That Ain’t Country!

Empire State BuildingI’m sure many of our readers listen to genres beyond country music. Heck, you can listen to genres other than country music on country radio itself these days.

Tonight, we’re asking you to recommend a track that you love which is not even close to being country music. Bonus points for those of you who get as far away from country music as possible.

I’m recommending a song that’s been in heavy rotation for me since a friend of mine tipped me off about it: “Empire State of Mind”, by Jay- Z and Alicia Keys.

Songs about New York City are nothing new, but rarely are they done this well. This isn’t a song about somebody who moves to New York to find themselves. It’s a song about the visceral experience of someone “New York City born and raised”, as Neil Diamond once sang in “I Am…I Said.”

What the heck. I recommend them both!

Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”


Neil Diamond, “I Am…I Said”


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31 Comments on That Ain’t Country!

  1. highwayman3No Gravatar // October 19, 2009 at 9:02 pm //

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Coolio’s ‘The Gangsters Paradice’ It’s the only rap song I think I like. I think it was on the 1996 Grammy nominations CD, which is where I first came firmiliar with it. It’s from ‘Dangerous Minds’ soundtrack as well.

  2. I think the least country music on my iPod is Jay-Z, actually: “Dirt Off My Shoulder”, “Encore” and “99 Problems.” I don’t know anything about rap, but I love the music on those songs. The Beastie Boys work for me too.

  3. Oh wow, I love “Empire State Of Mind”. That song is awesome!

    I’ll go with “Bulletproof” by La Roux, a British synthpop duo. It’s awesome.

  4. “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry and “Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon

  5. “Remember the Time” – Michael Jackson. I made it my ringtone shortly after he passed away and it makes me smile every time someone calls!

  6. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar // October 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm //

    Since this is a country blog, I can admit that I only recently discovered the most addictive power-pop song of all time: “Surrender”, by Cheap Trick.

  7. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar // October 20, 2009 at 12:46 am //

    “Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys…It ain’t Country, it’s Boston Irish Punk.(It was also featured in the movie “The Departed”)

    They ain’t country, but believe it or not, they have a banjo player in the band.

  8. omd’s “maid of orléans” is a timeless beauty.

  9. I love listening to the Donnas which are pretty not country! :P I’d also recomend Hot ‘n’ cold by Katy Perry.

  10. It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a Jay Z album as much as his latest. Although it’s probably been impossible to escape her in the last year, if you haven’t checked out anything from Lady Gaga, start by downloading “Just Dance”. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Pink lately. Try “Sober” and “Please Don’t Leave Me”.

  11. “Baby I’m a Fool” by Melody Gardot, a 24 year old jazz singer who was disabled 5 years ago when she was struck by a car while riding a bicycle.

    From her MySpace:

    I’m not usually very good at explaining myself so in this case, this is where things get tough. Disability is a funny word because the very nature of the word is (lacking-ability). While in one sense this is true, would this word not apply to all people as all people are in some way enabled when it comes to certain tasks? For instance, think of how many people you know who can paint well. Of those people who cannot paint at all, then are they not “disabled” as painters? The very word is self-demoting.

    I see myself in this way: “I am able to do some things and unable to do others.” Thats all. The technicalities are just as important as you make them. All you need to know is why I need the things you see me with, as most people do not need them:

    CITIZEN CANE- Stability and Balance
    DARK GLASSES- Photosensitivity (can’t tolerate light)
    EARPLUGS- severe Hyperacusis/Tinnitus
    NICE SHOES- What can I say, I like my shoes…

    Music isn’t just music. It’s therapy for so many people. See what it can do for you. []


    Madeleine Peyroux can’t get enough of this jazz singer. Her cover of “Walkin’ After Midnight” is a personal favorite.

  13. I really like “Empire State of Mind”, it’s definetly one of my favorite non-country songs at the moment. Heck, it’s one of my favorite songs of the moment period! I will recommend “Don’t Upset the Rhythm” by the Noisettes.

  14. Brick By Boring Brick by Paramore

    It’s an uptempo rocker about seeing what’s in front of you. It’s super catchy, and it has clever lyrics.

  15. Oops, forgot the link.

  16. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar // October 20, 2009 at 4:20 pm //

    Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
    Blueberry Hill by Louis Armstrong
    Green Onions by Booker T & The MGs

  17. “Poker Face” by Lady GaGa
    I personally prefer the live verisons of her songs better, as it allows her to show off more of her personality. These are my favorites: (American Idol) (Jonathan Ross)

    “Cha-Ching”, “For the Nights I Can’t Remember”, and “She’s So Sorry” by Hedley
    Warning: “Cha-Ching” has a bit of swearing in it.

    “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas

  18. Not country?

    Taylor Swift’s Love Story :P

  19. KnightwalkerNo Gravatar // October 20, 2009 at 6:20 pm //

    Ruthie Henshall’s version of “I dreamed a Dream”

    Now that woman can sing. No one did it better

  20. Right now my favorite track is the Gossip’s “Pop Goes the World”. Since I saw them live last night, it’s pretty fresh in my head.

  21. Mother Superior by Coheed and Cambria
    Soft and heavy at the same time. Love it.

  22. “Shakedown Street” -title cut from the Grateful Dead album

  23. “21 Guns,” “Holiday,” and “Blvd. Of Broken Dreams” all by GREEN DAY.


    “Cue The Rain” by Queen Latifah

  24. Erik NorthNo Gravatar // October 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm //

    “Venus”–The Shocking Blue:


  25. Hoggy from OzNo Gravatar // October 20, 2009 at 10:47 pm //

    Maroon 5 in general, particularly – “Little of Your Time” and “Makes Me Wonder”

    Bon Jovi – “It’s My Life”

    “The Poke’mon Theme Song” and the “Poke’Rap” ; )

  26. “In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning” Barbra Streisand from “Love Is The Answer”.

    Live at the Village Vanguard:

  27. Infatuation – Christina Agul
    Sober – Kelly Clarkson
    Blue Jeans & Rosary – Kid Rock

  28. The Luckiest – Ben Folds
    13th Floor/Growing Old – Outkast

  29. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must but I like the Owl City song “Firefles” as a single on the radio.

    “Hero’s Song” by Brendan James.

    Anything by Tyrone Wells and Marc Broussard.

  30. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar // October 23, 2009 at 2:49 am //

    Marc Broussard’s “Home” is awesome, the song and the video.

  31. Agree on Broussard’s “Home”. I remember seeing the video on CMT a few years ago. I also like his song w LeAnn Rimes, “When It’s Good”.

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