The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 7: #80-#61

The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 7: #80-#61


“When Somebody Loves You”
Alan Jackson
Peak: #5

A treasure of a love song. Contrasted stunningly with modest accompaniment and vocals, the song’s message is that of love’s sublime ability to transform one’s life and bring light to dark. – Tara Seetharam

“Separate Ways”
Rick Trevino
Peak: #59

“Separate Ways” is an instructive narrative of a couple who did everything together, but “the last thing they did together was go their separate ways.” Fortunately, the song’s narrator learns from his parents’ divorce and wisely applies its valuable lesson to his own relationship. – Leeann Ward

Ashley Monroe
Peak: #43

Unable to keep her love interest interested, Monroe looks out at the world around her and wonders why nobody seems to just appreciate what they have instead of coveting what they can’t. Her ethereal performance is even better than the classic question she poses: “Does it have to be wrong to make it feel right?” – Dan Milliken

“Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love”
Trisha Yearwood
Peak: #19

A bluesy, sizzling, revitalizing powerhouse of a song that, upon its release, aptly slapped us in the face with a reminder that Yearwood is one of the best female vocalists in the genre. – TS

“The Man Comes Around”
Johnny Cash
Peak: Did not chart

It has often been said that when we hear God’s voice, it will sound like Johnny Cash’s voice. While the deep timbre of Cash’s voice is absent from this single, the resonance is still there. As a result, “The Man Comes Around” is charismatically fiery in all the right ways. – LW

“More Like Her”
Miranda Lambert
Peak: #17

Radio has rarely heard such a tangible, heartbreaking breadth of emotions in one song – regret, stubbornness, resignation, inadequacy. Lambert sells every note of it, with a beautiful, largely under-appreciated vocal performance. She may be known for being a hell of a fireball, but this song packs more of a punch than many of her raucous numbers. – TS

“Dig Two Graves”
Randy Travis
Peak: Did not chart

As time passes, our superficial bonds tend to fall away while our meaningful ones become ever more deeply woven into our lives. In “Dig Two Graves”, Travis’ connection with his wife has become his life blood, a love so central to his existence that he’s sure he won’t live very long once its source is gone – and what’s more, he doesn’t want to. – DM

“Welcome Home”
Dolly Parton
Peak: Did not chart

A piece of songwriting that can stand toe to toe with “Down From Dover”, “Coat of Many Colors”, and “Light of a Clear Blue Morning”, and not look any paler in comparison. – Kevin Coyne

“The Reason Why”
Vince Gill with Alison Krauss
Peak: #28

The truly memorable songs in Gill’s catalog are the ones that take his angelic voice and wrap it around all the twists and turns of a throbbing sentiment. “The Reason Why” finds Gill desperately, longingly and self-deprecatingly looking for answers that he may never find, and it’s made all the more effective by his smoothly intense delivery. – TS

“Where Are You Now”
Trisha Yearwood
Peak: #45

Yearwood at her raw and throaty best, elevating an already stellar Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kim Richey song with her powerful vocal in a way that neither songwriter ever could. – KC

“If I Didn’t Know Any Better”
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Peak: Did not chart

With killer dobro and Krauss’ sweet voice, this song is a heavenly sonic experience. – LW

“A Hard Secret to Keep”
Mark Chesnutt
Peak: #59

This is, hands down, the best straight-up country cheating song of the decade, which awesomely explores a “cheater’s paranoia.” – LW

“Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”
Big & Rich
Peak: #11

One of the biggest explosions of personality Nashville has ever seen. It’s country, rock and hip-hop all smushed together with a glorious goofball glaze, one of those rare novelty singles that has overcome its novelty status and simply become a classic. That it smashed down the door for “She’s Country” and “That Thang” to creep in is something for which you’re just going to have to forgive it. – DM

“Little Sparrow”
Dolly Parton
Peak: Did not chart

Parton’s performance is deceptively gentle, but the lyrics are blunt and harsh: “All ye maidens hede my warning/Never trust the hearts of men/They will crush you like a sparrow/Leaving you to never mend.” – LW

“Dixie Lullaby”
Pat Green
Peak: #24

There are no grand proclamations made by Green in this tribute to a late father – just simple, touching descriptions of a “mountain of a man” who worked hard and loved his family. Country music is flooded with stories of the small-town southern man, but few have been delivered with as much rough personal conviction as this one. – TS

“Somebody’s Hero”
Jamie O’Neal
Peak: #5

If God allows enough time to go by, the parent becomes the child. This is a beautiful celebration of reciprocity for a job well done. – KC

“Sin Wagon”
Dixie Chicks
Peak: #52

A rebel cry so spirited, fun and unapologetic that it’s bound to make any good Christian feel a little uneasy just for enjoying it. – DM

“Sissy’s Song”
Alan Jackson
Peak: #9

Alan Jackson has cornered the market for simple, yet meaningful songs. “Sissy’s Song” is a simple ode to a lost friend that could sound pedestrian from a less capable artist, but  works as an appropriately reverent piece of beauty in Jackson’s naturally sincere hands. – LW

Miranda Lambert
Peak: #15

After two forgettable lead singles, Lambert shot out from the pack with this murderous, arsonist rewrite of Steve Earle’s “I Feel Alright” that featured her little-bitty girl voice snarling, “I’m givin’ up on love, ’cause love’s given up on me.” She has built her career after the imagination and intelligence first displayed in this song, and country music today is better for it. – DM

“I Need You”
Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Peak: #8

A burning collaboration whose heavy declarations might be tacky (“I need you like a needle needs a vein”) if they weren’t sung by two lovers whose chemistry is absolutely, unequivocally convincing. – TS

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  1. “Where Are You Now” is one of my favorite Yearwood songs, and “Sissy’s Song” is one of my favorite Alan Jackson songs

  2. Keeps getting better! Glad to see More Like Her by Miranda. She’s underrated already as it is, but if it’s possible, this song is even more underrated. It’s probably my favorite Miranda song, only eclipsed lately by The House That Built Me.

    I totally forgot about Sin Wagon. It’s still one of my favorite guilty pleasures of all time. I didn’t realize it peaked that low. Wow.

  3. The Yearwood (“Where Are You Now”) and Krauss (“If I Didn’t Know Any Better”) entries are two of my favorites. I hope to see “I Don’t Paint Myself Into Corners” show up somewhere in the Top 60!

  4. glad to see some love for “Where Are You Now,” and “HHPOL”

    also loved “Kerosene” and “More Like Her”

    This is the greatest ‘list’ of the whole 201 songs list so far! :)

  5. Leeann,

    I saw his initals in quite a few, but i mean I havent seen any post or replies from him lately in any of the recent topics, unless I am missing them

  6. Jon,

    I don’t think any of us realized this when we compiled the list, as it was included in the chart book or what-have-you Kevin used, but “Sin Wagon” apparently wasn’t an official single. It charted from unsolicited airplay in 1999 and 2000, which explains the low peak. That said, the Chicks did release a really popular live video of it in 2004, and the song has a higher profile than many of the official singles from the decade, so I think it still fits in alright with the rest of the countdown.

  7. I love Tim and Faith and love their song that they used as a closing love song on their tour,but honestly,it’s your love is their best colaberation,along with “lets make love” and they still are after 13 years. beautiful couple

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