Kyle’s Official 2020 Country Single Rankings

Is…is it finally over? (2020: Nope.)

2020 has been a emotional roller coaster of a year, and country music has been no different: It’s had its highs and lows, it’s made us laugh, cry, and toss our radios out our windows, and on (all too rare) occasions, it’s even made us think about the world around us. The genre seemed to start the year strong before devolving into the Cobronavirus movement in an attempt to imagine the COVID-19 pandemic away, which eventually turned into the Blandemic movement as our optimism waned and label budgets faltered (seriously, it’s as if every studio can only afford to put a laptop and a few guitars in the studio anymore). The last few weeks ended up adding entries to both my best and worst lists, but in the end, my quote from last year still holds: “In the end, the year still resembles the previous two [now three] that I’ve ranked: Some good stuff, some bad stuff, and a lot of stuff in the mushy middle.”

From what I could see, the debate over what constitutes “country” music took a backseat this year, as people seemed to recognize the triviality of having an unresolvable debate in the face of over 317,000 coronavirus deaths and a long-overdue reckoning with the racial inequities that plague America. Unfortunately, the genre mostly tried to ignore the issues rather than engage with them, spending much of its time promoting ignorance and alcohol therapy as temporary salves (and even if they did engage with them, it was often in overly vague and optimistic ways, ignoring the hard realities lurking below the surface). If I have one hope for 2021. it’s that country music stops burying its head in the sand, and makes a concerted effort to confront the great challenges of our time, telling the kind of stories and truths that make this genre so awesome in the first place.

But we’re not here to talk about 2021—instead, we’re here to put on our Bob Kingsley hats and count down the hits of the year that was, from the worst to the best. The only rules for this list are as follows:

  • A song must have been reviewed during the 2020 calendar year to be eligible.
  • Rankings are not strictly tied to my review ratings, as my opinion of a song may have changed between now and the review date.

We begin by pausing for a moment to re-recognize our winner from 2019 (which feels like it was roughly two decades ago):

2019 #1 Song:  Ashley McBryde, “One Night Standards” (final rating: 10/10)

McBryde released another powerful track in 2020, but is it enough to repeat as our champion? To quote DashieGames, “WITHOUT FURTHER ADO…LET’S DO THIS SH*T!”

