It’s a bit too quiet around here, so I’m thinking we need a discussion thread.
I’d say my iPod is about 65% country. I have more than 13,500 songs on it, though. so as you can imagine, there are a lot of non-country artists that I like. Honestly, most of my non-country stuff is old school: sixties pop and rock, Motown, Top 40 from the 80’s and 90’s. My friend Charlie (of The Widening Geier fame) has introduced me to a ton of hip-hop that I really enjoy.
But there’s only a handul of artists I’d consider my favorites that are both outside of country music and relevant recording artists today.
One of them is Green Day. I was a casual fan through the Warning album, but they really hooked me with American Idiot, where they fused so many genres together while also pulling off a coherent storyline. It’s the only concept album I’ve ever heard where I have the slightest idea what’s going on. (Sorry, Willie and Emmylou.)
Lately, I’ve really dug Pink. A friend of mine sent me a copy of her I’m Not Dead album a while back, but I never got around to listening to it until much later. It’s one of the best pop albums I’ve ever heard. I’m a big fan of “Who Knew” and “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)” in particular. I went back and purchased her earlier albums Missundastood and Try This, and they’re both rock solid.
My favorite non-country artist by a long country mile is Madonna. Even when I was listening almost exclusively to country music in the mid-nineties, I was always paying attention to what she was doing. She gets so much more attention for her media exploits, but what I’ve always loved about the new Hall of Famer is her songwriting. It’s sharp, vulnerable and nakedly honest. She’s also the best live performer I’ve ever seen.
Plus, she’s always mixing it up. Every album sounds completely different from the last. My typical reaction to her lead-off singles goes like this. First listen: “Wow. That sounds weird.” Second: “KInda interesting, though.” Third: “Great, now it’s stuck in my head.” Fourth: “Add it to my favorites.” Her new single with Justin Timberlake, “4 Minutes” is no exception. That song’s on such a loop in my head these days that it’s practically a Shania/Mutt confection.
So, those are some of my favorite non-country artists. How about you?