Now that we’re in the top hundred, all of the entries are brilliant classics worthy of….oh, who are we kidding?
Chris Young, “I’m Comin’ Over”
#2 | 2015
JK: Leave it to this trash Sirius list to try to canonize Young’s squandered potential like this. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: And I’m going to bed.
No, you know what? This dude had so much potential for more, and other than maybe Trace Adkins, I’m not sure I’ve heard a better voice used to sing such utterly forgettable and/or terrible material. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: This is a fine enough single, but there’s no need for one Chris Young record in the top 100, let alone two. Too High
#1 | 1999
KJC: I guess I’m becoming the “defend the country pop power ballad” guy! I think that this is an extraordinary record with a powerful hook that is sung absolutely beautifully. That it managed to be the first record since “Islands in the Stream” to top the pop and country charts doesn’t surprise me. I wouldn’t go any higher than this, and I’d ultimately choose “Breathe” or “You’re Still the One” as the highest-ranked crossover love song of the late nineties, but overall, this is About Right for me.
JK: On which a middling band attempts to get in on the pop-diva crossover action of the Shania / Faith / LeAnn axis. Richie MacDonald is, mercifully, a better singer than Gary LeVox: Can you imagine the utter horror of Rascal Flatts, the heirs apparent to this kind of pop-country bombast, trying to sell this exact song? Keep it somewhere back in the 900s because it was #1 for a billion years, but it’s just a disaster of a song on its own merits. Too High
ZK: Sure, we need to connect the thread between Dan + Shay, Rascal Flatts, Lonestar and whatever came before them, I guess. Too High
Willie Nelson, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”
#1 | 1975
JK: I still don’t think the genre ever figured out exactly what to make of this brilliant single, Nelson’s finest and most idiosyncratic moment on record. This Too Low ranking reflects that.
ZK: That this very old song still managed to work within the context of a murderous concept album … it’s undoubtedly Willie Nelson’s song, right down to the sparse accompaniment that only highlights Nelson’s offbeat desperation. Too Low
KJC: Willie has three solo records and two duets with Waylon in the top 100. It’s hard to argue against any of them, but I don’t think they got the order right. I’d swap this with his #13 entry. Too Low
Blake Shelton, “Honey Bee”
#1 | 2011
ZK: Granted, Shelton is capable of elevating mere filler material, and this was a big hit for reasons that basically had nothing to do with the song in question or its quality. And that’s evident, given that I can’t think of anything more to say about this. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: What is the signature Blake Shelton hit, anyway? Because both of his top 100 entries are wildly overranked. Too High
JK: I L’ed for real OL. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Alabama, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)”
#1 | 1984
KJC: Ridiculously catchy, but also quite formulaic. I’d push this down quite a bit. They don’t need two records in the top 100. Too High
JK: Do you, though? It’s Alabama at the cheesiest of their production, and it’s just far, far too repetitive. It still scores massive recurrent play, so instead of cutting it altogether, I’ll just settle for saying it’s far Too High.
ZK: Alabama at their hookiest is pure ear-candy, and I got nothing bad to say about this one. I just want to see it maybe a few hundred spots back. Too High
Hank Williams with His Drifting Cowboys, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
B-Side | 1949
JK: Cool, cool. After “Coat of Many Colors,” this would be my #2, and look at what the fuck they ranked ahead of it. Too Low
ZK: Honestly thought I could retire the Too Low rankings now that we’re in the final stretch. And then this happens. I’m so tired I could cry, and have. Too Low
KJC: I mean, all four of Hank’s top 100 entries belong there, so it’s not a huge deal to me that they didn’t rank them in the ideal order. So Too Low, but not a travesty in the grand scheme of things. It’s like the best B-side in history.
Kenny Chesney, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”
#11 | 1999
ZK: What would possibly make me wish for Kenny Chesney beach fodder again? Kenny Chesney singing about country living – that’s what. Too High
KJC: Radio didn’t fully embrace it, but believe it or not, this was the record that pushed Kenny Chesney to multiplatinum sales. I actually give him credit for not going back to this well again. It’s his “Indian Outlaw”, I suppose. Too High
JK: It. Wasn’t. Even. That. Big. Of. A. Hit. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons”
#1 | 1955
KJC: This could be anywhere in the top hundred and it would be About Right
JK: The first time I remember hearing this? It was in the textbook we used in my second-grade music class in public school, and our class sang about the company store like we had any clue what that was in 1988. But I’ve loved this one since then. About Right, but bordering on Too Low.
ZK: Somewhere between a classic and a forgotten gem. Nothing sells mental anguish quite like that booming baritone. About Right
Bellamy Brothers, “Let Your Love Flow”
#21 | 1976
JK: Given the amount of recurrent play this one received, I’m stunned to see that chart peak. It’s their best single, which means it should’ve been back in the 700s somewhere, not ahead of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Too High
ZK: I’m as baffled to see this here as I was to see “Old Hippie” within Rolling Stone’s top 100. That was their best single, and even then, I wouldn’t have it in this top 100. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: This was a pop hit that crossed over a bit to country, and its inclusion makes about as much sense as it would to include Exile’s “Kiss You All Over” or Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe.” I’d leave it off, and throw in “Old Hippie” in the lower half of the list instead. So Wrong (This Song)
Charley Pride, “Is Anybody Going to San Antone”
#1 | 1970
ZK: There’s only one Pride song left after this, and you know what it is. Agree with my colleagues that he’s missing several below the top 100, but as far as what’s in it, About Right
KJC: Too many Charley Pride classics are MIA, but at least they included two of his best in the top 100. About Right
JK: I still think they totally screwed up Pride’s entries, but this one, in the grand scheme of things, strikes me as About Right.