Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Pop Gone Country

Justin Timberlake raised some eyebrows Monday after suggesting he would like to make country music. "[Those dreams are] still alive."

During an interview on satellite radio station The Highway, Timberlake discussed his single Drink You Away, which offers a distinct element of twang. "I still got my eyes on a 'Best Country Album," he said. "There's time for that."

That's a little presumptuous, but it's great to see singers from other genres recognizing country. I’ve often pointed out contemporary country's leanings to pop. But could other genres blend into country, too?

For example, Kelly Clarkson. While still pop, the original American Idol has been featured on a number of country duets, including Don’t You Wanna Stay with Jason Aldean, which peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

And then there’s Sheryl Crow, who released her first country album this past September. Her single Easy broke the top 20, and she even sang with Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton at last year’s Academy of Country Music Awards.

Of course, Darius Rucker was lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish. But he was welcomed into country, and as a young listener, I would never have guessed he used to be part of a rock band. His number one cover of Wagon Wheel is about as traditional as you can get.

There are other examples – like Nelly joining Florida Georgia Line for a Cruise remix. They show that while country can adopt the best elements of other genres, it works both ways. Will Timberlake have a country hit anytime soon? I doubt it, but his comments reflect the fact that music genres are becoming more intertwined than ever.

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