The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 1: #50-#41

Worst SinglesAs we begin our look back on the last ten years in country music, we’re starting with the bottom. Over the next few days, you’ll be reading about the worst that country music sent to radio in the 2000s, much of which they actually played.

But first, a disclaimer. This list makes no attempt to objectively list the worst singles of the decade. If that’s what I was going for here, I’d just post a collection of homemade tracks and twenty Rascal Flatts singles and call it a day. Instead, this list takes a broader view, including songs from accomplished artists that were just disappointing, copycat and fad-chasing numbers, and just plain old mediocre efforts.

This isn’t the type of thing we normally do, but I’m sure I’ll hear what I’m right about, what I’m wrong about, and what I forgot to include in the first place!  Look for the best-of lists to follow as the year starts winding down.

The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 1: #50-#41

Mark Wills, “19 Somethin'”

Pick a decade, man.

Toby Keith, “Who’s Your Daddy?”

The biggest casualty of Keith’s ascent to superstardom was his quality check. When your label lets you put out anything and radio goes ahead and plays it, the blame must be spread around for such silliness as this.

Halfway to Hazard, “Daisy”

In which a girl’s sole reasons for existing are to make a boy a man, lead him to God, and give him a child. After that, you can just kill her off in the final verse.  This is why people hate country music.

Martina McBride, “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”

McBride’s bloodless cover of the Lynn Anderson classic lacks all of the layers of irony found in the original, but it secured its place on this list by the parenthetical addition to the title.  “Oh, it’s that song about a rose garden!”

Rascal Flatts, “Revolution”

Then again, if Martina sounds like she doesn’t get the layers of meaning in “Rose Garden”, Rascal Flatts make clear they have no idea at all what John Lennon was singing about on the White Album.  That they have the audacity to start going “Shoo-be-doo-bop” in the background as Gary LeVox sings about Chairman Mao is simply insane.

Joe Nichols, “If Nobody Believed In You”

He’s worried that God is finally giving up on mankind. He was able to keep the faith through all those epic wars and acts of genocide, but no prayers in public school  pushed Him over the edge.

Miranda Lambert, “Dead Flowers”

Person #1: “Wow, this song has no melody at all.”

Person #2: “Did she just compare herself to Christmas lights?”

Person #1: “And it just goes on forever. Who’s singing this anyway?”

Person #2: “It’s by….Miranda Lambert.”

Person #1: “Miranda Lambert?…..It’s…..brilliant!”

Person #2: “Yes. Brilliant!”

Lady Antebellum, “Lookin’ For a Good Time”

She should look for an Autotuner instead.

Billy Gilman, “She’s My Girl”

“The way she moves, the way she grooves. She drives me wild with her wild-child smile.”   It took Billy Gilman singing a romantic song to make all of his inspirational songs seem painless in comparison.

Sammy Kershaw & Lorrie Morgan, “He Drinks Tequila”

He drinks tequila, she talks dirty in Spanish. That’s the premise.  Lorrie Morgan yelping like a chihuahua is the unfortunate result.


  1. “If that’s what I was going for here, I’d just post a collection of homemade tracks and twenty Rascal Flatts singles and call it a day.”

    Aww, c’mon Kevin! I seriously thought you were above biased, journalistic jabs; no matter who the artist it is disrespectful, rude, and shows you lack the creativity and integrity to come up with something balanced and compelling.

    I disagree with the Lady A and Lambert singles, but I agree with everything else.

  2. Love these write-ups, especially the Lambert one! Honestly, I’ve never really been able to make up my mind on that song (despite reviewing it), so I can understand it being here. Sometimes, I feel like the transfixion on random objects is a cool way of illustrating the woman’s building insanity from being trapped in such a cold relationship; other times, it just sounds stupid. I do think it’s one of the more expendable tracks on Revolution, especially since “Me And Your Cigarettes” takes a similar approach and pulls it off much better, IMO.

  3. The Nichols song especially deserves mention for its confused ideas about religion. I would also add, though, that the worst single of the decade, in my view, is Chely Wright’s atrocious “Bumper of My S.U.V.” Badly sung, wordy, thoughtless, manipulative, far too long. Country music at its worst.

  4. Love the write-ups too. It’s fun to see your darker side, Kevin.:)

    I really dislike that Halfway to Hazzard song too. I like the Wills song only for the guitar riff though. As for the Lambert song, it’s really the production that kills it for me. I agree with Dan’s assessment of “Me And Your Cigarrettes”, but I just like that song better in general. I’ve never even heard the Billy Gilman song.

