Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music” is a testament to the genre that has defined American music for generations. Released in 2011, the song serves as an anthem for country music and its fans, celebrating the themes, sounds, and stories that make it unique.
At its core, “This Is Country Music” is about the power of music to connect us to our roots, our culture, and each other. The lyrics describe country music as a way of life, a tradition passed down from generation to generation. It touches on themes such as love, loss, heartbreak, and faith, all of which are common themes in country music.
The song opens with a powerful statement: “You’re not supposed to say the word ‘cancer’ in a song. And tellin’ folks Jesus is the answer can rub ’em wrong.” This line sets the tone for the rest of the song, acknowledging that country music has often been criticized for being too simplistic or pandering to certain audiences. However, Brad Paisley takes this criticism head-on, arguing that these criticisms miss the point of what country music is all about.
Throughout the song, Paisley references some of the most iconic figures in country music, including Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and George Jones. These references serve as a reminder of the rich history and legacy of country music, and how it has evolved over time. From traditional ballads to modern pop-infused hits, country music has always been able to adapt to changing times while staying true to its roots.
Perhaps the most poignant moment in the song comes near the end when Paisley sings, “If you’re not clappin’ your hands, hittin’ your feet, or movin’ your body, if you’re not gettin’ goosebumps or feelin’ some kind of emotion… then you damn sure better be checkin’ your pulse.” This line encapsulates the visceral, emotional power of country music, and how it can move us in ways that other genres simply cannot.
In conclusion, “This Is Country Music” is a powerful tribute to a genre that has shaped American culture in countless ways. It celebrates the themes and stories that make country music unique, while also acknowledging its critics and defending its place in the larger musical landscape. Whether you’re a die-hard country fan or simply appreciate good music, this song serves as a reminder of the enduring appeal and importance of country music.