Tuesday, July 8, 2014

the "bro country" debate

Right now if you type in "bro country' into ye ole Google, you will get a long list of results ranging from articles bashing the country styles of Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean & Jake Owen to heated debates over how Zac Brown hates Luke Bryan because of "That's My Kind of Night".

Before I express my opinion on this particular topic let me just say that I have no expertise to offer about this topic; no analytic data to support my opinion and no song-writing understanding to back-up these country singers. But what I do have is a love for most kinds of music.

On mySpotify playlists you'll find a mixture of artists such as Allman Brothers, Regina Spektor, The Dirty Heads, 2 Chainz, Miranda Lambert, and John Legend. I don't discriminate. However, being from the South and still living here means I enjoy a song about my beloved part of the world and being able to relate to lyrics. After all, that is a lot easier to relate to than "And I'm living at the top. No ice in my drink, got enough in my watch" (btw, that's from the remix of DJ Snake & Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What" that has actual lyrics, you should check it out.)

That being said, I feel like I can say that I actually enjoy a little "Bro Country", because I take it for what it is.

What is "Bro Country" you ask? According to urbandictionary.com it is "Your classic post 2001 male artist country song that includes some, if not all of the following: Friday night, a girl in tight jeans, ice cold beer, a pick-up truck, a sunny day followed by some moonlight, a watering hole, fishing, 4-wheelin', dirt roads, ball cap, working all week and possibly church.  The torchbearers of bro country these days include: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington, Florida Georgia Line, Joe Nichols & Jake Owen."

A lot of country artists have stood up against how newer country songs lack substance and how it is giving not only country music, but also people from the country a bad name. But guess what? Sometimes, I just want a fun song about trucks, moonshine, riding shotgun with the windows down beside my 'honey' and eating fried chicken. Other times, I want a soulful ballad about love lost (i.e. "Tomorrow" by Chris Young) or a happy song about how much I adore my family (i.e. "Front Porch Looking In" by Lonestar).

Zac Brown really got things heated when he commented on Luke Bryan's song "That's My Kind of Night" on a radio show saying “I love Luke Bryan and he’s had some great songs, but this new song is the worst song I’ve ever heard,” Brown said. “Country fans and country listeners deserve to have something better than that, a song that really has something to say, something that makes you feel something. Good music makes you feel something. When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs.” (via)

And guess what? I agree to an extent. That particular song is not my favorite but it does embody your average country weekend night. And it is what it is. Luke Bryan is also capable of writing some other fairly good, thought provoking songs such as "Drink a Beer" about the deaths of his brother and sister. Now, Zac Brown is an amazing song writer who deserves accolades for his ability to make songs like "Colder Weather" and "Sweet Annie"... but he need not forget that he also has a song that includes the lyrics "Yeah, and all the muchachas, they call me "big poppa" when I throw pesos their way"...

Miranda Lambert said it best to Rolling Stone, "This 'bro country,' whatever it is, it definitely has this whole theme of party and tailgate and bonfire — I love all that stuff. I think it's big right now because everybody wants to escape for a minute and think about the fun stuff, and not driving in traffic and going to work." (via) She went on to say that of course there are more things to sing about too, but what's wrong with wanting to escape heavy, super meaningful songs and embracing "Cruise" by FGL or imagine yourself tailgating instead of sitting at your desk by listening to "This is How We Do" by FGL and Luke Bryan?

There are also some deep, soul-touching songs out there right now. Have you heard "I Drive Your Truck" by Lee Brice? It might include the word "truck" in the title, but it is about how a man thinks about and remembers his brother/friend (who died in the armed services) by driving his truck.

What is your take on "Bro Country"?

1 comment:

  1. So well written Lauren. I completely agree and like the music to an extent. I always listen to country driving to work or around town and those are the songs when they come on the radio I always smile. I was sad to realize that the appearance and style of these men are nothing like traditional country artists. I can't take a singer seriously when he is singing about a pickup truck with straightened and highlighted hair.