbreaking and inspiring country songs that also exist regarding a number of different topics, but in the back of my mind I know that most of the chart topping country has been dominated by such topics. In this blogpost I would like to highlight country songs with cliche topics that aren’t terrible, because every cliche is based on a truth that these songs nail right on the head.
First off is the ever-popular topic “trucks”. It seems to be the first thing that people go to when they think of country because just about every country star can be seen in or by one in their music videos (yes, even Taylor Swift! ) As a proud truck owner myself I understand the appeal – trucks are utilitarian and offer the ability to be prepared for more situations, allow the driver to make it to more places, and you can beat the car up a bit too. One of the best country songs that sing about trucks is “Drive” by Alan Jackson. In this song he sings about driving, “an old half ton short bed Ford,” with his father and how that was one of his favourite memories that he hopes to share with his daughters.
The second topic that country singers love to sing about, and country haters love to complain about are dirt roads. Singing about driving down a dirt road to a secluded spot is a staple in country, but I don’t think singing about such things is bad at all. In my experience driving down a dirt road has almost always resulted in an amazing memory. In Brooks and Dunn’s song “Red Dirt Road” they sing not just of the fun they had there but of growing up and experiencing important moments of life like, “Where I drank my first beer,” and, “Where I found Jesus.” So next time you see a dirt road, take a lesson from the multitude of country songs and see what’s down there.
Finally, if one thing in country has been consistent throughout the ages it been singing about drinking. From honky tonks and airplanes to tailgates and mexican beaches, country singers have drank there. In this case I think that critics may be right, country singers always have and always will sing about drinking but just like drinking I think that in moderation these songs are a good thing. They are stress relievers. Of all the drinking songs out there I think that one of the best, and a top contender for my all time favorite song, is “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson. This song is all about letting loose after the world has been too harsh, which is something that can be good if done right and something that everybody can relate to.
The critics of country music will always complain that all the artists sing about the same things. While I think responding by telling them “there is so much more to country music” is true I think that also belittles some amazing songs. So next time somebody complains tell them that there is more to country music, but that songs about dirt roads, and trucks, and drinking aren’t all bad too.