March is just around the corner and that means three things to my friends and me. Spring Break, March Madness, and the Houston Rodeo. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo takes place throughout the month of March and dominates most of my friends’ social calendar. For those not from Houston, the Houston rodeo is one of the largest entertainment and livestock exhibitions in the world. It has a carnival and nightly concerts featuring popular country singers as well as some pop singers. If thats not enough, the people who put on the rodeo insist on selling cheap concert tickets so everyone can afford to enjoy the Rodeo festivities. For comparison’s sake, I went to the carnival and Blake Shelton concert for $18.
My first time at the rodeo was when my mom took my siblings and me nearly 18 years ago. She dressed us up in boots, jeans, flannels, and cowboy hats and we had the best time. She took us to the rodeo every year and insisted on going to see her favorite country singers in concert, but we hated the loud noise. As we grew older and began appreciating the music, we began going more than just once a year and now attend the rodeo almost three times a week during “rodeo month”.
Like I said before, my friends and I went to listen to Blake Shelton last year and loved every second of it. He not only plays great music, but he engages the crowd and puts on a great show. He joked about his work on The Voice, and just seemed like an all around great guy. I’m so glad we got to see him live because it really gave me a new perspective on celebrities. I had previously considered him just another good country singer, but his performance really made me respect him as a person and now I listen to more of his music.
I left out one important aspect of the Houston rodeo: the food. Everything is deliciously fried, battered and topped with powdered sugar or chocolate (or both). I tried my first fried oreo, fried ice cream, fried cookie dough, fried coke, and fried snickers at the rodeo and now frequently fry my own candies at home, despite my doctor’s warnings. Every trip to the rodeo leaves me feeling gross and yet oddly satisfied with my dietary choices.
The Houston rodeo is the best month of the year and we are all lucky to go to school so close to Houston. As soon as Spring Break comes, you can bet that my friends and I will drive back to Houston, ready to rodeo (yes, it is a verb too). We’ll cheer on the random cowboys we have never heard of, pay way too much money to go on somewhat unsatisfactory rides, eat gross amounts of fried foods, listen to excellent music, and have an overall great time. I love rodeo season.
Most people assume that being the youngest child of a family is synonymous with being a spoiled brat, but I think otherwise. Has anyone ever thought that maybe a child is a spoiled brat because their parents allow that? I, for one, am the youngest of four children and work for everything in life. For me, this is easily relatable to classic country music. Many songs like Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” express hardworking woman, without discriminating against age or what number child you are.
Sure, there will be spoiled brats that just so happen to be the youngest child, but that goes for all stereotypes.
There’s more to being the youngest than just getting people to see you for you. Some of the biggest issues of being the youngest child are “How will I get people to stop stereotyping me?” or “Will I ever be able to break out of the shadows of my older siblings?”
Frankly, I can’t help if my parents look at me as their “baby” because I am. I’ll admit that, but it doesn’t mean I had any control over the matter. As soon as people hear I’m the youngest of four kids, they automatically begin to assume I’m either a trouble maker (which in fact is my sister-number 3) or I get what I want. While “The Baby” by Blake Shelton tunes into the youngest child stereotype, it also does a great job of describing how my mother sees me.
The same concept could go for people who are only children or the middle child. No matter where you are in the pecking order, it seems like you have a stereotype. Truth be told, I did tattle when I was younger, but as far as I’m concerned everyone has at some point or another. It even seems like youngest children get the most grief from their older siblings when they get older about their past. However, I’ve always found comfort in country music growing up. No matter how much my siblings and I fought, when we turned on Garth Brooks or the Dixie Chicks, we put all matters aside.
Despite what others may think, I know many youngest children who actually end up baring the most responsibility of any of their siblings. Getting a job and paying for my own things came naturally to me, but when I’d treat myself to things, I still would get stereotypical thoughts that my parents paid for it. If there is one thing that country music has taught me, and that I’ve been able to relate to my situation, is that hard work won’t always go unnoticed. If I keep fighting against these stereotypes, people may see me for me, not as the youngest child.
