By Brikena Ribaj
Today I rocked to country.
Yes. I did.
I rocked to country music.
The reason I say this twice is because, well, for lack of a better phrase, I don’t do country. I don’t know why. I just can’t. I am not attracted to it. I never was. While I’m sure that country music feeds many people, it doesn’t manage to feed me in any way. Not even with carbs. It’s a preference issue, you see. For example, I love Verdi, Wagner, Beethoven, and Mozart but I don’t care for Schumann. I love Indie rock but basically everything about Grunge bothers me. And, yes, Nirvana is an exception. Kurt Cobain is bigger than any genre. And I loved him. Very much. I still do. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” continues to be a high-frequency track. It’s not grunge, it’s classic. So there are exceptions within certain genres, of course.
Now back to my country encounter today. I rocked out to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.”
At the end of the tenth lap at the pool, I thought I would take a 60-second break and change up the routine. I remove the items that guarantee my isolation from the surroundings and I suddenly hear this uber-loud song blasting from the loudspeakers.
I gave out a ‘huh?’ Hmm. The pool is sounding like a Bavarian disco? How about that!
After my 60-second break at the pool, I found myself rocking to the song the loudspeakers were feeding my already-filled-with-water ears. At the end of the mini-break, I found myself singing along with Taylor: “Romeo, save me… My daddy said “stay away from Juliet” Marry me, Juliet… Baby just say ‘yes.”
I remember letting out a ‘HA!’ and then put my cap and goggles back on and got to the second half of the work-out. I couldn’t get Swift’s words out of my head. I then tried to switch to Verdi. Verdi always bails me out. I tried Nabucco but words like ‘Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone, you can be the prince, I can be the princess’ kept creeping in. I had another 20 minutes left in my routine, so I was stuck. My iPod and Keane were calling me but I resisted. Instead, I gave in and sang in my head, ”And I said, Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.”
At the end of the workout, I get to my iPod and listen to Keane’s Perfect Symmetry. Keane, de-Swift me swiftly, please. It didn’t work.
I turn to Verdi. Nichts!
Now, I support the arts. And I most actively support music. For without music I wouldn’t be who I am. But I am very, very specific about what I like. And country is not it. We’re all entitled to having our favorites and Indie is what I choose. Indie is what I have chosen for years now. And this week has been a very good week for me. I got Franz Ferdinand’s new album, Lily Allen’s new stuff, and The Annie Lennox Collection. And it’s not even Friday yet. So, what’s this country business about?
And I know exactly what my annoyance consists of. Taylor Swift’s little, puerile track is a distraction. Much like Lifehouse was a few years ago when their music kept me from more relevant artists like the Magnetic Fields or Morrissey. And this is supposed to be Verdi’s time. This is Verdi’s month. So, Taylor, adorable though you are, I’m sure you have plenty of other fans out there. I am not hiring. I never was. My love is already spoken for. And it’s good. It’s very, very good.
But I do have to add, I give Taylor a tip of the hat, too. Her track “Love Story” made me rethink my attitudes about country music. And while I remain an Indie person, I appreciated Taylor Swift’s country a-la-rock. Perhaps that’s it. A rock-ified country might just be what works for me. For about 60 seconds. Or maybe this is just an aberration which, I reckon, makes more sense if I go by my history.
And since music is to be shared, here is the song that penetrated my brain today for a good two hours.