Country Music is better than y’all think

January 25, 2018 — by Victor Liu and Austin Wang

In the age of Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and other lyrically uninspiring, drug-glorifying trap songs, country music is a welcome change of pace. Unlike most modern songs, many country songs tell a story from a culture that Saratoga students often don’t hear about.

“Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby, feel a lil’ frisky.”

Many of our friends are quite surprised to hear the catchy and distinctly country chorus of Lucas Bryan’s song “Rain is a Good Thing” blasting from my phone. For the most part, Saratoga students aren’t very fond of our taste in country music.

But for us, in the age of Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” and other lyrically uninspiring, drug-glorifying trap songs, country music is a welcome change of pace. Unlike most modern songs, many country songs tell a story from a culture that Saratoga students often don’t hear about.

For example, the lyrics of “Rain is a Good Thing” by Lucas Bryan explain how rural farmers react to rain while the lyrics of “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band detail how rural community members in the South or Midwest spend their free time eating chicken fried steak, listening to the radio and drinking cold beer. While our experiences don’t allow many of us to truly relate to these songs, the universally nostalgic emotions conveyed by them still resonate with us, and we are able to almost experience the singers’ glorified memories of rural American culture.

Another key aspect of country music is the emotion conveyed through the vocals. Country singers don’t rely on auto-tune or production effects so their Southern drawls and true voices always shine through against the rustic, often slow-paced melodies. This synergy between the songs’ vocals and instrumentals results in masterpieces that are able to pull at the listeners’ heartstrings and truly make them feel empathy for the singer, whether they’re reminiscing over their childhood memories of a “Big Green Tractor” or long-lost love.

The powerful effect of country blues is best exemplified by Johnny Cash’s famous hit cover of “Hurt,” which he expresses his marital struggles, his wife’s failing health (she would die just three months after the song’s production), the burning down of his home of 30 years and his flashbacks to his heroin addiction.

As he reflects on his first marriage, torn apart by his heroin addiction, he sings “What have I become? My sweetest friend. Everyone I know / Goes away in the end,” in a low, soothing voice against the slow plucking of guitar strings. Listeners can feel the deep struggle and trauma Cash has suffered as he concludes the chorus by softly singing “I will let you down. I will make you hurt.” The emotions Cash relays to his audience is something even the catchiest of trap songs from the latest ‘Lil’ rapper fails to illustrate.

Country music plays a very different role than today’s popular hits. Much like a good novel, a good country song will make listeners empathize and feel a story from a distant and long-gone culture, washed away by modern life.

 
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