May 8, 2017

The Roots of Modern Mainstream Country

The Roots of Modern Mainstream Country

The roots of modern mainstream country music run deep… well, not deep, but long. All the way back to the 70s anyway. You hear the disco beats of ABBA and others in the slick sounds of Chris Lane and Thomas Rhett. There's not a ton of 80s influence in the current sound - though you'll hear a little hair metal flourish from time to time. The 90s is where 2010's country really finds its 'soul.' From the chillaxing flow of Jack Johnson to the gleeful boy band harmonies, to the danceable pop rock of Sugar Ray, it's undeniable that the generation of music the most popular artists and songwriters grew up on is a huge influence on their sound.

So what about country music? Is modern country influenced by any of that? Well, sure. If you call Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts country. (Yeah, we have a few outliers with a semi-traditional sound, but even Jon Pardi only releases his most dance floor ready tracks to radio)

Check out this Spotify playlist if you don't believe me. You'll hear some really familiar sounds if you're a consumer of iheartradio's commercial country soundscape. If you're not, you'll just get a knowing laugh out of it. Oh, and don't think I'm saying all this music is bad… I like some of it; it's just not necessarily the well a genre called "country" should be drawing most of its water from.

Here's the tracklist if you don't wanna put your ears through all that.

Smash Mouth – All Star
Drake – Take Care
Everything – Hooch
John Mayer – Your Body Is a Wonderland
Britney Spears – ...Baby One More Time
Sugar Ray – Every Morning
Shawn Mendes – I Know What You Did Last Summer
Winger – Seventeen
Kesha – TiK ToK
Lil Wayne – A Milli
Rascal Flatts – Prayin' For Daylight
*NSYNC – Bye Bye Bye
Limp Bizkit – Rollin' (Air Raid Vehicle)
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Jack Johnson – Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
Nelly – Country Grammar (Hot Shit)
Eminem – The Monster
Zedd – Stay (with Alessia Cara)
Montgomery Gentry – Hell Yeah
Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch
Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching
The Pussycat Dolls – Don't Cha
Warrant – Cherry Pie
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Crazy Town – Butterfly
ABBA – Dancing Queen
Calvin Harris – My Way
Shania Twain – That Don't Impress Me Much
Nickelback – Something In Your Mouth
LFO – Summer Girls
Ariana Grande – The Way
G. Love & Special Sauce – Cold Beverage


  1. I'm pissed off! Only Rascal Flatts and Shania Twain are country. The rest are Pop & R&B!
    This playlist sucks

  2. All of this is absolutely true, but it's a bullshit cop-out just the same.

    "We didn't listen to just one kind of music! No one does!"

    This is true, but:

    A. If you really think Florida-Georgia Line ever listened to Merle Haggard, then I have some ocean front property for sale in Arizona.

    B. As I have put it before elsewhere, from the other direction, if a traditional country standard-bearer like Jason Boland can grow up listening to Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, then Nashville pukes like Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan don't have any legitimate excuse anymore.



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