There has been a lot of talk lately about what is country, what isn’t country, what deserves to be on country radio, what is stealing chart spots from “deserving” material, etc. And, yes, there are sub-genres, which occasionally include the “this isn’t real country” category, but that doesn’t mean the music we have loved over the years is gone. It means it is evolving and changing with the times.
However, there is one song right now that has a little bit of everything (pun definitely intended) and embodies all that is country music — from classic rock influences, to a little green tractor, to a Bible verse — and, to put it lightly, if this song doesn’t rise to the top of the charts, well, the injustice will be beyond comprehension.
Keith Urban’s “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” isn’t just an all-inclusive tune due to its country vibe, brilliant and catchy lyrics, and standard incomparably stellar Urban guitar playing; it touches on subjects that allow every person (regardless of age, race, gender, religion, location, and more) to relate in some way. Whether you love a great classic song that has traveled with you throughout your life; whether you understand the beauty of an open field; whether you turn to the good book on a bad day, you can identify with one of the Johns that have shaped Urban’s life.
Take the aforementioned components, especially the extensive relatability, and add in the fact that Urban has some of the best vocals in music, and the formula is foolproof for top charting honors. Though it may be a premature argument to make (because the song is only a month old), it is an argument worth making due to the current state of the genre and the mentalities of longtime country music fans.
Let’s watch this song. Let’s see where it peaks. Let’s follow its performance. If Keith Urban’s “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” receives the acclaim it deserves, perhaps there is more hope for the genre than people are currently believing.