OPINION: Reasons why Country music makes your ears bleed

At one point or another you might have heard someone say ‘I like all types of music except country.’ This musical disgust begs the question, how can so many people quickly dismiss country music as a good category for music. Could it be because it’s terrible? Sure, but there’s no way that that many people have an inherent disdain for the country ingrained in them.

While researching the topic, it became apparent that the spread of hate for country music was not just spiking in cities like New York and Los Angeles. A 2012 study by the University of Notre Dame discovered that most college-educated young adults are especially likely to dislike country music. Classical music also falls under the category of genres especially unlikely to be favored by this demographic. 

The University of Michigan Women’s Studies and Music professor Nadine Hubbs wrote a novel called Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music. In her book, she tries to answer some irrational and seemingly inherent hate for Country music. “Is the declaration ‘Anything but country’ really about music?” Hubbs asked in her book. When popular country music first debuted and distributed around the States in the 1920s, a decision was made. In the South- do we keep blues-based music together? That would mean black and white musicians having an equal platform. The answer was easy at the time: no. This kind of ass backwards thinking musically led Hubbs to suggest there’s now two marketing barriers, instead of one “racially distinct marketing categories: hillbilly and race.” 

Just like country is an unexpected favorite genre of our generation, hip-hop used to be that place holder for most Americans. As rapping emerged into the musical scene, finding its roots in the early 1970s; it was nearly impossible to find on the radio and was later popularized around 1979 when the Sugarhill Gang released their breakaway hit, “Rapper’s Delight”. Even then, the genre was not considered mainstream until the mid-1990s and only became the top-selling music genre by 1999. Although times are changing, to this day some people will use the expression ‘I like all music except hip-hop’ but if we are to listen to anything, nothing should be off the table.

Sociology professor at Wayne State University Steven Stack wrote a article called The Effect of Country Music on Suicide, which aimed to prove a relation between someone listening to country music and taking their own life. Stack believed that music which affects physiological moods that portrays loss of love, money, and freedom can be a contributing factor in suicide. “Audience receptiveness to suicidogenic problems such as alcohol abuse or marital discord is fairly high among country music’s audience…” Although these points are fair, and I don’t know why I would stick up for country music, a genre of music that relates to a certain demographic should not be blamed for issues that those listeners have. Not everything is black and white, there is a bigger picture here that isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

Country music has become widely hated and picked apart, occasionally taking the heat for issues within the genre’s enthusiasts. Even google users have frequently asked if country music kills brain cells, so much so that it’s the second most searched suggested question under ‘does country’. The short answer: no. Long answer? If you do some things that are in some country songs then yeah maybe you might lose a brain cell or two, but to blame all country music for your actions is like blaming your dog for eating your homework. Maybe you shouldn’t leave your Algebra covered in BBQ in the dog’s bowl. 

Any music can be as subjective as this blog, if someone likes one genre over the other that’s just an opinion. That itself is subjective and acceptable and probably pretentious or rambly. Regardless of personal tastes, it takes a close minded person to utter the phrase ‘I like all music except country’ and I should know. I also like all music except country.

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