Top Songs of 2013
The battle for the top country songs of 2013 began early, with superstars like Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum releasing new singles worthy of being called the best of the year. But never count out newcomers like Kacey Musgraves or Kip Moore. Their new songs are every bit as satisfying, even if they aren't pulling in the sales numbers of country music's top names ... yet.
For the Top Songs of 2013 list, we consider chart and sales figures, Taste of Country staff opinion and reader feedback. Any song that spent the majority of its chart life on the charts in 2013 was eligible.
Never before have the Band Perry let their long hair down and rocked out like they do on 'Done,' the second single from their 'Pioneer' album. The song is an all-out rock-country jam like fans have never seen from the family trio. It's a song that's guaranteed to blow the roof off of whatever building they play in 2013 and beyond.
For her third single, Kacey Musgraves released the signature song from her 'Same Trailer, Different Park' album. 'Follow Your Arrow' is catchy, inspiring and controversial -- everything a great country song should be. This unassuming Texan pushes the boundaries. She's the quietest rebel you'll ever meet, but fans are quickly lining up behind her and her music. If it becomes a hit, this cut will be a game-changer.
'Downtown' debuted higher on the charts than any Lady Antebellum song ever has. The funky, sassy hit got country fans excited for the group's summer tour. It'd reach No. 1 on the country charts and go Platinum for one million in single sales. Perhaps most importantly, it sounds different than anything else on the radio.
Country fans love a song that brings them to tears, and Lee Brice delivers with 'I Drive Your Truck.' It's a song about losing a brother, but really anyone who's missing someone taken from them too soon will appreciate his story. Few are able to live a tale with each performance quite like Brice.
'Two Black Cadillacs' is the darkest song of Carrie Underwood's career, and fans love it. The chart-topping hit has gone Platinum, selling well over one million copies on iTunes. It also led to one of the most visually arresting videos of the year. While the Oklahoma blonde is known for her sweet smile and for having a nice word to say about everyone, this track reminds fans that she can also live on the edge.
Miranda Lambert called 'Mama's Broken Heart' her favorite song from 'Four the Record,' and it's made an impression with fans and radio, as well. ToC staff agree it should rank high among the top songs of 2013. Multiple CMA nominations helped cement it as one of the best of the year.
This may be Shelton's finest ballad ever. The singer shows off his voice and range of emotion during a (eventually) heart-wrenching love story. His third single from 'Based on a True Story ...' is proving why it's one of the top albums of the year.
It's not just because Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw go together like butter on a biscuit. And it's not just because Keith Urban's guitar drives home an emotional catharsis late in this masterful single. It's all these things, combined with McGraw's great vocals and a well-written lyric. Everyone who touched this single was at his or her best, and the result is a Top 3 song on this list of the Top Songs of 2013.
Kip Moore is one of the unsung heroes from last year. He quietly had a huge year, with a No. 1 single and an album that was ranked as one of the best of 2012. 'Hey Pretty Girl' is his most expressive effort from 'Up All Night.' It's a beautiful story that showcases Moore's unconventional songwriting style and gravely -- yet warm -- voice.
Is there an award for cover song of the year? Darius Rucker got help from Lady Antebellum to recreate 'Wagon Wheel.' His version loses none of the sincerity of the original Old Crow Medicine Show song, and as the year has rolled along, it's only sounded better and better. The hit has gone double Platinum, making it difficult to disagree with the singer's assertion that there is something wrong if it's not nominated for a Grammy.