It can include the atrocious bro-country crap which was popular for the past couple years (even as it dies out). It can include this new metro-politan bullshit which Sam Hunt is responsible for inflicting upon the world. It can include all of this pure pop music which just throws in a little bit of twang to make gullible individuals believe that it’s country.
Let’s call this genre of music Southern Pop. Now, I’m sure this isn’t a completely new term. Upon doing a Google search to find any trace of it, I found that Urban Dictionary does have an entry for it. Their definition reads:
What passes for country music for the last 15 to 20 years. The songs are really just regular pop or rocks songs produced with pedal steel guitars or a violin to make it "country".
But beyond that, I’ve found very little reference to this term online. And frankly, it’s genre that needs to be regarded as being in existence. Because, as we’re all well aware, all this pop music with a little bit of twang thrown in that’s being called country is not country in the least. And if the fanboys and fangirls of this music refuse to accept that it’s pop music, maybe labeling it as Southern Pop will at least make some kind of dent in their thick skulls.
Now, I’m sure some probably find the term “Southern Pop” offensive to the much superior genre of music, Southern Rock. More sympathetic, I could not be. And please, if you are offended by the term, come up with something better to call all of this faux-country bullshit.
Now, like all genres of music, not all Southern Pop is bad. Once you put that proper label on it, it can be enjoyed for what it is. There’s some decent music in the genre. Early Rascal Flatts (at least up through their Unstoppable album) was good music that would fall into this category. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say there are a few Dan+Shay songs I’d probably enjoy under such a banner.
Throw in the bro-country songs (and, okay, we can ignore the metro-politan crap, because there’s not even a hint of anything “southern” in there, it’s just pure pop).
BAM, you’ve got yourself a brand new genre. You can end the feud between fans of real country music and fans of this crap that’s passed off as country; you can give country radio back to artists who actually make country music; you can stop arguing whether a song is “country” or not.