Ranking Artist, Song Final Score
#111 Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” 2/10
#110 Robert Counts, “What Do I Know” 2/10
#109 Florida Georgia Line, “I Love My Country” 2/10
#108 Travis Denning, “Where That Beer’s Been” 3/10
#107 Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends” 3/10
#106 Florida Georgia Line, “Long Live” 3/10
#105 Tucker Beathard, “You Would Think” 3/10
#104 Lee Brice, “One Of Them Girls” 4/10
#103 Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” 4/10
#102 Parker McCollum, “Pretty Heart” 4/10
#101 Niko Moon, “GOOD TIME” 4/10
#100 Tyler Farr, “Only Truck In Town” 4/10
#99 Adam Doleac, “Famous” 4/10
#98 Morgan Wallen, “More Than My Hometown” 4/10
#97 Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” 4/10
#96 Kane Brown, “Cool Again” 4/10
#95 Brothers Osborne, “All Night” 4/10
#94 Payton Smith, “Like I Knew You Would” 4/10
#93 HARDY ft. Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson, “One Beer” 4/10
#92 LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” 4/10
#91 Lee Brice, “Memory I Don’t Mess With” 4/10
#90 Kane Brown, “Worship You” 4/10
#89 Luke Bryan, “Down To One” 5/10
#88 Caroline Jones, “All Of The Boys” 5/10
#87 Lady A, “Champagne Night” 5/10
#86 Dan + Shay, “I Should Probably Go To Bed” 5/10
#85 Dylan Scott, “Nobody” 5/10
#84 Keith Urban & Pink, “One Too Many” 5/10
#83 Jimmie Allen & Noah Cyrus, “This Is Us” 5/10
#82 Parmalee & Blanco Brown, “Just The Way” 5/10
#81 Cole Swindell, “Single Saturday Night” 5/10
#80 Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” 5/10
#79 MacKenzie Porter, “These Days” 5/10
#78 Scotty McCreery, “You Time” 5/10
#77 Teddy Robb, “Heaven On Dirt” 5/10
#76 Keith Urban, “God Whispered Your Name” 5/10
#75 Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90s” 5/10
#74 Jake Owen, “Made For You” 5/10
#73 Luke Combs, “Better Together” 5/10
#72 Thomas Rhett, “What’s Your Country Song” 5/10
#71 Easton Corbin, “Turn Up” 5/10
#70 Lindsay Ell, “Want Me Back” 5/10
#69 Kenny Chesney, “Here And Now” 5/10
#68 King Calaway, “No Matter What” 5/10
#67 Darius Rucker, “Beers And Sunshine” 5/10
#66 Brad Paisley, “No I In Beer” 5/10
#65 Cody Johnson & Reba McEntire, “Dear Rodeo” 5/10
#64 Kenny Chesney, “Happy Does” 5/10
#63 Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” 5/10
#62 Cam, “Classic” 5/10
#61 Danielle Bradbery, “Never Have I Ever” 5/10
#60 Avenue Beat, “Ruin That For Me” 5/10
#59 Eric Church, “Hell Of A View” 5/10
#58 Ryan Hurd, “Every Other Memory” 5/10
#57 Russell Dickerson, “Love You Like I Used To” 5/10
#56 Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” 5/10
#55 Jon Pardi, “Ain’t Always The Cowboy” 5/10
#54 Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” 5/10
#53 Johnny McGuire, “I Can’t Even” 5/10
#52 Kelsea Ballerini ft. Halsey, “The Other Girl” 5/10
#51 Luke Bryan, “One Margarita” 5/10
#50 Gabby Barrett, “The Good Ones” 5/10
#49 Old Dominion, “Never Be Sorry” 5/10
#48 Dierks Bentley, “Gone” 5/10
#47 Brett Eldredge, “Gabrielle” 5/10
#46 Chris Stapleton, “Starting Over” 5/10
#45 Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani, “Nobody But You” 5/10
#44 Brantley Gilbert, “Hard Days” 5/10
#43 Brandon Lay, “For My Money” 5/10
#42 Sam Hunt ft. Webb Pierce, “Hard To Forget” 5/10
#41 Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” 5/10
#40 Bon Jovi ft. Jennifer Nettles, “Do What You Can” 6/10
#38 Zac Brown Band, “Leaving Love Behind” 6/10
#38 Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” 6/10
#37 Thomas Rhett et al., “Be A Light” 6/10
#36 Zac Brown Band, “The Man Who Loves You The Most” 6/10
#35 Brett Young, “Lady” 6/10
#34 Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani, “Happy Anywhere” 6/10
#33 Jordan Davis, “Almost Maybes” 6/10
#32 Adam Hambrick, “Forever Ain’t Long Enough” 6/10
#31 Taylor Swift, “Betty” 6/10
#30 Chris Bandi, “Would Have Loved Her” 6/10
#29 Hot Country Knights ft. Travis Tritt, “Pick Her Up” 6/10
#28 The Chicks, “Gaslighter” 6/10
#27 Easton Corbin, “Didn’t Miss A Beat” 6/10
#26 Jason Aldean, “Blame It On You” 6/10
#25 Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” 6/10
#24 Morgan Wallen, “7 Summers” 6/10
#23 Thomas Rhett ft. Jon Pardi, “Beer Can’t Fix” 6/10
#22 Kane Brown, “Worldwide Beautiful” 7/10
#21 Luke Combs, “Six Feet Apart” 7/10
#20 Justin Moore, “We Didn’t Have Much” 7/10
#19 Tenille Arts, “Somebody Like That” 7/10
#18 Elvie Shane, “My Boy” 7/10
#17 Kelsea Ballerini, “Hole In The Bottle” 7/10
#16 Luke Combs, “Lovin’ On You” 7/10
#15 Jason Aldean, Got What I Got” 7/10
#14 Runaway June, “We Were Rich” 7/10
#13 Lady A, “What I’m Leaving For” 7/10
#12 Ingrid Andress, “The Stranger” 7/10
#11 Maren Morris, “To Hell & Back” 7/10
#10 Dolly Parton, “When Life Is Good Again” 8/10
#9 Randy Travis, “Fool’s Love Affair” 8/10
#8 Midland, “Cheatin’ Songs” 8/10
#7 Mickey Guyton, “Heaven Down Here” 8/10
#6 Old Dominion, “Some People Do” 8/10
#5 Rascal Flatts,  “How They Remember You” 9/10
#4 Tim McGraw, “I Called Mama” 9/10
#3 Ashley McBryde, “Martha Divine” 9/10
#2 Eric Church, “Stick That In Your Country Song” 10/10
#1 Mickey Guyton, “Black Like Me” 10/10

