The appeal of New Country music?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Johnny Action, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. steviej

    steviej Forum Resident

    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    And that's fair enough. I'll happily let them have their fun and their modern country music too. I happily get by without it in my life 99.9% of the time.
     
    Raunchnroll likes this.
  2. JeffHunt

    JeffHunt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Many of the songs in that video were altered: Pitch-shifted, stretched, and auto-tuned to fit the creator's narrative.
     
  3. Cool hand luke

    Cool hand luke They got it now, Robbie...

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Kind of like when the were writing and recording the songs (product) to begin with
     
    Lownote30 likes this.
  4. JeffHunt

    JeffHunt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Ah well, it isn't my job to try to convince someone to like something that they have no interest in. After having been in the industry for 13 1/2 years now and getting to know most of the artists and songwriters behind these songs, I can tell you that they do all work hard and have a passion for what they do. That's cool if it isn't for you.

    But like I said, the tide is slowly turning away from "bro country" back to a more traditional ('80s and '90s) sound: Jon Pardi, Midland, Chris Stapleton, Cody Johnson, Justin Moore, Riley Green and others are all releasing music that is a major throwback to an earlier time.
     
  5. Cool hand luke

    Cool hand luke They got it now, Robbie...

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    A "traditional" 80's and 90's sound is what's gonna save us from bro-country? Well thanks for that report from the "industry", but I'm gona stick to the underground stuff. Thats where I hear new and old together in a way that satisfies whatever the hell it is that appeals to me. (And btw Chris Stapleton is in there.) Maybe if it wasn't such an "industry" to begin with...
     
  6. JeffHunt

    JeffHunt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Right on. Listen to what moves you. A lot of the stuff that I dig is from the guitar slingers in the format: Keith Urban, Frankie Ballard, Charlie Worsham, etc - and much to your point, Stapleton is in that category as well.
     
  7. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    I can only speak for myself, but I thought from the start that this discussion was mainly about mainstream modern country music (read: the biggest sellers and the stuff you hear on the radio). The "tired clichés and stereotypes" don't really need a lot of "propagating," because they're on full display 24 hours a day.

    I'm fully aware that there are great artists who are generally under-the-radar in most any type of music. Their existence, however, doesn't magically make the highest-profile artists, the exemplars of the genre, suck any less.

    And by the way, chances are that the artists you tout wouldn't cut any ice at all with mainstream listeners, who are vitally interested in those clichés.
     
  8. dumangl

    dumangl Senior Member

    I don't think this is true at all. I lived in Macomb, a very rural area of south central Oklahoma, for 30 years, a place with real cowboys who herded cattle on horseback. Modern country is extremely popular there. It's also popular in nearby Brooksville, a historic post Civil War black settlement.

    I don't listen to much modern country myself but I'm sort of astounded by some of the putdowns of modern country fans by people who know little or nothing about them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    crookedbill likes this.
  9. cypert2

    cypert2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cypert, AR
    Objectifying “women.” Every female in a modern country song has the same name. It’s “girl.”
     
  10. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midland, Michigan
    IF I find something I don't like in their lyrics OR if I can find something I don't like in the attitude of their fans, then I can use it to illustrate my moral superiority. Everybody knows that they're all a bunch of mouth-breathin', cross-burnin', cousin-lovin' trailer trash, RIGHT?

    "Ah lost muh job an' muh gurl. Muh truck an' muh trailer got repo'd. An' muh dawg ranned away. Ah got those blue moon of Kentuck blues."

    The songs that I like are Americana, the songs that I don't like are bro-country. That's how I know the difference.
     
  11. o_O :rolleyes: :laugh:
     
    Culpa likes this.
  12. crookedbill

    crookedbill Forum Resident

    The topic title and discussion is about “new” country vs “old” country with the usual bonehead talking points about “old”’country being “better”.

    If I had a nickel for every time somebody said “I only like the ‘good’ old stuff, Cash, Willie, Waylon, Hank” from somebody who has no clue what they’re talking about, I’d be a millionaire.

    Point is, country has always been a flashpoint for snide sociopath-political posturing and straw-man virtue signaling for decades. It’s code for “I’m better than poor white trash, and my musical tastes are better”.

    Hey, where are the “studies” on hip-hop artists with actual, serious, criminal records and lyrics that glorify murder, assault, misogyny, rape, racism etc. for decades? Hip-hop has been the number one genre on the planet for years, decades, but has escaped real scrutiny. Escaped the microscope of the #metoo movement, with most of its big names escaping criminal prosecution (mega-rich corporate opportunist Dr. Dre, a known woman beater, for example).

    Why? Because it’s inconvenient. But, as always, country and its fans are an easy, acceptable, target. It’s a tired, boring, and superficial discussion.
     
