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Country Songs for People Who Don’t Like Country

I used to hate country music. The closest I ever got to country was early Taylor Swift, and that should be a separate genre altogether. Honestly, I never gave it a fair chance. But when my country-loving friends from high school started going to concerts over the summer, I didn't want to miss out; I swallowed my pride and listened to a few songs so I wouldn't be totally lost. Younger me would have been appalled to hear that now, I am very well acquainted with current country music, to say the least. I wish I was more open to it earlier on in my life, because I know I would have enjoyed it just as much as I do now. However, I know that it can be an "acquired taste." Here is a list of songs that I think even those who don't like country might find themselves adding to their playlists.

"Tequila" by Dan + Shay

"Tequila" was the first country song I ever truly loved, and when it came out in 2018, I found myself listening to it obsessively on repeat. I heard it first on a Top 40 radio station, so I think it was easier for me to accept it was more "pop-country," but it didn't even matter. Dan + Shay easily became one of my favorite artists. The romantic and yet heart-breaking lyrics in all of their songs will never fail to make me swoon.

"One Man Band" by Old Dominion

This slow, sweet melody is guaranteed to make any listener fall in love with it. It is great music to have playing in a relaxed setting, whether it be lounging with a few friends at the beach, or playing through your headphones while studying at the library.

"Unforgettable" by Thomas Rhett

My favorite part of any Thomas Rhett song is the intricate detail he puts into every song. Not only will a non-country person appreciate the catchy and upbeat tempo of the music, but they will appreciate the love and admiration he has for his love interest in the song (which is actually his wife!).

"I Hope" by Gabby Barrett

Regardless of whether you can relate to Gabby Barrett or not, this vengeful, yet empowering song will make you want to sing it along with her at the top of your lungs. Pro tip, thanks to TikTok: it's very fun to sing in the car.

"Beautiful Crazy" by Luke Combs

This song might be the most "country" out of them all on this list, but in turn could be the most romantic of them all. Whether or not you like the music itself, it's hard not to love the sweetness of the lyrics.  "Beautiful Crazy" is like a love letter in song form.  

"What Ifs" by Kane Brown feat. Lauren Alaina

The duet between Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina emphasizes the perspectives between the guy and the girl involved in this conflict of emotion in the song. The chorus is composed entirely of rhetorical questions, which I think is a unique aspect of the song and certainly makes it fun to sing, especially with a friend.

"Play It Again" by Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan was my first country concert ever, and "Play It Again" was the song that I enjoyed the most. For someone who didn't love country at the time, I was surprised that I liked the song so much. Not only did it have a cute message, but it was a fun song to sing and dance along to with my friends.

All in all, if you aren't particularly a country fan, I understand where you're coming from. However, my best advice is to at least give it a try - and the possibilities don't end with this list!  Dig deep, explore the vast array of country artists, and give new songs a listen, you might just end up finding something that will surprise you.  

Julia is a sophomore with an undeclared major at Siena College. She is also a member of the Cross Country/Track team.
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