I’m Ashamed That I Like Country Music

How our musical tastes, politics, and identities can diverge

Ryan Fan
The Riff

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

I had a particularly shameful moment in my musical preferences when I was listening to a New York Times podcast about a problematic country music song, “Try That In a Small Town,” by Jason Aldean. In The Run-Up, journalist Asted Herndon goes to interview concertgoers at a Jason Aldean concert, given the song has wide conservative, Trump supporter appeal.

Some criticize the song for potentially encouraging racism and violence. These critiques are highlighted in the song’s lyrics, including one line that the singer is going to “round up” certain people with a gun given to him by his grandfather. This gave one Black Jason Aldean fan some pause, given the racial context of such a phrase for someone growing up in the rural South as a Black person.

The video itself is even more incendiary, with video footage of violent protests and filming in part at a courthouse in Tennessee where there were race riots in 1946 and where a Black man was lynched in 1927. The implicit message of the song, which explicitly references the 2020 George Floyd protests, was that any violence that arose from a protest would be met with vigilante violence if such an act occurred in a small town.

“Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk……

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Ryan Fan
The Riff

Believer, Baltimore City IEP Chair, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member: https://bit.ly/39Cybb8