If you haven’t seen the Buzzfeed article asking four people who’ve never seen country music before to name some of the biggest stars, here it is.
While it’s funny to see some of the biggest (and worst ) stars of country get eviscerated, it also leaves a hollow, cold feeling. The stereotypes and insults being used to describe a rather pop oriented crop of stars is no different than what would have been used 20, 30, or 40 years. No matter how hard country tries to blend in or capitulate to whatever is going on in pop, pop doesn’t care. Everyone in country is dumb hick to the mainstream anyway.
Why the perception of rural people as dumb and uncouth still persists in the 21st Century is a troubling topic for another day. What remains is this: country has a long and storied history, culture and sound that has been abandoned in an attempt to capture a market that flat out doesn’t care and looks down on it. I’d almost rather have country be an artifact than have it be a low-rent, second tier version of pop music.
Country people care if country music goes pop. Pop just looks down on country. Screw pop. Be country. Country can be cool. Being an imposter is never cool.