1. “In Color,” Jamey Johnson
2. “Waitin’ on a Woman,” Brad Paisley
3. “This Is Me You’re Talking To,” Trisha Yearwood
4. “She Left Me for Jesus,” Hayes Carll
5. “What I Cannot Change,” Leann Rimes
6. “Last Call,” Lee Ann Womack
7. “Anything Goes,” Randy Houser
8. “Dig Two Graves,” Randy Travis
9. “Please Read the Letter,” Alison Krauss & Robert Plant
10. “Fine Line,” Little Big Town
11. “Mockingbird,” Allison Moorer
12. “Crazy Arms,” Patty Loveless
13. “This Town Needs a Bar,” Jeremy McComb
14. “Just Got Started Loving You,” James Otto
15. “Takin’ off This Pain,” Ashton Shepherd
16. “Gold,” Emmylou Harris
17. “Every Other Weekend,” Reba McEntire & Skip Ewing
18. “You Look Good In My Shirt,” Keith Urban
19. “More Like Her,” Miranda Lambert
20. “Love Don’t Live Here,” Lady Antebellum
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.
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 list, it’s a shame that this one didn’t chart better for Yearwood. – LW
Sarah Buxton, “Space”
When Sarah Buxton’s voice is matched with a soaring melody, good things are bound to happen. Here, she tears apart the standard breakup line, “I just need space”, thoroughly eviscerating the man foolish enough to ask for it. – KJC
Jewel, “Stronger Woman”
Back when Jewel ruled pop radio, she did so with smart and empowering female anthems. Her introduction to country radio is cut from the same cloth, and let’s be honest: such material hasn’t been any more common on the country dial than it has been on pop radio this decade. – KJC
Ah, developing niches. Newbie McComb had an solid debut playing the passively frustrated lonely guy in “This Town Needs a Bar,” and now he reprises the role in this buzzed-about follow-up. Fair enough.
The song is what I imagine we’d get if Rob Thomas decided to “go country” and took the now well-worn approach of simply adding a few twangy flourishes to his established pop style. We open with a dramatic vocal busting out of a slow-building piano part, then we get a quick little pre-chorus, and then – BAM! – big, instant hook in the chorus that gets repeated a lot, just for good measure. And just as with much of Thomas’ writing, the lyrics framing that catchy hook – and honestly, that’s probably all they’re here to do – are vague as all get-out, speaking exclusively in cryptic, oft-used expressions of romantic interplay (“Something ’bout the way you move me / Is telling me that you’re still crazy for me”).
So make no mistake: it’s a pop song. In the purest sense of the term. But let’s look at the strengths here: though McComb is still finding his voice, he sings this thing with a Troy Gentryish rock gusto that keeps the record lively, and that hook is unstoppable, though I imagine it might get annoying if this song gains traction at radio. So all-in-all, it’s not an unpleasant listen – but if this kind of song is your thing, you’d be better off digging up your old Matchbox Twenty CDs and revisiting “Bright Lights.”
Written by A. Whisnant