Country music is one of the most popular genres of music for several reasons. First, the country is easily identifiable and easy to identify as being from the United States. That’s what makes it “easy” to relate to this type of music; country music shares many of the same traits as American music.
One of the best things about country music is its simple yet charming sound. Country music shares some of the same basic beats as jazz, pop, folk, gospel, blues, country, rap, even heavy metal. These basic beats are often borrowed from other musical styles but remain true to the basic country song structure. Country songs often contain a refrain, which serves as a common theme or refrain throughout the song. This repetition gives country songs a certain “antiquated” feel, reflecting the country music nostalgia of the American heritage.
Along with the simplicity of country music comes simplicity in the arrangement of the music. Unlike most other types of songs, country songs generally don’t have a repeated meter or verse. Instead, most country songs are very simple in their structure. Country songs may have only three or four verses, but they will always have a chorus (or a return to the chorus). Even the rhythm is kept simple: the beat of the drums or the guitar and country songs singer usually just play the same type of melody (melody + country song lyrics).
Because country music tends to be more melodic than other types of music, country songs tend to be better when sung by a group. However, country songs are also known for being sung by an instrument, like a guitar or fiddle. One reason for this is that country music has a greater emphasis on harmonies, which provide a richer and more meaningful song experience. It has been noted that country music has often been recorded by people who didn’t originally sing it, as the harmonies can add a richer, more meaningful sound to the recording. The recorded harmonies allow the listener to hear the nuances of the singer’s voice, as well as to adjust the pitch of the voice to better match the melody of the country song.
One of the most interesting dichotomies between country music and pop is that country music tends to have a much higher level of repetition than do most popular songs. “Commerce in Danger” by Garth Brooks, for example, has just over six minutes of repeated chorus, while the last two minutes of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me One More Time” are almost completely repetitive. Pop songs have the same repetitive quality, especially on the hit single “ledge.” The majority of popular songs, however, only feature one repetitive chorus, making them much less repetitive than country songs. Of course, some songs, such as Luther Vandross’ “I’m Going to Try” have enough melody to recur forever, but most country songs lack the repeated quality, since country songs tend not to be hugely melodic.
Country music is not without its own repeated chorus, however. Kelly Clarkson’s “Hail to the Wedding” contains three verses and just a little bit of chorus, yet the song still remains long enough to make for an entertaining half-hour or so to listen. Taylor Swift’s “Red Solo Cup” has a great amount of repetitive chorus, yet the song also contains a great deal of melodic variety, as Swift changes from quiet, reflective mode to something a little bit faster and edgier. Other popular country songs that feature repeated chorus is Eric Clapton’s “Back in Black,” Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine man,” and America’s favorite genre-defining song, Elvis’ “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” These songs have their own interesting elements to them, which can make them good country songs to listen to repeatedly, yet they may not be memorable enough to elicit feelings of nostalgia or to make you crave for that nostalgic feeling. So stick with country music, but explore other genres of music as well.