25 Genre Critical Country Songs (2023)

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for almost every situation and is dedicated to uniting and entertaining the world through song.

25 Genre Critical Country Songs (1)

Will country music become in a flash and without substance?

Many people wonder who killed country music, but others say the genre has never been more alive. Over the years, a shift has replaced the neotraditional twang with a flavor of crossover country, making today's music almost indistinguishable from what it was decades ago.

The life-tested lyrics and distinctive vibe of legendary musicians like Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings gave way to their more traditionalist brethren like George Strait, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson. Then Garth Brooks changed the genre forever with his massive following, mainstream pop appeal, and flashy shows from him. Artists like Lonestar, Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts followed with success, charming country-pop-crossover audiences.

Fast forward even further and Bro Country changed both the lyrical content and the overall tone of country music. The songs became predictably formulaic, celebrating parties and young women resting their tanned legs on the dashboard of the narrator's truck. As country music found new influences from hip-hop, hard rock, and electronica, the accent disappeared.

But even as Bro Country began to fade in popularity, country music fans had to think: Has the genre become a distorted representation of its former glory, all flash and no substance? In the following songs, country artists criticize their own genre.

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1. "Are you sure Hank did that?" by Waylon Jennings

Sir, it's the same old tune, violin and guitar.
Where from here?
Rhinestone suits and shiny new cars
It's been that way for years.
We need a change.

Waylon Jennings spared no effort in 1975 with this country hit song, a tribute to legendary singer Hank Williams Sr. Although Hoss doesn't name names, he criticizes the bright 1970s country stars who wear beaded outfits and aren't really authentic. . He alludes to artists like Elvis (yes, the King of Rock and Roll was a country star too) and Glen Campbell, the beaded cowboy.

In the song, Watasha refers to touring with his five-piece band for 10 years, traveling from gig to gig to make it big. As he compares himself to Hank Sr. and then-popular country musicians, Jennings feels his young life slipping away. Lamenting the current state of country music, he calls for change and evokes the hero's memory of him.

2. "Murder on Music Row" de Alan Jackson (con George Strait)

If you thought Waylon Jennings spoke clearly in his groundbreaking song, you haven't heard. This ditty was performed by popular traditional singers George Strait and Alan Jackson at the 1999 Country Music Association Awards Show.

The song laments the change in country music that has sidelined the traditional and neo-traditional country sound in favor of the crossover influences of pop and country-pop. (That was in the late 1990s, so that's a blatant indictment of crossover artists like Garth Brooks.) The song accuses an anonymous attacker of killing country music by cutting out its heart and soul, a crime committed by Greed is motivated:

The almighty dollar and the greed for world fame
The tradition died slowly and someone should be hanged for it.
Everyone says he's not guilty, but the evidence will show
This murder was committed on Music Row.

3. „Outlaw You“ de Shooter Jennings

"Shooter" Jennings is one of six children born to Waylon Jennings and his namesake, and while he has yet to reach the stature of that legendary father, the young upstart offered this critique of the state of country music in 2005. In it he protests that the genre is too focused on selling records and full of cute guys singing other people's songs. The shooter claims that he failed to hit the ground with a baseball bat. The son of the famous outlaw musician announces that he wants to ban the new peasants.

4. „God and Country Music“ de George Strait (con Harvey Strait)

George Strait's six-year-old grandson, Harvey, has a cameo in this song from 2018. While he's not complaining specifically about what's wrong with the new sound, it's clear that the neo-traditional country music legend definitely wants to stop the changes Known as the King of Country, Strait is a Grammy Award winner and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He has had a phenomenal 60 #1 hits on the Billboard Country charts.

The song celebrates the life of country music in the small churches and out-of-the-way honky-tonks of this nation. Expressing both mountain highs and valley lows, country music resonates somewhere between hell and hallelujah. He claims that God and country music are two things still worth saving.

Who ruined country music? Some would say that these people...

You might like their groove, but the content of their songs often isn't that deep: beers, trucks, hot girls.


