Pop Country Crossover Essay

2281 words - 10 pages

The music industry has seen artists of all genres change their sound continuously. Artists like Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, and Garth Brooks are known for redefining their genre with crossover pop hits. Crossover artists have always seemed to come under fire because of their undefined genre. Why artists would tinker with their success is a question that remains unanswered. This has been no exception to Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift who have both been questioned for their transitioning country to pop-rock sound as their careers progressed. Taylor Swift is considered as the modern-day Garth Brooks for her country superstardom and crossing over into other genres. Garth Brooks and Taylor ...view middle of the document...

Garth Brooks was the bestselling artist of any genre in the 1990s and the bestselling country artist of all time to this day (Feiler). Garth Brooks made more money each year than the entire industry made in 1970 (Feiler 104). The book Dreaming out Loud explained Garth’s persona in the 1990s, “Garth had achieved his (megastar) status by acting like an innocent kid who accidently struck it rich. It was all part of his charm. He read the Bible, thanked his mother…his imagery was so simple, so elementally American-hat, guitar, mama’s boy” (Feiler 6). Garth Brooks owned the country music industry and embodied the “New Nashville” by making people who hate country, love country once they listened to his fresh take on country music (Feiler 7). Garth made everyone a fan by his image, “Garth was a contemporary cowboy. He was humble, courteous, hardworking, and fundamentally All-American” (Feiler 104). Garth Brooks related to people on a personal level just by his friendly, homegrown persona.
After ten years of being basically the same, genuine person Garth decided it was time for a change. Garth changed his look, his sound, and his name as an attempt to recreate himself as a rockstar in 1999 (Maclachlan 196). In 1999, Garth Brooks morphed overnight from a country megastar to a sex-addict rockstar named Chris Gaines. Chris Gaines is best described in the article The Greatest Rock Star Who Never Was, “A slim body silhouette and made his nose and cheekbones stand out. Colored contact lenses, a wig of long black hair, a goatee, and an all-black leather suit completed his moody, sophisticated-rocker look. His appearance had changed so dramatically that he was unrecognizable as Garth Brooks” (Maclachlan 201). Most music star alter egos like Eminem’s “Slim Shady” or Miley Cyrus’ “Hannah Montana” are accepted with little to no backstory. However, Garth Brooks decided it would be best for Chris Gaines to have a complete backstory of his whole life. Chris Gaines biography is told in the article The Strange Case of Chris Gaines and Garth Brooks, “Australian-born, Los Angeles-raised Christian Gene Gaines…formed a band with his teenage pals, and after one hit, launched a staggeringly successful solo career. Two chart-topping albums later, a car accident killed his best friend and bandmate Tommy Levitz, and left Chris in a coma. He spent two years as a recluse undergoing extensive plastic surgery. Two years later, the man once dubbed “the new Prince” re-emerged with an album of neo-psychedelia. His desperate record label released a greatest hits collection. That was the last anyone heard from “Chris Gaines” (Shatkin). Garth Brooks made sure his fans would know who is Chris Gaines by making a full biography and various publicity appearances. Chris Gaines did all the publicity needed to make sure “Chris Gaines: Greatest Hits” would be a commercial success. The album looked promising at first with Chris Gaines’ single “Lost in You” peaking at number five on...

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