I have a confession.
I hated country music until the end of 2017.
Like, practically despised it, besides a song or two. Then I listened to one of the songs on this list, and reconnected with a friend who was a huge country fan, and I learned to love the genre. I know these are all very recent country songs (since 2010).
I don't want to offend any die-hard country fans who have been listening to the genre for decades and are appalled at my modern selections. If you are one of those people, I get it—I'd feel pretty disgraced too if I were there for some of the ORIGINAL country artists and now witnessed their due credit vanish into thin air.
I supposeeee it's like when kids nowadays talk about the best Disney songs, and all I want to do is scream, "NO! YOU DON'T KNOW DISNEY! You didn't listen to all the High School Musical and Hannah Montana songs that I did!"
Going back to the country music, though, in my defense, I AM young. I didn't grow up with Kenny Chesney or Billy Ray Cyrus (well, except as Miley Cyrus's dad, of course!).
I'm still not crazy for country music that's EXTRA country... if that makes sense. You know—with the heavy banjos and super strong twang, songs that only talk about boots and beer. I have a special term for it: "hickory dickory dock" music. Don't ask me. That's just what I've always called it, and it stuck. Ask my friends.
Soooo maybe I'm a little biased, but this is my selection of the top 10 country songs of this decade, and of all time. Each of these songs hits me right in the feels. Enjoy!
P.S. There's no order.
1. "I Hope You're Happy Now" - Carly Pearce & Lee Brice
This is my newest addition. I'm not exaggerating when I say I listened to it at least 25-50 times one day. I was merciless with that replay button. I memorized all the lyrics that day, too.
Carly's voice is just so clean and buttery. And, oh man, when Lee Brice sings, "I'm a wreck. I'm a mess..." It breaks my soul, in the best of ways. I love it.
The music video is fantastic, too!
2. "I Hate This" - Tenille Arts
I first heard this song while watching Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor. He was dancing to it at a live concert with a contestant named Elyse. I was kind of sad she left shortly after! :(
Right when it began, I was transfixed on the screen, mouth open. It's kind of hard to explain, but I connected with it instantaneously—especially that chorus, man. Once I collected my wits, I scrambled to open Shazam, so I could record the name of the song. As though I couldn't have just looked it up later.
I love the way the chorus builds higher and higher, and the resulting effect it has to your emotions.
3. "Our Hearts" - Randy Houser (ft. Lucie Silvas)
His voiceeeee, ugh. It's so soulful. The music does a fantastic job of not detracting from it, too.
One of the things I love most about this song is how quiet it is. And sweet—it's SO sweet.
I also found the formatting of this song to be unique and fascinating in that it doesn't repeat an identical chorus. The melody stays the same, and the refrain (last few lines of the chorus) are the same, but the other lyrics in each stanza are different. And then at the end, there's these magical, pivotal violin chords, and Randy Houser sings a line from each of the chorus-like stanzas from before:
"We didn't know that we could fall this hard
But we gave this thing one hell of a start
Picked up each other's pieces and parts"
If I'm talking gibberish (very likely), just listen to it. You just gotta listen.
4. "Last Shot" - Kip Moore
Kip Moore has such a gritty, captivating voice. What I also admire about this song are the build-ups to the chorus (pre-choruses) and the chorus itself ("If you are my last night of hell on wheels, I wanna drive you like I stole ya"). Oh, and the bridge.
So basically the whole song.
5. "Run" - Matt Nathanson (ft. Sugarland)
I don't even know where to START with this song. I love everything about it. Everything.
This one, I feel at a soul-level. The music is delicate, the voices are excellent—and the way they mesh together so well.
But I think what really makes this song stand out is the lyrics. At the risk of sounding redundant, they are simply so lyrical. They are different; they aren't cliché. They are firey. I mean the very first line says,"I wanna watch you undress." And there are so many more:
-"You surround me, pull me, drown me then swallow me whole"
-"You're turn, turn, turn, turning me on / Like a slow fire burn"
-"You trace my lines / Stirring my soul / Shoot sparks at the heart of the world and I watch it explode"
-"I feel your fingers / Pound like thunder"
I first heard this song on Hart of Dixie and have loved it ever since. It also had a special place in my heart in terms of when it arose in my life. You know what I mean—when you listen to a song during a specific period of your life and associate it with that time? I associate this song with Thomas, when my love was growing for him without my even knowing.