  5. I actually like Dead Flowers. I disagree on the Lady A song too.

    Other than that, this was an entertaining read and I can’t wait to see the rest.

  6. Please tell me that “Beer Gut” will be on the chart later on.

    I’m with you on just about all of this, although I will cop to really liking “19 Something”, simply because I see myself in a good amount of references. That Billy Gilman song should have been in the Top 10, too.

  7. I don’t think “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “19 Somethin” are bad at all. Sure the title and lyrics for “Who’s Your Daddy?” are lackluster, but both of the songs are really catchy.

  8. I’m loving your dark side, too, Kevin! Gotta say, though…and I’m prepared for the judgments…”Lookin’ For a Good Time” is the reason I bought Lady A’s album! Ouch!

    I bought Miranda’s album a week ago and still haven’t listened to the entire thing. I need to do that ASAP.

  9. I like Dead Flowers, though not till I listened to the full album. He Drinks Tequila is a funny song though horrible maybe but very funny.

  10. Love the Rascal Flatts reference Kevin…they are truly deserving of this list and should rank high, (or is that low, for this kind of thing)

    My choice would for the # one spot would be Sugarland’s “All I Want to Do”

  11. To be fair, there will probably be some Flatts singles on the Best of list as well. That one will be done by all of our writers. I think “I’m Movin’ On” is a masterpiece.

  12. I like the idea, and the list is entertaining, although the only REAL singer on the list is Martina McBride, and to lump her incredible singing voice in with the likes of Nichols,Lambert and Toby Keith is insulting her. C’mon…you’ve got ears that apparently work. Hell, even Lynn Anderson LOVED Martina’s version…

  13. Actually Kevin, I like “I’m Moving On” as well…and when I first heard it, before I ever even heard of RF, I thought it sounded like Don Henley.

    Still, I’m expecting to see “Bob That Head” in strong competition with “All I Want to Do” for top worst spot. ;)

  14. Yes to lots of these but “Dead Flowers”?? Come on. One of the worst of the Decade? I’d consider putting on my list of Best of the Decade.

  15. …the writing was on the wall that the outbreak was looming just around the corner. nice way of giving us fed-ups a voice, kevin. even though “he drinks tequila…” is one of my guilty pleasures.

  16. Really disagree about the Mark Wills number and while I think that Martina missed the boat on “Rose Garden” it certainly wasn’t the one of the 50 worst singles of the decade. Other than that, you’re off to a good start

  17. I like the Mark Wills song, partly because it is about my generation. I also liked Martina’s version of “Rose Garden” and don’t think it belongs on a list of the decade’s worst singles. I’m not a huge Miranda Lambert fan, and while “Dead Flowers” isn’t a great song, there are many of others I’d put on a list of worsts before that one.

  18. Your mention of the Joe Nichols song immediately brought to mind B&D’s “God Must Be Busy” which I think is worse than “If Nobody Believed in You”.

    For #1 my vote goes to Toby Keith’s “Get Drunk and Be Somebody”. The title is bad by itself. Then the 3rd stanza of the song talks about driving to the bar and drinking all you want. His theme song should be “call me irresponsible” for writing those lyrics. What a terrible message to send by someone in a position to influence many young listeners. I’ve commented on this before but apparently no one else shares my view.

  19. I think Martina’s Rose Garden is one of the weakest songs on an otherwise terrific “Timeless” album. “Help Me Make it Though the Night” would be another, and “Make the World Go Away”, but they weren’t singles. But the REST of the album is great though.

  20. Bob, I actually agree with you, and I believe I indicated as much before…irresponsible and pandering if you ask me. I little of that kind of thing is fine, but these drunk and stupid songs seem to be the heart of modern country nowadays.

    (brace here for “lighten up” comments) ;)

  21. Kevin,

    The issue I had with your comments is that you are using one band in order to critcize much worse bands on this list.

