The year is winding down as we’ve reached the middle part of December. That means it is time to unveil the list of Best Singles of the year, as ranked by me of course. When I starting putting together this list, I realized that 1) there are several artists who appear twice this year and 2) that female artists have been the most creative, authentic, and truly country artists this year. This first of three parts includes the majority of the male artists that appear on the top 30 list.
“Don’t Ya” became one of the songs of the summer as it shot straight to the top of the charts becoming Brett’s first number one single. Carried by an incredibly catchy melody, this song is impossible to not continue singing after it’s over. Brett delivers a fun, laid-back vocal performance that shows off every ounce of the new heartthrob’s charm and charisma.
The fourth single off Aldean’s album, Night Train, is definitely the album’s lone standout track. The soaring ballad finds the superstar recalling the secret spot he takes his love interest where they can listen to the passing train alone. The singer delivers a fantastic vocal performance while songwriters Neil Thrasher and Michael Dulaney deliver great imagery in their lyrics.
Thomas Rhett’s third single has proven to be the breakthrough hit his career has needed. The songwriter delivers a cleverly written yet somewhat safe single that includes an incredibly catchy melody. The lyrics don’t offer much of anything new, but it’s the singer’s emotional vocal performance that propelled this single to the smash hit it has become.
The title track off the traditionalist’s sophomore album could possibly be his best to date. Corbin delivers the flirtatious lyrics with a little of his southern boy charm that made “Lovin’ You is Fun” and “Roll with It” smash hits. The production sticks to the singer’s traditional roots as it seamlessly blends together traditional and mainstream elements that leave little doubt this Florida boy is country to the core.
The latest single from trio Lady Antebellum includes one of the best productions I’ve heard on a mainstream single. Filled with mandolin, banjo, and fiddle, the single delivers an inspirational message of knowing you’ll never be alone that is easily accessible. The trio delivers their usual tight harmonies while Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott shine during solos found in the song’s verses. All the elements work together to create a stellar single.
This number one hit is another prime example that an incredible hook and melody will carry you to the top of the charts. The uptempo ditty offers nothing new lyrically, but encompasses a unique production that proves to be one of the best on mainstream radio. Nail’s vocal performance is filled with his signature soul and finesse that can be found on all his records. Though this isn’t the best single from the one-time Grammy nominee, it’s still one of the best to hit radio this year.
Lady A is the first of several artist who appear twice on this year’s list as the group’s second single off its Golden album is one of its finest. The single includes fantastic lyrics of heartbreak, loss, and the yearning to find love. Charles Kelley takes the lead vocal and delivers one of his most emotional performances to date as his anger shines through towards the song’s end. Band mates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood provide their usual tight harmonies to create a song only Lady A could deliver.
Newcomer Brett is proving to be a huge asset to country radio. The soulful singer’s country-pop singles deliver refreshing productions, creative lyrics, and incredibly catchy melodies. The singer’s second single off his debut album is no different. The production is light and fluffy while the lyrics of falling in love on vacation provide for a fantastic feel-good country song. This is another superb single from one of country’s newest, most dynamic vocalists.
In my opinion this is the song that defined 2013. Darius Rucker breathes a whole new life into this Old Crow Medicine Show classic. The production is by far one of the best to hit radio with plenty of fiddle, banjo, and acoustic guitar. Rucker delivers the Bob Dylan written lyrics with so much personality that it is virtually impossible to not sing along to. The song is taken to new heights as Lady Antebellum offer background harmonies that turn the single into an incredible musical event. This will definitely go down as a country classic.
Kip Moore’s third number one single is simplicity at its best. The beautiful toned down production creates a musical atmosphere that provides the perfect backdrop for the honest, heartwarming lyrics. Moore delivers his stunning, almost lullaby-like lyrics with such tenderness, showing just how versatile of a vocalist he truly is. Just like Brett Eldredge, Kip Moore is proving himself to be one of country’s finest male vocalists.