Country music is a major target for criticism and hatred these days, especially within the Palo Alto community. Many hold the firm belief that the genre is made by and for ignorant Southern rednecks with a limited number of teeth, holding no redeeming qualities for the financially stable, well-educated population.

However, coming from the west coast in one of the most liberal cities in the nation, I can certainly attest to the fact that these stereotypes hold little truth. After being introduced to country music during my middle school years, I was instantly hooked, despite the mocking I received from friends and family alike.

Though most of my friends are disgusted with my “country crap” and refuse to let me choose the car radio station, I am proud to have gotten a few to truly appreciate the genre (okay, more like one or two songs).

The following is a compilation of reasons why country should be viewed as a genre not inferior to other styles of music, but one that deserves to be respected and appreciated just as much as any other.

1. Everybody can relate.

Country songwriters create music based off personal experiences, making it easy for listeners to connect with the lyrics. Whether all you want is a new car (Brad Paisley), don’t want the night to end (Luke Bryan), or are having trouble with girls (Scotty McCreery), it is practically a guarantee that there will be a song for your situation.

2. There are many valuable life tips to be learned.

Among them, creative ways to utilize Red Solo cups.

3. You can actually listen to it with your parents in the room.

Rarely will a song contain vulgar language, something that cannot be said about many Billboard Top 40 songs. The radio versions of country songs will actually resemble the unedited version; they do not have to be bleeped out and remixed to cover up every swear word to make them radio-friendly, simply because no swear words are present on the original.

4. Country concerts.

As the sophomore-girl population has discovered, summer country concerts at Shoreline are the place to be. The inexpensive tickets and outdoor environment will ensure a great time. Though most are in attendance for its reputation of being a “rager with country music in the background”, the music will not disappoint, leading to…

5. What you hear is what you get.

Because most country music is free of major Autotune usage, the singers sound the same (if not, better) live during concert and on the record. When you listen to a song, you can trust that what you’re hearing is legitimate talent and not simply computer-manufactured noise.

6. Country singers are real.

Despite the massive crowds that flock to see them in concert, even the most popular country singers are fairly down to earth. They will rarely be spotted inside supermarket tabloids, primarily because they are not too different from the average American, and do not choose to spend their time getting caught up in the latest scandal or publicity stunt. To illustrate, Miranda Lambert was proposed to by Blake Shelton in her backyard wearing camo, sans makeup.

7. There is no need to analyze AP-level lyrics (save that for Taylor’s class).

Personally, I do not appreciate overly-poetic lyrics to the point where they make no sense. Country music is simple; its point is not to be fancy, but to recognize and appreciate the ordinary things in life, and made for the average Joe to understand without having to ask Google.

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