Just came across this on my twitter feed this morning:
This article assesses the link between country music and metropolitan suicide rates. Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work. The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty and gun availability. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates.
Hmm. “Country Music.” How can you generalize about a genre that encompasses both bluesy, soulful, melancholy Merle Haggard AND upbeat country heartthrob Kenny Chesney?
I would like to suggest a further experiment. Expose one group of lab rats to nonstop booze and heartbreak tunes. Williams, Jones, Haggard, Cash. The other group gets to listen to nothing but the life-affirming paeans to domestic fidelity and small-town life that dominate contemporary country.
See which rats try to claw their way out of their cages first….