10 Songs That Should Have Been Hits in 2014
We celebrate the hits, but forget the misses ... usually. This list of 10 songs that should have been hits in 2014 gives one more look at great songs that didn't crack the Top 10, 20, 30 or even 40.
Some were simply the wrong song at the wrong time, while others were from artists signed to labels without much history of making hits. It's difficult to understand why George Strait's entry didn't top the charts, but here he is, on this list for a second straight year.
Darius Rucker, Jennifer Nettles, Brothers Osborne and Trisha Yearwood also released songs in 2014 that should have done so much better, and we know there's more out there. What songs do you wish got more recognition?
Trisha Yearwood said she knew there wasn't much space for a 50-year-old country female on the radio, and programmers didn't let her down. This powerful song barely cracked the Top 50 despite a soaring vocal performance from Ms. Trisha and Kelly Clarkson. Few songs were more inspiring this year.
The Cadillac Three are a band everyone seems to want to be around, but few are willing to give a shot on the radio. 'Party Like You' is a sneaky good lyric set to rock guitars and drums. The love song -- listen closely, it qualifies -- turns up the volume on its own, making it the best party track of the year.
Brandy Clark closed the year with a Grammy nomination and a CMA for Song of the Year, but few played or bought her debut single 'Stripes.' It was a smash with critics, but country fans never called for it in masse. The cut from '12 Stories' could have been held back by several other songs about corporal revenge.
Jennifer Nettles gets two songs, well, because both qualify. 'That Girl' bled into the start of 2014, while the tender 'Me Without You' was released in January. The latter was a ballad meant to inspire anyone in a bad relationship. She epitomizes the struggles of women in country music this year.
This uptempo country rocker also cut deep. Kelleigh Bannen's breakup song took revenge on a man who did her wrong by plastering his face on every imaginable social media front page. It would have stood out among a more vanilla set of songs on radio, like a dash of country red pepper to a bland dish.
Kip Moore went deep with two releases in 2014. 'Dirt Road,' released in May, never cracked the Top 40, despite solid critical reviews. His fans also enjoyed the song, and he continues to play it live. Early on some thought he was questioning heaven, but he'd later explain to ToC that he was just painting a picture of his idyllic afterlife.
Brothers Osborne sounds like nothing on the radio. Vocally, the two men's gravely bass voices stand out, but the more playful 'Rum' seemed to be the vehicle they needed to earn radio's embrace. After the summer highs wore off, fans didn't get to hear much of 'Rum.' It peaked inside the Top 30.
After two upbeat hits, Darius Rucker came back with a big ballad called 'Miss You' and "missed" at radio. What the heck happened? The song -- about a man feeling his marriage slip away from him -- had sincerity and passion to spare, and Rucker nailed the vocals. But no one played it. It was by far the worst-charting song of his career, peaking just inside the Top 50.
The top two songs on this 10 Songs That Should Have Been Hits list are both on the Top 10 Songs of 2014 list, as well. Jamie Lynn Spears' 'How Could I Want More' is the best song no one heard in 2014. She'd be at No. 1 on this list if she were on a larger label. It's a challenging environment for a new artist, even more so for a new female artist ... and a new, female artist with her last name in country music. A new, female artist on an unproven label has many obstacles to overcome.
Suddenly, George Strait can't buy a hit! 'I Believe' made this list last year, and its follow-up, 'I Got a Car,' comes in at No. 1 in 2014. Both songs have real emotional depth and both are the kind of songs that could unite the increasingly splintered country fanbase. Strait has said he's not done releasing new music to radio, even though he's done touring. However, his recent struggles may be an indication that radio is done with him.