Quality Country?

You know when you hear a song so great, you have one of those transcendent moments where either the lyrics resonate so deeply you wonder if the writer took the thoughts out of your life, or the melody just makes you want to get up and dance?!

I miss those songs.

I grew up with all sorts of musical influences; rock, rap, country, pop, R&B, hip hop, oldies, and even classical. My mom and I used to dance around the kitchen singing the soundtrack to West Side Story. I can appreciate music in all genres, but country was what we listened to most, and preferred, when I was in high school. My husband and I met at a country dance. Over the past decade or so, I see in country music a shift from a story-song, to more “party songs”, which are fine, I guess, but not my cup of tea. (Or solo cup of beer, as it were.)

Over the last 5-6 years, I found that dance, pop, rap, and some alternative music was better suited to running and working out. Most music I listen to while exercising has faster beats per minute and have an uplifting or “getting after it” message. (Think Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, The Hours’ “Ali in the Jungle”, and “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz) I need a song that says SOMETHING.

Country doesn’t say much lately. How about a song that says ANYTHING but the tired message of “Get a hot chick in my truck, drink, and have a party.” Perhaps I’m just getting old and I’m past that phase. Driving across the country, I got tired of my own playlists and regularly surfed whatever I could tune on the dial. (Okay, it’s not a dial anymore – it’s a digital button, whatever.) The only thing I could find were songs about partying and trucks and a “good time”. Okay. Fine. But is that ALL? What happened to the story songs? Chris LeDoux, Reba, Conway, Alan Jackson, and even Garth Brooks seemed to be unavailable. Say what you will about the Dixie Chicks, at least they had their own sound and a story to tell. There were a few plays of Tim McGraw and King George, but it was few and far between. All the other songs sounded the same. All the male singers sounded alike, and all the female singers sounded like copies of Carrie Underwood. I just wasn’t impressed.

I came across this today:

Apparently I am not alone.

I am much more inspired by artists who can express more than one mood, elicit more than one feeling. As a writer, I naturally gravitate toward the lyrics as opposed to the melody and beat, so a song has to make me feel something. Or think. ANYTHING but the same old, same old.

What music moves you? What songs do you gravitate toward? Lyrics or melody more important?

What do you think?

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