Country music has a reputation. Many people say it is repetitive and tacky. However, many students at Durham College like listening to country music.
Social media drives the conversation these days and can play a big role in what type of music people like.
A lot of people visit Facebook or Twitter and see memes discussing their distaste for the genre, which could shape the opinions of people who may not have listened to it.
A lot of the memes describe country music as songs about trucks, beer, and girls when most songs dig deep into love and problems you can relate too.
Jennifer Archibald a second-year student of the Music Business Management program at DC says she does not like country music.
“Usually it is very shallow content, it all sounds the same,” says Archibald.
But does it?
Country music originated in the 1920’s in the southern United States. The original sound was instrumental and used a folk sound. The music has changed through the times, and has produced stars such as Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash. These artists sang about in-depth topics such as love and everyday problems. Many of us could recognize famous songs like Cash’s “Ring of Fire and Parton’s “Jolene”, both of which are country songs.
If we like these songs enough to sing along to than how can someone say they hate country music?
While country began in the 1920’s, pop music broke through barriers in the 1950’s in Britain with bands like the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. Pop music is one of the most popular genres in the world. There are more pop radio stations in Toronto than country stations.
Artists such as Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato have built a reputation through streaming of music to their social media. Marni Thornton, program coordinator of the Music Business Management program at Durham College, says the Internet contributes to our opinions on music.
“You have satellite radio and streaming. Everything is very niche and fragmented, there are audiences for everything they may just be broken up a bit more,” says Thornton.
The shift in favour of country music came in the 1990’s when modernized country stars such as LeAnn Rimes and Keith Urban hit the radio. These artists sing songs about the same topics as the past but updated the sound. The sound has continued to evolve through the early 2000’s to present but mostly in rural areas. Thornton says the lack of country music in big cities kicked country music out and opened the door to pop music in.
“Radio is the big gate keeper,” says Thornton. “Somebody else is deciding what I’m going to hear and there is no country music station in Toronto.”
Thornton says a reason why country music has stayed around and remained popular is because the fans are loyal.
“They are very loyal fans, they will stick with the artist for their entire career,” says Thornton
Every year, there are music festivals such as Boots ‘n’ Hearts, a country music event and Veld, an indie pop music event. Each event attracts thousands, but for Darren Pratt, a Mechanical Engineer student at Durham College, says he likes country music because it is relatable.
“I think because they’re relaxing songs and not heavy content. It is something everyone can relate too,” says Pratt.
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