26 Things “The Night” is Doing in This Year’s Country Hits

Luke

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.

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Dude Bros, Mad Libs and the State of Mainstream Country

Bros

I tell you a story. Then I tell it again. And again. And again. Never mind that it wasn’t a very exciting story to begin with. Now I’ve told it twelve times, and you’re getting sick of it.

I’m not just talking about my lackluster social skills. This is the story of country radio in 2014. Entertainment Weekly reporter Grady Smith documented as much in his convincing supercut of mainstream country’s laziest clichés, and Vulture critic Jody Rosen illuminated the phenomenon in two pieces questioning the relative obscurity of female voices on country radio.

This isn’t the only story of modern country music. But it’s become the dominant one.

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