Screw Apple Music For Not Including Country in Their Top 100 Albums

Get pissed. Get mad. Be personally offended as a country music fan that on Apple Music’s recently revealed “Best 100 Albums” of all time, there isn’t a single actual country music album to be found. Apple Music basically just told you as a country fan to go f – – k yourself.

Forget the foundational importance of country to American music. Forget its appeal worldwide through international superstars such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. They couldn’t even lift a single finger to find even one true country album to cite and even attempt to placate country fans, or offer them a symbolic token. That’s how much Apple Inc. thinks about you and country music.

On May 13th, the mega technology company started revealing what it considers its 100 greatest albums of all time, culminating in the revelation of the Top 10 on Wednesday, May 22nd. It was on Wednesday that we could verify not a single country music title was given mention. The only thing that comes close is Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves at #85, which ironically, was Kacey’s big pop crossover.

But there’s no Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson, no Live at San Quentin by Johnny Cash, no O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. You don’t even have Modern Sounds in Country Music by Ray Charles. And before you go blaming “woke” Apple Inc. specifically, appreciate that all of these titles would have made for very open-minded and progressive picks from the country realm, and including just one or two albums probably would have staved off this controversy entirely. But they couldn’t be bothered.

It really seems like the only way it is possible to field this list and not include a single country title is a purposeful effort to exclude the country genre. How else could this happen except intentionally? Any effort to assemble the “Best 100 Albums” would have to include at least a cursory glance at country’s contributions if it was vetted and workshopped in any serious manner.

Apple Music does have a country division, and has multiple “shows” as part of it. But if you’ve ever interfaced with them, you understand that they many of them are just as much about undermining what country music is as opposed to promoting it, like their “YeeDM” show with DJ Telemitry. Some might also remember their My Kind of Country competition from last year on Apple TV. As Saving Country Music observed at the time,

“The simple fact is corporations like Apple use programming like My Kind of Country as a smoke screen. It is the equivalent to sticking a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign in your corporate office window, while at the same time bilking the public via insane markups on iPhones made with what is tantamount to slave labor in China in factories where they have nets around the buildings from all the workers jumping off, while they mine cobalt for their batteries in Africa via people dying from exposure every day and making pennies on the dollar to ensue egregious corporate profits continue to pour in.”

It’s an important point of order to understand that no company, publisher, or individual is in a position to definitively decree what the “best” albums in music or any specific genre are, not Apple Music, or Saving Country Music. They can only decree their personal opinions. But to not include any titles from one of the five most popular genres of music that happens to be the most popular at the moment shows the kind of hubristic approach many of these technology companies take to not just music, but life.

Across the board, American institutions downgrade, downcast, and look down their noses at everything country music. Especially when you combine it with Americana and roots music, country is a massive industry. Yet The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR and other institutions don’t employ country reporters, they put their pop and hip-hop writers on the country beat, regularly resulting in false reporting and misnomers.

Ultimately, the exclusion of country on Apple’s Best 100 list is the result of the continued echo chambering of the modern mind. As opposed to people questioning their own beliefs or making an effort to see outside of their reality bubble, they insulate themselves from anything counter to their own established thoughts. That’s how you can overlook an entire genre of music if you’re Apple.

In the meantime, folks from all across the musical spectrum are incensed over this list as well. It served few if anyone’s purpose. It went over about as well as Apple giving everyone a free U2 album they didn’t want a few years back. Chris Willman at Variety asserts that the list actually meant to rile the public up instead of serve them, while pointing out himself,

“As far as modest efforts toward genre tokenism go, the list establishes that there was apparently never a single great country album recorded, ever, until Kacey Musgraves went pop with “Golden Hour.” The great concept albums Willie made in the ‘70s? Or anything by Dolly or Loretta in the culture-moving moments when they were real forces in feminism for a generation of American women? Sure, they were good, but they weren’t Lorde at 16.”

But respectfully, this Apple Best 100 Albums list shouldn’t just be cast off as clickbait. It should be seen as wishcasting. This is the reality that Apple Music and its editorial board of Nile Rodgers, Maggie Rogers, Zane Lowe, and Ebro Darden want. They want a reality without country. And that’s a reality that country fans should stand up against and oppose.

© 2024 Saving Country Music