Country music does not get the credit it deserves


Madeleine Kemper

Over the last couple of years, I have been compiling a playlist of my favorite Country songs, ready to be played whenever the moment strikes.

Madeleine Kemper, Editor-in-Chief

I know when many of you read this headline you probably thought, “great, another hick pleading their case.” I can assure you, however, that I am not a hick. In the last decade, different styles of Country music have emerged, dispelling the stereotypes that surround it and its fans. 

Now that I have outed myself as a Country listener, I feel as if I have to defend myself. One of the common misconceptions about Country music lovers is that we all have pickup trucks, support the Confederacy, have some connection to farming and own plenty of American flag apparel. None of that is true for me, however. I do not condone any of that behavior, and I promise you that I do not own any cowboy boots, or even a cowboy hat. However, I do wear an occasional flannel from time to time, because why not?

Originally I grew up thinking that the criteria for Country music was that the song referenced either trucks, somebody with a broken heart or sitting alone in a bar; or if the song was really country, it referenced all three. While yes, it is true that a lot of the songs I listen to make references to those situations, (specifically Luke Combs songs), I think that is an oversimplification. The very first country song I actually liked was Dan + Shay’s song “Tequila.” Now I am fully aware that there is a debate going around about whether Dan + Shay are actually Country artists, but I’m here to tell you that because they are listed on Spotify as “ a Country-Pop duo” that is all the legitimacy I need. For me, Dan + Shay were the turning point further into Country music territory. 

Like most things, Country music is an acquired taste, one that requires listeners to ease into it. But once you find artists you really vibe with, it is a slippery slope. I know many complain that Country music is depressing, but I have come to find many upbeat Country songs out there, you just have to go below the surface a little. Because of this newfound balance, I don’t think one can really make set rules as to what classifies a song as Country. The best way for me to describe it is a feeling. Whether I am driving around on a summer night with all the windows down, or just hanging out with friends in the dead of winter, I always have a country playlist on to instill good vibes. At the risk of offending some, I’m going to make the bold assertion that Country is a superior genre because it can be listened to in any season. 

For those who already agree with me, I have gone to the liberty of creating a list of what is in my opinion, the 10 best country songs. For those who are considering changing their opinions, then this list is for you as well.

  1. “More Than My Hometown” Morgan Wallen
  2. “Forever After All” Luke Combs 
  3. “Alcohol You Later” Mitchell Tenpenny
  4. “Blue Tacoma” Russell Dickerson
  5. “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” Jake Owen
  6. “We Weren’t Crazy” Josh Gracin
  7. “Parking Brake” Dan + Shay
  8. “Kinfolks” Sam Hunt
  9. “I Know Somebody” LOCASH
  10. “Make It Sweet” Old Dominion