There have been hundreds of country singles released in the past year (over 300) so it’s only natural to think that this rundown would focus on songs released from there. And, that’s exactly what I’ll will do with this rundown of the 30 best singles from 2017. These songs will run the gamut of the country mainstream and touch on nearly all sides of the mainstream’s sounds, from traditionalist to contemporary; from country pop to country rock.
30. Old Dominion - “Written In The Sand”
One of the most-consistent bands in modern country music, Old Dominion has yet to release a single that doesn’t belong on such a list as this. This one is expertly performed with the band’s clever lyrical calling card evident from the very beginning of this track.
29. Luke Bryan - “Fast”
It’s not often that a sixth single from an album would make any best-of list but like Garth Brooks at the height of his power, Luke Bryan’s able to get through more singles from an album than nearly any other artist and it’s pretty damn great that “Fast” ended up the final single from Kill The Lights. The song’s strong lyrics pull you in while Luke gives one of his best vocal performances to date.
28. Maren Morris & Vince Gill - “Dear Hate”
I originally was going to put “I Could Use A Love Song” here but feel like “Dear Hate” deserves the real mention. Released after the horrific Las Vegas shooting, the song has a message we can sure hear again and again.
27. Chris Young - “Losing Sleep”
The talented baritone continues to bring songs that just sound good in a playlist and on the radio. This one’s no different.
26. Aaron Watson - “Outta Style”
Texas “Red Dirt” superstar Aaron Watson finally broke into the Top 10 with “Outta Style” in late 2017 and damn if he didn’t do it with a song that has a sound and feel that doesn’t - ahem - go outta style.
25. Dustin Lynch - “I’d Be Jealous Too”
The second single from Current Mood may be even better than the first two from the album (“Seein’ Red” and “Small Town Boy”). The melody and production certainly are on the pop side of the country music ledger but that’s fine as it all works very well with this ear worm.
24. Eric Church - “Round Here Buzz”
It’s hard to believe, now, that Eric Church’s guerrilla Mr. Misunderstood release was written and recorded in mere days when this song, the fourth single from the project, is also one of the best. The songwriting is sharp and the laid-back, lonesome melody one that sticks you in the gut.
23. Danielle Bradbery - “Sway”
Danielle Bradbery on The Voice a few years ago and while her self-titled debut album did move the needle a little bit, it was the work of a teenager unsure of who she really is as an artist. As Danielle has grown to know who she is, she’s delivered her second album I Don’t Believe We’ve Met and “Sway” as the album’s first single. This one is inspirational lyrically while having a sing-a-long ready melody. Hopefully it’ll rise to be a bigger hit on the charts in 2018.
22. Charlie Worsham - “Cut Your Groove”
This song, from the criminally underrated Beginning Of Things proved that Charlie Worsham had the ability to write songs that were personal to his own life but also inspirational to anyone else who opened their heart to what he’s saying.
21. Sam Hunt - “Body Like A Back Road”
One of the biggest commercial hits of 2017, this was also the only single from Sam Hunt to be released in the year. It has everything in it that helped make Sam Hunt an instant star and even had some crossover success on pop and AC radio stations. Lyrics are tight and the melody the kind that just gets stuck in your head.
20. Steve Moakler - “Suitcase”
This song may not have hit it big on the charts but it’s still one of the best singles to be released. Technically this song hit the charts over a year and a half ago but the song, which was written by Barry Dean, Thomas Rhett and Luke Laird, showcases a great lyric, a great melody and an engaging performance from Moakler himself.
19. Walker Hayes - “You Broke Up With Me”
This song has been in heavy rotation on my AppleMusic playlist since February and it has continued to sounds as fresh now as it did then. Similar to Sam Hunt, Walker Hayes knows his way around an intoxicating melody and who can’t relate to lyrics to a song which wasn’t inspired by a woman as much as it was inspired by the very songwriting community who always knew how strong of a lyricist Walker Hayes is.
18. “You Look Good” - Lady Antebellum
After taking some time off, Lady Antebellum returned with a strong lead single from Heart Break. It may not have been the most-obvious song to return with but, really, it did what the band wanted and, to be honest, was one of the freshest sounding songs released in 2017.
17. Keith Urban / Carrie Underwood - “The Fighter”
The only single to feature Carrie Underwood in 2017 was also a personal favorite from Urban’s Ripcord album from 2015. Yes, this is a pop song. But in the grand scheme of things, does that matter? It’s a song that just sounds so damn good and the two artists sound great together on it.
16. Carly Pearce - “Every Little Thing”
One of 2017’s breakout stars, Carly Pearce one one of only a couple of women to hit #1 in 2017 and it certainly deserved such a slot as the lyrics tell the vulnerable story of a emotional ending to a relationship.
15. Lanco - “Greatest Love Story”
The true story about frontman Brandon Lancaster’s relationship with his wife. The production from Jay Joyce is subdued and sublime as it allows Lanco to tell the story of a relationship of the all-American love story, a pair of people as different as could be coming together to become one.
14. Miranda Lambert - “Tin Man”
Raw. Emotive. Real. That’s all that needs to be said about this single, something that deserved to be a bigger radio hit than it ended up being (it barely touched the Top 20).
13. Luke Combs - “When It Rains It Pours”
2017’s bigger story was probably the changing of the guards with new stars coming out of the pack and one of those new stars is Like Combs. This single has some clever lyrical depth to it and something that gives Combs the edge.
