Because this list is kind of ridiculous, there are two Blake Shelton singles from the same album on this part of the countdown.
Faith Hill, “It Matters to Me”
#1 | 1995
JK: Hill’s finest moment on record. There’s just the faintest hint of a catch in her voice as she breaks into the second chorus, and it’s simply perfect. She’d have far bigger hits later on, but none better. Too Low
KJC: This did so well for her that she repeated the melodic structure on “Breathe” a few years later. A beautiful song from one of her finest albums. About Right
Phil Vassar, “Just Another Day in Paradise”
#1 | 2000
KJC: His songs generally sounded better when recorded by other artists. But as his signature hit, it belongs here. Too High.
JK: A songwriter with a knack for a memorable hook and a competent enough singer, but I never really got Phil Vassar. This is fine as chart-toppers of its era go, but it’s ranked entirely Too High.
Chris Young, “Tomorrow”
#1 | 2011
JK: Not his very best single, but certainly one of his many rock-solid early hits that highlights the extent to which he has squandered his talent. About Right
KJC: A pleasant pure country ballad that previewed a stronger body of work that has yet to arrive. About Right
George Jones & Tammy Wynette, “We’re Gonna Hold On”
#1 | 1973
KJC: This has never been one of my favorite George & Tammy songs, but it’s certainly one of their most significant. About Right
JK: Would you just look at what they ranked ahead of this. Too Low
Blake Shelton with Pistol Annies and Friends, “Boys ‘Round Here”
#2 | 2013
JK: That this is the Pistol Annies’ lone chart hit speaks to every last thing wrong with country radio in the 2010s. This is wretched. Give me the Annies without Shelton’s deadweight; “Hell On Heels” grinds this into the dirt. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: This was not the way to make room for Pistol Annies. So Wrong (This Song)
Dwight Yoakam, “Fast as You”
#2 | 1993
KJC: Dwight Yoakam’s trio of #2 hits from This Time should all be on this list. I’d quibble less with this placement if I knew that “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” was somewhere in the top 300 or so, rather than not being on the list at all. Too Low
JK: The most iconic guitar figure in the last thirty years of country music, and it’s rubbing elbows on this list with “Boys Round Here,” and now I’m just mad. Too Low
Randy Houser, “Boots On”
#2 | 2009
JK: One of his bigger hits, sure, but his first single, “Anything Goes,” is the best of his early offerings. Give me that or “No Stone Unturned” off Magnolia. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: Another great example of the limits of going by chart placement. “Anything Goes” was one of the best singles of its era. This one was more radio friendly, but there’s enough Houser on this list to make its inclusion unnecessary. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Merle Haggard and the Strangers, “Sing Me Back Home”
#1 | 1967
KJC: Trying to work out where to put the best Merle Haggard records on a list like this isn’t easy. They did a good job overall, but this one in particular should’ve been higher. Too Low
JK: Good God, this is a top 100 record, easily. Too Low
Blake Shelton, “Sure Be Cool if You Did”
#1 | 2013
JK: I’d probably be slightly less salty about Shelton’s over-representation on this list if he didn’t keep turning up with useless singles like this one ranked directly above stone-cold classics like “We’re Gonna Hold On” or “Sing Me Back Home.” But here we are. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: I agree with Jonathan. Too much Shelton means too many opportunities from him to be compared to better artists and come up woefully short. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Tim McGraw, “Everywhere”
#1 | 1998
KJC: For me, Everywhere was the album that set McGraw up to be the genre’s best songman for a good few years. It’s appropriate that this is on the list, and it’s also appropriate that the better singles from the album are ranked higher. This one is great, but still feels like a less literate pass at Trisha Yearwood’s “On a Bus to St. Cloud.” Too High
JK: McGraw at his most inoffensive. Too High
Thanks for putting up a post today. Nice surprise and a much-welcomed break from all the news!
I’m most annoyed to learn that “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” isn’t even on this countdown! Also, those two Shelton songs are terrible, especially when he does have good songs.
Has they said what algorithm or criteria was used to create this list.
Speaking of “Fast As You”, I wonder if any of you have heard Runaway June’s cover of the song. They do the song justice.
Also very peeved that “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” is not on the list. Heck, I’m still not over “The Song Remembers When” or anything by Suzy Bogguss not being included. Still, it’s always great to see Dwight on here, and “Fast As You” is still a jam.
“Everywhere” is one of my all time favorites from Tim McGraw. I still never get tired of it. It sounds great while on a long drive, plus it always takes me back to the late summer and fall of 1997. The late 90’s and early 00’s when he rose to superstardom is when he cut some of the best material in his career, imo.
Love the Faith Hill song! Definitely agree that it’s one of her finest moments. Although I also enjoy some of her pop country work, I kinda wish she had stayed with the more traditional leaning sound of her first two albums a little bit longer. Love the twang she used to have in her voice.
“Tomorrow” is one of Chris Young’s best singles before he decided to chase the bro-country trend, imo. That entire album is actually my favorite of his. He had such a great radio friendly, neo-traditional sound going with that record, and it’s a shame he felt he had to abandon it. “Neon” is actually my favorite single he’s released, but I doubt we’ll be seeing it here due to its disappointing chart run.
I actually quite enjoy much of Phil Vassar’s music, especially his first two albums. It’s simply solid, feel good pop country. “Just Another Day In Paradise” is still a favorite, and it always takes me back to the early 00’s. Also always liked “Carlene” and “Rose Bouquet.”
Yuck on the two Shelton songs. The man has a great voice, but he’s wasted it on so much material that’s either incredibly bland or just plain godawful this past decade. If they had included more of his pre Voice era singles, I wouldn’t mind seeing as much Blake.
“Sing me Back Home” is much too low.
I’ve never been a Dwight Yoakam fan, with the exception of “I Sang Dixie.”
“Boys Round Here” is just trash.
Great to see Merle and Dwight on this list, as they represent two great eras of the rural California sound, the 1960s and the 1990s; but it’s also ironic, not to mention depressing, to see these legends’ songs sandwiched between egregious examples of Bro-Country/Tractor-Rap at its most insidious.
Agree with Jamie re Suzy Bogguss. I would at least include “Aces”. Re “Sing Me Back Home”, the first time I ever heard it was on Suzy B’s “Lucky” album of Haggard songs released in 2014.
Not a Yoakum fan.
Yes! “Aces” is one of my all time favorites from Suzy. :)