Kyle’s Official 2018 Country Single Rankings

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!

 

 Rank Artist, Song Final Rating
#115 Michael Ray, “One That Got Away” 1/10
#114 Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” 2/10
#113 Jake Owen, “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” 3/10
#112 Jordan Davis, “Take It From Me” 3/10
#111 LoCash, “Feels Like A Party” 3/10
#110 Keith Urban, “Never Comin’ Down” 3/10
#109 Carlton Anderson, “Drop Everything” 3/10
#108 Walker Hayes, “90s Country” 3/10
#107 LoCash, “Don’t Get Better Than That” 3/10
#106 Craig Campbell, “See You Try” 4/10
#105 Billy Currington, “Bring It On Over” 4/10
#104 Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” 4/10
#103 Morgan Evans, “Kiss Somebody” 4/10
#102 Maren Morris, “Rich” 4/10
#101 Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” 4/10
#100 Keith Urban ft. Julia Michaels, “Comin’ Home” 4/10
#99 Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” 4/10
#98 Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” 4/10
#97 Brandon Lay, “Yada Yada Yada” 4/10
#96 Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” 4/10
#95 Maddie & Tae, “Friends Don’t” 4/10
#94 Miranda Lambert, “Keeper Of The Flame” 4/10
#93 Sam Hunt, “Downtown’s Dead” 4/10
#92 Blake Shelton, “Turnin’ Me On” 4/10
#91 Lindsay Ell, “Champagne” 4/10
#90 Morgan Wallen, “Whiskey Glasses” 4/10
#89 Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” 4/10
#88 Shania Twain, “We Got Something They Don’t” 5/10
#87 Blake Shelton, “I Lived It” 5/10
#86 Granger Smith, “You’re In It” 5/10
#85 Lee Brice, “Rumor” 5/10
#84 Travis Denning, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs” 5/10
#83 Tyler Rich, “The Difference” 5/10
#82 Luke Bryan, “What Makes You Country” 5/10
#81 James Barker Band, “Chills” 5/10
#80 Sugarland ft. Taylor Swift, “Babe” 5/10
#79 Mitchell Tenpenny, “Drunk Me” 5/10
#78 Adam Hambrick, “Rockin’ All Night Long” 5/10
#77 Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” 5/10
#76 Kenny Chesney, “Get Along” 5/10
#75 Little Big Town, “Summer Fever” 5/10
#74 Big & Rich, “Brand New Buzz” 5/10
#73 Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” 5/10
#72 Dustin Lynch, “Good Girl” 5/10
#71 Dan + Shay, “Tequila” 5/10
#70 Eric Paslay, “Young Forever” 5/10
#69 Luke Bryan, “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” 5/10
#68 Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” 5/10
#67 Walker McGuire, “Lost” 5/10
#66 Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” 5/10
#65 Carrie Underwood, “Cry Pretty” 5/10
#64 Garth Brooks, “Stronger Than Me” 5/10
#63 Dan + Shay, “Speechless” 5/10
#62 Darius Rucker ft. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Charles Kelley, “Straight To Hell” 5/10
#61 Chris Young, “Hangin’ On” 5/10
#60 Tim McGraw, “Neon Church” 5/10
#59 Jason Aldean, “Girl Like You” 5/10
#58 Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” 5/10
#57 Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” 5/10
#56 Danielle Bradbery ft. Thomas Rhett, “Goodbye Summer” 5/10
#55 Trent Harmon, “You Got ‘Em All” 5/10
#54 Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” 5/10
#53 Old Dominion, “Make It Sweet” 5/10
#52 The Pistol Annies, “Got My Name Changed Back” 5/10
#51 Russell Dickerson, “Blue Tacoma” 5/10
#50 Clare Dunn, “More” 6/10
#49 Luke Bryan, “Most People Are Good” 6/10
#48 Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” 6/10
#47 Danielle Bradbery, “Worth It” 6/10
#46 Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” 6/10
#45 Abby Anderson, “Make Him Wait” 6/10
#44 Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” 6/10
#43 Justin Moore, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” 6/10
#42 Sugarland, “Still The Same” 6/10
#41 Kane Brown, “Lose It” 6/10
#40 Luke Combs, “One Number Away” 6/10
#39 Devin Dawson, “Dark Horse” 6/10
#38 Eric Church, “Desperate Man” 6/10
#37 LANco, “Born To Love You” 6/10
#36 Jason Aldean, “You Make It Easy” 6/10
#35 Scotty McCreery, “This Is It” 6/10
#34 Walker Hayes, “Craig” 6/10
#33 David Lee Murphy, “I Won’t Be Sorry” 6/10
#32 Devin Dawson, “Asking For A Friend” 6/10
#31 Brett Young, “Here Tonight” 6/10
#30 Brothers Osborne, “Shoot Me Straight” 6/10
#29 Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” 6/10
#28 Old Dominion, “Hotel Key” 6/10
#27 Luke Combs, “She Got The Best Of Me” 7/10
#26 Jason Aldean ft. Miranda Lambert, “Drowns The Whiskey” 7/10
#25 Florida Georgia Line, “Simple” 7/10
#24 Garth Brooks, “All Day Long” 7/10
#23 Kenny Chesney ft. Mindy Smith, “Better Boat” 7/10
#22 Dierks Bentley, “Woman, Amen” 7/10
#21 Thomas Rhett, “Sixteen” 7/10
#20 Ashley McBryde, “Radioland” 7/10
#19 Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” 7/10
#18 Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” 7/10
#17 Thomas Rhett, “Life Changes” 7/10
#16 Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” 7/10
#15 Brett Young, “Mercy” 7/10
#14 Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” 7/10
#13 Rachel Wammack, “Damage” 7/10
#12 Jimmie Allen, “Best Shot” 7/10
#11 Jillian Jacqueline, “Reasons” 7/10
#10 Kelsea Ballerini, “I Hate Love Songs” 8/10
#9 Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” 8/10
#8 Brad Paisley, “Bucked Off” 8/10
#7 Willie Nelson, “Last Man Standing” 8/10
#6 Cole Swindell, “Break Up In The End” 8/10
#5 Dierks Bentley ft. Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man” 9/10
#4 Kelsea Ballerini, “Miss Me More” 9/10
#3 Alan Jackson, “The Older I Get” 10/10
#2 Midland, “Burn Out” 10/10
#1 Aaron Watson, “Run Wild Horses” 10/10

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?:

Artist 2017 Peak 2018
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

Top Risers:

Artist 2017 Peak 2018 Peak Gain
Walker Hayes #118 #34 +84
Jason Aldean #109 #26 +83
David Lee Murphy #97 #33 +64
Runaway June #79 #18 +61
Florida Georgia Line #82 #25 +57
Kelsea Ballerini #61 #4 +57

Hayes’s victory here is tempered somewhat by the performance of his follow-up single…

Biggest Fallers:

Artist 2017 Peak 2018 Peak Loss
Lauren Alaina #18 #89 -71
Blake Shelton #23 #87 -64
Maren Morris #38 #102 -64
Carly Pearce #20 #77 -57
Brett Eldredge #22 #73 -51
Michael Ray #66 Dead Last (#115) -49

“Hey, this is MY spot!” Award:

Position Artist 2017 2018
#16 Cole Swindell “Stay Downtown” “Love You Too Late”
#17 Thomas Rhett “Unforgettable” “Life Changes”

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