Friday, May 14, 2010

Non-Angry Music Rant

I don't mean I'm ranting about non-angry music, but I'm ranting about music in a non-angry manner. Maybe rambling is a better word.

This is way off the usual topics of this blog, if there are any, but I guess since I was talking about an Alabama song in my last post I got to thinking about this. I hear people all the time talking about how they like "all music except rap and country." First of all, that's a lie. No one likes every song they've ever heard even in a genre they like, and few if any of the people who say that are into polka or throat-singing or whatever. I don't mind people not liking certain genres, but I'm not sure why they follow that by saying they like everything. "I like a lot of stuff" would suffice.

I like country music. I'm from the South, I grew up on country music, and it's as much a part of me as any other music I like or once liked. When I was a teenager, I realized country music was Not Cool, that it was only for certain people and that those people were Not Cool. So I kinda stopped listening to it, except I didn't really. I just didn't put any on my computer or on lists of my favorite songs, or admit to my non-Southern friends that I liked it. Now that I'm grown, I'm realizing how silly that is.

I don't really understand all the animosity toward it, I guess. I don't get why it's the black sheep of all music, why just the mention of it makes people act like they're going to barf, even if they've never really heard any of it except while stuck in bad diners with relatives they didn't like. Yes, a small percentage of it is xenophobic or psycho-patriotic, but that is a VERY small percentage. A lot of it is also as canned as any current pop music, but even the worst of pop music is not the target of as much ire as country. *Good* country music is really fascinating, telling the stories of pockets of American culture that are not represented in any other part of the media. Good rap music serves the same purpose. I think at least *some* subset of the "I hate rap and country" crowd feels that way because they don't want to hear those stories. Not all, but some.

Think about it this way: Most people, on hearing that someone "hates" rock music, would protest. "You hate ALL of it? But there's so much variety - The Smiths are NOTHING like Megadeth who are NOTHING like the Red Hot Chili Peppers who are NOTHING like Janis Joplin." That is true of rock music; it's an enormous genre and if you listen to enough of it you're likely to find at least a few songs to enjoy. It's *also* true of country music and rap music.

If you hang out at my house for awhile or ride in my car, it is quite possible that at some point you will hear a country song or two. If you are really *that* personally offended by Willie Nelson, or Reba McEntire, or Johnny Horton, or Travis Tritt (none of whom sound ANYTHING alike), I'll be happy to switch it for you, because I'm nice like that. But if you'll just sit tight for a minute and listen with an open mind, you might like it. And even if you don't, you'll probably find that the next thing that comes on is Peter Gabriel, or Loreena McKennitt, or They Might Be Giants, or Donovan, or Smokey Robinson, or Matisyahu, or Tchaikovsky, or Rammstein, or Goldfrapp.

Even if you don't love them, none of those artists will kill you. Alabama won't either. I promise.


Justina said...

I like country music too. I think people automatically assume it's all about Jebus or "my girl ran over my dog then left me". The same for rap music. If all you've ever heard was "bitches be eatin mah dick befo' I kill them" then you'd have a pretty negative view of it. These same people would then rock out to 'Cotton Eye Joe' and 'Ms Jackson' because they were in the charts.

Bonnie said...

Normally I wouldn't parade my friends around to make a point, but since this defies stereotypes SO well, I would just like to point out that Justina is British :p

Anonymous said...