It’s hard to describe Dianna Corcoran as a “new” artist, as she’s a well-established star in her native Australia, complete with #1 albums and songs and plenty of awards. However, Corcoran is taking 2016 to introduce herself and her five-octave vocal range to American audiences with a new album, appropriately titled In America, on Krian Music Group/Universal Music.
Rebecca Lynn Howard
This was the decade that brought back the single. Not that it ever fully went away, as radio still played the promotional ones and video outlets the filmed ones. But actual commercial singles had gone the way of the dodo, until the digital revolution suddenly made them practical again. Why buy the whole album when you can just get the song that you want?
The devastation this has brought to record company bottom lines was probably unavoidable anyway, given the realities of post-Napster society. But technology has its perks. Now you can buy the songs on this list with a click of our mouse!
And what a list it is: 201 singles that run the gamut, from genuine hits that topped the charts to songs spun only by renegade DJs working the night shift. Here’s how we compiled it: four Country Universe writers ranked their personal favorite 100 singles, with an inverted point system applied (#1 on a list meant 100 points, while #100 on the list meant 1 point.) The songs were then ranked by number of total points, greatest to least. Ties were broken by the number of lists the song appeared on, then by highest individual ranking.
There was more consensus than usual for CU, and we all agreed on one thing: this list was a heck of a lot of fun to compile. We hope you enjoy it, too!
The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 1: #201-#181
“I Run To You”
There’s a palpable intensity to this song that grips me every time I listen to it. Love isn’t always characterized by peacefulness, and the song’s pulsing production perfectly conveys the urgency, desperation and passion that often accompanies it. – Tara Seetharam
“The Last Thing on My Mind”
Given her allegiance to country music’s history and personal association with both Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, you might think this was a cover of that duo’s first top ten hit. Instead, it’s a very modern-sounding song with a modern-day woman who never thinks about the guy she’s left behind until right before she goes to sleep, when “something in my broken heart rewinds” as she lies in an “empty bed as big as Arkansas.” – Kevin Coyne
A Guest Contribution
by Stephen Fales
“the night was freezing cold, from a heavy snow that day, we warmed our hearts on old time songs and danced the night away” — Gordy/Loveless
Back in 2001, Patty Loveless made a wondrous, rustic and rootsy album called Mountain Soul, a stunningly beautiful and highly acclaimed work of art. Mountain Soul was a natural evolution for the coal miner’s daughter Loveless, who has always been known for the passionate mountain sound that she brings to her award winning Country repertoire. Mountain Soul is potential realized, a bountiful harvest that Loveless continues to cultivate to this day, her current masterwork Mountain Soul II being her most recent offering.
With his new single, “Mid-Life Chrysler,” Collin Raye claims marriage and a motor vehicle as the ideal tonic for a middle-aged man. Raye’s new album, Never Going Back, is due in late spring, and its first track is a step back into the spotlight after a brief hiatus from the Arkansas-born singer. His emotive tenor earned him consecutive CMA nominations for Male Vocalist of the Year, but he’s taken a back seat to his younger counterparts this decade. That voice is an old friend, though, and a welcome relief from the deeper-than-the-holler baritones that dominate the singles chart. Raye is primarily known for his slow tempos, but he’s comfortable quickening the pace on this slice-of-life anthem. ZZ Top-like electric guitars kick “Mid-Life Chrysler” into high gear, and Raye digs deep into the groove. The story revolves around a farmer who doesn’t use fancy designer clothes or lurid love affairs to ease his self-doubt. Read More
Rebecca Lynn Howard No Rules Patty Loveless has proclaimed her as a thrilling voice in modern-day country. Trisha Yearwood covered two of her gorgeously sad ballads on 2001’s Inside Out. And yet, Rebecca Lynn Howard failed to follow these two legendary singers and assert herself as an important new voice in the mainstream. Many expected her a breakthrough after her 2002 single, “Forgive,” a convincing ballad of grief and anger that chronicles her confrontation with a cheating spouse. But after a few false starts in the major label system, she slid into oblivion. Finding Music Row to be a fickle companion, Howard sought the comfort of an indie startup. She signed with Saguaro Road Records, a subsidiary of Time-Life, and her new musical attitude is signified right in the album title. No Rules is a music geek’s dream, daring to drift across genre lines with no need for the square-peg songs that plague Read More
Rebecca Lynn Howard’s voice can easily be classified in the same league as Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Like these women, Howard possesses the vocal power and soul that demands attention and respect. In her latest song, “Sing ‘Cause I Love To”, Howard explains how her musical upbringing influences her current drive to sing. She admits that she loves to sing so much that if she wasn’t getting paid, she would still sing for free. While this mid-tempo song doesn’t match the lyrical or vocal depth of “Forgive”, it’s an autobiographical gift that her fans will surely be thrilled to receive. Furthermore, she delivers an impressibely strong vocal performance that makes us grateful that she loves to sing so much. Written by Radney Foster & Rebecca Lynn Howard Grade: B+ Listen: Sing ‘Cause I Love To