My Top Ten Country Songs

What happens when someone who hates country music tries to find the best titles to listen to?

November 14, 2019


Country music is a genre that many titles and artists fit under. Complete with twang, country music is either a "love it" or "hate it" genre.

My absolute least favorite genre of music is country. Listening to all of these country songs for this story was complete agony. So, enjoy the least of all the agonizing songs I had to endure for this story. That being said, this is my first top-ten story that has no honorable mentions. Coincidence? 

10. “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker

“Wagon Wheel” was released in 2013 on the album “True Believers.” It was nominated for the World Music Awards “World’s Best Song” in 2014. This song was originally written by Bob Dylan, and he had originally recorded the demo for the song when he was recording the “Pat Barett and Billy the Kid” album.

Every time I hear this song, I can smell the Pine Sol. When my parents turned on the country music channel, us kids knew there was about to be some hardcore cleaning going on throughout the house. They would play this song frequently when it first came out. As much as I hated cleaning, hanging out with my siblings when the cleaning was done was probably the best part of those days.

Listen to “Wagon Wheel” here.

9. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton

“Tennessee Whiskey” was released in 2015, and is Chris Stapleton’s debut. It is a cover of George Jones’ song, and was also a cover of the song by David Allan Coe. This song was brought into the world by a jam session while the band was waiting for sound checks to be completed, and the musicians got into a groove, and started singing “Tennessee Whiskey” over the top of the music.

This song gives me more of a blues vibe than a straight up country vibe. That being said, country music is derived from the blues. I like the bluesy vibe of this song, and it’s a pretty big contrast from most of the songs on the list.

Listen to “Tennessee Whisky” here.

8. “Monsters” by Eric Church

“Monsters” was released in September 2018. This song was written by Eric Church and Jeff Hyde. It is on the album “Desperate Man.” 

To me, this song is about how not all monsters are hiding under the bed and make believe. In a way, it’s a similar concept to “Scooby-Doo,” and how they show kids the real monsters are human, but obviously it’s explained in a different way, and the song and the children’s TV show are very different. This song is also about how he keeps his faith close by all the time, and while I may not be a very religious person myself, it’s a well-made country tune.

Listen to “Monsters” here.

7. “More Hearts Than Mine” by Ingrid Andress

“More Hearts Than Mine” was released in April 2019. It was written by Derrick Southerland, Sam Ellis, and Ingrid Andress.

This is a pretty vulnerable song. It uses great examples to show what it’s talking about–the classic idea of love gone wrong. This is also an original song about how breakups can not only break the heart of the person who is being broken up with, but they can also hurt the family as well. 

Listen to “More Hearts Than Mine” here.

6. “Hold On” by Hootie and the Blowfish

“Hold On” was released just under a month ago, as a single on October 17. “Hold On” is a part of Hootie and the Blowfish’s reunion album, which was released on November 1. This was the band’s first album in fourteen years, and proceeds their reunion tour. 

This song is by the band that is featured in “The One With Five Steaks And An Eggplant” episode of Friends. I can kind of vibe with this song but the Blowfish seem to have a great time jamming out in the music video, and it’s great.

Listen to “Hold On” here.

5. “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash

“A Boy Named Sue” was released in July 1969. It is on the album “At San Quentin.” This song was written by the iconic children’s poet Shel Silverstein. 

“A Boy Named Sue” has everything that is, and ever will be, country. It is one of the originals and it’s really funny. Original country is the only country I can really stand because it’s what everyone thinks of when you hear the terms “country music.”

Listen to “A Boy Named Sue” here.

4. “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” by Riley Green

“I Wish Grandpas Never Died” was released in August 2019 on the album “Different ‘Round Here.” This song was written by the trio of Buford Green, Lendon Bonds, and Riley Green. 

This song is about a bunch of things the creators don’t like to see happen. However, they happen often. I can agree with a lot of them like good dogs not getting old and grey, and no grandparents deserve to die. Grandparents are the best. I also wish everyone overseas made it home. 

Listen to “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” here.

3. “Homeboy” by Eric Church

“Homeboy” was released in July 2011 on the album “Chief.” This song was written by Casey Beathard and Eric Church.

This is another one of those songs that would constantly play on the country radio station while we would clean the house. There was one day when my entire family cleaned the house. Following the purge of our home, we spent most of the night outside, not coming in until at least 3 a.m. 

Listen to “Homeboy” here.

2. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

“Hurt” was released in November 2002 on the album “American IV: The Man Comes Around.” It was featured in the 2017 movie “Logan.” The song was originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails. Listen to the Nine Inch Nails version here. “Hurt” was written by Trent Reznor.

Every time I listen to this song, it gives me chills. It also makes me really sad because a few months after the video was recorded, his wife passed away. A year after the song was released, Cash himself passed away. I can feel the emotion in his song, it’s so good.

Listen to Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” here.

1. “I’m the Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)” by Johnny Paycheck

“I’m The Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)” was released in 1977. “DISGRACELAND,” one of my favorite podcasts, did an episode on Johnny Paycheck. Similarly, the other Johnny written about on this story–Johnny Cash–has his own episode.

In this song, Johnny Paycheck talks about how he stole a car because his momma told him not to, how he stole money from a liquor store, and how he turned away Jesus just because his mom told him to believe, which I can understand. Having religion pushed on you is not fun.

Listen to “I’m The Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)” here.

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