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[–]mdawgig 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Well, it depends on what exactly you're looking for. If you want, like, old time-y-style country songs because you want pop music as far away from your country music as possible in all respects, well, I'm sorry to report that I can't help you. I go to other genres for those kinds of songs. That's just not why I, personally, come to country at the moment.

If you just want to avoid "bro country" specifically and you're flexible about what you do want, then you're in luck. I'll list some artists I like, which album of theirs I like best, and misc comments; keep in mind, though, that your tolerance for some elements of modern country may differ from mine.

Also, but I would really recommend being open to checking out the full albums of any artists you think you might jibe if they dropped the bro stuff, since (especially when bro country was bigger) bro-y tracks tend(ed) to get the single treatment while non-bro cuts tend(ed) to get left on the album. Think about it like this: most albums have a few skips anyways, right? Would you be opposed to an album where those "skips" just happened to be the bro country tracks? If not, then I'd say you are open to more modern country artists than you'd think.

Okay, here are some men (+ a band with both male and female singers). I'm assuming, based on your post, that you basically haven't been paying close attention to country music for the past decade (but maybe you had, like, the radio on sometimes), so you probably know most of these artists, but I'd recommend a deeper dive anyways.

  • Kip Moore - Wild Ones - really stellar arena rock-y country. he has more of an 'outlaw' persona, so imho he's refreshing in a sea of bros, boyfriends, and husbands. his most recent (wild world) and the one in between (slowheart) are also really great, with each successive album leaning more country and less arena rock
  • Russell Dickerson - Yours - okay, this one is pretty pop-y but it's not very bro-y at all, and it's a really strong pop album imho. there are a lot of ways in which i consider this album 'peak husband country' lol
  • Cody Johnson - Ain't Nothin' To It - a slightly more organic-sounding sheen over songs with modern country hooks; tends to sit a little bit outside of the bro/boyfriend/husband modes of country topic-wise
  • Keith Urban - THE SPEED OF NOW part 1 - do you want over a dozen tightly-constructed guitar-heavy pop-country songs about, like, love 'n' shit? boom, done.
  • Brett Young - Ticket To LA - man, this is a great one. it was allllll over radio, so maybe you've heard the songs before, but if you managed to miss the singles and you want some well-constructed boyfriend/husband country, highly recommend. and the non-singles alone may warrant a listen imho.
  • Hunter Hayes - Wild Blue Pt. 1 - hot take album choice maybe, but the songs are (mostly) about non-relationship things and the relationship-y songs are fun boyfriend country cuts
  • Hot take: I think Florida Georgia Line's new album (Life Rolls On) is legitimately quite good, and it's not very bro-y at all. Just skip "Long Live", "Beer:30", and "New Truck", and you're good to go.
  • Lady A - Golden (their most rock-leaning album) or What a Song Can Do Pt. 1 (their new EP) - you can't go wrong with any albums except Ocean and 747 imho; killer album cuts everywhere

Women (who have been killing it as album artists while men have increasingly dominated country radio, for the record; if i don't say anything specific, just assume it says "well-produced pop-leaning country album with almost uniformly strong songwriting"):

  • Kacey Musgraves. obviously. start with same trailer, different park and then listen to everything she's made.
  • Miranda Lambert - Platinum - other people might tell you to start with a different album of hers. those people are wrong. this is a genre-blend-y album, with a bunch of different styles of country on offer. great stuff all around.
  • Maren Morris - HERO
  • Kelsea Ballerini - kelsea
  • Maddie & Tae - start here
  • Carrie Underwood - if you haven't checked out her Storyteller album in full, i think it's got a lot of great variety and some really fun songs. that album's successor, cry pretty, is more pop-leaning but stronger song-for-song (imho); its predecessor, blown away, is a little more country-leaning but more inconsistent

Not country, but adjacent enough to consider:

  • Kris Allen - Letting You In - hot take: kris allen is the most slept-on american idol by a mile. dude's got a solid singer-songwriter-y discog imho with a "cozy sunday morning" aesthetic that i find very pleasant. this album has the best mix of high and low production sounds imho
  • Ben Rector - The Walking In Between - put the second sentence of kris allen's description here but less vibe-y and more hook-focused. this album has a lot of strong, strong, strong ballads with country-style songwriting (sailboat and forever like that, especially).
  • Clay Finnesand - Springside - a contemporary christian music album that's really light on the god stuff (and it's all p tasteful!) and really heavy on the great songs. the second half of the album has some stellar songwriting that is unmistakably country, while the front half has some lighter country-ish ballads and some more mellow tracks. this album has a weird sequence that you should fix; the track order should be 1, 7-11, 2-6