"You got your country music in my pop song!" --or, did I hallucinate this?

I don’t tend to listen to FM music stations much, so maybe this sort of thing is par for the course in this crazy mixed-up world these days. But the other day I’m on a road trip and I decide to dial around a bit, and I run across a light rock station playing some tune or another–no recollection of the name of the song, just that it was sung by a woman and struck me as mildly pleasant to listen to at the time. So I was fairly startled when, a few minutes later, I came across a country station playing the exact same song, by the exact same singer–except that this version seemed to have that country-western type steel guitar music slathered into the mix, rendering it generally whiny and horrible.

Does anyone know–did I imagine this? Was it a trick of my relatively cheap car audio system, where perhaps the nasty country guitar track just wasn’t picked up the first time for some reason? Or are record companies these days actually releasing two versions of songs these days, one with steel guitar and harmonica accompaniment for the country music stations, and another version without said accompaniment for the “non-hideous” music stations?

A mere two versions? Try three versions of Shania Twain’s 2002 album Up!:

This happens a lot with sappy mushy teenybopper ballads. An example of this is the song “I Swear,” from the mid-90’s (I think). Two versions were released at about the same time - one recorded by pop boy band All 4 One, and another by country singer John Michael Montgomery. (“I Can Love You Like That,” another All 4 One song, was also recorded by a country artist, although I can’t remember whom.) Can’t think of anything more recent, but I’m sure they’re out there.

I thought this thread was going to be about “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles. :smiley:

“I Can Love You Like That” was also John Michael Montgomery. And give me John Michael’s versions of either song any day over the caterwauling that is All 4 One.

It’s not uncommon for a pop singer and a country singer to record the same song. Another example is “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” recorded by both Aerosmith and Mark Chesnutt.

But this isn’t the phenomenon that the OP is talking about. Most likely the OP heard two versions of either a Shania Twain or Faith Hill song.

The title of this thread SHOULD be “You got your pop music in my country song”, because that is usually what happens (and I absolutely HATE IT… get that pop crap out of the song!)

Hey, I can’t say I blame you. There’s a reason All 4 One only put out one album (I hope). I was just sayin’, is all.

Exact same song? Okay, I’ve heard that a lot with country singers/writers “stealing” hit pop songs because they seemingly don’t have the imagination to come up with their own hits. But the same singer? I’ve never noticed that. Of course, I don’t listen to much country radio. On the other hand, I don’t listen to pop radio anymore, either.

I’m aware of Shania Twain, Faith Hill, etc. being crossover artists. Do the record companies change their songs to suit the format of the radio stations?

Let me put it this way…

If you think it might be pop or might be country, it ain’t country.

IMHO there really hasn’t been any country music recorded in about 20 years, and precious little since the early 70s. There was a resurgence in Bluegrass, but mainstream country doesn’t exist anymore.

Porter Waggoner, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Eddie Arnold, The Carter Family, Patsy Cline… now THAT’s country. Try confusing that stuff with a pop tune.


What? You don’t think that doesn’t happen the other way (pop singers “stealing” country songs)? See Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You”.

In general I agree with you. However, I must point out that Patsy Cline caught some criticism in her day for being too “pop” (what with all the strings and elaborate production). Ditto Eddie Arnold.

And Johnny Cash had a number of crossover hits, most embarrassingly “Ballad of a Teenage Queen,” a story of teenage romance in a candy store (#14 on the pop charts in 1958).

Dig deeper, dude. There’s a subgenre called “alt country” that’s producing some of the best music out there today. Listen to KEXP’s “Swingin’ Doors” show on Thursday evenings for some stellar examples. He also plays the old stuff; it’s a great show. Read his playlist for a dangerous shopping list.

Just played some Jimmie Dale Gilmore this morning. Other names that come to mind: Robbie Fulks, Jo Carol Pierce, the Mavericks, the Blacks, Iris Dement, Lucinda Williams, Jim White, Johnny Dowd, Victoria Williams–there is some serious twang happening out there. But if you wait for it to displace Shania on the pop-country stations, you’ll be waiting a long time.

I don’t believe I ever said that. It just seems (from what I’ve heard) that it happens that way more often than pop stealing from country.

At least IME, yes. When the Dixie Chicks’ cover of “Landslide” was big(gish) [summer of '02 or '03, I forget which], they played it a lot on pop/top 40 stations, but the arrangement was different from the version played on the “popular country” stations. The vocals were the same, but the instrumentation was different.

spoke : Absolutely, the hits crossed over. But they did so, I feel, without actively seeking a crossover sound. Unlike the post-Garth Brooks wannabes of today. The pop-charts of the late 50s/early 60s reflected a much broader range of music than the charts of today.

And lissener, I’m sure you’re right. Maybe if the local radio around my area played a little bit more of that, I wouldn’t be so down on moden country.

I admit, there are modern guys I like. Dwight Yoakam has a classic sound in a lot of his earlier stuff. And (much like the classic rock genre) the new stuff by old artists is often quite good. Dolly Parton’s “The Grass Is Blue” was fantastic.

So, I apologise for making a sweepeing generalization. I’ll clarify:

Only MOST of new country sucks.


Sheryl Crow recorded a pop and a country version of “The First Cut is the Deepest.” Both are beautiful IMO.

Oh, I wouldn’t be quite that harsh. I would say that there’s two separate subgenres, folk country and pop country. Though I will agree that I find the former much preferable to the latter.

I’m not sure why, but I was expecting a “South Park” thread.

On a related note, I’ll sure be glad when the new crap from old what’s-her-name and that hack from the White Stripes loses it novelty and drops from the airwaves like a pie from a cow’s ass. God, its awful.

I dunno 'bout that.

“Ballad of a Teenage Queen” was obviously intended for a pop audience. It is not in any way a country song (unless someone wants to argue that Johnny Cash’s Southern accent standing alone makes it “country”).

And Patsy Cline and Eddie Arnold were actively seeking broader (i.e. “pop”) appeal as a way to increase record sales. Arnold in particular wanted to give country music a smoother sound that would be palatable to a national audience (for which he has been pilloried in some circles).

But as I say, I agree with your basic premise that what passes for “country music” on most country music stations today in no way qualifies for the moniker.

FYI, KEXP does high-quality streaming audio over the web. So if you have a decent net connection, you might want to give it a listen.