Country may be one of the most popular and successful genres, but it’s no secret the all-American music style generates lots of hate. Even so, the magic of music is that there is something in every genre for everyone. In honor of the success of Carrie Underwood’s new album Storyteller, here are some country music suggestions that could appeal to even the strongest of country haters (myself included).
1. Taylor Swift – Taylor Swift
Flashback to 2006, when a young, curly-haired Pennsylvania girl launched a career that would change the world and define a generation. It’s hard to believe that anyone doesn’t have Taylor Swift’s first ablum in their music library. But the singer has transformed so much in nine years it’s easy to imagine that no one actually listens to it anymore, especially those who are in favor of her new pop identity or never liked her country music anyway.
Taylor’s country career may be nearly a decade in the past, but the quality of the music still stands. Even country haters can’t resist whipping their hair to the strong strums of “Should’ve Said No,” shedding a tear while singing the sad lines of “Cold As You” or simply dancing around their room to the sassy chorus of “Picture to Burn.”
2. Rascal Flatts – Greatest Hits Volume 1
It’s hard to pinpoint one Rascal Flatts album that’s amazing, given that their best songs are sprinkled throughout their nine studio albums. Luckily, this greatest hits album compiles many of these songs onto one perfect record. Spanning from their debut album in 2000 to Still Feels Good in 2007, Rascal Flatts’ Greatest Hits Volume 1 contains smash singles such as “What Hurts The Most” and “Bless The Broken Road.” Tracks like “Mayberry” and “Prayin’ For Daylight” are as country as country gets, but the pure plucks of the banjo and heavenly harmonies make them true listening pleasures. “These Days” and “Skin (Sarabeth)” present that tear-jerking country storytelling, while “Fast Cars and Freedom” showcases the surprising funk the genre can carry. While the album only represents the first half of Rascal Flatts’ career, it’s a great introduction to the group’s impressive music.
3. BoysLikeGirls – Crazy World
Those familiar with BoysLikeGirls will remember the pop-punk boy band that blessed the radio with “The Great Escape,” “Hero/Heroine,” and “Thunder” in 2006. Six years later the group took an unexpected turn down a country road and didn’t look back. With the release of Crazy World in 2012 BoysLikeGirls officially introduced themselves as a country-pop crossover band, a transition that was shocking in a strangely amazing way. Crazy World’s 11 tracks are basically pop songs with an over-arching country theme. Songs like “Life of the Party” and “Shoot” contain that good ol’ country twang but are so feel-good it’s easy to forget how Southern they actually sound. Other tracks such as “Cheated” and “Stuck In The Middle” are just pop songs in disguise, while “Be Your Everything” and “Leaving California” sound like ballads straight off of a BoysLikeGirls album from 2007. All in all Crazy World is a softer country-themed album perfectly suited for those country haters who need just a bit more synth to accompany their banjo.