10 Songs That’ll Make You Re-Think Country Music
1. “Online” – Brad Paisley
When it comes to Brad Paisley you never know what you’ll get. He likes to write really comedic songs, and this one is no different. The character in the song is “five foot three and overweight,” he lives with his parents and is a complete momma’s boy. However, every time he goes online he “becomes” a gorgeous model that lives in Hollywood and can have a “three way chat with two women at one time.” This song is great because not only is Brad Paisley an amazing guitarist, but also the words are hilarious. The video is a must watch too. It stars Jason Alexander, William Shatner, Taylor Swift, and Kellie Pickler. This song is a different approach to country music, a comedic one. The song tells a story and it really puts an image in your head. This is definitely a warm up song for any non-country fan.
2. “American honey” – Lady Antebellum
Normally in a Lady Antebellum song there are two singers, Hilary Scott and Charles Kelley. But this song is all Scott. She has one of the best voices in country music. It’s a very distinct voice, it’s warm and the tone is pure and beautiful. The song itself is about growing up. However, it’s really up for the listener’s interpretation. “American Honey” is really catchy and you’ll someday find yourself singing along to it. The writing is really good. “There’s a wild wild whisper blowing in the wind / Callin’ out my name like a long lost friend.” This is a perfect example of a good simple country song. It isn’t too twangy but also has the typical country instruments (fiddle, mandolin, etc.). The video has really beautiful cinematography that gives off a country vibe. And who doesn’t love that?
3. “If I Die young” – The Band Perry
“If I die young / Bury me in satin / Lay me down on a bed of roses / Sink me in the river at dawn / Send me away with the words of a love song.” Kimberly Perry starts of the song all by herself with soft music underneath. Her voice is incredibly distinct and it instantly catches the listener’s attention. The song – which seems very morbid – was actually written after the siblings got their record deal. They all agreed that if they were to die in that moment they would die happy. The combination between the lyrics and Kimberly’s voice is what makes this song. The lyrics create so many amazing images. “Lord make me a rainbow / I’ll shine down on my mother / She’ll know I’m safe with you / When she stands under my covers.” This song is truly beautiful. One of the best lines doesn’t come till the refrain; it is a very haunting image. “A penny for my thoughts / Oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar / They’re worth so much more / After I’m a goner / And maybe then you’ll hear the words I’ve been singing / Funny when you’re dead how people start listening.” This song is perfect for any non-country fan. It can transcend any genre. If you were to only listen to one of these songs, this is it.
4. “Chicken Fried” – Zac Brown Band
When it comes to the Zac Brown Band, they are who they are, and this song couldn’t be a better example. Chicken Fried is incredibly catchy. Its meaning couldn’t be simpler; it’s about Zac Brown (the lead singer) and his life. He says that his favorite things are “Chicken fried [and] cold beer on a Friday night.” You can’t get more country then ZBB . This song is really fun and upbeat. Zac Brown uses a nylon string guitar, which gives it a Jimmy Buffett feel. The guitar really fits with the attitude these guys give off, true southern comfort. They would rather sit around a fire and play guitar then anything else. So if you really want to cross into the country world, this is the perfect song. It still isn’t bluegrass or too twangy, it’s just right.
5. “Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw
In fifty or sixty years this song will still be remembered. There is nothing like this song. It is a song Tim McGraw dedicated to his father. The song stands for one thing; live life to the fullest. The story revolves around a conversation between two men, the son (presumably) asks his dad, “How’s it hit you / When you get that kind of news.” His dad then shares all the crazy, reckless, and amazing things he did. The dad says, “I hope someday you get the chance / To live like you we’re dying.” This song really moves the listener, and the message is great. It makes the listener think about what he would do if he found out he was dying. This song will definitely leave an impression on you. Often times in country music the best songs are the slow ones. This is that and more. It doesn’t seem very country, but it has just the perfect hint of what? to make it a great choice for anyone.
