Let's Pray that This Isn't the New "Country" Trend
I shouldn’t even have to write this. The facts are so self-evident that this article should be met with "yeah, obviously." But alas, much like the Bebe Rexha and FGL collaboration, here we go again with non-country collaborations entering country radio.
The latest trend for Nashville’s labels is to completely abandon the country genre (and its artists) for collaborations in attempts to get songs to chart. When Meant To Be was announced as coming to the radio, I thought it was just a desperation move by FGL to try to remain relevant. Unfortunately, that looks to be the tip of the iceberg as recently three other non-country collaborations have been announced/released and are heading for the country airwaves.
Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris
Without even getting into my personal opinions on the “countryness” of some of Carrie Underwood’s previous singles, I think it’s fair to question whether a collaboration with Ludacris is a country song. The Champion is a pop/rap song featuring a trap-style backing beat and rap verses provided by 100% non-country rapper, Ludacris. Of the songs included in this article, this is the least surprising that it is headed to country radio because the sounds of this song are already rampant in the current bro-country airwaves. The surprising part is that it would appear the only way to get a woman on the country charts these days is for them to make a rap song with a well-known male rapper.
SOMETHING ‘BOUT YOU:
Sir Rosevelt is a side project by Zac Brown that expands on some of the sounds the Zac Brown Band experimented with on the Jekyll & Hyde album. The entire album is not country, nor does it try to be. Billboard’s interview with Zac Brown about the project is literally titled, “Zac Brown Reveals Diplo & Skrillex-Influenced Dance-Pop Project.” Everything about this project, even as described by Zac himself, has been about getting out of the country sphere and making a different type of music… so why is Something ‘Bout You coming to country radio?
Zedd, Grey, and Maren Morris
The Middle by Zedd, Grey, and Maren Morris is a perfectly fine EDM (Electronic Dance Music) song (if you’re into that) featuring Maren’s vocals over the top of electronic beats. When you play the song on Spotify it lists Zedd as the artist, however, so that should tell you everything you need to know about which styles are most heavily used. It is my opinion that this song is just a dance song by a DJ who wanted to feature some solid female vocals. Many EDM songs feature external vocalists as the DJ’s themselves often do not sing, so this is not new or newsworthy. The reason I even bring it up is the simple fact that Maren Morris is the one providing the vocals - and if the trend continues as mentioned above – then this one will be getting shipped to country radio sometime soon.
I truthfully and honestly have no problems with any of these songs existing. There are no rules about what kind of music you can make, and if you’ve already established yourself in one genre, I’m not here to tell you that you can’t branch out. What I am saying is quite the opposite: artists should be free to create music and express themselves through whatever form they chose. Also, artists should NOT be boxed into one specific style (or genre, if you will) simply because that is the sound of their first record.
The same goes for the listeners: just because you predominantly listen to country music doesn’t mean you are not allowed to listen to and enjoy EDM and other styles of music. I encourage everyone to listen to as much different music as you like. We should all be able to listen to music and judge it for what it is, and all I ask is that we have some common sense. If an artist previously considered country releases a Korean Pop album, let’s judge it based on how well it does K-Pop and leave it off country radio. It should really be that simple.