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The Year of Y'allternative

Blog > The Year of Y'allternative

Written by Morgan Learn

Posted May 2nd, 2024

Pull up your cowboy boots, and starch your jeans because the year of y’allternative is upon us. The year of 2024 is trending towards twangy tunes, focusing on country influences embedded into alternative steez. If the term y’allternative sounds made up, that’s because it is. “Y’allternative” was coined some years ago, however its prevalence in mainstream culture has become more apparent in recent months.

More and more musical acts have embraced the y’allternative sound. The release of Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter”, Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” continuously charting worldwide, and Post Malone’s (currently untitled) upcoming country album have demarcated a shift in musical influence. The pendulum has swung in favor of the alternative/ country fusion.

If you don’t have a pair of boots, or vintage tee, check out our Dallas location for y’allternative apparel. Or, you could skip the formalities and focus on the vibes with these 6 (unranked) tracks to get you into the yee-haw mindset.

1. Sparklehorse - Cow

Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous might own the crown, or cowboy hat, to the “y’allternative” genre. Known for using out of tune instruments and toys from the garbage to create a distinct sound, Linkous epitomizes the raw, twangy feeling of the modern western genre. While “Cow” might seem a bit on the nose for a song title, it still holds weight. From the whistling harmonica, to the barebones lyrics, Sparklehorse encapsulates the bareness of the countryside, and the lonely feeling that accompanies it.

2. Kacey Musgraves - Deeper Well

Texas’ “golden” girl has returned, offering a new perspective on life and letting go. The song’s softness can be attributed to the dripping piano keys, coupled with a simple guitar melody. Musgraves reflects with appreciation, but honors herself with a promise to leave things in the past that no longer serve her.

3. Wilco - Passenger Side

“Passenger Side” from Wilco’s 1995 album “A.M.” is something you listen to after day drinking, which coincidentally is how Jeff Tweedy sounds while singing this tune. Drunk utterances aside, “Passenger Side” is akin to those conversations you have while on the brink of a gnarly hangover. While Josey Records does not condone drinking and driving, we do urge you to listen to the album in full.

4. Wednesday - Quarry

Wednesday's “Quarry” tells a story of a town’s uneventful misadventures. As straightforward as the lyrics are, the story is so vivid it’s as if you’re experiencing life with them. Melodically, the song features a rise and fall in tempo. “Quarry” is reminiscent of hearing the height of town gossip, and then retreating back to slow, everyday life.

5. Sorta - outerspace

Local Dallas band ‘Sorta’ were ahead of the trend when they released their album “Laugh Out Loud” in 2003. The song ‘outerspace’ feels like riding in an open boxcar towards an unknown destination. Despite its name, “outerspace” doesn’t elicit feelings of loneliness or alienation. Instead, it harkens to a familiar comfort, like being at home.

6. Kurt Vile - Pretty Pimpin’

Kurt Vile is one of the few people who can sing about absolutely nothing, and yet, still tell a compelling story. The lyricism in “Pretty Pimpin'" feels like a conversation with a friend, while the repetitive guitar plucking reminds you it’s a song. Vile, distractedly, tells you about waking up and not feeling like himself, but looks in the mirror and remembers who he is. The simplicity of the song captures the essence of what it means to be “y’allternative”. “Pretty Pimpin'’' is one of those songs you can listen to with the windows rolled down on a hot day.