Tomas Rhett

Lucas Bryan

travel hunting

Kenny Chesney

jason's side

Cole Swindell

jagd itself

Blake Shelton

Dierks Bentley

jake owen

tobi keith

5. "This Ain't No Country" by Aaron Lewis

The guy in this 2016 ditty is old enough to know that what he's hearing on the radio these days isn't authentic country music, at least not in his book. For him, the royal country means hard times and complications, heartaches and drama in relationships. But pop music masquerading as country music these days? Spring, ...

this is not a country
that is a natural fact
It's full of tails of good times and happy endings.
my life is not like that
So I keep listening to the old songs that my grandfather used to play.
Full of pain and anguish and despair and those who got away.

6. "This Is Country, Brother" by Toby Keith

In a nod to Billy Joel's 1989 song "We Didn't Start the Fire," this 2018 issue rattles off the names of 57 different country music pioneers and cultural influences in two and a half minutes:

Jimmie Rodgers, Patsy Cline
We lost Hank at 29
Roy Acuff, Johnny Horton and dancer Bill Monroe
Woodie GuthrieBob Wills
Spade CooleyKitty Wells
Jimmy Dean and Big John and old Hank Snow.

The song is a clear nod to bro country, a subgenre of pop-country music that features handsome young male singers who typically sing about trucks, love girls in short skirts, and kick back with beers and friends. However, Toby criticizing Keith Bro Country may seem disingenuous considering that some of his biggest hits were "Red Solo Cup" (2011), "I Like Girls That Drink Beer" (2012) and "Drinks After The Work". " (2013).

7. "Who's Gonna Fill Your Shoes" by George Jones

A legend, George Jones uses this 1985 ditty to voice his concerns about the future of country music. Although some of the singers Possum refers to were still decades old, he predicts a future without the musicians who laid the foundations of country music. He was also critical of the genre's talent pool at the time.

(Video) Best Classic Country Songs Of 1990s ️🎻Greatest 90s Country Music HIts🎻 Top 100 Country Songs

The song references artists such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Roy Acuff, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, and Lefty Frizzell. Long before today's bro-country, Jones worried about the future of country music:

Who will fill your shoes?
Who will stand so tall?
Who will play the Opry?
And the wabash cannonball?
Who will give their heart and soul?
To come to me and you?
Sir, I wonder who will fill your shoes.

8. "Call me country" by Jon Pardi

Jon Pardi brings the accent back to country music, lamenting the changes in both the singers' style and lyrical content in this 2019 song. To him, today's pop-country bears little resemblance to the music he grew up listening to, the songs of Willie and Waylon, Merle and Hank Jr.:

They did songs about freight trains and prisons.
heartbreak and honky tonks
And cowboys and outlaws
kind women
With boots and straw hats
Everything is gone, just like that
you can't even recognize me
They called me homeland.

9. „Long Time Gone“ de The Chicks

This 2002 song tells the story of a local musician who ventures to Nashville in a failed attempt at stardom. The narrator sleeps in his car and plays for tips on lower Broadway, hoping to land a record deal. He returns home disappointed and empty-handed. Years later, as he listens to country music on the radio, the man realizes that she is now missing that secret he once had. This special ingredient has disappeared:

We listen to the radio to hear what's going on
But music has no soul.
Now they sound tired but not haggard
They have money but no cash.
They have Junior, but not Hank.
I think, I think, I think the rest is
A lot of time has passed.

10. „Lotta Boot Left to Fill“ de Eric Church

In this 2010 issue, Eric Church conjures up the cheesy tricks and one-hit wonders of modern country, boy bands, and cookie cutters.handsome boys acting tough.(Notice they all look the same?) No matter how much modern artists want to admit, conveniently dropping the names of legends doesn't make it authentic, and claiming it's the real deal doesn't make Church remember how many of today's musicians either. Left behind in the shadow of legends:

I don't think Waylon ever did it that way.
And if he was here he'd say "Hoss, neither is Hank"
I'm not following what you're doing, but guys, come on, let's be honest.
Yeah, you've still got a lot of boots to fill, aah.

11. "Can I get an outlaw?" by Luke Combs

Nothing original these days, argues Luke Combs in this 2016 country song. The aspiring singers of Pretty Boys destroy the genre with the content of their formulaic songs. They sing canned lyrics, not vivid lyrics, he says:

It doesn't have to be honky tonks, boots and Wrangler jeans
It's not the banjo or the fiddle, no
It's the words and what they mean
If you talk to talk, you better follow the path
And brother, that's the truth
So honestly, what would Waylon do?

