Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Country Songs of 2014

Top Ten Country Songs of 2014

I like to make lists.  I especially like to make end of the year lists.  So, without any more hubbabaloo, here are my Top Ten favorite country songs of 2014.

Songs that just missed the cut:
"Something in the Water" by Carrie Underwood
"Rewind" by Rascal Flatts
"Dirt" by Florida Georgia Line
"Friday Night" by Eric Paslay
"Keep it to Yourself" by Kacey Musgraves
"Chillin' It" by Cole Swindell
"Neon Light" by Blake Shelton
"Girl in a Country Song" by Maddie & Tae

And now, on to the my Top Ten favorite country songs of the past year.

10. "We Are Tonight" by Billy Currington

Co-Written by my man Sam Hunt, "We Are Tonight," has a anthem-like feel to it and fits right into the beginning of a party mix to start off the night.  I've never been a huge Billy Currington guy in the past, but this year, he came out with two songs that were certifiably great tunes, "Hey Girl," and "We Are Tonight" definitely have a different more up-tempo Rock vibe to them than his previous album. And if it's any indication of songs to come in the future, Currington is going to make me into a fan of his.

9. "Drink To That All Night" by Jerrod Niemann

The first couple of times I heard Jerrod Niemann's "Drink to That All Night," I didn't really know what to think.  It was the first time that I've ever heard auto-tune in a country song, and to be honest I hope it's the last.  Oh, and I also hope it's the last time that anyone remixes one of their songs with Pitbull.  BUT, the pre-chorus and chorus of the song that aren't in auto-tune are pretty great.  I could have probably swapped this song with one that almost made the cut, but whatever, it's only at number 9 anyway.

8. "Drunk On A Plane" by Dierks Bentley

I was between putting two of Dierks songs for this spot.  It was either going to be "I Hold On" or "Drunk On A Plane."  The chorus of "I Hold On" is really good but I'm not as big of a fan of the verses.  On the other hand, "Drunk On A Plane" is great from start to finish.  Plus, it's a song I can relate my real life experience to...and that's important to me...and that's my attempt at a lame joke...but it's also true...OK, enough with the ellipses.

7. "Cop Car" by Keith Urban

Another song that was co-written by Sam Hunt that he also used for his debut album this year.  I can't tell if I like Keith Urban's version of it better because I heard it so many times before I heard Hunt's version, but Urban's version has a little more of a yearning feel that the song's lyrics really call for. Plus, any time that one of my top 5 favorite country artists comes out with a song in a year, there's a 95% chance that it's going to make my end of the year list.  I could have thrown his song "Somewhere in My Car" on here too but I don't like to double-up on the same artist on the list. 

6. "Day Drinking" by Little Big Town

I guarantee that I will be listening to this whenever the sun is out in 2015.  Forget about it being "5 O'Clock Somewhere," now I have a song to start up a little earlier.  I'm actually really surprised that with all of the songs about drinking and whiskey that there was no song specifically about Day Drinking before.

5. "Dirt Road" by Kip Moore

Kip Moore is one of the most promising young artists in country music.  He reminds me of Eric Church in that his songs are fucking rock songs.  "Dirt Road" is a great country song and a great rock song.  Let's hope he keeps trending in this direction.

4. "Yeah" by Joe Nichols

I have to be honest, Joe Nichols does not look like a country artist whose music I would be into, and yet, I absolutely am.  He had two songs that I was really into this year, "Sunny and 75" and "Yeah." If you go just on song titles alone, it would see that he is making songs out the simplest notions he can, and at first glance you might be right.  But, sometimes the best things are the simplest things (cheesy enough for you?).  The song "Yeah" is actually really brilliantly written and reminds me a lot of Blake Shelton's "Drink On It."

3. "Feelin' It" by Scotty McCreery

It seems kind of funny that "Feelin' It," a song about having a good time in the summer, didn't really gain steam until the fall of this year.  It's on the radio more now than I ever heard in the summer.  Hell, it might even carry all the way through to the summer of 2015.  When I watched Scotty McCreery on American Idol (back when I watched Idol), I wasn't really sure about his star potential as a musician.  He always sounded good but he was kind of awkward and I thought he might be another winner in the vein of Taylor Hicks.  But I forgot that both his voice and personality fit right into country music, because you don't need to have that superstar quality bullshit in country, as long as you're talented.  And that's why I like country music.  Also, "See You Tonight" is a really good song as well.

2. "Leave The Night On" by Sam Hunt

It shouldn't be a surprise to see Sam Hunt near the top of the list, since he co-wrote the number 10 and 7 songs on this list as well.  His debut album Montevallo was my favorite country album of the year.  I didn't even know that I wanted my country music to sound like this until I heard his acoustic mixtape at the begging of 2014.  To be honest, "Leave The Night On" isn't even my favorite track off his album but I wanted to include only songs that were released as singles on this list.  I actually prefer both "Break Up In A Small Town," "House Party," and maybe even "Raised On It" to his debut single "Leave The Night On."  Oh, and "Ex To See" is a helluva song as well.

The best part of this is that Sam Hunt writes his own songs so he is going to most likely have a great career.  The former Middle Tennessee State quarterback blends a sort of hip-hop feel with his country songs to make something of a new age country vibe.  Whatever you want to call it, I love it.

1. "Give Me Back My Hometown" by Eric Church

There it is, my favorite country song of 2014.  Eric Church is like the Springsteen of country music.  I'm not sure if I've read that somewhere before, or if I'm just going off his song "Springsteen," or if it even makes any sense at all, but he made a legitimate country rock album and may be one of the only people that is still making rock music.  I think I can name like 5 bands that would still be considered rock bands.  If his song "Talladega" had come out a little earlier in the year, that may have made the list as well.  Eric Church is sky-rocketing up my favorite country artists.

Here's the Spotify playlist of the songs up top, including the ones that just missed the cut and some additional songs from this year that the artists who have top ten songs had.