Top Songs of 2014
A surge of songs from top country artists rattled and reorganized this list of the top country songs of 2014. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley came close to finishing with two of the year’s best country songs — it’s never been done in the history of this ToC countdown — but in the end, 10 different artists make up the Top 10.
Newcomers Maddie & Tae cracked the list with their debut hit ‘Girl in a Country Song,’ while veterans like Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean notched a song a little bit higher than the duo’s feisty introduction. The CMA Single of the Year comes in at No. 8, while one of country’s all-time greats dodges the competition to finish at No. 1.
The Taste of Country Top Songs of 2014 list is determined using sales and radio airplay data, reader feedback and staff opinion. Any song that spent the majority of its chart life in 2014 is eligible.
The lead single from Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley’s second album is as important as the song that earned them their fame. ‘Dirt’ is a ballad with more emotional depth than any of their previous releases. Florida Georgia Line needed to prove themselves capable of this kind of message, and one million singles later (and counting), it’s clear they’ve done it.
Jamie Lynn Spears‘ debut country single gathered less airplay than any other song on this list of the top songs of 2014, but it left a big impact where it was played. Her personal, acoustic-driven ballad is heartbreaking in the best way possible. Sharp songwriting paired with an even-handed producer and a vocal performance that’s as passionate as any … that’s how you make great country music!
Lambert’s nostalgic lead single from ‘Platinum’ picked up Single of the Year at the 2014 CMA Awards, besting powerful new songs from Eric Church and Blake Shelton. ‘Automatic’ hit No. 1 on the Mediabase chart, making Lambert the only female to do that in 2014. The song also went Gold and — perhaps most importantly — just flat out shut up any room it was played in.
Strait’s ‘I Got a Car’ was released in October 2012, but didn’t begin to catch on until spring 2014. For awhile, it looked like radio would ignore this beautifully crafted song. The story is one of the King’s finest — simple, detailed and romantic. A third verse from George Strait is like holy water from the Pope. You just appreciate that you’re fortunate enough to fall under his spell, if only for a few moments.
No song made a more immediate impact than ‘Girl in a Country Song,’ the debut single from duo Maddie & Tae. These two country girls came with a strong message against how women are being treated in country music. Rarely does a song that preaches find much success on country radio, but this entry on our Top Songs of 2014 list made a statement everyone could get behind. It may not be the best song of 2014, but it’s surely the most talked-about.
Kenny is back! After a year spent recording, scrapping, re-writing and re-recording his new album Chesney returned with the funky ‘American Kids.’ The uptempo track recalls everything fans loved about the singer without sounding tired. It’s a new twist on his style, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The numbers don’t lie. Jason Aldean’s ‘Burnin’ It Down’ was a monster of a song in 2014. Given more weeks on the charts, it surely would have become the year’s top-selling single, and it catapulted to No. 1 as quick as any song can in the modern era of country music. The singer is unapologetic about getting behind synthetic beats and instruments to create a love song as white-hot as burning diesel. In life and music, the attitude has worked well for Aldean in 2014.
Bentley’s breakup song is certainly unconventional. In fact, this is probably the most unlikely of all songs on this list of the Top 10 of 2014. ‘Drunk on a Plane’ relies on a hilarious music video to tell its story. Bentley added to the hysteria with a fake mustache and glasses at the CMT Awards in June. A contagious hook made sure this track stuck in your brain, but the outrageous lyrics are too much fun to ignore.
How many singers can go four singles deep on an album and still put a track on a Top Songs of the Year list? Luke Bryan’s latest collection is truly special, and ‘Play It Again’ is a wonderful surprise for those who have only followed him on the radio. Bryan’s storytelling shines in this mid-tempo love song. It’s “classic” Luke Bryan, meaning it’s a traditional country vibe with a very modern twist. Lyrically, the message is familiar, but the singer’s charismatic delivery makes it pop.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been intentional about when and how often they sing together. ‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s’ is their collaboration from 2014, and it’s as soul-satisfying as anything else they’ve recorded. The track — a longing look over the shoulder at the simpler joys in life — does what dozens, if not hundreds of others have attempted to do. It’s nostalgic without feeling the slightest bit dusty. ‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s’ is a perfect country song.