Much has written about the rise of bro-country, a subsection of country music that consists almost entirely of young white men singing about trucks, beer, Friday nights and their beautiful, anonymous female love interests. Last December, Grady Smith posted an illuminating video tracing these cliches through the lyrics of last year’s popular hits. I’m zooming in a little closer to look at one particular cliche – the prominence of “the night” and other night-related vocabulary in the lyrics of recent country hits. A few caveats before we begin our journey into the night:
1. I’m not necessarily attacking any of these songs for being lazy. I’m pointing a trend into which these songs fit. The merits of each song is another matter entirely.
2. I’m not suggesting that this phenomenon is entirely new, or inherently a symptom of lazy writing. After all, the night is often a time of drama and excitement, and music thrives on drama and excitement. If you looked back at country hits from previous years, you might find a similar pattern. But this trend is worth noting nonetheless.
Without further ado, let the night begin.
What the night is doing:
Still being young. (Billy Currington, “We Are Tonight”)
Not getting any older. (Parmalee, “Close Your Eyes”)
Being the best ever. (Gloriana, “Best Night Ever”)
How country artists feel about the night:
Joe Nichols doesn’t want it to end.
Brett Eldredge would be alright with one more.
Frankie Ballard: “Somethin’ ’bout it.”
Eric Paslay wants to be your Friday.
What country artists are doing to the night:
Turning it on. (Parmalee, “Close Your Eyes”)
Leaving it on. (Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”)
Lettin’ it roll. (Justin Moore, “Lettin’ the Night Roll”)
Burning it down. (Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan, “This Is How We Roll”)
Twistin’ and tearin’ it up. (Thomas Rhett, “Get Me Some of That”)
Wishing they could rewind it. (Rascal Flatts, “Rewind”)
Driving into it. (George Strait, “I Got a Car”)
Running into it. (Cole Swindell, “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight”)
Taking her home for it. (Craig Morgan, “Wake Up Lovin’ You”)
Spending every one lookin’ for that girl. (Tim McGraw, “Lookin’ for That Girl”)
What country artists are doing all night:
Drinking to that. (Jerrod Niemann, “Drink to That All Night”)
Catching a kind of buzz that lasts. (Blake Shelton, “Doin’ What She Likes”)
Poppin’ tops, rockin’. (Dustin Moore, “Where It’s At”)
Holdin’ her. (Blake Shelton, “Doin’ What She Likes”)
Spending it right here. (Randy Houser, “Goodnight Kiss”)
Thinking he could listen to her sweet voice. (Scotty McCreery, “See You Tonight”)
Thinking he had it. (Keith Urban, “Cop Car”)
Having it. (Cole Swindell, “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight”)
Listening to the radio. (Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”)
And now for something a little different.
Little Big Town, “Day Drinking”