12. "Life isn't fair and the world is bad" by Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill Simpson is known for doing his own thing, though his modern country outlaw sound is often compared to Waylon Jennings. In this 2013 issue, Simpson shoots music industry executives. They tried to change his singing style and what he writes and sings. They also tried to command the entire creative process. Simpson doesn't credit his refusal to back down from mainstream fame just yet. He concludes: "But that's the way it is, life isn't fair and the world is bad."

13. „Put the 'O' back in the country' by Shooter Jennings

On this 2002 track, "Shooter" Jennings sees himself as carrying on his father's legacy as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The young Jennings names a host of larger-than-life rock and country artists and claims he wants to reverse the changes that are ruining the music he loves:

Let's put the "o" back on the ground
Well I roll like a freight train
coming straight to you
play hillbilly music
like i was born for it
You know this isn't country music you're listening to.

14. "Johnny Cash Junkie (Buck Owens Freak)" de Brooks & Dunn

Proud of their country roots, the narrators of this 2007 song bleed red, white and blue. They relate to growing up with Haggard, Cash, and other pioneers of the genre. Today's country seems to be heading towards pop, but this is a call to return to the familiar:

We have peasant women who ride quads
With camouflage bikinis in the CMT
I return a beer, I swear allegiance to Hank
I take a little less pop, a lot more twang.

15. "Trashville" de Hank Williams III

For years, Hank Williams III tried to step out of the long shadow of his father and grandfather. He became a punk and metal artist in the early years of his career, but eventually found his way back into country music. Hank III's neo-traditional voice is eerily similar to his grandfather's.

In this 2002 song, he blasts Nashville, claims "they" killed country music, and says he's leaving town to go back to Texas. True to his lineage, Hank III is a rebel:

Now we're playing country music
It's not how it used to be
I'm so tired of these new things.
They try to make me sing
This is not country music to me.

25 Genre Critical Country Songs (2)

Even more country songs that criticize the genre.

Do you know of any country songs that criticize the genre? Make a suggestion in the comments section below.

liedArtistyear published

16. Are you sure Waylon did it that way?

clint negro


17. Solides Country-Oro

Proteger a Jennings


18. Fuck this town

Robbie Fulk


19. Take back this country

John Anderson y Vince Gill


20. Song Sold

Kevin Fowler (con Zane Williams)


21. Outlaw

Ryan Upchurch (con Luke Combs)


22. Something with panache

aaron watson


23. The same old song

Blake Shelton


24. Girl in a Country Song

maddie y tae


25. Worst country song ever

Brantley Gilbert (con Hardy y Toby Keith)


© 2020

Roberto Sacchion 09.02.2020:

An interesting article might be one that shows artists and groups that changed their name and compares what songs they recorded before and after they changed their name.

(Video) Waylon Jennings Best Songs - Waylon Jennings Greatest Hits

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 09/02/2020:

Bob - I agree!

Roberto Sacchion 09.01.2020:

Yes, name changes are complicated. Although it would seem that if an artist or group recorded a song under one name and then changed its name, the name it was recorded under would be the one that would be pasted and the new name would be a footnote.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 09/01/2020:

Bob: When they changed their names, I immediately thought how I would change several hundred items. It's in the background and I'm trying to find the names while doing other updates. Thank you for bringing this to your attention. This is where I made the change.

Roberto Sacchi31.08.2020:

Thanks for the list and history of the evolving genre. Could it just be a move out of the country? The Dixie Chicks are now The Chicks, I wonder how long it will be before they have to change that name and Lady Antebellum is now Lady A. Changes are inevitable.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 05/05/2020:

Heidi - Thanks for the song suggestion. I remember singing this song and putting peanuts in my coke with friends just because the song said so. Have a good week!

heidi dornfrom the Chicago area on May 04, 2020:

You have to love people who can laugh at themselves, right?

I'm adding Barbara Mandrell's "I Was Country, When Country Wasn't Cool" to the list.

Make it a great week!

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 05/04/2020:

Dora - Changes come in every genre and it seems like the old days will always be seen as better. I hope you are well. Have a good week and stay healthy.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 05/04/2020:

Genna: I especially like Waylon and George.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 05/04/2020:

Abhijeet Ganguly - Gracias

Dora Weithersof the Caribbean on May 3, 2020:

Maybe people feel the same way about other music genres, that the standards aren't what they used to be. A new generation of people brings new musical tastes, but the cycle turns again.

