Country Confessional: Pop-Country I’m Digging Right Now

We all have dirty secrets when it comes to music (and life in general of course but…). Sometimes we like a song we know we should hate, sometimes we don’t like something we know we should like. We could also have something different to say from the rest of the pack.

That’s what this feature is for. Once in awhile I’ll tell you all some unpopular opinions of mine, judgement be damned. If you also have something to confess, you can do so as well in the comments or on Twitter. It’s up to you. Either way, I’m excited to debut this feature. It will be fun.

Our first recipient for this confessional is none other than the sub-genre of pop-country. In terms of the audience we’ve attracted here (as well as our followers on Twitter), it’s something that’s hated by many and loved by few. For the most part, I myself count myself in on that group, although there admittedly are times where I find myself enjoying it.

Now, obviously not a lot of it encompasses any smart writing or any clever story, but that’s not the point anyway. When done right, it can at least be catchy or breezy enough to enjoy, and today, I’m just going to share some pop-country songs I’ve unashamedley been enjoying. Please note that I tried to go as current as possible. If I did all time, I’d surely forget something. I mean heck, I may have only gotten into country in 2010, but I definitely remember my mother playing Shania Twain all the frickin’ time when I was a kid (not complaining either). There’s got to be other examples too…see? Already drawing a blank. Let’s move on.

The first candidate comes courtesy of Brett Young and his song, “Memory Won’t Let Me”. Now, I’m pretty lukewarm on Brett as an artist. I don’t remember anything on his debut album outside of the singles and one other song, the one above. I don’t know why I’ve recently come back to it, but I have. I like the banjo bolstering the melody, and while I don’t like the lyrical flow it takes to get to the point, I do like the overall theme of having a love still haunt you once it’s done (even if the theme has been done to death). Shit, I even like the “ohs” that occur after the hook (chorus? I don’t know).

Now, I may have liked Ripcord a tad more than most (for a Pop album, certainly not for a Country one), but as a whole it was definitely a disappointment. One song that I’ve been coming back to though is “Gettin’ In The Way”, a song I was probably always ashamed to admit I found enjoyable. I’m not sure what to say on this one. Again, lyrics are alright but nothing special, but it’s light and breezy enough to where I can enjoy it. I don’t know, maybe it’s the melody? Oh well.

I’ve been a tad harsh to Dan + Shay over the years. Sure, their singles from their debut album weren’t that good at all, and for the most part I still wouldn’t say I’m a fan, but again, I’ve been harsh. They know how to craft a melody, and in all honesty I haven’t minded their past two singles. In fact, I like their new one, “How Not To” quite a bit. The whole song is a little polished in all areas for me to say I love it or think it’s great or anything, but it’s well-written song that actually manages to blend country and pop without shoving the latter down our throats. Granted that wouldn’t actually be a problem if we just called a spade a spade. I digress though, good song.

Kelsea Ballerini The First Time CoverYeah, let me explain this one. See, I didn’t think Kelsea Ballerini’s debut album was THAT bad, for a pop album. It’s only decent mind you, probably a 6/10 to my ears (and it doesn’t belong in country really), but still, outside of the horrendous singles such as “Love Me Like You Mean It”, “Dibs”, “Yeah Boy” and the album track, “Looking At Stars”, there was some decent material on the album that showed me more than just “boy boy boy boy truck boy”. “Peter Pan” was a good single, and there were some good album cuts in the form of the title track and “Stilettos”. Heck, “Second Hand Smoke” really proved Kelsea could do more in terms of her writing abilities. Again, lots of crap on there as well, but not bad as a whole, especially for pop-country.

And finally Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Backroad”

Just Kidding Gif

Yeah right. You didn’t think I was serious did you?

That does it for this week gang! Join me next time.

19 thoughts on “Country Confessional: Pop-Country I’m Digging Right Now

  1. Okay, so I like a lot of this stuff (unpopular opinion I know!), but to be honest, the one I noticed which I don’t think should be here is Dan + Shay – alright, so maybe some of their songs aren’t super ‘country’ but to be honest, they are amazing writers and performers (just saying).
    I certainly agree with some of these though, like Ripcord – I like Wasted Time, but everything else on the album isn’t anywhere near as good as his previous music.
    One final point (because I’m aware I’m going on a bit), I don’t have a problem with some ‘country-pop’, but I really think you shouldn’t have been kidding with Body Like A Back Road – seriously. It’s one of Sam Hunt’s better songs (what’s with the half-rap verses he does that ruin a great song??), but is definitely a country pop tune in my opinion. I’m also a little bit dubious about the country-ness of You Look Good by Lady Antebellum too, but I get the feeling that’s also an unpopular opinion?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I didn’t really care for Dan + Shay’s debut album as a whole, but they’ve warmed up on me. Again, this is all just subjective anyway and only reflective of my own thoughts.

