The student news site of Thomas Worthington High School


The student news site of Thomas Worthington High School


The student news site of Thomas Worthington High School


The Total Eclipse
The Total Eclipse
May 15, 2024

Country Renaissance Take Over

Screenshot of Beyoncé’s latest album drop, Cowboy Carter

Country Music has existed about as long as modern music has existed, it’s always been around, had its crowd, and has gone in and out of the mainstream. But over the past few years,  country music has come back from being in sentences such as “I listen to everything but I hate country” consistently to now a genre that dominates charts, radio, and arenas. This new wave has been started by artists such as Zach Bryan, Morgan Wallen, Noah Kahan, Luke Combs, etc. 

They’ve paved the way for some of the largest non-country artists to dive into country music due to how large it has become again. For instance, Beyoncé and Lana Del Rey have announced full-length country albums set to release this year. 

Lana is quoted saying: “If you can’t already tell by our award winners and our performers, the music business is going country. We’re going country. It’s happening”

 Plenty of mainstream artists are seeing the numbers country has been racking up over the past year and they want in on it. Both Beyoncé and Lana have dabbled in country in the past through individual songs but never went all in because it wasn’t their lane but now with the mainstream success, they feel they’re able to go all of the way.  

One of the most telling examples of the power country music has over the music industry is Oliver Anthony. A name that probably means nothing to you but in August of 2023 one of his first songs Rich Men North of Richmond debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. A song and artist that came out of nowhere, with no press, or previous history in the music industry has a pretty normal country song that debuts at number one. 

So, why has country music blown up again?

The new generation of artists has helped modernize the country music formula for a new audience. They may be talking about similar things with similar instruments, but the songwriting is much more catchy and pop-orientated, making it more relatable for the contemporary, non-traditional audience. Pop music has strayed so far away from reality content-wise. The biggest pop singers and rappers are just on another level where their lyrics aren’t relatable at all to normal people, so the natural sway to country music makes sense. 

This is shown in the previously mentioned Rich Men North of Richmond, regardless of the present political commentary, it’s distinctly more normal and relatable for a lot of people in this country. There’s a market for more relatable and simple music, especially because for the past 15 years we’ve been showered with music about the life of the most wealthy, people initially enjoyed living vicariously through it but lately, it’s become dry. 

Another key reason for country music’s rise is the fact that the line between what genre artists are blending is getting more and more blurry, there are combinations of pop, rock, and hip-hop all coming together on some songs. Beyoncé spoke on Instagram about her upcoming album and said, “Act II is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres to make this body of work.” Artists who already make country, and artists successful in other genres are diving head first into new genres. 

Beyoncé has been the leading mainstream force that was originally not a country artist as her singles TEXAS HOLD ‘EM and 16 CARRIAGES have been topping charts and being featured on radio stations everywhere. With her new album COWBOY CARTER the second part of her RENAISSANCE series being released on March 29th, 2024, I don’t think the reign will end anytime soon. Beyonce is very capable of bringing country music to an audience far beyond normal country listeners, as her fans and just average listeners will be hearing this music everywhere. More mainstream artists will follow as they see going country is viable if done right. As with her previous album RENAISSANCE went towards a dance/house sound causing a resurgence of mainstream artists making house music. The difference here is country has already been taking over, she’s just leading the charge even more. 

Regardless of your opinion on the genre, it’s hard to deny its influence on the music industry in general and today. The mainstream is shifting in this direction and some will like it and some won’t but there will always be a next big thing. There will always be something happening that affects what and why we consume specific media, and the mainstream will follow. But in 2024, we are in the country music renaissance.


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