Another ten entries on a list that has too much Florida Georgia Line and not enough Dixie Chicks. This section has both.
Florida Georgia Line, “Stay”
#1 | 2013
JK: Nah, I’m good. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: It goes Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs > David Bowie > Sugarland > Shakespear’s Sister > Four Seasons > Rihanna > [All the other songs called “Stay”] >>>>> Florida Georgia Line. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
BF: Florida Georgia Line proves that they can suck at serious songs just as bad as at party songs. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Marty Robbins, “Don’t Worry”
#1 | 1961
KJC: A smooth vocal from Robbins gives so much nuance to the delivery of the title here that it works as well as a statement of confidence as it does as a masquerade of deep despair. About Right
JK: Robbins is one of the genre’s finest vocalists; this isn’t my favorite song he recorded, but he could’ve made Florida Georgia Line’s “Stay” at least sound decent. About Right
Alan Jackson, “Small Town Southern Man”
#1 | 2007
JK: It’s so easy for songs like this to come across as pandering, and it’s one of Jackson’s singular gifts that his songs in this vein never do. About Right
KJC: Jackson always scores when he writes about his dad. This doesn’t have the raw grief that made “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” so viscerally moving, but this reflection from a distance is carried instead by gratitude and admiration. About Right
Vern Gosdin, “Chiseled in Stone”
#6 | 1988
KJC: A masterclass in country music songwriting, paired with the perfect vocalist for its delivery. Too Low
JK: I am always surprised that this stone classic wasn’t a #1 hit. Not just Gosdin’s career-defining record, “Chiseled In Stone” belongs in any serious discussion about country music as an art form. Entirely Too Low
Sara Evans, “Born to Fly”
#1 | 2000
JK: That Ozark drawl has always been far too thick to mask in a pop-diva production: Singles like this are where Evans shines. Too Low
KJC: A signature song from an underrated artist. Still sounds great today. About Right
BF: Evans’ finest moment. A coming-of-age classic that imbues just enough detail to create a relatable central character while still allowing just about any listener to see something of himself or herself in the story. It perfectly captures the wide-eyed optimism of a young adult ready to explore her potential in life. About Right
Brooks & Dunn, “My Next Broken Heart”
#1 | 1991
KJC: It’s still somewhat shocking just how good the debut album from Brooks & Dunn was. For an act assembled at a record label boardroom table, their genuine chemistry still shone through. About Right
JK: I’ve always liked them more as a singles act than an albums one; that’s not a criticism, just an assessment of their relative strengths. Not the best single from their opening run– but what a murderer’s row of hits that was– but this one does belong on the list. Maybe just not quite this high. Too High
Jason Aldean, “Crazy Town”
#2 | 2010
JK: Rewrites a well-worm trope in the broadest and, frankly, dumbest and most artless terms, and performed with Aldean’s typical brand of almost-competence. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: This makes Kenny Chesney’s “Big Star” sound like Trisha Yearwood’s “Wrong Side of Memphis.” So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
BF: Many fine country songs have been written about the pursuit of Nashville stardom. This isn’t one of them. This one is nothing but loud. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Dixie Chicks, “You Were Mine”
#1 | 1998
KJC: I do love the Chicks, but this particular record always felt undercooked to me. I think Maines sings in too low of a register. Wide Open Spaces is way too present on this list, providing four of the seven Chicks entries. The missing singles from Home and Taking the Long Way should be much higher, so I’d replace this one with a Fly entry. Too low for “Goodbye Earl,” so I’ll go with “Some Days You Gotta Dance” or “Without You.” So Wrong (This Song)
JK: I’ll never understand Kevin’s relative antipathy toward Wide Open Spaces; “You Were Mine” was the first single to prove that the Chicks were capable of far more than just pluck and sass. I agree that they’re under-represented on this list, but this ballad belongs here. About Right
Don Williams, “(Turn Out the Light and) Love Me Tonight”
#1 | 1975
JK: I like this single, but I’d also replace it with “If Hollywood Don’t Need You (I Still Do)” if Williams’ hits were a zero-sum game for this list. About Right
KJC: This is the most polite one night stand invitation I’ve ever heard. But Williams always was the perfect gentleman. About Right
Craig Morgan, “Bonfire”
#4 | 2009
KJC: The trend toward obnoxiously loud production doesn’t work in Craig Morgan’s favor here, as his pure hillbilly voice should be accompanied by acoustic instruments and a whole lot of fiddle and steel. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: Morgan was the male equivalent to Martina McBride in his era: It seemed like he would bellow and bluster about damn near anything, whether or not it actually made sense to get so worked up. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Previous: #880-#871 | Next: #860-#851
Even one Dixie Chicks song is too much.
Overblown martyr band.
So happy to see Williams’ Turn Out The Light And Love Me Tonight on the list. It was the first song I ever heard by him and remains a personal favorite.
While this list is full of head-scratching songs, it almost makes it worth it when they get one or two right.
Don Williams is so great! His records with Garth Fundis in particular still hold up.
Of course, one can’t help dig that fuzz-tone bass in “Don’t Worry” (which was the result of an errant studio speaker, if I remember it right). Not only did it give Marty yet one more #1 country hit (ten weeks at said position), but it also made it up to #3 on the overall Hot 100 in April 1961, making it, I think, his second biggest hit on the Hot 100 after “El Paso”.
Liked Gosdin’s “Chiseled in Stone” – I just listened to it for the first time.
Agree w KJC on “Some Days You Gotta Dance” to replace “You Were Mine”.
How the hell is Chisled in Stone only at 867? It should be in the top 25!
Too much FGL on this list, although Stay is one of their better ones.
I like “You Were Mine.” But now I’ll say it: DC has the biggest omission on the entire list. How can you possibly leave off “Travelin’ Soldier?!”
I still think “Long Time Gone” is the most egregious oversight on the entire list, but it’s absurd that “Travelin’ Soldier” isn’t included, either.
“Born to Fly” is wayyyy too low! This is Sara Evans at her best.
I want to work wherever this list was put together because you are allowed to come to work drunk and so out of your mind high that “Chiseled in Stone” is only the 867th best country song ever.
I’m with Scott and Backwood Southern Lawyer, “Chiseled in Stone” should definitely make at least top 200. I think of it every time I hear a ballad like this from one of the country bros (Paisley’s “Waiting on a Woman” comes to mind) and think of how far the genre has fallen.