It's hard being a liberal country-music fan, in large part because—the sad truth is—so many fans of the genre are distressingly closed-minded and intolerant. Case in point? A new song by Little Big Town with very subtle hints of bisexuality has been banned by several country stations, with fans causing enough of a stink to prompt censorship.
The song in question, "Girl Crush," expresses jealousy over an ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. Its allegedly offensive lyrics? “I want to taste her lips, yeah cause they taste like you / I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume / I want her long blonde hair, I want her magic touch / Yeah cause maybe then, you’d want me just as much. . . I got a girl crush.”
Sound pretty innocuous? Not according to country-radio fans, who've called in to stations to complain that the tune promotes a "gay agenda," prompting the song to get yanked from many markets.
The outcry is hardly surprising—newsflash: country music fans are often very conservative!—but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be challenged. One problem with backlash like this is that it prevents, and has prevented, the country-music industry from adopting more progressive and open-minded views over the years. And this, in turn, has kept an essential American art form (yes, that's right, I said it) from reaching a wider and more diverse audience.
So long as the conservative base of country-music fans prevent the music from evolving—even when that evolution is as slight as the mere suggestion of bisexual interest—the genre will stagnate, never growing to encompass new views and voices. That may be how some fans prefer it, but it does a disservice to the many people who might otherwise enjoy country music . . . and to the genre itself.