12. Jon Pardi - “Heartache On The Dance Floor”
Another breakout star for 2017, Jon Pardi’s third straight hit single from California Sunrise blends the classic California country sounds of his influences with a modern country/pop backbeat to give the song it’s bite (listen closely to hear fiddles and steel guitars in the mix).
11. Kelleigh Bannen - “Church Clothes”
This one really wasn’t on the mainstream charts but it did hit the digital download charts and the secondary radio airplay charts thanks to SiriusXM’s The Highway. This one is a lyrical gem, a song about keeping up appearances as a couple tries to be “a couple” to everyone on the outside while their relationship really is in tatters.
10. Ashley McBryde - “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega”
A huge hit on SiriusXM’s The Highway, this one scored Ashley McBryde a record deal with Warner Music Nashville and they’re trying to make it a wide market hit. I hope it becomes one because this is what country music is all about. Storytelling.
9. Russell Dickerson - “Yours”
The opening lyrics of “I Was a boat stuck in a bottle that never got a chance to touch a sea” pull you in and the chorus hits the home run for love songs circa 2017. This one — already a wedding song staple — was a perfect radio chart debut for Dickerson and one of my favorites of 2017.
8. Darius Rucker - “If I Told You”
Darius has one of the richest voices in all of music and certainly showcases that here on the #1 hit from When Was The Last Time. The emotional vocal serves the lyrics well and it really has held on with me in 2017, even if it took the better part of a year to hit the top of the charts.
7. Chris Stapleton - “Broken Halos”
There are few, if any, better singers than Chris Stapleton. He oozes soul in everything he does and that’s what comes out of the speakers when listening to “Broken Halos,” a song about those people in our lives who help us when we need it the most.
6. Keith Urban - “Female”
This song makes an impact and few male artists could get away with releasing such a single but Keith Urban is one of them. From the heart and topical, “Female” is the kind of song country artists need to be recording and releasing more of. The list-y aspect doesn’t always work in a song but it most-definitely does here.
5. Scotty McCreery - “Five More Minutes”
Scotty has never sounded better and this single certainly is the best song he’s sent out to radio. Like Darius Rucker, Scotty McCreery has a rich, identifiable voice and he uses vocal nuance throughout the verses and choruses of this poignant, imminently relatable single.
4. Brett Young - “In Case You Didn’t Know”
Speaking of rich vocalists. Brett Young came seemingly out of nowhere fully formed in 2016 (as a 35 year old new artist) and little did we all know that he’d deliver one of the year’s best songs with “In Case You Didn’t Know.”
3. Midland - “Drinking Problem”
If you’re a fan of George Strait’s style of country music then you should be very happy that Midland became popular in 2017. While some like to point to the band’s various backgrounds as reasons for why they’re not “authentic,” when you hear songs like this: they certainly feel authentic. And everything about this song is worthy of any and all praise it gets.
2. Lindsay Ell - “Criminal”
Just released at the end of 2017, this song feels like it’s going to be the break out — finally — for Lindsay Ell. A talented guitarist, this song really showcases everything she is about as an artist. She has a strong voice wrapping around the sensual guitar chords in the verses while the chorus tells a familiar tale in a unique way.
1. Brothers Osborne - “It Ain’t My Fault”
From the very first time I heard this song on the duo’s Pawn Shop album, I felt like it was the very best song they had to offer. A rollicking, personality-filled good time of a song, there’s dueling lead guitars and a backbeat that provides the thump-y oomph that these kinds of songs require. It may be an ‘odd’ choice for a best song of 2017 position, but this song really was what the year was all about.
- Maren Morris - "I Could Use A Love Song"
- Sara Evans - "Marquee Sign"
- Stephanie Quayle - “Selfish”
- Jillian Jaqueline - “Reasons”
- Brad Paisley - “Today”
- Lee Brice - “Boy”
- Jerrod Niemann - “God Made A Woman”
- Thomas Rhett - “Craving You”
- Kane Brown/Lauren Alaina - “What Ifs”
- Trace Adkins - “Watered Down”
- Chris Lane/Tori Kelly - “Take Back Home Girl”
- Runaway June - “Wild West”
- Billy Currington - “Do I Make You Wanna”
- Justin Moore - “Somebody Else Will”
- Aubrie Sellers - “Liar Liar”
- Brett Eldredge - “The Long Way”
- Midland - “Make A Little”
- Tim McGraw/Faith Hill - “Speak To A Girl”
- Zac Brown Band - “Roots”
- Josh Turner - “Hometown Girl”
- Easton Corbin - “A Girl Like You”
- Rascal Flats - “Yours If You Want It”
- Florida Georgia Line/Back Street Boys - “God, Your Mama & Me”
- Dierks Bentley - “Black”
- Kelsea Ballerini - “Legends”
- Coffey Anderson - "Bud Light Blue"
- Cody Johnson - "Wild As You"
- William Michael Morgan - "Vinyl"
- William Michael Morgan - "Missing"
- Tyminski - "Bloodline"
- Jordan Davis - "Singles You Up"
- Blake Shelton - "Every Time I Hear That Song"
- Rag N Bone Man - "Human"
- Blaine Howard - "Promise To Love Her"
- Brett Young - "Like I Loved You"