By Kevin Studer
Though country music has been entering mainstream charts recently, the music that country men have been releasing is less than deep.
Within the past year, a term to describe male artists in country music has arisen: bro-country. This label has been created to group together songs that have the three major themes of girls, trucks and beer.
“I describe it as a bunch of artists that sell out shows,” said Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line. “I don’t really understand the term myself.”
Seemingly many of the songs follow the same pattern. They start with trucks driving down old dirt roads, hopefully there is a girl in tight jeans with them; and alcohol always makes the night better. If all else fails, they can just sing about a girl who they call girl and they have a hit song.
Last October, iTunes Top 40 country songs was dominated by bro-country. Of the top 40, there were eight male writers whose songs dominated the charts. The number one song at time, Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night,” was the biggest offender of bro-country.
Throughout the song, Bryan sings about his ideal night with a girl. He tells the girl to scoot closer to him in his truck and hand him another beer. Bryan has spoken about his confusion on bro-country.
“What’s funny is that the majority of listeners are females,” said Bryan. “But then you’d feel like they would want to hear women too.”
Kacey Musgraves has been trying to break out into the country music scene recently. She has written songs for many female country singers including Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which reached number two on Billboard’s US Hot Country Songs chart. However, Musgraves has only reached number 10 on the US Country charts.
“Anyone singing about trucks, in any form, in any song, anywhere,” Musgraves said about which music trend need to end. “Literally just stop – nobody cares! It’s not fun to listen to.”
Eighteen-year-old singers Maddie and Tae fired back at country bros with a clever song called “Girl in a Country Song.” In the song, the two combat against the stereotypes for women in country music. They agree that they will slide over, since most men want them to, but then they will slap the man.
However, some female country singers have a different opinion.
“I think it’s big right now because everybody wants to escape for a minute and think about the fun stuff, and not driving in traffic and going to work,” said Lambert. “But there is so much more you can sing about and say…The bottom line is that whatever country is doing right now, it’s working. And I’m damn glad to be part of it.”
Lambert and Carrie Underwood even joined forces recently to have the ultimate country diva song, “Somethin’ Bad.” The pair, who together won the Country Music Association Award for Female Vocalist of the Year for seven of the past eight years, hit number one with this song. The two were rumored to be rivals because of their popularity, but they have proven how great of friends they are.
Whether people like it or not, bro-country is what is hugely popular now and it does not seem like that will change soon. Country music goes through ups and downs and hopefully women will be topping the charts once again.