The Best Singles of 2010, Part 2: #30-#21

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December 21, 2010

The countdown continues, with appearances by popular new artists joined by a pair of nineties veterans.

The Best Singles of 2010, Part 2: #30-#21

#30

Roll With It
Easton Corbin

It’s easy to overlook Corbin’s second single as just another breezy summer tune, but it stands above the rest, thanks to its near-perfect execution. From the spirited delivery to the skillful handling of otherwise trite phrases –like the title phrase and “it won’t be no thang”— “Roll With It” makes a fresh, invigorating case for shedding everyday troubles and, well, rolling with it. – Tara Seetharam

#29

I Put My Ring Back On
Mary Chapin Carpenter

“I Put My Ring Back On” is a throwback to the sounds of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s glory days on the charts. It’s catchy with a message of relational perseverance. As a result, it’s one of the two most memorable songs on her latest album. – Leeann Ward

#28

Who Are You When I’m Not Looking
Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton has a strong voice, but it’s most expressive when he dials it back enough to allow the sensitivity to cut through. Exhibit A: “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking.” As one of the beautifully understated productions of the year, he loves everything that he knows about his woman, therefore, he can’t help but imagine and wonder about what he’s not seeing. – LW

#27

Put You in a Song
Keith Urban

Creating hooky pieces of ear candy is one of Urban’s defining talents, and the lead single from his November release is further proof. Blessedly, it’s devoid of the distracting electronic instrumentation that has lately plagued his recordings, which makes for one of Urban’s cleanest releases in recent years. – LW

#26

American Honey
Lady Antebellum

Look, I still don’t know what American honey is, and I’m guessing you don’t either. What I do know is this: Hillary Scott’s performance is layered, vulnerable and desperate – a perfect encapsulation of the wave of nostalgia that finds you in your early 20s. Coupled with the wistful melody, it’s enough to override the wacky metaphor and lift the song to one of the most poignant of the year. – TS

#25

A Father’s Love (The Only Way He Knew How)
Bucky Covington

This is probably Covington’s best performance to date. The song manages to be sweet without crossing the line to sickeningly cloying. It depicts a father who shows his love through action rather than verbal affirmation, which is something that the son ultimately accepts as just as good. – LW

#24

Playing the Part
Jamey Johnson

Something that Jamey Johnson isn’t afraid to do in this radio era of watered down, trite messages is expose himself as less than a perfect human being. Instead, he will sing about drug addiction (“High Cost of Living”) and depression, as we hear in this tale of disappointment that is a result of the crushing disappointment of unattained success. – LW

#23

Fearless
Taylor Swift

As a single release, it was little more than an afterthought, the album of the same name having already flexed most of its world-conquering muscles. As a sort of mission-statement album track, though, “Fearless” still rocks, adeptly capturing the jitters and giddiness of young romance and sort of arguing for embracing such sensations while you can. That Swift tells herself at a certain point to “capture it, remember it” suggests she knows there’s more loneliness and disappointment on the flip-side of this one elated moment. – Dan Milliken

#22

She Won’t Be Lonely Long
Clay Walker

Ringing with effortless charisma and playful sincerity, the lead single off Walker’s latest album was a welcomed reintroduction to his most beloved qualities. Interestingly, though the song serves as a tribute to his classic 90s sound, it fit snugly –and refreshingly– on country radio. – TS

#21

Only Prettier
Miranda Lambert

Lambert exposes the sneaky bitchery lurking behind so much Southern sweetness. Country radio is all like, “Whaaat?” – DM

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  1. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    Of all the songs on this list, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” was the biggest revelation. Clay’s always had a great voice, but this song was the perfect fit for him. I will respectfully disagree on “Put You In a Song.”

  2. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    I love all these songs and agree that the Taylor Swift song was an after thought by the time it became a single. Radio was done with the album by that point and ready for new music from her.

    I’m surprised to see “American Honey” made the cut seeing as it didn’t get an overly positive review back in Jan. That being said, I’m very glad to see it here. It’s Lady A’s best single of the 2010 even if no one knows what American Honey is.

    My favorite song here would have to be Jamey’s although I’m glad to see Miranda released “Only Prettier” as a single. It was that much needed punch of attitude at radio this fall.

    Also, thank you for picking up on “Roll With It” – of all the summertime songs at radio this year it’s the only one I found original and refreshing. Plus, it’s one of the most traditional sounding songs of the year.

    I fully agree that Blake is much more expressive with songs like “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking.” My only problem is, the song is kind of bland and doesn’t do much for me.

    I’d rather he go back to singing the kinds of songs he began his career with. “The Baby” is by far the best ballad he (or his record label) released as a single. It proves just what a great singer he can be when given the right material.

