Top Songs of 2012
The Top Songs of 2012 list pulls from nearly a hundred new country songs that made an impact in 2012. Little Big Town, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood have three of the best albums of 2012, so it stands to reason that each will score singles here. But the coveted No. 1 slot goes to a country outlaw who finally stepped into the spotlight after years of hard work.
Florida Georgia Line's newest single snuck into the Top 10 — it's way too catchy to keep out — and Luke Bryan finds himself in rare air with 'Drunk on You.' Songs in this list of the top country songs of 2012 are ranked based on chart success, sales figures, reader input and staff opinions. Any song that spent the majority of its chart life on the charts in 2012 is eligible.
Taylor Swift's new album 'Red' found the singer sharing remarkably mature and vulnerable stories like the love she found one Wednesday in a cafe. 'Begin Again' showcases her improved songwriting, as well as her improved vocal control. But it finds a place on the Top Songs of 2012 list because it's nearly four minutes of pure heart.
This multi-week chart-topping hit from Kenny Chesney makes the Top Songs of 2012 list for the same reason 'You and Tequila' made many lists of the Top Songs of 2011. It shows Chesney's vulnerabilities, while remaining open to each listener's own interpretation and story. 'Come Over' is a wonderful lyric from a very dark and introspective album.
'Cruise' by Florida Georgia Line is the underdog story of 2012. The duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard didn't even have a record deal when the single was released, but fans demanded it, and slowly the single worked its way into the Top 40, then Top 30, then... All along, it has defied sales expectations, becoming one of the most downloaded each and every week. Few songs captured the spirit of summer better than this anthem, which refuses to get out of your head even after a good night's sleep.
'Take a Little Ride'
It's no surprise that Jason Aldean's lead single from his 2012 studio album debuted at the highest chart position of his career. The song is built from the same mold of other Aldean hits, like 'Big Green Tractor.' Song No. 7 on the Top Songs of 2012 list is another career song for one of the hottest artists around.
Carrie Underwood had no business attempting to sing a song that is so far removed from her life experience, yet she belts it out as convincingly as anyone in country music could have. Vocally, the star again shows why she is the top female talent in country music. What makes the song so mysterious and dangerously delicious is the dark and stormy production. You can almost feel the rain and smell the Oklahoma dirt being tossed up by Underwood's storm.
It's difficult for a ballad from a country newcomer -- especially one as young as Hunter Hayes -- to be recognized on Top Songs of 2012 lists. There's this assumption that the artist hasn't lived enough to hurt like he seems to. Maybe not, but Hayes sure convinces us otherwise on this emotionally-charged hit from his self-titled album. It's among the most downloaded songs of 2012, approaching two million singles sold.
'Drunk on You'
Luke Bryan is making a strong case to be the next new artist regularly included in major award nominations. His songs continue to strike the bullseye in the hearts of his fans. 'Drunk on You' is another that soared up Billboard charts while selling just short of a gazillion singles. The No. 4 song on the Top Songs of 2012 list promises to be around for a long time.
This has to be one of the coolest songs on the radio. 'Pontoon,' the lead single from Little Big Town's new album, is unlike any other song on this Top Songs of 2012 list. It works creative instrumentation around an easy-to-fall-for groove. Much like they've done over and over during a great career, Little Big Town has been innovative here, making new fans while reminding old why they care so much.
Miranda Lambert's win for Song of the Year was a true goosebump moment at the 2012 CMA Awards. The singer stepped aside and gave credit to husband Blake Shelton for the song, even though her performance solidified it as one of the best songs of all time. Country fans are a strange bunch in that we love a song that will make us cry, and Shelton's story about his brother Richie did just that. Suddenly, our own ghosts appear as Lambert sings about the loved ones she is missing.
Non-believers may learn why Eric Church has so many disciples after listening to his third single from 'Chief.' 'Springsteen' is a memory song. He lists a few of his favorites that send him thinking about the "what if" girl, and even if you've never liked the Boss, you're likely to have your own greatest hits list that you can scroll through while listening to this ballad. Great songwriting and an understated delivery make this the No. 1 country song of 2012.