    “She’s A Hottie”
    “Whiskey Girl”
    “Get My Drink On”
    “Honkytonk Stomp”
    “Put A Girl In It”
    “Songs About Me”
    “Honkytonk Badonkadonk”
    “Watchin You”
    “Chasin Girls”
    “Fifteen Minutes”
    “Invisibly Shaken”
    “These Are My People”
    “I’ll Take That As A Yes”
    “Bobbi With An I”
    “I’ll Take That As A Yes’
    “Beer In Mexico”

  22. “Two Pink Lines”
    “Guys Like Me”
    “Love Your Love The Most”
    “That Thang”
    “Taylor Swift”
    “I Still Like Bologna”
    “Good Time”

  23. I don’t condone drunk driving in real life and I don’t even drink, but I also don’t condone murder or cheating, but I love me a good murder or cheating song. If the purpose of the song were to convince people to drink and drive, then I’d say the song was irresponsible. I’d hope listeners wouldn’t be so influenced by a song to do something that is constantly taught as illegal and dangerous. I suspect other more direct forces would be to blame for those who do. I love “Dry Town”, so I can’t say much about that verse in the Keith song without being a hypocrite. It’s a very lyrically dumb song, but it’s catchy.

    I can’t speak for Kevin on Rascal Flatts, but I’ll admit to being negatively biased toward them. I like about three songs of theirs, but I’d probably like them even better if they’d been sung by someone else. I don’t claim to be any kind of journalist though.

  24. Surprised to see Miranda’s “Dead Flowers” on the list…I think it’s a great song! I also disagree with the Lady A song…I think mainly because I’m a huge fan and love everything they do…but also because I think there are far more worst songs than that to put on the list.

    My pick for the worst song of the decade would be “Bob that Head” or “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” or “Chicken Fried.”

  25. “If Nobody Believed in You” is a good song, but you pretty much have to come from a certain place of faith to appreciate it. And Harley Allen is a fantastic songwriter.

  26. WOW!!! This list is gonna cause some major controversy considering I’m sure it will contradict many of the reviews that Country Universe and its affiliates have, but I’m looking forward to it because it is something different. So plain and simple I disagree on:

    Joe Nichols, “If Nobody Believed In You”
    Miranda Lambert, “Dead Flowers”
    Lady Antebellum, “Lookin’ For a Good Time”


    Billy Gilman, “She’s My Girl” (but i know him personally so I guess my opinion on this particular one is null and void.)

    I’ll keep comin back to check out the rest and the sad part is that i still love most of the other songs, but can still see why they’re here. It’s like my Rascal Flatts fandom, I know they are bad but I can’t help but like them. Ain’t it weird how things work like that sometimes.

  27. Oh and responding to Aaron:

    ~My pick for the worst song of the decade would be “Bob that Head” or “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” or “Chicken Fried.”~

    Bob That Head – YES

    Rockin’ The Beer Gut – I think its funny, but it does get old

    Chicken Fried – Hell NO, Zac Brown Rocks man.

  28. I think there’s a difference between unfair bias and simply not liking much of what a band puts out on its own merits, which is the stance that the Rascal Flatts comment in the intro reflects.

    I like “Get Drunk And Be Somebody”, and I don’t see how that verse suggests drunk driving. It just mentions “driving from work in our ordinary cars” to the bar; presumably, they didn’t get drunk while they were at work, and no comment is made about how they get around after they’ve gotten drunk at the bar.

  29. Haha! Oh, man, this is going to be fun and I am definitely looking forward to seeing #s 40 – 1 over the next few days! I’m with a lot of the previous commentators though, in that I liked “Dead Flowers”. (I love it when she wails “I’m drivin’ through a hurricane. All he can say is, ‘Man, ain’t it such a nice day?'”) Also, “Lookin’ For a Good Time” is the only Lady Antebellum song that I’ve liked so far.

  30. Whether or not Get Drunk and Be Somebody endorses drunk drivng, to me it’s just one more in a long line of songs that celebrate being drunk and stupid. Just another “dumbing down” song, as though we need more of that in today’s Country.

    Leeann, I love Miranda’s Dry Town…very well done, and amusing. I don’t think that makes anyone a hypocrite or inconsistent. It is a matter of quality and how the story is presented…Miranda’s Dry Town is clever, it’s her character that is looking for a drink and lamenting the dry town…it is a smartly done song, whereas Toby’s song is just dumb, unclever and pandering to folks who’ll use it no doubt to celebrate their own stupidity.

    I guess the difference is that in Dry Town, and many of the best muder and cheating songs are often clearly story songs, and sometimes even cautionalry tales. Whereas Toby seems to be leader of his inebriated party pack in “Get Drunk..” Just my opinion, for what it’s worth.

