Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 7:32pm

Not a month before quarantine started, my Taylor Swift™ snake ring snapped in half. After anxiously twisting it on and off my finger for nearly two years, the silvery metal fittingly relented in therapy. Bulky, obnoxious and glittery green — I had come to think of it as a secret signal (“I knew you were a Swiftie!”) and a conversation starter. “Oh,” I began when anyone asked me about it, “I’m a really big Taylor Swift fan.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 7:20pm

A lot has changed since the last time we heard from The Chicks. They had a different name, different marital statuses and George W. Bush was still the president.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 7:38pm

Black squares. Thoughts and prayers. Heart emojis and hashtags. That about sums up the country music community’s response to the recent uprisings for racial justice that were sparked by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. Instead of using their platforms to advocate for change and denounce white supremacy, many country artists have been reprehensibly quiet. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 5:43pm

Kip Moore entered my life the way most country singers did in 2011 — by singing about a truck. More precisely, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.” For months on end the cheeky, feel-good track was playing every time I turned on the radio. Successful follow-up singles “Beer Money” and “Hey Pretty Girl” ostensibly signalled Kip’s coming country stardom. Until, of course, they didn’t.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 6:40pm

If you listened to country radio any time in the last six months, there’s a good chance you heard one of Justin Bieber’s latest singles. Alarming, I know, but thanks to country duo Dan + Shay, Bieber can claim a hit country song with their collaboration “10,000 Hours.” A mushy-gushy, country lite ballad dedicated to their wives, “10,000 Hours” epitomizes the latest trend to sweep mainstream country music — “boyfriend country.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 11:33am

Three weeks ago, the Internet collectively rejected a pitchy celebrity cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Spearheaded by actor Gal Gadot, the star-studded clip was meant to uplift fans and promote unity. Instead, it did the opposite. With many Americans losing their jobs and loved ones, the last thing people want is millionaires’ pity. The question for entertainers, then, is what would actually be helpful?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 3:44pm

If you were a country music fan in 2014, you either loved, or loved to hate, Sam Hunt. His unabashed devotion to mashing R&B into country music and his clean cut, city-boy image made for scathing fan debate fodder. Whether you sang along to his clever twists of phrasing out loud or under your breath, Hunt’s music was unavoidable. Nearly every track on his debut album Montevallo became a hit. Then, for the most part, he disappeared.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 3:27pm

In 2020, One Direction is a distant memory and Fifth Harmony feels like a fever dream. But the groups of the 2010s haven’t completely withered away yet. While other successful acts have succumbed to certain members going solo, Australian pop rock band 5 Seconds of Summer has persisted in staying relevant. Their latest release CALM shows how they’ve managed to make it in the new decade. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 5:02pm

I first happened upon Conan Gray’s music as I would any great discovery: on a YouTube binge. An e-boy poster child with a mess of hair and a killer pout, I immediately wanted to dislike him. Instead, I clicked on music video after music video, impressed that he could be so melodramatic yet extremely self-aware. Gray’s debut album Kid Krow feels like staring at a glowing laptop screen — dizzying and addictive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 4:47pm

Badmouthed, banned and ultimately blacklisted for their unwavering antiwar sentiment in 2003, the Dixie Chicks are battle-tested. After a 14-year hiatus, the ex-country music superstars have proven they’re ready to go another round with the fiery single “Gaslighter.”