Contrary to popular belief, not all country music is about lost dogs, farms, and drinking (though that does make an interesting subgenre). Country is a broad umbrella term for so many different types of music that I truly believe there is something for everyone.
However, I’m not here to tell you that country music is the greatest, and you should all listen to it. I’m not even here to dispel all your beliefs and stereotypes of country music. But from one music lover to another, I want to give you five songs (in no particular order) that I believe any person, diehard country music fan or not, can enjoy.
Tattoos on This Town – Jason Aldean
This song is a fairly upbeat song that’s considered country rock. It tells the story about a man and his wife looking back on their lives in this town.
Don’t be put off by the beginning of the song where Aldean sings “there’s still black marks on that country road where we drag raced our pickups and mustangs,” because the song’s tempo speeds up at the chorus, and though only a small percentage of us have probably drag raced pickup trucks, the idea behind the song is something we all can relate to. I think we all have that place we grew up that holds a lot of our memories and has become a part of us.
Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts is almost a mainstream country group at this point, but I won’t hold that against them. They have tons of great songs, and besides Summer Nights, you should check out their other hits like “God Blessed the Broken Road,” “Life is a Highway,” “My Wish,” and “I Melt.” Okay, really, check out a few of their 100+ songs.
You won’t regret it; Rascal Flatts has everything from songs like “Summer Nights” that’s fast and fun and makes you want to dance to songs like “What Hurts the Most” that’s tempo is still relatively quick but has a sadder tone. One thing all Rascal Flatts songs have in common is emotion; you can’t listen to one of their songs without hearing and feeling the passion in their voices.
Goodbyes Made You Mine – JT Hodges
I just discovered this song and this artist, but I’m already impressed. The singer expresses his gratitude for all the jerks his girlfriend had dated before because as the title says, those goodbyes made her his. The basic message heard is “Girl, after all you’ve been through, I knew it’d be a matter of time ‘til all those goodbyes made you mine.” It’s an upbeat love song that will make girls (including me) wish their boyfriends could play guitar.
Pray for You – Jaron and the Long Road to Love
This song definitely sounds country, so get ready. I decided I had to put at least one funny song on this list, and this is one of my favorites. Country-style revenge songs are common (think Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”), and this song does it with humor.
The chorus of the song goes “I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls. I pray you’re flying high when your engine stalls. I pray all your dreams never come true.” The title of the song, of course, is ironic as is the whole song. It’s a great song to make you smile when you’re a little pissed off.
Austin – Blake Shelton
You may know Blake Shelton as a coach on the hit show The Voice, but you may not have heard him sing. This is a slower song with sad undertones at the beginning, but it turns into a beautiful love story by the end.
The best part about this song, I think, is that it literally tells a story with its lyrics. It’s all about a guy and his girl, nicknamed Austin, who leaves town without a number. Ever since, the singer’s been ending his answering machine message with “If this is Austin, I still love you.” Spoiler alert – she ends up calling and getting his answering machine.
Bonus song (because I couldn’t pick just 5):
Stay – Sugarland
Sugarland is an amazing duo made up of Jennifer Nettles and Kristen Bush, two amazing lyricists and singers. The song is reminiscent of a slow ballad and tells the tale of a mistress finding the courage to leave the man she’s seeing who won’t leave his wife. This powerful and emotional song may not be everyone’s style, but I chose it for its lyrics. The chorus is repeated three times in the song, but the third chorus is actually the last verse. The words in each line change ever so subtly echoing the chorus. It’s just beautiful music and lyrics, and it’s hard not to relate to this heart-wrenching story.
So those are 5 country songs that I hope you all enjoy. I just want to mention a few more songs that didn’t make the cut, but are worthy of noting:
You And Tequila – Kenny Chesney and Grace Porter
Red Solo Cup – Toby Keith
American Honey – Lady Antebellum
Honey Bee – Blake Shelton
House That Built Me – Miranda Lambert
Am I the Only One – Dierks Bentley
Now, for any country music lovers out there, I know I haven’t done the genre justice. I just ask everyone to listen to these songs, find the ones you like, and give country a chance.