Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 country songs that are perfect for how the world feels like right now
There's just something about country music that makes it perfect for those days when you don't feel like listening to a whole lot of pretty words and you want someone to just lay your feelings out bare for you.
As the coronavirus pandemic carries on, many of us really just want to lay around and sulk, rage against the world or engage in a combination of both. So in solidarity, here's a playlist of country songs to help you do just that.
Reba McEntire: 'Can't Even Get The Blues No More'
McEntire's classic song details the fallout after a breakup, vividly painting a picture of the house missing things like silverware and furniture because her ex "got it all".
What should be an extremely painful experience, however, barely draws a tear from the protagonist who goes on with their life, because they "can't even get the blues" anymore.
The song revolves around being so emotionally drained that you really can't care about a situation anymore. Whether it's a sunny day or it's pouring outside, everything just feels the same.
And for us quarantined folks in lockdown, where days and nights kind of blend into one another and the restlessness of a few weeks ago has given way to passive indifference, McEntire's song is the perfect accompaniment.
Dixie Chicks: 'Gaslighter'
If anyone has dealt with the brunt of misogyny and hate that comes with having strong political views, it's the Dixie Chicks. During a concert in 2003, the group's lead singer Natalie Maines denounced the Allied invasion of Iraq and stated the group was "ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
What followed was the epitome of cancel culture, with the Dixie Chicks being boycotted and forced to apologize following a string of death threats. While very few in the industry were willing to stand by the group, fellow country singer Merle Haggard defended them and called the backlash a "verbal witch-hunt and lynching."
But despite the intensity of hatred they faced, the group continued to be vocal in their criticisms with their follow-up album, 2006's 'Taking the Long Way'.
They then went on a hiatus that lasted all the way up until their most recent release, 'Gaslighter', which takes direct shots at people who emotionally manipulate others to make them doubt their own memories or perceptions.
And if its message was in any way obscured, Maines makes it crystal clear in this edit of the song featuring President Donald Trump's rather perplexing comments on the ongoing pandemic.
Cody Jinks: 'Same Kind Of Crazy As Me'
Jinks' laidback somber tune covers everything from a dissatisfaction with the world around him to finding solace in their friends who are the "same kind of crazy" as him to mild references to the country's current political situation to a fleeting hope that the world will come around to his way of thinking eventually.
But the most relatable aspect of this song is that throughout its journey, Jinks does not make any real reference to change or a hopeful future. It's a bleak song, and that makes it perfect for these seemingly bleak times.
Sure, all hope is not lost, and we might see brighter days ahead. But in the present moment, things can feel pretty dreary as we feel ourselves floating on aimlessly, awaiting the eventual lifting of the lockdown, and Jinks' almost apathetic outlook on the world around him feels like an oddly soothing balm as it helps verbalize what a lot of us are feeling right now.
Willie Nelson: 'Always On My Mind'
As one of the most iconic love songs ever written, this crossover hit was first recorded by BJ Thomas in 1970 but gained fame after Elvis Presley covered it following his separation from his wife Priscilla in 1972. Nelson's version was recorded a decade later, which is when the song became a true country hit.
The song itself details the difficulty a man faces in a relationship, particularly how he might find it hard to show his true feelings or understand what his partner wants from him.
The repeated line "You were always on my mind" became an iconic phrase that captured the solemn feeling of loving someone without knowing how to show them you care.
And as we all wait this pandemic out, we know we're all missing a loved one who is always on our mind. And for many of us, it's hard to let them know we are thinking of them all the time.
Caylee Hammack: 'Small Town Hypocrite'
A gorgeously stripped-back country song, 'Small Town Hypocrite' talks about feeling like you're stuck in one place and unsatisfied with where you are in your life.
The song also details Hammack's experiences of having to put her life on hold for her partner only to be unceremoniously broken up with, as well as finding the courage to leave the past behind and chase her dreams.
This is a song that perfectly encompasses what a turning point in life can feel like. It carries the weight of that moment of realization when you sit up and take stock of your life only to find out you're not where you want to be.
For so many of us currently living in quarantined isolation, this realization seems to happen over and over every day as we recognize we may not be living the life we dreamed of. Perhaps this song can help us all find the strength to make the changes we want to make in our lives.