      As a whole, I don’t have a problem with pop-country either though, really. There’s good and bad stuff to be found with every genre and sub-genre you find.

      Admittedly I really don’t like “Body Like A Backroad” at all. I only included it here for a shot at cheap humor, but I certainly mean no offense to anyone who enjoys the song. Like I said, it’s just subjective anyway 🙂

      For Lady A’s song, I don’t know, they’re adopting the East Nashville trend of having the horns and everything, but I don’t know if I’d say it’s country-pop. Just my own two cents though.

      Thanks for comment by the way! Enjoyed reading your thoughts.


  2. Pop Country songs I genuinely enjoy, from the last five years:
    – “Cop Car”
    – “Beat of the Music”
    – FGL’s album cut “Tip It Back” from their debut (dead serious)
    – The Ballerini songs you mention aren’t bad
    – A good majority of Carrie’s latest album/output in general as she’s become more and more pop influenced
    – Some of Aldean’s singles between “Amarillo Sky” and “Take a Little Ride”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Honestly, I like some pop country as well!!

    Some pop-country songs I really enjoy:

    -Beat of the Music
    -Brett Eldredge’s Something I’m Good At
    -The bulk of Carrie Underwood’s pop-country catalog
    -Anything Lauren Alaina
    -Anything Maren Morris
    -RaeLynn’s Love Triangle, Graveyard, and Diamonds
    -Kelsea Ballerini’s Peter Pan and Secondhand Smoke

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A couple of RaeLynn’s songs are going to be featured on my next “Memorable Songs From Forgettable albums.” 🙂 Not enjoyable as a whole like Lauren Alaina’s album, but when she’s being herself, she’s got some nice songs.


  4. Some pop country or unpopular country I like would be Maren Morris, some Dan + Shay and I have always like some Jason Aldean songs. Besides these guys however I find pop country to b lyrically boring even if some of the songs are catchy. Catchy isn’t enough to keep my attention anymore now that I have discovered more interesting music.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan + Shay is also awesome when it comes to pop country. They remind me very much of early Rascal Flatts, much of which I really liked. And oh yeah, Shay has a fucking awesome voice. Dude can sing.


    1. I like some of their songs, definitely “From the Ground Up” and How Not To” but to me, that’s what holds them back slightly, it’s like they’re a cheap rip-off of Rascal flats.


      1. I have always described them as a two-man Rascal Flatts with a better lead singer, but I do enjoy their music from time to time. They would benefit even more from a little originality.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve enjoyed quite a lot of Carrie Underwood’s output, and I’ve also quite liked a lot of Jason Aldean–when he sings and doesn’t rap. He was one of the pioneers of this fun partying/bro country thing, and I kind of thought: Wow that’s a nice fun change, and then everything on the radio became girls and trucks and sexism and it all started to suck, but I never had a serious problem with Aldean. Also, “Fly Over states,” “The Truth,” “Night Train,”–all really good songs, and I also like his current one, “Any ol’ Barstool.” But back to the partying songs, the rest seemed like cheap and more sexist versions of the original. Luke Bryan was one of the pioneers of it too, but his music in general has always seemed less fun and more douchy than Jason’s. Jason Aldean’s biggest problems are his rapping and his personality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Jason Aldean’s first two albums. I also love The Truth and Love Was Easy. Fly Over States is also okay, as is Any Ol’ Barstool. If you haven’t already, check out Asphalt Cowboy, Do You Wish It Was Me, Who’s Kissing You Tonight, Back In This Cigarette, I Break Everything I Touch, and Grown Woman. Damn solid songs. However, I think The Truth is my favorite Aldean song ever. It actually sounds like a country song, it has solid songwriting (I may be a bit biased, because my favorite artist on the planet, Ashley Monroe, co-wrote it), and boy, I just love sad, emotion-filled songs. I wish Jason would revert back to this type of song.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, in all honesty I was listening to some of those songs just the other week honestly. Aldean is really someone whose personality clouds his music. Like I said, he’s got some real crap in his discography but he’s also got some truly excellent songs.

        Also, I like what this thread has become. Megan, you’re right, this honesty thing does work wonders 😉


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