New/Returning Arrivals: 32 artists (a little over half the total we saw last year, further evidence of playlist shortening and radio sticking to what’s familiar)

  • Best “New” Artist: Mickey Guyton, #1
  • Worst New Artist: Robert Counts, #110 (i.e, second-to-last)

Artists Returning To The Top 10: 3

So What Happened This Time?:

Artist 2019 Position 2020
Tanya Tucker #2 No covered releases
Easton Corbin #3 Two releases, #27 and #71
Kacey Musgraves #4 No covered releases
Ingrid Andress #7 One release, #12
Jason Aldean #9 Two releases, #15 and #26
Dierks Bentley #10 One release, #48

Artists Returning To The Bottom 10: 0

Artists Returning To The Bottom 10 from 2018: 0

Artists Returning To The Bottom 10 from 2017: 1

Top Risers:

Artist 2019 Peak 2020 Peak Gain
Justin Moore #103 #20 +83
Sam Hunt #121 #42 +79
Tim McGraw #78 #4 +74
Brantley Gilbert #110 #44 +66
Morgan Wallen #88 #24 +64
Miranda Lambert #86 #25 +61
Kenny Chesney #124 #64 +60
Michael Ray #93 #41 +52

Worst Fallers:

Artist 2019 Peak 2020 Peak Loss
Little Big Town #25 #111 (i.e., Dead Last) -86
Florida Georgia Line #53 #106 -53
Travis Denning #56 #108 -52
Chris Young #58 #107 -49
Dierks Bentley #10 #48 -38

“Hey, this is MY spot!” Award:

Position Artist 2019
2020
#92 LoCash “One Big Country Song” “Beers To Catch Up On”

4 thoughts on “Kyle’s Official 2020 Country Single Rankings

  1. Always appreciate how in-depth you go with these. Truly a labor of love, friend. Also guessing (and fitting, with the name) that huge drop in the “losers” category is by a “little big” band. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Zack! Shortening the reviews for the lightning round felt kind of awkward for me, so maybe the longer posts will continue into 2021 after all?

      Could LBT be the biggest loser? Maybe… 😉 But I suppose they at least had a high point to fall from – Robert Counts can’t say that. XD

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      1. Haven’t commented on those yet, but I thought you did fine! Though I hear you on the awkwardness. I myself would like to get back to doing more full reviews next year.

        Also … I seem to have really angered a certain Keith Urban fan 😀

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      2. No worries – I think they were already angry over the review. 😀 It’s funny: I just called out Chris Young for never scoring above a 5/10 in four years, but I hadn’t realized that Urban’s track record was just as bad (he got a 6 for “Female,” but he’s gotten some 3s and 4s too).

        Another bizarre Young/Urban similarity: Both of them were a victim of bad timing – I liked “Sober Saturday Night” and “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” but they both came out just before I started the blog, and I haven’t liked anything they’ve done since. As Chuck Berry would say, “‘C’est la vie,’ say the old folks, ‘it goes to show you never can tell.'” 🙂

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