6. “Kiss a girl” – Keith urban
Keith Urban is the foreigner of country music, as he’s originally from Australia. He adds a unique flair to his songs and should probably be considered a country-rock crossover artist. The song “Kiss a Girl” is one of his most popular right now. It’s been out for a few months but it’s one of the best. It’s an upbeat song about a guy with a broken heart that wants todive into a new relationship and all its benefits. Keith Urban’sguitar playing is amazing in this song and the guitar riffs are the perfect add in. This song is really catchy especially with the hook “I wanna kiss a girl / I wanna hold her tight / Maybe make a little magic in the moonlight.” It’s just a simple, fun song that makes you turn up the volume and sing along. This song is perfect for people that like southern rock music. It has that country feel to it but it can definitely appeal to anyone. Go onto YouTube and type in “Taylor Swift Keith Urban prank.” Lets just say Taylor Swift got pretty creative one night. It’s a great video, plus (from what you can see) it’s a good performance of Keith Urban live.
7. “Travelin’ Soldier” – Dixie chicks
You don’t hear much about the Dixie Chicks anymore. But, regardless of the fact that the country music industry ostracized them, they are still one of the best girl country groups out there. This song, off their third album, is about a man going off to war. One day, before he leaves, he goes to café and asks the waitress if he can write her. Through writing letters they fall in love, and the story progresses from there. This is probably one of the saddest songs I have ever heard. The Dixie Chicks deliver it perfectly and the words will give you chills. I like this song because, like many country songs, it tells a story. . One of the best parts of the song is a verse that says one Friday night at a football game the names were read of soldiers that had passed, “And one name read / But nobody really cared / But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair.” To lose a love to war is a classic loss story, and the Dixie Chicks really do it justice. This is a true country song, but I think it’s story and message can apply to anyone.
8. “That Don’t Impress Me Much” – Shania Twain
When you think Shania Twain, this is probably what you think of. It is such a classic country song. Shania was one of the first female country artists that was more of a crossover artist. This song is about guys that think really highly of themselves and no matter who they are, Brad Pitt included, Shania is not impressed. The song is really upbeat and so fun to sing along to. This song is such a classic; every country fan knows it. The words are great and very female power. what? It’s fun, catchy, and a great example of who Shania Twain is as an artist. The video is great too. It’s just really fun and portrays the song really well. Since Shania is more of a crossover artist, this song is great for any non-country fan.
9. “Stay” – Sugarland
Out of every song on this list, this is the song you need to watch the video of. Jennifer Nettles is the key to this song. Jennifer has one of the twangiest and most powerful voices in all of modern country music. The song is acoustic with just her voice and a guitar. The song is about the other woman in a relationship. She wants the man to leave his wife to be with her. It’s a really raw emotional song. The words are amazing: “I’m so tired of being lonely / Don’t I give you what you need / When she calls you to go / There is one thing you should know / We don’t have to live this way / Baby, why don’t you stay.” This is one of the best country songs of all time. It is very country, even though it’s acoustic. But it’s worth it. This song could be listened to infinitely.
10. “Mine” – Taylor swift
Isn’t it kind of crazy to think that one twenty-year-old is the entire face of country music at the moment? Taylor Swift is an amazing artist – she writes all of her own songs and talks about love in such a way that anyone from age ten to fifty can relate. The song “Mine” is the story of a girl who’s scared of love because she’s never been given a good example of it. She is in a relationship and deals with the ups and downs. Taylor has lately been given a lot of criticism for the innocence of her lyrics. This is a great example of the fact that you write what you know and as you grow up so does your view on life. I also think the video is adorable. She gets married and has a bunch of cute kids. It’s perfect.
Other recommendations: Gloriana “Wild At Heart”, “Over Me Now”, and “How Far Do You Wanna Go?”; Carrie Underwood “American Girl”, “Undo It”, and “Just A Dream”; Martina McBride “Concrete Angel”, “Independence Day”, “This One’s For the Girls” and “In My Daughter’s Eyes”; Sara Evans “Suds In The Bucket”, “Perfect”, and “I Keep Looking”; Rascal Flatts “Here Comes Goodbye” and “Bless The Broken Road”; and Kellie Pickler “Best Days Of Your Life” and “Red High Heels”.