Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Conversion Story

My conversion took a long time; I fought it for years. Finally, a few years ago, I experimented a little and realized it wasn't as bad as I had always thought - a match was lit. A couple years later and the match finally started a fire. The fire has been in danger of going out several times, but lately it's going as strong as ever. Yes, I am a convert... a convert to country music.

Whew. That's when you know that you're really a convert, when you can admit it to the world at large. I know some of you have suspected it, I may have even admitted it to you when I thought you wouldn't blab it to everyone else. Now, it's out there for everyone to know. How did it happen, you ask? Good question.

When I returned home from my mission I found that radio station that I had previously listened to now played music that seemed harsh, extremely suggestive, and often vulgar. Living in a small town, there weren't a lot of radio options, so I turned to the easy listening station. It played a lot of good songs, but every so often it played a song that I just didn't enjoy, and it had a lot of commercials. On a whim I decided to try the country music station. It fit the bill because I didn't know any of the songs, the songs were clean, and there were very few commercials. Before I knew it, the songs became familiar and I could actually sing along to some of them. Unfortunately, my sensitivity to music didn't last as long as it should have and I gradually became accustomed to my former radio station's offerings. By the time I moved to New York, country music was relegated to a "last resort" option - I only listened to it when all the other channels had commercials.

When I returned home from New York, my mom reintroduced me to country music. She often turned the TV to CMT during commercials and soon I began to know the songs. (Side story: one time we were watching Tim McGraw sing "Real Good Man" and I was thinking how good he looked, when Mom blurted, "His butt looks sexy in those jeans". Yikes!) The conversion process was further enhanced when I joined a gym. The room I frequented (the cardiovascular room) only had one TV. The person in there first (or last) chose the TV station. I was rarely in there first, so I didn't have much choice but to watch CMT while working out. Soon, I was watching CMT while getting ready in the morning, had programmed the country station as speed dial #3 in my car, knew the words to most of the songs, and turned the gym TV to CMT even when I was the first or last person in the cardio room.

Then I moved into my apartment. No cable meant no CMT. A couple months laer my gym closed down. I was sad because it was a great place to work out. In fact, I'm still sad it closed... my new gym (I signed up last night) just isn't as fabulous. Again, no CMT. Slowly I stopped hitting speed dial #3 as often because I wasn't keeping up with the new songs. Country started fading from my listening habits.

Fortunately (?!?!?) fate stepped in and took charge. I moved home and regained access to CMT. My mom doesn't watch it any more, so I may not have started watching it again, but my coworker, Lulu, grew tired of the easy listening radio station. The new morning talk show hostess annoys Lulu, there's a million commercials in a five minute period, and they play the same ten songs over and over again (no exaggeration). So, Lulu tuned in to the country music station (there are now two in this little town). The rest is history.

Why I love country music: 1) it tends to be much cleaner than other genres, 2) the songs usually tell an interesting story, 3) I can relate to the stories/themes, and 4) the songs are easy and fun to sing along with (I can understand all the words). My current favorite songs: Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" and some guy's "Love You". I like angry chick songs and the video for "Love You", though sung by a guy, has an angry girl trashing her ex's truck. In fact, now that I think about it... both songs have girls trashing a guy's truck. Hmmm... that's interesting.

So, if you haven't tried listening to country music lately, why don't ya?


Ben said...

This is a sad, sad story.

Country music... {shudder}

On a side note, I don't really believe that country music is any cleaner than most anything else (except rap, probably). When I am flipping through the channels and land on CMT (the main TV has it programmed out, but the small TV doesn't) there is almost always a scantily-clad woman or two and the song is usually about drinking. In a lot of ways, I see it as basically rap for white people. It does tell more stories, though.

Cassie said...

I like the occasional country music song here and there. They are really fun to sing along to so I find myself listening to that more than anything on long drives. But any other time I love Punk.

But like you I also use to never listen to country unless it was playing on my bus to school. I can still remember laughing to "All My Exes Live in Texas" and "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy"

Cardine said...

I don't listen to it because I don't like to hear the songs about tractors and trucks. I also hate how people have to sing with a twangy voice.

But, I am fine with the existence of the genre and of my good friends listening to it.

Framed said...

Yee Haw!!! Well, I'm glad you're converted if it makes you happy. I mostly like the country songs that make you laugh, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. (They're not very country, are they?) I'm all over the page on my music interests but I own five or six country CD's. I'd just have to describe myself as eclectic. My guilty listening: those groups who take Mormon hymns and convert them into pop tunes like ths songs in the Singles Ward movie. I love em. Just imagine "Come Follow Me" or "If I Could Hie to Kolob" with a beat.

Adam said...

I decided a while back that I don't like any one particular type of music. I just like songs and groups.

To be honest, my favorite vocal group has been the Oak Ridge Boys since I was about 8, and their base, Richard Sterban(Yes I know his name) was the main reason I started singing.

Don't worry, crazy lady, I don't think any less of you for admitting this deep dark secret. ;)

Adam said...

Crap, I feel like a tool.

What kind of choir geek misspells "bass"?


julie said...

I should say that just because I've converted to country music doesn't mean that I have sworn off all other genres. In fact, I wouldn't even say that country is my favorite music style. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd say that rock is my music of preference, but I enjoy LOTS of types. I chose to write about country because it's a change - I've always enjoyed those other types and I used to hate country. Now I actually choose to listen to it! That, in my opinion, was newsworthy.

Country isn't perfect, by NO MEANS! There are songs I can't stand and songs that are not very clean. The point is, I would never have thought I'd voluntary listen to country, not to mention have songs that I really like.

Adam, I totally grew up with the Oak Ridge Boys!! I LOVE their song Elvira. When I was a kid we would listen to an Oak Ridge Boys tape on trips. Aaahhh. Good times.

tearese said...

Did I comment on here and it dissapeared, or am I dreaming? I could have sworn I said something about this the other day.

Sarah said...

Wow... I am learning all sorts of new things about long-time friends. First, it's that one friend is a 40-year-old male living in his parent's basement... and now this. It's amazing. After all these years there is still so much to learn about the people I love.

They should write a country song about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you came clean about this big secret. I also enjoy country music, but it depends on the song. I think I like it now because many of the songs are more main stream and not the typical country sound anymore.

I really loved Ben's comment though about country music being "basically rap for white people". That was pretty funny, although now that I think about it, is he implying that rap is only for black people? My music listening is all over the place; in fact, the only thing I definitely don't like is really heavy metal.

KieraAnne said...

I also enjoy the country music now and again....I really like the "Before he Cheats" song you mentioned and have had it in my head for the past few days...currently in my car I have three classic rock stations, two 70's-today stations, three country, one classical, one oldies and NPR...I think that's a pretty good mix. :)

warnser said...

Well sadly, we all knew this day would come. If an evil is tolerated long enough we usually tend to forget how evil it is.

No really I think your story is noteworthy.
I'm not a huge country fan,
but I do like some of the less-country country.

And I think like other genres there is actually a variety of levels of cleanliness.

I would have to say that locally there is one country station that is frankly quite offensive,
and one, that seems, on average a little cleaner than some of the other stations.

Though I do agree with ben that there are still a lot of undesirable themes in country music/ television.

It seems to me that music has gone to the dogs.
But then look at tv and movies,
they're no better.

It's just sad how often we let ourselves enjoy things that in reality should often offend us.

But I applaud your decision to seek out the clean and the good in your music.