Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
There will always be certain standards as to what qualifies as a certain kind of music. You wouldn't look at, for example, Nine Inch Nails and call it country, would you? To be properly called a country artist (or indeed an artist for ANY form of music) requires certain standards as to what qualifies as that form.
In Taylor Swift's case, for example, WHY call her a country singer? What is it about her music that ever sounded like country? What qualifies her, now or in the past, to be able to lay claim to being a country artist? Think about it.
Well, the people who cut her checks, make her contracts, publish her albums, consider her to be a country music artist. That's really all there is to it. Most country music is in the form of ballads, and such, and often use guitars, banjos, and violins. The genre does change over time, just like any other musical genre, but even if you don't like it, she fits the bill of a country music artist.
Sorry for mentioning Charley Pride (didn't know there were so many haters) but let's consider, for example, Dire Straits. I might argue that their last album (On Every Street) qualifies them as a country act, since not only does it have a steel guitarist as a permanent member of the band, but also Vince Gill sings backup on it - hell, he was even invited to join permanently as well!
Actually, I like Charley Pride. I was just pointing out that liking an artist doesn't mean they fit the definition of whatever "real" happens to be at the moment.