Let this be a lesson to you all: Be very careful about what traditions you start for yourself.
Every critic with an IP address has “best” and “worst” lists of the songs they loved and hated over the past year, so last year I decided to take the concept to its logical conclusion and rank every song I had reviewed in 2017. “Crazy” didn’t even begin to describe the idea: The amount of time, effort, and song-to-song combat involved was immense, and no one really cares what you thought the 53rd best song of the year was. Still, I was curious to see how artists evolved over time, and to go beyond the chart data to see who the genre’s true masters of songcraft were.
So I did it…and now, the only way to follow up an act like that is to do it again. After all, any math teacher will you that you need two points to make a line!
The only rules for this list are as follows:
- A song must have been reviewed during the 2018 calendar year to be eligible.
- No song released before 2017 is allowed.
- Rankings are not strictly tied to my review ratings, as my opinion of a song may have changed between now and the review date.
- I’m also declaring Dean Summerwind’s “Parked Out By The Lake” ineligible for this list, because it set the bar so high that it just doesn’t seem fair to force other artists to compete with a piece of such quality. 🙂
Just like the radio countdowns, let’s pause for a moment at the start to recognize last year’s winner one last time:
2017 #1 Song: Midland, “Drinkin’ Problem” (final rating: 10/10)
Were our champions able to go back-to-back, or did someone else claim the 2018 crown? Let’s find out!
New Arrivals: 29 artists
- Best “New” Artist: Alan Jackson, #3
- Worst “New” Artist: Rodney Atkins, #114 (i.e., second to last)
Artists Returning to the Top 10: 2
Two?! What Happened?:
|Midland||#1||One release, #2|
|Chris Janson||#2||No releases (“Drunk Girl” spent all year climbing the chart)|
|Easton Corbin||#3||No releases (dropped from record label in February, still unsigned)|
|Trace Adkins||#4||No releases|
|Thomas Rhett||#5||Two releases, #17 and #21|
|Danielle Bradbery||#6||Two releases, #47 and #56|
|Glen Campbell||#7||No releases (passed away in 2017)|
|Luke Combs||#8||Three releases, #27, #40, and #46|
|Brad Paisley||#9||One release, #8|
|Brett Young||#10||Two releases, #15 and #31|
Artists Returning To The Bottom 10: 3
|Artist||2017 Peak||2018 Peak||Gain|
|David Lee Murphy||#97||#33||+64|
|Florida Georgia Line||#82||#25||+57|
Hayes’s victory here is tempered somewhat by the performance of his follow-up single…
|Artist||2017 Peak||2018 Peak||Loss|
|Michael Ray||#66||Dead Last (#115)||-49|
“Hey, this is MY spot!” Award:
|#16||Cole Swindell||“Stay Downtown”||“Love You Too Late”|
|#17||Thomas Rhett||“Unforgettable”||“Life Changes”|