Country music clichés run rampant throughout the genre.
In the chase for a hit, songwriters often return to familiar words, phrases and themes in an effort to duplicate an earlier success. We all know going to the well once too often leads to clichés, which should be avoided like the plague.
Of course, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. There is no time like the present, to make some lemonade from the lemons the hitmakers have given us. Here are 10 of our favorite clichés of all time.
10. The whiskey ain’t working anymore
It’s been 23 years since Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart released “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” and more than four decades since Willie Nelson floated “Whiskey River.” However, country stars have served up the hooch up fast and furious in recent years.
Tyler Farr put “Whiskey In My Water,” Lee Brice enrolled us in “Drinking Class” and Cole Swindell told us she “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”. There are dozens of other whiskey filled songs proving we truly are “Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound.”
9. Toeing the line
Country music has a foot fetish. Waylon Jennings was the “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line for Years,” but he “Never Could Toe the Mark” for long. Zac Brown put his “Toes” in the water in 2009, but now we have bare feet and flip flops coming at us from every direction.
Rodney Atkins touched us with his “Feet,” Florida Georgia Line flip-flopped us into a “Sun Daze,” and Frankie Ballard has a thing for sandy feet in “Sunshine and Whiskey.” He gives us both feet and whiskey in one dazzling dose.
8. Country fan down by the river
Chris Farley lived in a van down by it, no one wants to be up it without a paddle, and Garth Brooks had hit named after it. Of course I’m talking about THE RIVER.
The water is rising fast these days on Brad Paisley’s “River Bank,” while Luke Bryan served up a riverside catfish dinner in “My Kinda Night.” Randy Houser was “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” in his river bank love song, and Blake Shelton was just another one of the “Boys ‘Round Here” singing about the river.
7. The Friday night lights are starting to dim
Everyone is looking for quitting time on Friday. Even George Jones was happy it was “Finally Friday” back in 1992, but those Friday night lights are starting to blind just a bit.
Eric Paslay took us for a sweet ride on “Friday Night,” and Jake Owen taught us how to shout “Yee Haw” on payday, while Dallas Smith was “Wastin’ Gas” tearing up the interstate.
6. Poppin’ and bangin’ and boomin’
There’s more pop in today’s country than the first day of deer season. Jim Ed Brown first “Pop a Top” in 1967 and Alan Jackson did the same in 1999, but bottle caps aren’t the only thing making noise these days.
Scotty McCreery had us “Feelin’ It,” while the top’s a poppin’, Blake Shelton told anyone who didn’t like his tail pipes poppin’ to “Kiss My Country Ass.” Justin Moore was bangin’ his Kenwoods while “Letting the Night Roll,” meanwhile Luke Bryan scared a poor little “Country Girl” with his boomin’ truck.
5. Shotgun wedding
Once upon a time, shotguns and country music went together like the month of June and weddings. Jamie Lynn Spears was still singing about a “Shotgun Wedding” in 2014, but for a while now, most of the shotgun lyrics have had some cute little country girl riding shotgun.
Taylor Swift did in her 2009 hit “Our Son”, and more recently, Tim McGraw did the same in his single “Shotgun Rider.” You can hear the same theme running through Brantley Gilbert’s “Bottoms Up,” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Tell Me How You Like It.” Where have all the quail hunters gone? Riding shotgun isn’t the only cliché in regards to country girls in our little countdown.
4. Can’t believe she wore white
Dierks Bentley wondered “What Was I Thinkin’” back in 20013. Of course, the answer was that tight white tank top. Bentley was still thinking about white tank tops in 2005’s “Cab of My Truck” and 2009’s “Sideways.”
Bentley isn’t alone in his appreciation for white. Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood ran into a girl in a pretty white dress in “Something Bad,” Brad Paisley wanted to hydrate white t-shirts in “Water,” and those same shirts were tight in Trace Adkins’ “Ala-Freakin-Bama.”
3. Put up your dukes, Daisy
The good ol’ boys obviously watched a lot of Bo and Luke back in the day, because those cut-off jeans left quite an impression. “How She Rolls,” by Chase Rice, “Me And My Gang” from Rascal Flatts, and the trio of Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore, Thomas Rhett extolled daisy dukes in “Small Town Throwdown.” Then there was Florida Georgia Line’s “Hell Raisin’ Heat Of Summer,” Jake Owen’s “Nobody Feelin’ No Pain” and a whole slew of short cut-off jeans.
Recently, a pair of country girls, Maddie & Tae, fired back with “Girl In A Country Song,” about the recent trend of stereotypes.
2. Dirt roads
Country radio is kicking up a lot of dust these days with songs about dirt roads. Kip Moore’s “Dirt Road,” Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem,” Justin Moore’s “One Dirt Road,” Luke Bryan’s “Dirt Road Diary,” Chase Rice’s “Dirt Road Communion” and Florida Georgia Line’s plain ol’ “Dirt” are but a few that come to mind.
Dive into the lyrics, and you’ll find more dirt than in a political campaign. Brooks and Dunn really started the trend in 2003 with their single, “Red Dirt Road.”
Here a truck, there a truck, everywhere a truck, truck. They are jacked-up in Tim McGraw’s “Truck Yeah” and Chase Rice’s “Carolina Can.” Trucks are big in Toby Keith’s “Big Ol’ Truck and big, black and jacked-up in Luke Bryan’s “My Kind Of Night.”
There are truck loving songs like Jason Aldean’s “Take a Little Ride” and Kip Moore’s “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” loving in truck songs like “Eight Second Ride” by Jason Aldean, and I loved you in a truck songs like Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck.” Finally, there’s the hey, there are too many truck songs songs like Wade Bowen’s “Songs About Trucks.”