  13. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midland, Michigan
    If you don't like country, then you're morally superior to all those dumb hicks living out in flyover country. If you don't like hip-hop, then "why do you hate black people?"
     
    78 rpm, Culpa, Dudley Morris and 4 others like this.
  14. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midland, Michigan
    "Hank?"
    "Yeah, old country like Hank Jr.!"
    :rolleyes:
     
  15. MikeM

    MikeM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Youngstown, Ohio
    The OP cited some additional artists beyond the usual suspects that he likes, which indicates he doesn't fall into the category you outline above.

    What he said was: "But the new country stuff strikes me (usually, not always), as one dimensional thematically and pretty flat musically (more MOR rock n roll than country, IMHO)."

    If you disagree with this statement and others like it and find such statements "boneheaded," I'd love to hear you make the case for modern country being just as good as classic country. Please be specific in your answers. And as I indicated in the post you've replied to, pulling out cult, under-the-radar or Americana artists will not make that point. That is not what the OP (and most other participants in this thread) are talking about.


    I don't disagree that there are people with a superficial knowledge of country music (or no knowledge at all) who do the things you enumerate above. But the fact also remains that many people who DO know "what they're talking about" can very legitimately state what you quote in your first paragraph.

    I'm one of them. Though I grew up as a rock 'n' roller (and still am), I've been listening to and performing country music since the early 70s. I'll match my knowledge of it against anyone on this forum, and I can assure you that my likes go quite a bit beyond the four artists you cite.

    I don't like people going off on country music generally when they're ignorant of the genre's rich history any better than you do. But that doesn't make people who bemoan the current state of "country" less valid in the points they make. I don't find anything "tired, boring and superficial" about this discussion.


    You make fair points, but that's another discussion altogether that's beyond the scope of this thread. They should be made in a thread devoted to that topic.
     
  16. dumangl

    dumangl Senior Member

    I have no problem with people discussing the reasons that they believe most modern country music is inferior to that of the past. I think it's true.

    I do object to people taking ignorant and unfair swipes at the fans of music they don't like and that has been happening a lot in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  17. Luke The Drifter

    Luke The Drifter Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    To be fair:

    "Every female in a Beatles song has the same name. It's "girl."'
     
    Tim S and crookedbill like this.
  18. crookedbill

    crookedbill Forum Resident

    The OP sites a pretty shallow, biased article, which in turn cherry-picks from a "study" (which is pay-wall blocked, so we can't read the actual study) to make a point about "new" country being crappy at best, and toxic at worst.

    A few things:

    1) The originally sited article is published by an organization called "The Social Justice Foundation" with the mission statement "[we publish] stories that matter, stories that, by virtue of their ideas and craft, are capable of creating a better and more just society." So, the articles they publish already have a specific bias. A specific agenda for "correct" social advocacy, ie. propaganda. We're already on shaky ground here.

    2) The originally sited article says "new research finds that country hits in recent years show an increased emphasis on short-term sexual conquest—and on the celebration of whiteness" and calls it "unhealthy." ie. misogyny and racism. Let's not play coy. It points out song lyrics about getting laid by blue-eyed, redhead, or blonde girls. Whoa, shocking! Absolutely shocking! So 60+ years of rock & roll and the blues, which at their core were built on lyrics about sexual conquest and objectification, aren't mentioned - but somehow tepid (I mean, honestly, very tepid) top-40 pop country is "unhealthy."

    3) The study is apparently based on top-40 pop country radio hits, not country music at large. The OP couches it as "new" country, as if the limited stuff on radio is indicative of all "new" country, like there wasn't a monsoon of independent country artists these days worthy of note. Most industry studies indicate that independent labels and artists have a 40% market share, nearly half, but they aren't getting radio play. That's significant, and it's unfair and irresponsible to make broad stroke claims about a whole genre based on radio "hits". News flash, radio has represented a very limited slice of the pie, across many genres, for decades.

    All the artists the OP mentioned, that he does enjoy, are decades out of their prime. We've had waves of "new" country artists, some very popular who began in the indie scene, since then. Chris Stapleton, for example, often sited as "the only new country artist I like", is actually a multi-platinum selling artist, who's been selling out arenas for at least three years straight - but since he doesn't get a ton of radio play, he's not considered "pop". He is very much "pop" ie. "popular". It's not about "pop" vs "cult, under-the-radar Americana" artists anyway.

    4) This whole "pop country" vs "cult, under-the-radar Americana" is such a disingenuous straw-man argument. As Tyler Childers (very recently an indie artist who also sells out arenas and charts pretty high - not exactly "cult", despite being considered an "unknown") said during his Americanafest award speech last year, “As a man who identifies as a country music singer, I feel Americana ain’t no part of nothin. It is a distraction from the issues that we are facing on a bigger level as country music singers."

