Credit: Sahara Tent heats up during Sebastian Ingrosso's set

Eli Young Band

Just how bro is "bro-country" right now? It's pretty bro, bro.

In case you haven't heard, the whole country music genre has been fighting a civil war lately over the rise of "bro-country" in popular Nashville-produced music. Coined by New York Magazine's Jody Rosen, the term "bro-country" refers to "music by and of the tatted, gym-toned, party-hearty young American white dude… If [Florida Georgia Line's smash] 'Cruise' were a guy at a bar, he would sidle up to the hottest blonde in the room, laugh loudly at his own jokes, and, after crashing and burning with a couple of lame pickup lines, ask, 'Have you heard this awesome song?' Whereupon he would whip out his iPhone and dial up the video for Florida Georgia Line's 'Cruise.'"

"Cruise" may have crystallized the "bro-country" phenomenon — but Luke Bryan's "That's My Kind of Night" has become its unofficial representative, thanks to Zac Brown, who last month called the No. 1 single the "worst song I've ever heard," and added, "If I hear one more tailgate-in-the-moonlight, Daisy Dukes song, I'm gonna throw up." Brown's not the only star unhappy with the state of modern country music, either — this year, Alan Jackson, Gary Allan, Kacey Musgraves, and Naomi Judd have all spoken out about it as well. (Read more on that here.)

But surely, "bro-country" can't be that widespread. Not every artist is singing about trucks and beer…right?

Actually, it might be worse than you thought.

According to iTunes' top 40 country songs (as of 10 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2013), country music is woefully one-note at the moment. It's basically a bunch of guys singing about trucks, headlights, rolled-down windows, jeans, alcohol, moonlit make-outs, and sex on river beds beside old dirt roads. There's also a weirdly pervasive trend of calling women "girl" over and over — and not in the same way the Temptations sang "My Girl" or Gavin Degraw crooned "I'm in Love With a Girl." Country music has big dudes yelling out "girl!" as a term of address (to women who presumably have names) the way Tarzan might if he knuckled his way into a honky tonk.

Distressingly, these songs are coming from an increasingly tiny group of male songwriters, too. (And this only underscores the struggles women are currently facing in Nashville.) Of the Top 40 country songs on iTunes, Ashley Gorley co-wrote EIGHT, Rhett Akins co-wrote five, and Dallas Davidson (who has spoken out about Zac Brown's comments already), Chris DeStefano, and Rodney Clawson each co-wrote four.

As such, you may not be surprised to see similar phrases in the different song lyrics quoted below. But let's stop beating around the truck — here are all of the most egregious bro-country references on the current country chart, in the order in which they appeared on iTunes:

1. "That's My Kind of Night" — Luke Bryan

I got that real good, feel good stuff

Up under the seat of my big black jacked up truck,

Rollin' on 35s,

Pretty girl by my side.

You got that sun tan skirt and boots,

Waiting on you to look my way and scoot,

Your little hot self over here,

Girl hand me another beer, yeah!

Overall bro rating: 10/10

4. "Ready Set Roll" — Chase Rice

Damn pretty girl, ya went and done it again.

Ya gone and turned your sexy all the way up to 10.

I've never seen a side ride seat looking so hot.

Baby, you rock, hit the spot like a Fireball shot.

Ready, set, let's roll,

Ready, set, let's ride,

Get ya little fine ass on the step, shimmy up inside.

Just slide, girl, by my side, girl,

Yeah, we can run this town, I can rock your world.

We can roll 'em down, fog 'em up, cruise around, get stuck,

Pedal to the metal 'til the sun comes up.

I made a deal with the man on the moon

He's gonna put in some overtime, we got all night.

Overall bro rating: 21/10, and not just because Rice was on the 21st season of Survivor.

5. "It Goes Like This" — Thomas Rhett

Hey girl, you make me wanna drive you home,

Get you outta here and get you all alone.

I don't know what it is about you, baby,

But I'm all messed up and it might sound crazy,

But you make me wanna write a song.

Overall bro rating: 4/10, although co-writing Jason Aldean's "1994" gives him major bro cred.

6. "Whatever She's Got" — David Nail

She's got the blue jeans painted on tight

That everybody wants on a Saturday night.

Overall bro rating: 3/10

7. "See You Tonight" — Scotty McCreery

So I'm coming over, I hope it's all right

Listen for me pulling into your drive

Look out your window — you'll see my lights

Baby girl, I gotta see you tonight

No, I don't care what time it is,

I just gotta get a little moonlight kiss

Girl, I can't help it when I feel like this

There's only one thing to do

Baby, I'm missing you.

