Best of 2008

Best Country Singles of 2008, Part 3: #20-#11

December 17, 2008 // 24 Comments

The consensus builds with the next set of ten singles. While there is still some lesser known singles and artists in the mix, more than half of these entries come from top-selling albums. Of course, radio still didn’t play all of those, either, but record buyers heard them anyway. #20 Emily West, “Rocks in Your Shoes” A burst of country-poptimism that manages to sound both sunny and smart. Eat your heart out, “Red Umbrella.”  – DM #19 Sugarland, “Already Gone” Perhaps leaving takes place in two stages.   The heart and mind go first, then the body catches up with them later on.   “Already Gone” explores this concept thoroughly, with keen attention to detail.   “Pictures, dishes and socks.  It’s our whole life down to one box.”   Months after my first listen, I still find myself playing that final verse over and over again. – KJC #18 Reba McEntire and Kenny Read More

Best Country Singles of 2008, Part 2: #30-#21

December 16, 2008 // 23 Comments

The list continues today with the next ten entries, a collection of hits, could’ve been hits and should’ve been hits. Adventurous radio programmers, take note. #30 Little Big Town, “Fine Line” There’s a fine line between imitation and tribute, and Little Big Town lands on the proper side of the balance.  Karen Fairchild steps forward on this flashback to ’70s SoCal country-rock, and her biting, expressive performance matches perfectly with an admonishment of a distant lover. Very fine, indeed.  – BB #29 Willie Nelson, “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore” This ridiculous but fun single just sounds like a Willie Nelson song. While it’s a 2008 single, it sounds as though it could have been recorded at the height of Nelson’s career. Moreover, Willie’s voice sounds as strong as ever here.  – LW #28 The Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs & Ashley Monroe, “Old Enough” A thrilling, organic collaboration that sounds Read More

Best Country Singles of 2008, Part 1: #40-#31

December 15, 2008 // 8 Comments

Starting today, the Country Universe staff will be revealing our Top 40 Singles of 2008.   This list has been compiled through a combination of four individual Top 20 lists by Leeann, Blake, Dan and myself, wherein a certain number of “points” was delegated to a single each time it was mentioned on one of the lists. The final list reflects the total number of points that each single received between the four lists. Those lists will be revealed along with other individual writer content next week as part of our continuing coverage of the Best of 2008. #40 Trisha Yearwood, “They Call it Falling For a Reason” This song really sounds like it could fit perfectly with Yearwood’s music of the ‘90s. The production is both modest and interesting at the same time. Furthermore, the lyrics are light without seeming inane. As we will lament about many singles on this Read More

Discussion: Favorite Singles of 2008

December 14, 2008 // 34 Comments

This week, the Country Universe staff will be revealing its Top 40 Singles of 2008.    Country music has always been a singles format, a trend still prevalent today, as evidenced by the widespread popularity of country radio.  The formats have changed, with 78s replaced by 45s, and then by cassette and CD singles, until we reached the current standard of digital downloads.   But the concept of the single has remained the standard. With our picks taking center stage this week,  tonight we ask you: What were your favorite singles of 2008?  Was this a good year for country music singles?

Reminder: Vote for the 2008 Country Universe Readers Choice Awards

January 3, 2008 // 9 Comments

This year, Country Universe readers get to decide the best music of 2008.  The winners of the  first annual Country Universe awards will be determined by your ballots.   All you need to do is copy the ballot below into your e-mail browser, fill in your top three choices, and e-mail it to   To be eligible, albums and music videos must have been released in 2008, and singles must have been released or reached their peak in 2008. Among the ballots, five entries will be randomly chosen to win an album of their choice from Country Universe’s Top Ten Albums of 2008. Ballots must be submitted by 11:59 p.m.  Eastern on Sunday, January 11, 2009.   Winners will be announced on Sunday, January 18, 2009. Ballot is after the jump. Good luck!

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