I knew when my boyfriend started shaking his head back and forth that I had been fooling myself the whole time. No matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise, things were exactly as they seemed. After months of telling myself differently, I had to face the truth.
Hunter Hayes was indubitably a country musician, meaning that I liked country music. More importantly, meaning that I was violating my principles simply by (not ironically) singing along to his songs and enjoying it.
I grew up in rural mid-America, and country music was everywhere. Everywhere. I don’t deny my roots.
I’m sure there were a few others like me, but more often than not, I was the odd one out.
I was at school and some friends asked me a question about Toby Keith. I don’t remember what it was anymore, but I remember my answer and their reaction quite well.
I replied, “Toby Keith, who? Does he go to our school?”
Laughter. So much laughter. Very unappreciated laughter. Turns out, he did not go to our school.
This is not to say I have never liked any country music ever, it’s just rare. I’m partial to a little Johnny Cash once in a while. The Old-97s are more of an alt-country band, but my favorite song “Question” is sooo country. I never tried to deny that one. Ryan Adams for sure, especially in his short-lived band Whiskeytown. The name says it all. Country. He even sings with some twang, which is one of my reasons for resenting country in general.
So while I definitely recognized that I liked some country music, I always saw a difference between my country music and that of the kings and queens of the current country world. Toby Keith. Brad Paisley. Luke Bryan. Miranda Lambert. Literally all of the country stars I can name. Oh wait, Garth Brooks. He played like 7 shows in Kansas City a few years back. Even then, I don’t really know much about them. The other guy’s last name is Paisley; I have to remember that (shout-out for a semi-colon). And I think Luke Bryan’s like, the “hot one” or something? I don’t know, girls talk about him on Facebook sometimes.
Which brings me back to Hunter Hayes. Country. Mainstream, popular country. I can no longer deny it. I tried to convince myself it’s like pop country. You know, like where it’s called country but it’s really not.
I’m ashamed to say on my long drive to school, I even scanned the radio stations (all country except for about 3) to see if I could stumble upon some Hunter Hayes. I was rewarded.
I’d compare my love of Hunter Hayes to Romeo and Juliet, but frankly, I’m not a big fan of that play and it’s quite overused (talking to you, Hunter). I went to the dark side. Also overused, but I love me some Star Wars. And in the end, Darth Vader turns out to be kinda good, right?
So I guess it’s out. I love Hunter Hayes. I really do think he’s quite talented. Pretty sure he at least co-wrote every song on his album, and he can play a whole lot more instruments than me (I can play the clarinet and can struggle through some guitar, for those of you counting at home).
Hard telling if this is a slippery slope or just one guilty pleasure. I hate that I love it, but that’s how it’s going to be. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue singing Hunter Hayes in my car. But probably only when I’m alone.
None of these photos were taken by me, except for the thumbnail at the beginning of the post.