i think pop music is very gay. but both hip hop and country have been among the last cultural bastions of homophobia; we live in a rather complex cultural landscape, don't we? the tv series nashville has a sub-plot involving a closeted male performer who is a sex symbol for women. one theorizes that this may have happened to randy travis, for example. back in the 90s, you could still say things like: travis has been accused of being gay. i speculate that that very great country singer may have been having a very difficult life ever since. on the other hand, i don't think you could say that country music is infested with actual anti-gay rants, routine insults and so on like hip hop is. what it's full of is normative heterosexuality. but on either racial end, it is only now even becoming vaguely conceivable for, say, a major artist to come out. (there have been attempts. chely wright came out, but maybe only after her commercial possibilities had petered out. at any rate she was never heard from again.)
i do think the macklemore song 'same love' and his performance at the vma's was a moment. now let's see kanye do something like that. and, in parallel, though without the star-studded mega-spectacle, the first anti-homophobic country song that i've ever heard from a major commercial artist was performed at the cma's: 'follow your arrow' by the really amazing kacey musgraves, who is also, at age 12 or whatever she is, one of the best and most important songwriters in nashville. anyway, i think that the thing below was a bit of a turning point. maybe country music doesn't much matter, but you might contemplate the possible effects of the expression of a completely changed attitude in the places where country is dominant.
the line she's dropping under the usual meaningless censorship constraints is 'roll up a joint...or don't.' really, we don't give a damn how your song sounds. only we can't let you make the noise 'joint'. reallym though, you can't blame anybody, because your little censors, whether at the fcc or wtihin a network, are not in control of the extent of their own intelligence. you know? no one decides to be stupid. it's all inadvertent, really.
that song is by far the most optimistic thing on kacey's 'same trailer, different park'. as many have remarked, kacey's is essentially a very bleak vision, and, i would add, also a very traditional realist project (courbet's, e.g.), which is also a project of hip hop (or was until there was nothing left except brand-name consumer products): representing the experience of, say, shattered working-class or impoverished families and neighborhoods (try 'merry go round') .
a ritual enactment of heterosexuality and a great country song:
one way to think about kacey would be as a melancholic taylor swift, natural because they're both about the same age, they're both astonishingly good writers, they both are kind of modely-looking. but that would unfair to kacey, who is an original figure. also they each have a very distinctive melodic sense, and they are very different. still, it's pretty cool to sort of have the light and the dark side of of girlish genius; they're a nice yinyang.
you know, it is kind of annoying how much easier it seems to be for pretty than for non-pretty people to make it as musicians. it's kind of irrelevant. but on the other hand, one shouldn't infer from the fact that someone is pretty that they're not good. if the looks helped in these particular cases to get the music out there, the looks did us all a favor.