“That Ain’t Country”
Written by Aaron Lewis
Rocker Aaron Lewis effectively schools current mainstream country radio on country music. By declaring that what’s being accepted as country music isn’t actually country, he demonstrates what country music is.
Backed by a straight up muscular nineties country production, which includes plenty of steel guitar, the sing-able “That Ain’t Country” notes that what is being called country these days, including “tales of good times and happy endings” isn’t like what his granddad used to play, which were songs “full of truths and consequences, all the things gone wrong” and “hard times and complications.” He observes, “Isn’t life like that?”
As a result, the lead singer of the rock group, Staind, concludes: “So I’ll keep listening to the old songs that my Granddad used to play/Full of pain and heartache and desperation and the ones that got away/ The ones that speak to me, the way I feel today.”
While Lewis is no stranger to causing some controversial ripples in his six years of dabbling in country music, including pointed and harsh criticisms of specific songs, “That Ain’t Country” is a relatively sharp, albeit simplistic, indictment of country radio’s popular music. The song isn’t perfect, particularly his awkwardly constructed list of name checks, but the song effectively illustrates its valid point.