  31. I think this list is a really cool idea and I look forward to seeing the rest,but there’s just two songs on here that I disagree with. The first being Miranda Lambert’s “Dead Flowers”, which I really like and find is a very very well written song. The second song on this list that I disagree with is “Lookin’ For a Good Time” which is the first song that got me interested in Lady A (and my favorite by them), but I can see how it could make this list.

  32. See, I have no problems with songs that celebrate being drunk and stupid as long as I feel like they’re done well. Most songs of that type, I think, are not. But I love the swagger in that Toby song. He just has the right bravado for that kind of thing, I think.

  33. I kind of agree with you on that, Dan. I don’t like “Get Drunk” but Toby has the perfect additude to pull it off, whih is the deciding factor in a “stupid and pointless” song vs an “enjoyable and atupid song”

    Same saying goes for Aldean’s “Big Green Tractor,” Carrie Underwood’s “All American Girl” and many others.

    The right additude can make or break a song with an otherwise fluff lyric in my opinion.

  34. Well, Dan and K, I gotta give ya that…Toby does have bravado and swagger, and that, I guess instills a certain charm into the song. I got no problem with his vocals, or the tune itself, it’s the lyrics and the message that I find dumb and pandering. But hey, I’m only in my early fifties, and I guess I’m already becoming an old fart.

  35. Not so much paying attention to the song choices but LOVE Kevin’s “reasons why”… especially for Miranda Lambert.
    Be sure and save that script as I’m sure it applies to Rascal Flatts and Brooks & Dunn, among others.

    I admit I don’t mind the Mark Wills song since that’s my era, too.

    RF covering The Beatles?? Has to be a sign of the Apocalypse.

    That Halfway to Hazzard song sounds dreadful! Bless your heart for having to sit thru it.

    Something about Lady A that I can’t quite wrap my arms around. They for some reason seem like they should be better than they sound (IMO)…. not sure why.

    Martina is usually either a “Go” or a “No” with me… not much gray area for some reason. I didn’t mind “Rose Garden” but admit it has NONE of the charm of the original.

    Sammy & Lorrie …. There are no words.

    Love your lists! Look forward to the next 40!

  36. I actually like 6 of these songs( Especially the Nichols, Lambert, & Lady A songs) but the other 4 definately deserve to be here,although I think you have greatly underestimated the suckage of the Gilman & TK tunes!!

  37. Steve from Boston – “Whereas Toby seems to be leader of his inebriated party pack in “Get Drunk..””

    Toby hit the right note singing and writing this song (as anyone who’s ever had a shot of liquid courage can attest).

    And there are lots of songs about drinking that aren’t dour and down. I particularly like Mary Chapin’s ode to booze. After she wins the lottery, she’s sitting at the bar getting felt up by Dwight Yoakam and buying shots and cars for patrons and waitresses.

    Long live the hooch (and country songs celebrating it)!

  38. Each to their own, Treacle…and whatever beverage floats your boat. Cheers!

    But you make some good points, and yeah, it is a rousing song, granted, and Toby has a great voice and does it very well. If it had different lyrics, even I might consider it a great song. But I just don’t like the message and the example it sets. I don’t know about you, but personally I don’t need booze to be somebody. (I know, I know, I need to lighten up, but please resist the temptation to mischaracterize my postion on this matter..I don’t mean to sound like a Puritan on all this, because I’m not, really..)

    And I still think it’s one of those all too pervasive, “dumbing down” songs that seems to be the stock and trade of modern Country these days.

    Again, I like Miranda’s Dry Town, not dour and down at all, and it is smartly done.

    And I think Brad Paisley did a great job with “Alcohol” irony and all. But sonically, it feels like a staggering headache of a song, kind of onomatopoetic justice for the “morning after”. But the inebriated will no doubt miss the irony, and embrace the song as an anthem and a celebration of their own overindulgince.

    Funny, I never thought of MCC’s “I Feel Lucky” as a drinking song, but I guess it could be interpreted that way. But I think the alcohol refrences are indicental to the theme of the song, not essential to it. I think the title indicates what the song is really about.

    But hey, it’s an inkblot, and I guess any given intepretation can say lot about the state of mind of the individual listener at the time.


    And thankyou for calling out the Miranda Lambert….I dont know what people are seeing in her, but they arent hearing it in her songs. Being tradional is something Patty Loveless could pull off, Lambert fails at it. I hope to see some more Toby and Martina songs on this list, two artist with potential that really didnt release too much quality this decade.
    Kevin, I know how much you love Carrie but i do feel she deserves at least one spot on this list coming up ;) let you guess the tune haha

  40. Perhaps it’s too easy to make Rascal Flatts whipping boys, but exactly whose bright idea was it for them to do “Revolution” in the first place?

