My Top 10 of 2014 will probably look a lot different from everyone else’s. You will find no rap breakdowns and they’ll probably be hard to “shake your booty” to. The songs that I always go for when the end of the year comes are the ones that hit me in the heart, the songs that made me feel. If a song can’t bring me back to a moment that meant something to me, then it won’t be one of my top songs. Not to say that there aren’t different songs that I enjoyed over the year, but these are the ones that I enjoyed, that touched me, and ones that will always live inside of me.
So, in no particular order:
Jake Owen “What We Ain’t Got”: This song reminded me what I really liked about Jake Owen. His voice echoes with emotion. When you take away the loud guitars and drums and can focus on his voice, he can make a great song sound even better. This song is almost haunting with the piano and the delivery. The video brings the song even more to life.
Band Perry “Gentle On My Mind”: What a fitting tribute to the great Glenn Campbell. The banjo picking at the beginning is stellar and Kimberly Perry’s voice is spot on. This is one of the songs that really stands out on today’s country radio, and that’s something that I don’t mind at all!
Aaron Watson “That Look”: When I saw that title, I knew exactly where Aaron was taking it. I’m a sucker for a love song. This is one of those songs that will ring true with those of us guys that get excited to get that look from our ladies, and for ladies who make their men work for that look from them! Look for Aaron’s new album next year. If you like honky tonking country, it’s going to be phenomenal!
Dierks Bentley “Say You Do”: Following up his smash “Drunk On A Plane” I love how Dierks went the mid tempo route. He, maybe more than anyone else, is able to put out a party song for the masses and follow it up with an amazing song that’s filled with truth. You can hear the yearning in this song from the beginning.
Kacey Musgraves “Keep It To Yourself”: For a young lady who’s album has gotten a ton of different accolades since it came out, including winning Best Country Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards and Album of the Year at the 49th Annual CMA’s, Kacey has gotten little love from country radio. Honestly, I think it’s because most of country radio is scared of a strong independent woman. Look how long it took Miranda to break through to headlining, #1 status. This song is that middle finger to the guy that left her and wants to come back. As a country music fan, I hope that Kacey doesn’t give country music the middle finger and walk away. I think she’s exactly what country music needs today.
Cody Johnson “Cowboy Like Me”: When I heard this song on his album that came out earlier this year, it immediately became one of my favorite songs. To me, country music misses out on not having more real cowboy songs. This song comes from a very real place about the appreciation that a cowboy (or singer) has for the woman he has to leave at home to spend his days on the road. Cody’s true country voice makes this song a hit.
Tim McGraw w/Faith “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s”: There’s just something about looking back at simpler days and times that makes a song like this make me smile. No matter how old I get, whenever I get home to mama’s house, I’m placed back in time and able to, at least for a time, forget about the problems of the day.
Chris Young “Who I Am With You”: Again, a love song lands on my list. With today’s music talking about “hey girl” and “painted on jeans, it makes me appreciate songs that champion real love. When you have that woman that makes you want to be better and love better, then you want to song about it.
Luke Bryan “Drink A Beer”: What’s a list of best country songs without a song about beer and loss? In my opinion, this is the best song that Luke Bryan has ever, and might ever, put out. This Chris Stapleton penned tune uses the best asset that Luke Bryan has, and sorry ladies that’s not his butt in those tight jeans or his pearly whites, it’s his voice. Luke was able to draw from tragedies in his own life to make this song. You can hear the honesty in his voice. You can feel the heartbreak. Isn’t singing about real life and experiences what makes country music the best music to listen to?
Wade Bowen “When I Woke Up Today”: To show that I’m not a complete downer and love puppy, here is an amazing upbeat song for you. More than any other song I heard in 2014, this is the one that I pop in on my way to work and crank it up. Again, it’s a song that takes you through a real life. Wade is another guy with an incredible voice that is able to make his lyrics resonate with the listener. If you need that song that’ll make you feel blessed to start each new day and put a smile on your face, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than this one.
It was very difficult to limit to just 10 songs, so check out these 10 along with a few other of my favorites below.