The Best Singles of 1993, Part Three: #20-#11

As we enter the top half of the list, signature hits by some of the era’s biggest stars rub elbows with a pair of breakthrough singles and an overlooked release by a future superstar. You’ll also find out, in case you’ve been wondering for the past 22 years, just what Dwight Yoakam sneers at the end of one of his classic records.


Tanya Tucker Soon


Tanya Tucker

Written by Casey Kelly and Bob Regan

Peak: #2

#13 – LW | #22 – JK | #28 – KJC | #30 – BF

Cheating songs that successfully make us feel compassion for the other woman are a rarity, but “Soon” manages to make us root for the woman who finds herself in a losing cycle, one that she finally finds the strength to stop. Tanya Tucker’s sympathetic performance and the song’s soothing melody invite us to feel compassion for the woman in a scenario that is usually black and white. – Leeann Ward

Shania Twain

“Dance With the One That Brought You”

Shania Twain

Written by Sam Hogin and Gretchen Peters

Peak: #55

#7 – BF | #19 – KJC | #40 – JK

A pre-Mutt, pre-stardom Shania shines on this should’ve been hit, Norro Wilson’s beautiful waltz-like arrangement perfectly complementing her warm, sincere performance. – Ben Foster


Dwight Yoakam This Time
“A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”

Dwight Yoakam

Written by Dwight Yoakam

Peak: #2

#9 – JK | #11 – SG | #31 – KJC

Yoakam pushed well beyond the scope of his Bakersfield influence on This Time, and “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere” is perhaps the best example of Yoakam’s and producer Pete Anderson’s attempts to match a song’s style to its content. With its swirling guitar figures and the minor chord at the end of each refrain, Anderson’s production reflects Yoakam’s narrator’s sense of displacement and his slow revelation that he’ll never be able to outrun the heartaches in his pockets. – Jonathan Keefe


Confederate Railroad

“When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back”

Confederate Railroad

Written by Steve Clark and Johnny MacRae

Peak : #14

#4 – LW | #9 – KJC

This anti-redemption song may not be David Allan Coe’s version of the perfect country and western song, but it certainly has parallel elements to make it mighty close. “When You Leave that Way” has no comforting resolution, but rather, it’s an account of a man whose life spirals out of control due to his own recklessness. It’s action packed and it’s gritty and it’s close to being the perfect country and western song. – LW


Martina McBride the Way that i am

“My Baby Loves Me”

Martina McBride

Written by Gretchen Peters

Peak: #2

#11 – BF | #14 – KJC | #20 – LW | #38 – SG

If given a different treatment, “My Baby Loves Me” might read a bit more like a standard love song. With McBride’s fierce delivery and Paul Worley’s Springsteen-infused arrangement, it’s an anthemic celebration of unconditional love. – BF


Tracy Lawrence Alibis


Tracy Lawrence

Written by Randy Boudreaux

Peak: #1

#8 – LW | #21 – KJC | #23 – SG | #25 – BF

“Alibis” is a regret filled cheater’s lament, with the song’s narrator warning that his cheating ways has started a chain reaction of more cheating. Like “Sticks and Stones” before it, Tracy Lawrence slides into his lower register with deliciously satisfying results, which also adds an appropriate element of mournfulness. – LW


Wynonna Tell Me Why

“Is it Over Yet”


Written by Billy Kirsch

Peak: #6

#5 – KJC | #9 – BF | #30 – LW

A good friend of mine once described Wynonna as thus: “Most singers who have a lot of power don’t have a lot of control. Wynonna has power and control.”

“Is it Over Yet” is the perfect example of a powerhouse vocal performance from Wynonna, but it is her ability to control that power that makes it a classic record. She pulls back when you’re expecting her to wail, then lets loose with a mournful one when it’s time to go in for the kill. Along the way, she elevates an already good song into greatness. – Kevin John Coyne


Doug Supernaw Red and Rio Grande

“I Don’t Call Him Daddy”

Doug Supernaw

Written by Reed Nielsen

Peak: #1

#4 – KJC | #12 – LW | #17 – JK

Supernaw resurrects a very minor Kenny Rogers hit from the late eighties, strips away the schmaltz, and pours enough heart back in to produce the defining divorced dad record of the decade. (Sorry, Toby Keith. “Who’s That Man” comes in second.) – KJC


Kathy Mattea Lonesome Standard Time

“Standing Knee Deep in a River (Dying of Thirst)”

Kathy Mattea

Written by Bucky Jones, Dickey Lee, and Bob McDill

Peak: #19

#6 – KJC | #7 – JK | #18 – BF

Some very sad pearls of wisdom from Kathy Mattea, as she observes that we are always surrounded by the people that we need – a true friend, a faithful companion, a charitable neighbor – yet we still do without, so oblivious are we to the blessings in our life until it’s too late to get them back again. – KJC


Dwight Yoakam This Time

“Fast as You”

Dwight Yoakam

Written by Dwight Yoakam

#2 – JK | #12 – BF | #15 – LW

Driven by the decade’s most instantly recognizable guitar riff, “Fast As You” is both Yoakam’s catchiest single and his most deceptively complex. What sounds at first blush like a vicious kiss-off is phrased entirely in terms of conditional statements of what the narrator hopes might happen. He’s dressed down his ex, sure, but he’s actually been toughest on himself. When he sneers, “Aw, sucker,” at the end of the song, there’s no lingering question as to whom he’s referring. – JK

The Best Albums of 1993
Part One | Part Two

The Best Singles of 1993
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four


  1. Supernaw’s version of “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” is not only superior to Rogers’ (which was way too pop even for my taste), but also a dang near perfect example of this particular subgenre.

  2. bob,
    “Never was a DY fan.” If them’s fightin’ words around here, I’m on your side :) I do respect the man’s talent and skill, but he’s just not my cup of tea. Just about the only song by him that I really like is “The Back of Your Hand”.

  3. I remember my sister and I were specifically not Dwight fans as kids. In fact, my sister would call him Dwight Yuckam. I think the only songs of his that I liked at the time were “Ain’t that Lonely Yet”, “Suspicious Minds” and “Fast as You.” I distinctly remember the day that his music suddenly clicked with me, in 2005. Now, I’d count him among my very favorites.

  4. @bulbul – I’m not worried about fightin’ on CU. If they haven’t banned my comments yet for not caring for King George or Reba, Shania, Miranda, Dierks, Merle, Waylon, etc. and not being a big fan of AJ, i guess i’m safe. haha. When you read this, you’ll probably want to fight me.

  5. bob,

    here’s a thing: there are very few artists whose music I enjoy no matter what. No, scratch that, there is none. How it usually works for me is that out of, say, 12 tracks on an album, I like maybe two or three. There are artists and albums for whom the number is much higher like Kathy Mattea’s 1990s albums with four tracks each or Garth’s “In Pieces”. In terms of ratio, ZBB’s “The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1” holds the absolute record – I actually like all four songs. So it’s not a particular artist I like or dislike, it’s the song. And in that sense, Dwight is just an extreme case in that it took me over a decade to find one of his I liked.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Jason Isbell, Alan Jackson Star in Buddy Comedy; Best Country Singles of 1993; Ashley Monroe on Fallon | Country California

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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