Mixed Messages: My Secret Taste in Music

I have a secret – I like country music.

That’s right. I put it on in the car sometimes and my husband and daughter just groan.

Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson are probably my favorites.

Listening to country music (especially from the 90s) makes me think of my childhood back in rural Henry County. I’m not going to lie – growing up in the country was a lot of fun so I see no harm in wanting to relive it a little.

Obviously, I don’t agree with a lot of the messages in country music – god, guns, conservative views, etc. – but I still like the music.

In an atheist group I belong to on Facebook a woman said she listens to gospel music. She missed the music from when she used to go to church. She’s an atheist now but still likes the music. 

I’m just curious – does anyone else listen to country or gospel music? 

Does it bring back memories? I like the sound of country music but I think I listen to it mostly for nostalgia. 

Is it okay to listen to music even if you don’t like the message?

What other music are you into that may seem questionable?


  1. Katydid says

    In the late 1970s/early 1980s, I listened to country music. We had a car with just an AM radio, and my options were country or religious music. Back then, though, you had Juice Newton and Dolly Parton and Alabama and Kenny Rogers and sometimes the Eagles. If I recall, the early 1990s were a lot of women singers–“It’s Independence day” and “I am Rosemary’s granddaughter”. At some point country music turned over to “GAWD and JEZUZ and if you don’t worship the flag I’m gonna kick yer A$$” and I wasn’t into that at all.

    However, I do believe the music of our childhood and adolescence influences our taste. I went to high school dances where they played Duran Duran and Culture Club and Nena and Cyndi Lauper, and I was in college running or in the gym working out to St. Elmo’s Fire and Highway to the Danger Zone and other get-your-blood-pumping music. My era had much more diversity–you might hear a song in Spanish or German, you might hear rock or metal or country or pop on the same radio station.

    As a person who grew up listening to women singers with their own agency, I cringed when Britney “I can’t sing and there’s nothing going on in my head but LOOK AT MY SEXY BODY” Spears and Taylor “I can’t sing either but I hate all other women and I write revenge songs if the guy isn’t into me and I have the mind of a 12-year-old” Swift came into the picture. I had a daughter and I didn’t want her internalizing those messages.

  2. Allison says

    I grew up in the Episcopal Church, and while I can’t take their belief in God and Jesus seriously, or their current slogan: “you are forgiven” (for what?? It seems to me God/Jesus should be asking form my forgiveness), the imagery and poetry of the services and prayers stick in my mind. For instance, when I think of all life on the planet, the phrase that comes to mind is “all God’s children,” as in “all God’s children deserve respect.” It resonates in my mind without any need to believe in an actual “God.”

    I also sometimes enjoy reading the Bible. Well parts of it (the prophets tend to be unbearably tedious.) Some parts are really wild, I’m amazed the God botherers haven’t expurgated it.Try Genesis chapter 34, or 2 Samuel chapters 11 or 13…..

  3. suttkus says

    I, too, grew up listening to country music in the 80’s and 90’s, and while I don’t pay attention to new developments in the genre, I still listen to the old music fondly. But, then, I also really love sixties music, churning stew of sexism that it often is.

    But if you want to know what happened to all those young, independent female country singers from the 90’s…


    Industry executive: “Female singers are just a fad, let’s take their records out of rotation so we don’t lose money when the fad dies. Hey, their records aren’t selling well, this proves it was a fad! We are the smart.”

  4. John Morales says

    Old and true saying: de gustibus non disputandum est

    I, personally, don’t mind some country music; something I cannot say about rap.

    (and, old joke in the first Blues Brothers movie:
    “What kind of music do you usually have here?” asks Elwood.
    “Oh, we got both kinds,” answers the bartender. “We got Country and Western!”. 🙂 )

    • John Morales says

      Grr. Markup fail.
      But I seem to be getting glitches on this blog, unlike others on the network.

      (maybe it’s not me? Testing.)

      Old and true saying: de gustibus non disputandum est.

      I, personally, don’t mind some country music; something I cannot say about rap.
      (and, old joke in the first Blues Brothers movie:
      “What kind of music do you usually have here?” asks Elwood.
      “Oh, we got both kinds,” answers the bartender. “We got Country and Western!”. )

  5. Katydid says

    On the way home yesterday, my “random pleasant music” station coughed up “Nine to Five” by Dolly Parton, circa 1979…and it still rocks! The Judds, Juice Newton, Olivia Newton-John (no relation to Juice Newton)…there was some solid talent back in the day.

    Suttkus, thanks for the bit on Tomatogate…by that time, I wasn’t listening to country music because I was so turned off. Why am I not surprised the artist who said “it’s not right to exclude women singers” got death threats? Oh, yeah, because The Dixie Chicks also got death threats back in the day.

  6. flexilis says

    So many of the rock gods of my youth have revealed their slimy clay feet (Looking at you, Eric Clapton: racist anti-vaxxer!) I still listen to the music with nostalgia. Maybe the lesson should be: do not worship anything blindly.

    As far as country goes, I like some fine, can’t take others. (When my daughter was around 8, she asked me why all the country singers sounded like they were crying. I think that is a good summary.)

  7. says

    Luckily, neither country nor gospel music is very popular on this side of the pond. Although I do like to listen to John Denver sometimes. There is this one evangelical broadcaster here that has a lot of local-language gospel, which combines cringe and crap in equal measure.

    I’m discovering that my native Europe has a lot of interesting local music traditions that in some cases have been suppressed for a long time. Even though I can usually not understand the songs (translated lyrics can often be found, though), there is a lot of interesting stuff out there.

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