Country music, long known as a particularly conservative genre, is proving slow to evolve on the issue of accepting LGBTQ material and artists.
Take Little Big Town's ballad "Girl Crush." The song is currently sitting at the top of Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, but it hasn't been without controversy. Back in March, The Washington Post reported some country stations were pulling the track from the airwaves after complaints from listeners who thought the song was about a lesbian relationship.
HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani spoke with a group of country music critics on Tuesday to discuss what's behind some country music fans' resistance to more progressive lyrics. In the case of "Girl Crush," the song wasn't even about what the enraged listeners thought it was, according to Alana Lynn, co-host of a country morning show at WOW 104.3 in Boise, Idaho.
"First of all, 'Girl Crush' is not about anything other than ... wishing that you were the other girl who your significant other is now in love with. That was the biggest misconception about 'Girl Crush,'" Lynn said.
The song's lyrics support that reading. For example: "I want her long blonde hair, I want her magic touch / ‘Cause maybe then you’d want me just as much."
While "Girl Crush" doesn't actually have a gay-friendly message, Rolling Stone Country senior editor Beville Dunkerley told HuffPost Live that any song that does is highly divisive among fans.
"And song that we would post on Rolling Stone Country ... that has remotely anything to do with LGBT issues, we get more comments than any story we will do that entire month," Dunkerley said. "People are absolutely passionate about this, and that's when we see the country music Christians, who are really, really strict in their beliefs."
Watch the panel break down country music's relationship to the gay community in the video above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation about religion and country.
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