Overall bro rating: Lyrically a 7/10, but Scotty's bashful delivery brings it to a mere 4/10.

8. "Mine Would Be You" — Blake Shelton

Girl, can you tell me

The one thing you'd rather die than lose?

Cause mine would be you.

Overall bro rating: 2/10 (Don't worry. Shelton's bro de grâce is coming later)

11. "Night Train" — Jason Aldean

Bout a mile off Old Mill Road

In that spot nobody knows

We park the truck and we take off running

Hurry up, girl, I hear it comin'.

Got a moon and a billion stars,

The sound of steel and old box cars

The thought of you is driving me insane

Come on, baby, let's go listen to the night train.

Overall bro rating: 8/10

15. "Chillin It" — Cole Swindell

I got my shades on, top back,

Rollin' with the music jacked,

One on the wheel, one around you baby.

Little sun left to burn in the blue sky,

Shinin' off the cross hangin' from the mirror of my ride,

Breeze blowin' in, your hair blowin' round

You're scanning through the stations lookin' for that country sound

The good stuff iced up in the back seat,

Nowhere to go, nowhere to be.

Overall bro rating: 9.5/10 (It's just missing moonlight!)

16. "Stay" — Florida Georgia Line

Would it make you, make you, wanna stay?

(Girl, you gotta know I love you).

Overall bro rating: 1/10. Definitely the least bro-ey (but most Scott Stapp-y) FGL single.

17. "Aw Naw" — Chris Young

Yeah, I think I'm gonna leave

I just had that one drink

And we've all gotta be up early


Yeah, girl, I saw you come in

With all of your girlfriends

Just cuttin' up and shootin' Bacardi

Yeah, I got my boys with me

Aw naw, do you hear that song?

The one that just came on

Come on, DJ, what you tryna do?

Aw naw, it would be so wrong

If we didn't dance once

Show off those jeans you painted on

Aw naw.

Overall bro rating: 9/10, which is sad because Young is capable of so much more!

18. "Hey Girl" — Billy Currington

Hey girl, whatcha think, girl

You look a little thirsty lemme go getcha something to drink, girl

Before you blink, girl

I'll be right back by your side

And if you want, we can roll out

I know my way around this town

I got a shotgun seat for you

You can tell me where it is you wanna take off to.

Overall bro rating: Ignoring the fact that "Hey, girl" is just about the worst pick-up line someone (other than feminist Ryan Gosling) could ever say in a bar, this gets an 8/10.

19. "Southern Girl" — Tim McGraw

Kisses sweeter than Tupelo honey

Little bit crazy like New Orleans

Memphis blue and Daytona sunny

Soft as cotton in some cutoff jeans

Don't you know,

Ain't nothing in the whole wide world

Like a southern girl.

Overall bro rating: 3/10. Would be higher if said jeans were "painted on" and not "cut off."

20. "Forget to Forget You" — Scotty McCreery

If you see my number on your phone when you pick it up

Or get a good morning text when you're wakin' up

Or see my truck drivin' by at the end of the day.

Overall bro rating: 2/10

21. "Redneck Crazy" — Tyler Farr

Gonna drive like hell through your neighborhood

Park this Silverado on your front lawn

Crank up a little Hank, sit on the hood, and drink

I'm about to get my pissed off on

I'm gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows

Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows

I didn't come here to start a fight, but I'm up for anything tonight

You know you broke the wrong heart, baby, and drove me redneck crazy

Wish I knew how long it's been going on

How long you've been getting some on the side

Nah, he can't amount to much by the look of that little truck

Well, he won't be getting any sleep tonight

Overall bro rating: It loses a bro point for not being about picking up a girl, but it gains two for name-dropping Hank. So, 9/10.

24. "Crash My Party" — Luke Bryan

It don't matter what plans I got, I can break 'em.

Yeah, I can turn this thing around at the next red light

And I don't mind telling all the guys "I can't meet 'em"

Hell, we can all go raise some hell on any other night

Girl, I don't care. Oh, I just gotta see what you're wearing.

Your hair, is it pulled up or falling down?

Oh, I just have to see it now.

If you wanna call me, call me, call me.

You don't have to worry 'bout it, baby.

You can wake me up in the dead of the night;

Wreck my plans, baby, that's alright.

This is a drop everything kind of thing.

Swing on by, I'll pour you a drink.

The door's unlocked. I'll leave on the lights

Baby, you can crash my party anytime.

