First Hit #1: March 4, 2000
What is the difference between a country ballad and a pop one? In the case of Lonestar, very little. There’s some steel guitar wandering through on occasion, like a loitering youth at a convenience store. There’s a fiddle that sits in the background, because that’s the law in country music. The vocals have a bit of a twang to them that doesn’t really show up very much in pop music, which is kind of refreshing and a bit different when compared to the rest of the chart, though significantly less appealing if you grew up in a rural area like I did.
Otherwise, apart from some instrumental touches, this is a pretty typical piano-driven pop ballad, something proven by how many people have covered it and turned it into exactly that. An argument could be made that country music is just pop with different instruments, but that’s not always the case. Country often goes in directions that can take it pretty far afield from what would normally top a pop chart. However, with a crossover hit like Lonestar managed, we do get pop music with different instruments, and not even that many different instruments. It’s a retrofitted vocalist and a couple instrumental edits away from being straight up pop music, the only reason it gets classified as country is due to Lonestar clinging to those small cliches that define the genre.