  3. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    I’m surprised to see “American Honey” made the cut seeing as it didn’t get an overly positive review back in Jan.

    Different writers, different strokes :)

  4. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar says:

    ““The Baby” is by far the best ballad he (or his record label) released as a single. It proves just what a great singer he can be when given the right material.”

    Respectfully: bleeeeeeh

    Think his best tracks have been his most “edgiest” and most unique – “Ol’ Red,” “Bare Skin Rug.” I think he’d do well to pursue that “rugged” angle over the hick-frat-boy one he has going lately. He can do a well-written romantic number like “Nobody But Me” or “Goodbye Time” well, too. I do agree the main problem is he just doesn’t find a lot of great material.

  5. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I wasn’t exactly blown away with “Roll with It” when I first heard it, but it slowly became my simple little feel-good tune that always put me in a good mood. While it didn’t immediately strike me as one of the best singles of the year, by now it would probably make my list as well.

    I love the cheery melody of “I Put My Ring Back On” as well as the catchy throwback song. It’s become, not only one of my favorite singles of the year, but one of my favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter songs period.

    I was a bit surprised to see “Fearless” on this list, but I loved that song for many of the same reasons Dan mentioned. It had nice breezy upbeat production, and Taylor was in fine voice.

    I really liked the melody of “American Honey,” and I liked the fiddle, but the vague lyrics and the overly loud drumbeat sank the record for me.

  6. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar says:

    One of the cool things about CU is that we don’t speak in one voice. I love that songs that received negative individual reviews can still make the overall list. It’s cool to see different viewpoints on the same songs!

  7. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    Good list, so far. I have my pick for #1, and for #2. We’ll see if everyone else agrees.

  8. Erik NorthNo Gravatar says:

    Quote by Ben Foster:

    I love the cheery melody of “I Put My Ring Back On” as well as the catchy throwback song. It’s become, not only one of my favorite singles of the year, but one of my favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter songs period.

    It’s good to have MCC back. She may be an “outsider” in the main, but her intelligent way of doing things is a breath of fresh air (IMHO).

  9. BobNo Gravatar says:

    Favorite song here is “Who are you when I’m not looking”. Also like the MCC and Clay Walker songs.

  10. I liked “Only Prettier” within the context of being on the album. I figured it would be a choice selection as a single, though I’d be lying if I said I listened to radio to know whether it held up to that kind of exposure.

    Also, just knowing Clay Walker’s still out there makes me smile. Dude puts on a hell of a show and has always exuded charm and charisma. Nice to see him getting some love.

  11. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar says:

    Also, just knowing Clay Walker’s still out there makes me smile. Dude puts on a hell of a show and has always exuded charm and charisma.

    Couldn’t agree more!

  12. TomNo Gravatar says:

    …when it comes to clay walker – i’m with travis on that one.

  13. SheepNo Gravatar says:

    A rather good list going on here… I’ve got my pick for #1 already, and #2 as well. After that it gets a little sketchier, but there’s a lot of fine songs I could line up.

  14. AaronNo Gravatar says:

    I’m glad “Roll With It” made the list. It’s by far my favorite song from the summer season and just missed my list of top five singles of the year, but it’s a great song!

    I’m also surprised to see Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey” make it on the list based on the not-so-great review it got earlier this year, but I’m glad it made it. It’s one of my favorite songs of the year, but I hope it’s not their only appearance on the list.

    I have a feeling “The House That Built Me” will land at number one but I’m excited to see which songs are ranked inside the top 10!

  15. ZackNo Gravatar says:

    Not bad.

    Glad to see “Fearless” on here, it was one of the few that I really liked from her sophomore effort.

    Glad To See Carpenter on here, but sad to see it so low…. oh well.

  16. CraigNo Gravatar says:

    Agree with:
    -”Fearless” – This is one of the only songs by Taylor Swift I can actually tolerate, and depending in the mood I’m in, enjoy. I find it to be very melodic and honest. Her songwriting, of course, is great, as well (not that her songwriting is ever short of good, because she has a knack like no other).

    -”Only Prettier” – I don’t get the hate on this song or the video for it. I love the song. The lyrics are so “out there”, so to speak. “I’ve got a mouth like a sailor, and your’s is more like a Hallmark card”. That’s one of the best freaking songs I’ve heard from a Country song in a while. That, and it’s a really fun song. I think the music video is hysterical, as well. I love the high school sock hop theme.

    -”American Honey” – Beats “Our Kind of Love” by 5,000 miles. Doesn’t top “Need You Now”, but I love this song.

    Don’t agree with:
    N/A
    I think this entire chart, from #30 to #21, is perfect.

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