Overall bro rating: 6/10

25. "Days of Gold" — Jake Owen

Long truck bed hop in it, fire engine red like her lipstick

Out here we can let it go, yeah

But just me and my good friends, jug of wine, lil' sip

Out here, baby, you just never know

Yeah, these are the days of gold

Well, it's a southern summer

Whiskey's in the air, dogs' on the burner

Beers' ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold

Southern summer

And that sun shining down like daddy's silver dollar

Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

Overall bro rating: 7.5/10. The song is pretty bro-tastic, which makes Owen's recent comments about the state of country music songwriting somewhat confounding.

26. "Friday Night" — Eric Paslay

I wanna be your Friday night sweet ride

Summertime sunshine, barefoot in the moonlight

I wanna be your jackpot hot spot

Wide open road in a candy apple rag top.

Overall bro rating: 4/10

27. "Boys 'Round Here" — Blake Shelton

Yeah, the boys 'round here

Drinking that ice cold beer

Talkin' 'bout girls, talkin' 'bout trucks

Runnin' them red dirt roads out, kicking up dust

The boys 'round here

Sending up a prayer to the man upstairs

Backwoods legit, don't take no s---

Chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit.

Overall bro rating: 28/10. (One point for every auto-tuned repetition of "red" in the track.)

28. "Cruise" — Florida Georgia Line

She was sippin' on Southern and singin' Marshall Tucker

We were falling in love in the sweet heart of summer

She hopped right up into the cab of my truck and said,

"Fire it up, let's go get this thing stuck."

Baby, you a song

You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise

Down a back road, blowin' stop signs through the middle

Every little farm town with you

In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit

Would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it

So, baby, you a song

You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise.

Overall bro rating: 10/10, if only because it was the ultimate inspiration for the term "bro-country"

29. "Up All Night" — Jon Pardi

Now don't forget your flip-flops

We can stop by the quick stop

Get some jerky and a twelve pack

No tellin' when we'll be back

I got a cooler in the truck bed

A couple towels when we get wet

Cause you know we're gonna jump in

And take a little midnight swim

So, baby, let's go, take a dirt road

Kick it back, find a good song on the radio,

'Til we get lost in a sunset falling

Lay a blanket by the creek.

Overall bro rating: 8/10

30. "I Want Crazy" — Hunter Hayes

Yeah, our first date, girl, the seasons changed

It got washed away in a summer rain.

Overall bro rating: He said "girl," but Hayes is definitely not a bro. 1/10

33. "Parking Lot Party" — Lee Brice

Johnny's firin' up his Coleman grill

We've got 24 tall boys on the chill

Yeah, 14 of 'em's mine

A little Marshall Tucker on the radio


At the parking lot party

Tailgate buzz just sipping' on suds

Ain't never too early

To light one up, fill up your cup

Cause there ain't no party like the pre-party

And after the party is the after-party

At the parking lot party.

Overall bro rating: 14/10. (Also: He's claiming 14 of those tall boys? That's 2.6 gallons of beer.)

36. "Round Here" — Florida Georgia Line

And Jessie's gettin' ready, I'm gassin' up the Chevy

I'm gonna pick her up at 6

I hope she's gonna wear the jeans with a tear

That her mama never fixed

The moon comes up and the sun goes down

We find a little spot on the edge of town

Twist off, sip a little, pass it around

Dance in the dust, turn the radio up.

Overall bro rating: 8/10

37. "Drinks After Work" — Toby Keith

Just having fun, two for one

Watch a good time get a little better.

Ain't no ball and chain for the suits and skirts

Just drinks after work,

Drinks after work.

Overall bro rating: 3/10

39. "I Hold On" — Dierks Bentley

It's just an old beat-up truck, some say that I should trade up

Now that I got some jangle in my pocket

But what they don't understand

Is just the miles that make a man

I wouldn't trade that thing in for a rocket.

Overall bro rating: 2/10. Singing about trucks isn't inherently wrong. Songs like this and "I Drive Your Truck" show how cars can double as emotional vehicles as well.

40. "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" — Randy Houser

Look out your window at the cloud of dust

That's my headlights, that's my truck.

Come on, baby, let me take you on a night ride

Windows down, sittin' on my side

Tick tock, now we're knocking on midnight

Me and you girl runnin' outta moonlight.

Overall bro rating: 7/10

Bronorable mentions:

10. "We Were Us" — Keith Urban ft. Miranda Lambert

For the line: "I just close my eyes and you're ridin' shotgun."

14. "Sunny and 75" — Joe Nichols

For this awkward driving metaphor: "You feel like windows rolled down."

32. "Outta My Head" — Craig Campbell

For setting the song in a vehicle with this opening line: "I rode around long enough with my windows down."

What do you think, Julie Andrews?

Eli Young Band
  • Music

Comments have been disabled on this post