Abhijeet Gangulyfrom Brampton, Ontario, Canada on 05.03.2020:

(Video) Merle Haggard Greatest Hits 2022 | Best Songs Of Merle Haggard

well written

genna isfrom Massachusetts, USA on 05/03/2020:

hello bloom....

Such an interesting topic. I love country and the stories it tells, but I love almost every genre of music; Well wait for heavy metal. :-) Thanks again for the wonderful music. I have to admit my heart went out to Waylon.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 05/01/2020:

Nithya - Thank you for visiting us! I am in awe of how far the reach of country music has spread around the world!

Nithya VenkatFrom Dubai on April 30, 2020:

A great list and an interesting insight into how country music has changed over the years. Country music has a soul of its own, but change is inevitable, and in some ways those changes have helped keep country music alive for younger generations.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/30/2020:

Kyriaki: Thank you for visiting us and expressing your point of view. I like both some new ones and many old ones.

Kyriaki Chatzion 04.30.2020:

Hello Flourish. I hope you are doing well and staying healthy! To be honest I'm inclined to agree with @Bill De Giulio on this point. I also believe that new age country music is an evolution of the old, original sound. Do not misunderstand! Some OG classics like "Jolene" and "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" can topple these newer ones in the blink of an eye. PS: Thank you for this wonderful list! I discovered some songs that I really liked! :)

clive williamsfrom Jamaica on April 29, 2020:

It's okay

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Bill - My daughter echoed her sentiments in a much less eloquent way last night when she explained to me that she heard old stuff and it wasn't so good. I played her some songs to get her out of that idea and she made me stop.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Ruchira - Thank you for your support.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Clive - He got his start with the Appalachian Fiddlers in the 1920s (hence the references to "hillbilly music" in some of the songs on this playlist). Thanks for the question.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Devika - It's interesting to know how far American country music spreads around the world. Thanks for your comment!

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

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Shannon - Yes of course! Thanks for the reminder! I added the song now! I hope you are well.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Peggy: Lots of people would agree with you, but the genre can grow with you if you listen to the right songs. Thanks for stopping by.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Bill: I think old George Jones just rolled over in his grave and Waylon insulted you with a terrible curse from the other side, but that's okay my friend.

FlourishAnyway (Autor)from USA on 04/29/2020:

Liz - Thank you for visiting us. I have loved country music ever since I was introduced to it as a child. I really don't like all the macho stuff I hear these days (a lot of it is repetitive and stupid stuff), but even some of it is catchy.

Giulio Billof Massachusetts on April 29, 2020:

Another great list, Flourish. It's interesting how country music has transformed into its current state. I must say that I enjoy the current crossover version much more than the hardcore country of yesteryear. And maybe that's why country music has changed over the years to appeal to a broader base and to people like me. Well done.

Ruchirafrom the US on April 29, 2020:

Once again, he has put together quite a collection through his extensive research.

Thanks and keep sharing.

clive williamsfrom Jamaica on April 29, 2020:

Interesting. How did country music become a genre?

Devika Primicfrom Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 29, 2020:

This is a well thought out hub. A new addition to the songs on your list. I'm familiar with a few and interesting enough to read another list. Information that I learned a lot from this song list and it shows me a different path towards music.

shannon henryof Texas on April 29, 2020:

What an interesting playlist idea! I don't know if you would count that among what you seem to have in mind, but "Girl in a Country Song" by Maddie & Tae comes to mind.

peggy woodsaus Houston, Texas on April 29, 2020:

As you know, I'm not a big fan of country music, although I do like some of the songs. As far as country music is changing, I think it's natural that all music evolves over time, just like language. Some of the changes may be permanent, some may not. I think time will tell.

bill hollandfrom Olympia, WA on April 29, 2020:

I am afraid I have suffered a complete loss in this case. I should have named a few, but the old brain wasn't working today. Big controversy in country music on this topic... I admit that I like modern more than old, which surprises me a little. :)

Liz Westwoodfrom the UK on April 29, 2020:

(Video) Maddie & Tae - Girl In A Country Song

This is an interesting introspective list on the genre. It's a great idea for a topic and offers a lot of options for discussion about where country music is headed.


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