I recently caved in to the pressures from society, and all of my friends, and made myself an account on Spotify. I had never really understood what the big deal was, because I had music on my ITunes and listened to the radio whenever I was in my car. I got my fix of music, both country and other, or so I thought. I went online and decided to take the plunge and create an account just to see what all of the hype was about.
Needless to say, my life has been changed forever. I went for the Premium option since it’s half off for students, and why not spend more money as a broke college student. I didn’t really know what I was doing, as I was new to the Spotify experience, so I just started clicking random things and searching for random music.
Of course, being the fanatic I am, my first search was for anything country. I stumbled upon a playlist titled Country Nights, which contained a mix of country-dance music and many songs that you might hear on your typical country radio station. To say that I listened to this playlist non-stop in all of my free time would be an understatement because I listened to this music even when I should have been studying or paying attention to other things. Imagine my excitement when I realized the true glory of Spotify playlists; they are continuously adding new music.
In the past week, there have been five new songs added to the list: “Burnin’ It Down” and “Tonight Looks Good On You” by Jason Aldean, “Drink It Up” by Kenny Chesney, “Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton ft. Ashley Monroe, and “Day Drinking” by Little Big Town.
“Burnin’ It Down” by Jason Aldean Like a lot of Jason Aldean’s music, this song has a very pop feel, with the addition of some techno/alternative hints at the beginning of the song and a little bit throughout. It is trying to be a slow, more intimate song, but the background bass and electric sounds are leaning more toward a dance song. The words themselves are kind of country, but, honestly, I don’t think the song really fits Jason Aldean’s personality. Even though Jason has, as of 5 days ago, a fiancé 10 years younger than him, he is typically seen as more of a family man with his 2 young daughters. This song, however, is a very sexual song, which, aside from his photographed affair in 2012, is not typically Jason’s style. Overall, I’d say this is more R&B than country in its makeup.
“Tonight Looks Good On You” by Jason Aldean Just like “Burnin’ It Down,” this song has a very techno background feel throughout the song. My feelings about this song are pretty similar to my feelings of “Burnin’ It Down.” I don’t think that this is really a country song, and honestly I think that Jason is pulling a Taylor Swift move and drifting toward pop music. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I think these songs are definitely showing this dramatic change in his production standard. Only time will tell whether this is a good move or bad move for Jason.
“Drink It Up” by Kenny Chesney This song is totally country in my opinion. It has a strong rock influence, but I think that in this case it really adds to the country feel. The drinking theme throughout the song is one that is very frequently used in country music, and the asymmetrical rhythm gives the song more of a rough, redneck feel. Kenny Chesney has come on to many people’s radars recently with the popularity of “American Kids,” but I definitely think that this is one of my favorite songs of his I have heard.
“Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton ft. Ashley Monroe Before I saw this song appear on the playlist, I had never heard of Ashley Monroe, so I was very skeptical at first. However, as normal, Blake Shelton did not disappoint with his song or his duet partner. This song encompasses everything that I think of when I think of a country love song. The lyrics flow without being overwhelmingly cheesy, and the song tells a story. That, plus the fact that Blake and Ashley’s voices perfectly complement each other, makes this song perfect in my eyes.
“Day Drinking” by Little Big Town This song has been playing for a while now on country radio stations, so, having heard it before, I was very excited when I saw it had been added to the playlist. The whistling at the start of the song sets that initial country feel that is portrayed so heavily throughout the song. Like “Drink It Up” by Kenny Chesney, this song plays off of the theme of drinking and having a good time that is so prevalent in so many country songs. This is just a really happy, feel good song, which I think will stay in the country scene for a long time, especially with the catchy beat that will make people want to sing along.
Although not all of the recently posted songs are one hundred percent country in my eyes, I love how great this playlist is. I’m really looking forward to seeing what songs are posted in the coming weeks, because I have already discovered some great new music, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!