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”



  1. 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. 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.

  4. “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.

  5. 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”.

  6. “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. []

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. “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

  10. 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” ; )

  11. 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.

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