    In other words, country artists aren't in control of the game. They aren't in control of their own art form and legacy. Social advocates, industry goons, and sanctimonious rockist music fans and critics (not unlike those posting in this thread) chop up genres, and set up the goal posts - dividing music into "good" and "bad", not by virtue of the art itself but whatever socio-political meaning is derived from it. So we get the division between "country" (ie. bad) and "Americana" (ie. good), where in fact most "Americana" artists are making country, and absolutely consider themselves country. They are country, whether you like it or not.

    5) Sure, we can all tune into top-40 country radio and very easily point out some common qualities - rock influences, hip-hop influences, lyrics about getting laid and having beers in the back of your truck by the lake, blah blah, but what we're seeing and hearing is the most commercial slice of a genre trying to appeal to a broad base of casual listeners who are just as likely to also listen to rock and hip-hop. So we get the phenomenon of "mono-genre" where almost all popular genres borrow from each other and begin to homogenize. The only superficial difference for top-40 radio country is that the lyrics skew toward cliches the listenership is most familiar with, or identifies most with - rural concerns, trends, and activities. Why is that inherently "unhealthy" or even "bad." It's not.

    So, why do I say it's a "tired, boring, and superficial" discussion? Because the usual talking points are cheap straw-man cliches and stereotypes, based on fantasy. There's no real genuine discussion, from a place of knowledge, and many people who feel they have the most to say about it really have no familiarity with the genre itself, or its 100+ year history. Yeah, anybody can have an opinion about it, that's their right, but let's not confuse opinion with fact.
     
    Brian Mc and dumangl like this.
  19. Well, aside from Michelle, Prudence, and Rita. And maybe Madonna and Mary Jane. :)
     
    Luke The Drifter likes this.
  20. Luke The Drifter

    Luke The Drifter Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    I think it is sociology. I am a high school teacher. I noticed that the general public likes whatever is aimed at their social group. It is part of their culture. The kids that are "country" all have their stations on country music. The other cliques like their kind of music.

    I do not think for them it is a matter of liking one kind of music and not liking another. I think the music they listen to is part of the bonding for the group they are in.
     
    dumangl likes this.
  21. Mmmark

    Mmmark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Who are you to objectify 'girls' by calling them all 'women'?!? Stop projecting your midlife patriarchal perversions and let girls be girls.
     
    Dudley Morris likes this.
  22. walrus

    walrus Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I've seen Vince Gill play in person, and it's astounding. I can't really get into his songs (seems like too many of his hits are generic ballads?), but holy balls, the dude can play, and it seems like he writes most of his stuff. But that's the rare exception, when it should be the rule.
     
    Lownote30 likes this.
  23. What the heck is Tyler Childers getting at here? Is his beef with semantics? I get that he's saying it's no use (to him) to separate "Americana" from "Country" -- but I would entirely beg to differ. At least in terms of the modern use of the term "Country" (and, yes, what that means stylistically in terms of what's on the radio).

    It seems the use of the term "Americana" is entirely useful, to distinguish music in that general sort of wider vernacular, from all the commercial (mostly, or at least more so than not) 'nonsense' played on the radio.

    In other words, by modern standards (and modern terminology usage), more traditional country is no longer what people think of when they think of modern commercial "Country Music".

    I realize it's all on a continuum, and there's a whole range of 'country' that maybe has one foot in both words (particularly commercial country from the 70's and 80's).

    Never the less, words and semantics can be useful in not lumping too many things together in the same basket, not unlike the various sub genres of jazz, i.e. Dixieland, big band, be-bop, hard bop, soul-jazz, etc (and I could list 6-8 other jazz classification terms too, though they're maybe less widely agreed upon I realize)...

    There's gotta be some way to separate the commercial crap from the better stuff (which isn't so incessantly radio/top-40 oriented).
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    MikeM and dumangl like this.
  24. crookedbill

    crookedbill Forum Resident

    I summarized what he's getting at in my post. Yes, it's semantics but, in an age when semantics steer political discourse and end careers, it's important. I understand what you're saying, and I agree that genre designations are useful, but I'd argue that "Americana" is one of the more wishy-washy noncommittal terms for any music genre in recent memory and it's usually based on intangible virtue and politics, or the perceived virtue and politics of the music and the artist, above all else. Again, "country" is bad, and "Americana" is good.

    As an example both Calexico (or Neko Case, or whoever other safe "twangy" indie rock artists are big on NPR this month) and Tyler Childers are often classified as "Americana", but only the latter can truthfully be classified as "country."
     
    Tim S and Elliottmarx like this.
  25. Tim S

    Tim S Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Tennessee
    Something tells me the researchers cited in the original post would find very little to complain about with what is mostly called Americana.
     
    crookedbill likes this.

Share This Page