Chiming In

  • Deborah Straszheim

We're Proud of our 'Country'

We’re curious about why one of our favorite bands, the Band Perry, announced its split last week from its record label of more than six years, Republic Nashville of Big Machine Record Group. The record label run by Scott Borchetta, is known for, among other things, encouraging country artists to collaborate with pop acts. Florida Georgia Line did so after releasing “Cruise,” creating a remix with rapper Nelly.

The best crossover hits by country artists are not contrived. They cross over into other genres because of their natural appeal. “Cruise,” released in 2012, was a country song first. Yet it had appeal with that sound, complete with all of its references to lift kicks, Chevys and dirt roads. If the Band Perry truly wants to play pop, then we’re all for it. We love them and we can’t wait for their new album. But if they’re being pushed, we couldn’t be more offended. That’s because at times, the push toward pop seems unique to the country genre, as if reaching the Grand Ole Opry isn’t enough, as if artists must create the ultimate pop sound to be truly accepted.

You don’t see this in other genres. What rap artist is asked to ponder whether their music sounds too “rap-like” and ought to be toned down or made more palatable to a larger audience? Whether you love or despise rap, you have to admire the producers’ unapologetic loyalty to that sound. With regard to “Cruise,” the remix worked because the song worked as a country hit and it was a great song – in other words, it just had natural appeal. And that’s the point. If you’re country, you don’t need to become pop-like, and you shouldn't be asked to. True crossover hits aren’t orchestrated.

In the remix video of “Cruise”, Nelly is seen seated in a car on a dirt road, calling the Florida Georgia Line band, saying he saw their video and it’s the deal. Of course, Nelly sexed up the remix video, but he still managed to write a rap bridge without swearing, and we like it. But we also note this: It was country first. And it shouldn't change, unless that's what the band wants.

At one point, Nelly sings, “Hey country girl, this country boy like everything about ya. Don’t change a thing, no way. You stay the same, I got ya.” We couldn’t agree more. We’re proud of our ‘country’.

Cruise ~ Florida Georgia Line

Cruise (Remix) ft. Nelly ~ Florida Georgia Line

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