6. "What Ifs" - Kane Brown (ft. Lauren Alaina)
Remember when I said I heard a song in 2017 that sparked my love of country music?
THIS IS IT.
When I first heard this song, I was reconnecting with a childhood friend, and we listened to it So. Many. Times. Even though it had nothing to do with our friendship, it became a sort of emblem of us.
I still adore it. The two voices pair together nicely, and that chorus is just so dang catchy and hopeful. This was the first real country song that touched me at a deeper level. It's one of those songs that seems to end SO quickly.
7. "Somebody Else Will" - Justin Moore
Totally off-topic, but I just realized that Kip Moore and Justin Moore have the same last name... hmm. (And yes, I looked it up for you. No, they are not related).
The opening of this song was a little "hickory dickory dock" for me, but MAN, that chorus. It hits me so hard. I freaking love it. I love the idea, the sound, everything.
And sometimes, there are select words or lines in a song that, alone, catch me like a fish. They make me want to replay that specific part over and over and over... And that part of this song is, "Somebody else is gonna hold ya / Somebody gonna get to know ya..." in the second chorus.
If nothing else, at least listen to THAT portion of the song at 1:40 in the video below.
8. "I Hope" - Gabby Barrett
THIS song is unique for one key reason, and it's the concept of the song, the story.
Don't get me wrong—there are many great aspects of this song: the beat, the swing of Gabby's voice (and this time, it's a good thing!). But what this song is ABOUT makes it stand out most.
If for someeee reason you don't want to listen to it—and I really think you should—I'll summarize. It's about a girl who hopes that her ex will fall madly in love with a girl, just for that girl to shatter his heart by cheating on him, so that he is forced to experience the same thing he put her (the narrator) through when he cheated on her.
And that's just not a topic I've ever heard sung about. I'm all for it.
9. "Nobody But You" - Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani
This is a new song, and I don't know if I like it because I love duets, or because I think Gwen Stefani is gorgeous and has such a sweet voice, or because I love how the song and music video showcase her and Blake's relationship, or simply because it's good. But I like it.
In terms of originality, the message isn't anything unique or out of the ordinary. It's just a love song that captures what it means to choose someone and KNOW you want to be with them instead of waste more time.
10. "I'm Comin' Over" - Chris Young
It was difficult to choose which Chris Young song I loved the most. I was torn between this one, "Losing Sleep," which is another song I associate with Thomas and think is so romantic and seductive, and "Think of You" featuring Cassadee Pope.
Eventually I just had to choose one, and I went with "I'm Comin' Over" because I love the fight in it with the narrator being incapable of resisting his love for someone, incapable of resisting "comin' over." It's a catchy song, too.
Guys, there were so many songs I deliberated putting on this list:
-"Hard to Love" - Lee Brice
-"I Don't Dance" - Lee Brice
-"Girl Crush" - Little Big Town
-"Drunk Me" - Mitchell Tenpenny
-"Eyes on You" - Chase Rice
I could go on and on...
Maybe you can tell by the list, but what I enjoy most are the songs I feel at a soul-level. The ones that capture and enrapture me, that make me want to keep listening to them on repeat, that move me somehow. As opposed to Thomas who likes happy and upbeat songs, I tend to enjoy a good mournful song—though many of the songs on this list are admittedly NOT mournful at all.
ANYWAY, what do you think of my selection?? Do you agree with my choices, disagree? Which songs would YOU say make the list of best country songs of all times?
Surely, everyone's got a different opinion on this.
And when did you start to listen and/or like country music? Were you born into a country-music family, or is it something you grew to love, like I did?
Let me know below!!
Until next time...