    In all fairness, doing the Fab Four is never easy, even for rock bands; but for Rascal Flatts to do it, given their track record, simply doesn’t work one iota. The only thing that would have been worse would have been a version of “Helter Skelter” (can anyone imagine Gary LeVox screaming at the end “I got blisters on my fingers!”?).

  41. Cory, I wasn’t a fan of Miranda’s until Famous in a Small Town…the song and the video are awesome. This is a good example of her talent as a writer. As is the song “Dry Town”. And as an intepreter, check out her moving rendition of the great Carlene Carter song, “Easy From Now On”, they are both on her terrific Crazy Ex Girlfriend album.

    I would say that Miranda is traditional by today’s standards…Certainly not as traditional as Patty, but far more so than what passes for country music these days. I think this comes naturally to her, and I dont think she is trying to be anything other than herself.

    And she is humble, when she was nominated for a CMA FVOTY one year, (or was it an ACM) she was flattererd to be in the company of some established greats, and said that Sara Evans could sing circles around her as an example.

    I’m not a big fan of her “bad girl” or “tough girl” songs, although I do think she is very convincing. (in a way that Jo Dee Messina is, and that Carrie is not). The lady hunts with a bow and arrow, for goodness sake, so I think she has some credibility.

    Anyway to answer your question of what we see in her, that’s what I see anyway.

    And there is a lot of mutual respect between Patty and Miranda. Well, it is more like awe, from Miranda to Patty, she cites Miss Loveless as one of her “idols”, and Patty’s attitued towards Miranda seems to be appreciation and respect for her artistry. Patty singles out Miranda’s songs “Famous in a Small Town” and “Love Letters” as two of her favorites from Miranda. And the two share another special connection, they are two of the very few females artists to ever win a CMA album of the year award.

    Anyway, to get back on topic, I don’t know enough about Dead Flowers have an opinion on whether or not it belongs on this list. I’ve only heard the sample. (or maybe it was on her EP)

  42. “Perhaps it’s too easy to make Rascal Flatts whipping boys, but exactly whose bright idea was it for them to do “Revolution” in the first place?”

    The producers of the movie Evan Almighty where the song was used.

    I’m sorry, but I really don’t think people would be b****ing about this song nearly as much if ANYONE but Rascal Flatts had done it.

  43. “I’m sorry, but I really don’t think people would be b****ing about this song nearly as much if ANYONE but Rascal Flatts had done it.”

    It’s not that RF did it, it’s how they did it that’s the problem for those of us who agree with its inclusion on the list. No one’s saying it’s untouchable, just that the lack of perspective that RF’s recording/interpretation shows is cringeworthy.

  44. I’d been looking forward to reading this, and neither the actual entry nor the comment thread have disappointed. Good times, all around, and some fine snark here, Kevin.

    As for “Dead Flowers.” I think it’s a fine song on its own, with one of Lambert’s strongest vocal performances. It makes for a strong album track. But I think it was an exceptionally poor choice for a single, especially for an artist with such a hit-or-more-likely-miss streak at radio. I think she would’ve been better served by releasing “Guilty in Here” or “Dry Town” as a fifth single from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and then leading off Revolution with “White Liar,” “Heart Like Mine,” or “Me and Your Cigarettes.” So I can get on board with its inclusion on this list.

  45. I disagree with “Dead Flowers” – I thought that song was really good, one of my favorite Miranda Lambert songs to date and she’s never had a bad one, in my opinion =)

  46. Does anyone else feel like Mark Wills 19 something was a cheaper less artistic version of K.T. Oslin’s “80’s Ladies”? If Im picking a song to travel back through the decades im picking K.T.

  47. I have to say, the first time I heard that Toby Keith song, I immediately pictured k.d. lang singing it as a pickup song in a lesbian bar, and I’ve never been able to get that image out of my head….

    Still mighty entertaining, though….

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Leona Atkins Passed Away; Tim McGraw/Danielle Peck Have Their Days; Stream Joe Nichols | The 9513
  2. Leona Atkins Passed Away; Tim McGraw/Danielle Peck Have Their Days; Stream Joe Nichols | Blog In A Box

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.