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    7 Times Country Artists Turned Hate Into A Hit

    Ever had trouble thinking of a good comeback? Take a tip from country music and write a song!

    The Dixie Chicks are back! That's right, one of the most loved girl bands in country music is together again for their reunion tour this year! While that might seem like the best thing since sliced bread to today's country fan, the spunky trio was not always quite so adored. On March 10, 2003, the band was performing at a concert in London when they insulted President Bush and his impending invasion of Iraq by singing the lyric "we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas". This statement was did not go over well with country fans nor with Americans in general, and the bold statement ultimately put an end to their career. Nevertheless, they were able to release one more album in 2006, and all of that pent up resentment toward the people who had turned against them helped procure a number 1 hit with the song "Not Ready to Make Nice".

    In spite of all the controversy constantly surrounding them, the Dixie Chicks remain to this day one of the most revered country girl bands of all time, but they were not the only ones who made it to the top with the motto "there's no such thing as bad publicity". The pattern of using the fuel of someone's hate-fire as inspiration is pervasive throughout country music over time, as this list of 7 passionate, sassy, comical, and attitude-filled hits performed by some of the era's biggest country starts will show you. Get ready to feel the hate!

    1. "Mean" by Taylor Swift

    Hate behind the hit: Now I can't write an article about hate and country music without mentioning Taylor Swift. As one of the biggest stars of this generation, she has transcended the borders of country music and has grabbed fans from all genres. Her latest album 1989 is arguably not country, and is advertised as a pop record. Nevertheless, no matter your argument about whether or not Taylor is country anymore, it is undeniable that she once was. Since signing with her record label at the age of 14, she has kept her spot at the top, while writing the majority of her own songs. However, she was not always raved about in reviews. After singing a duet with Stevie Nicks at the Grammy's off key, a critic claimed that she had ruined her career overnight. Taylor recounted her reaction to this in an interview with 60 Minutes, where she said that the review "floored" and "leveled" her. But she didn't let that stop her; she was inspired to write the song "Mean" which went on to win her a Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance at the 54th Grammy Awards. Talk about "shaking off" the hate!

    2. "Longhaired Redneck" by David Allen Coe

    Hate behind the hit: David Allen Coe is a bit of a throwback in country music whose music career peaked in the 70s and 80s. He was definitely not a mainstream country singer, and withstood a lot of criticism for being so different. His long shaggy hair and criminal record did not produce the respectable image common amongst country artists, and he was undoubtedly a member of the "outlaw" sub-genre of country music. He takes the adversity he faced by the horns in his song "Longhaired Redneck" which sends the message that he is going to be himself, no matter what people say about him. He seems to be ok with the fact that some people are turned off by his music, singing "Hey I don't need some turkey telling me that I ain't country". He knows where he belongs, and he certainly knows how to use his individuality to produce some great hits.

    3. "Girl in a Country Song" by Maddie and Tae

    Hate behind the hit: Maddie and Tae have taken the world of country music by storm with their hit "Girl in a Country Song". Unlike the other songs on this list, the girls take on the role of representing the haters of what has come to be known as bro-country; a sub-genre filled with lyrics that objectify country girls. The duo blatantly roasts artists like Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington, Jason Aldean, and MANY more by quoting some of their most stereotypically "bro" lyrics. Their hilarious music video starts with three country boys checking out girls in bikini tops, but quickly takes a turn as they "reverse roles" and give the guys a taste of their own medicine. Theirs is a point of view that has seldom been heard on country radio, but it nevertheless managed to shoot to immediate success, hitting Number 1 in 2014. In an interview with The Guardian, Maddie Marlow said she was inspired to write the song after listening to bro-country and thinking "If I had daughters, I would not want them to think that's how a man should talk to you." The pair wrote the song in just 90 minutes, but I think it will change the face of country music forever.

    4. "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" by Kitty Wells

    Hate behind the hit: This story actually starts in 1952 with a song by Hank Thompson called "The Wild Side of Life". His record seems like it could fit easily into today's bro-country genre, as the theme of the song is centered on unfaithful women and how the wild side of life is always luring them away from the men who really love them. He clearly thinks the women are always to blame and that men can do no wrong. When Kitty Wells heard this song on the radio, it would be an understatement to say that she hated it, and she felt the need to make a response with her song "It Wasn't God Who Make Honky Tong Angels". The title of the record is derived directly from one of the lines in Thompson's song, and hers has the same tune and beat. She turns Thompson's opinion back on him by saying that the real reason there are unfaithful women is because there are unfaithful men, which is communicated clear as day in the lyric "Too many times married men think they're still single/and that's why many a poor girl do go wrong". The message this song projected was so controversial that it was even banned on National Public Radio and the Grand Ole Opry! Wells sings from a place of true resentment of the fact that it is always women who bear the brunt of a bad relationship, and in many ways her feminist song paved the way for today's artists like Maddie and Tae to speak their minds.

    5. "Kiss My Country Ass" by Blake Shelton

    Hate behind the hit: Blake Shelton is widely known for his humorous side, and he certainly embraces it as a way to tell off his haters in the song "Kiss my Country Ass". The title of the song says it all right off the bat; Blake has no patience for those who don't like what he does or what he has to say. In this comical approach, Blake lists off stereotypically country-boy characteristics, saying "If you're a down home, backwoods redneck/Hey come on, stand up and raise your glass/But if you ain't down with my outlaw crowd/You can kiss my country ass. Aw yeah!" In an interview with Music Times, Blake asserts "Of course, I'm always going to have the haters and the critics out there…But then, kiss my country ass", and he certainly stays true to his word.

    6. "Where I Come From" by Montgomery Gentry

    Hate behind the hit: Montgomery Gentry is the second duo on this list, and the two boys team up to tackle the topic of small town vs. big city. There are countless songs in the genre that talk about the pride of being from a small town in the south, so much so that sometimes it seems that to be a country star it's a requirement to be from the boondocks. Ironically, most of today's most influential names in country music are from big cities. This is where a lot of criticism originates; people say that country stars are hypocrites because they sing about an imagined country lifestyle to sell records. Well, clearly you would not want to say that to the boys of Montgomery Gentry. Their song "Where I Come From" is biting back at all of the big city folk who criticize them and their lifestyle. The song opens with the lyric "Don't you dare go runnin' down my little town where I grew up/and I won't cuss your city lights". They don't slow down from there, insisting that the small-town life is the way to do it and that they would never be ashamed of it. The pride this song conveys is truly a trademark of country music, and I'm glad to hear a record that tells a story of being proud of one's roots.

    7. "This is Country Music" by Brad Paisley

    Hate behind the hit: If there is any song that takes the cake for addressing the criticisms of country music it is certainly this hit by Brad Paisley. He wastes no time, opening the song with the lyric "You're not supposed to say the word cancer in a song/and telling folks that Jesus is the answer can rub 'em wrong" which addresses two hot topics that are not necessarily what people want to hear on the radio. But Brad sums it up pretty well by saying that "This is country music, and we do". It's his ultimatum to all of the people who have ever tried to tell country music what to do or say; that one line had become the mantra of the genre and certainly makes me proud to be a fan. Country music would not be country music if it did not speak its mind, tackle the hard stuff, and have the sense of pride that oozes from each lyric in this song. I, for one, certainly wouldn't have it any other way.

    So to all of you who have ever hated on country music over the past century, congratulations! These seven songs were inspired by and written just for you, as a way to say thanks. Thanks for all the criticism, the skips on Pandora, the flips to other radio stations; because guess what? Even though you may not have realized it, you helped write some of the best country hits of our generation! So please, keep it coming.