10 Current Country Singles That Don’t Suck (2012 Edition)

Chris Young's "Neon" album coverIf you’re still looking to country radio for good music, you’re a lot more patient and forgiving than I am.

In fact, I’ve checked in on new singles periodically since the “10 Current Country Singles That Don’t Suck” post of last June, in hopes of finding 10 more recommendable songs for a second installment, and have come up a few songs short every time.

It could be that with songs staying on playlists as long as they do and big stars sending out material as underwhelming as “Banjo” and “Good Girl,” this feature will be possible only once per year. If that’s the case, soak it up and we’ll see you again in 2013.

(Apologies for the gender imbalance, but women only made up about 20% of the singles list I was working from, so this is actually a fairly representative split.)

No per-track commentary, but you should be able to hear anything you’re not familiar with using the links.

Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

Chris Young – “Neon”

David Nail – “The Sound of a Million Dreams”

The Dirt Drifters – “There She Goes”

Eric Church – “Springsteen”

George Strait – “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright”

Josh Thompson – “Comin’ Around”

Lee Brice – “A Woman Like You”

Sonia Leigh – “Bar”

Tim McGraw – “Better Than I Used to Be”

Any surprises or omissions?

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About C.M. Wilcox

A freelance writer and humorist with an abiding love of country music, C.M. Wilcox's cutting, clear-eyed take on the genre has drawn the attention of Country Weekly, The Washington Post, and The Tennessean in the years since this site began. C.M. lives near Sacramento and can be reached by email at CMW (at) countrycalifornia.com.

Things People Are Saying

  1. Jeremy Dylan says:

    Off the top of my head… Dierks Bentley’s Home, Miranda Lambert’s Over You, Eli Young Band’s Even If It Breaks Your Heart… I’m probably forgetting some.

    • C.M. Wilcox says:

      The other two were in the running, but I can’t get behind “Over You.” Very cathartic for Blake and Miranda personally, I’m sure, but as a song it feels beneath her usual standards.

      • Sabra says:

        Well, at least it’s not “Baggage Claim”…

        • Ben says:

          I would actually take “Baggage Claim” above “Over You.” The lyrics of the former don’t quite jive with me, but the arrangement makes for a fun listen. With “Over You,” I tend to think that the extremely blank chorus kills it stone dead.

          • Derrick says:

            I didn’t like “Baggage Claim” when it first started circulating, but it’s really grown on me.

            “Over You” has not yet grown on me.

    • Luke Burkhardt says:

      “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” is a Will Hoge song. Listen to the real thing by Will and maybe you’ll understand how badly Eli Young Band Sucks

  2. Ben says:

    You don’t like “Good Girl”? I adore “Good Girl”! No dispute on “Banjo” though.

    I can’t helps feeling a bit disheartened that “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” is taking so long to gain traction at radio, assuming it ever does. But I’m glad that Strait has done well with “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” and I’m counting on him soon cranking out an equally solid follow-up.

    Glad to see this feature back, by the way.

    • C.M. Wilcox says:

      Well, “Good Girl” is at least better than “Banjo.” I’ll give it that.

      Hopefully “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” will keep climbing. Glad I don’t have to rely on radio to hear new songs, since I might not have heard that one at all in my area yet.

  3. Big Al says:

    Sammy Kershaw’s version of Better Than I used to be is much better then Timmy’s

  4. Rick says:

    I wish I could make an intelligent comment but I’m not familiar with any of the songs here except that I heard Chris Young sing “Neon” on the Tuesday Night Opry. (It was okay.) I’ve been keeping an eye on the Mediabase charts and as Ben mentioned Alan Jackson’s new song is barely moving up the charts, which is discouraging. That sing needs to do well so Adam Wright can earn some songwriter royalties! (lol)

    The Dirt Drifters will be featured on this week’s Saturday Night Opry shows, so I’m looking forward to that.

    I think it say a great deal about the current state of mainstream Top 40 country radio that it is a huculean effort to find decent songs that don’t totally suck. Thanks C.M. for wading into the sonic cesspool to fish out the few keepers…

  5. Dan says:

    Don’t like “A Woman Like You” at all. I might actually have an annoyed review in me about that, if I can get my act together. Other than that, though, good choices.

    I’m in the camp that likes “Good Girl,” too, plus Luke Bryan’s “Drunk on You” – both singles I find enjoyable on their own but that speak to general issues their artists.

    Also like EYB’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” Jake Owen’s “Alone With You,” and T. Swift’s “Ours.” Aldean’s “Fly Over States” is okay, too.

    From my perspective it’s feeling like a stronger singles year than 2011, though there hasn’t been a “Cost of Livin’”-caliber one yet. Or even a “You And Tequila.” (A lot of strong album releases already, too, from the high-profile alt-country/whatever folks.)

    • Dan says:

      general issues *with their artists, I meanz.

      • Matt says:


        There are quite a few I do like a lot right now. I’m particularly fond of the Dirt Drifters song and quite like the EYB song (even if Will Hoge and Eric Paslay, the writers do it better).

        I really like the “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” song, even if it’s as cliched as all the other ‘country is country’ songs. I’m also really digging’ the JT Hodges song “Goodbyes Made You Mine” and the just released Edens Edge song “Too Good To Be True.”

    • C.M. Wilcox says:

      Well, now I want to read the Milliken deconstruction of “A Woman Like You.” I’m kinda surprised there haven’t been more (or any?) annoyed reviews written about it. Right now, I tend to think he walks the line well enough, but I’m sure I could be convinced otherwise.

  6. Vicky says:

    When I hear “Banjo,” I think “Deliverance,” and when I hear “Good Girl” I think it was better the first time, when it was called “Cowboy Casanova”… and still sucked.

  7. Bob Loblaw says:

    EXCELLENT list. There’s only a couple I haven’t heard, and I don’t care for “A Woman Like You.” My only additions to the list would probably be “100 Proof” by Kellie Pickler or “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” by The Punch Brothers.

    I have some downloading to do.

  8. Kevin Rea says:

    New country artist that doesnt suck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aune7pgM5l8 Brian Bax out of missouri. Download on itunes

  9. I like Joanna Smith’s new single, We Can’t Be Friends, a lot.

  10. KathyP says:

    Jack Owen’s Alone with You would be my addition to your list. The melody is pleasant and the lyrics are great. The guy really likes her but she only wants his body. He fights the temptation. Will he give in? That’s a good country song.

  11. Sabra says:

    The only one of those I know is the Strait song, and while it’s catchy it’s the weakest song on the album (even considering “Blue Marlin Blues”, which I shouldn’t like but do). It’s kind of obviously the radio single.

    Of the others, I managed to listen to the entirety of the Alan Jackson & Dirt Drifters song (and at least tried all of them but the Tim McGraw single; I want to punch a kitten every time I hear his voice). My tastes have drifted that far out of the mainstream. Five or 10 years ago, I might have liked them all. Except “A Woman Like You”; that song’s been clichéd for a long time.

  12. Derrick says:

    Thanks for the list. I made a spotify playlist to sample the tracks I didn’t know.

    I am now headed to iTunes to buy everything Sonia Leigh has available.

  13. Great list. It’s fun to look at songs that still manage to keep country music alive even if they aren’t burning up the charts with airplay. I’m currently loving the Alan Jackson, Eric Church, Chris Young, and Tim McGraw entires. At least two of them look to be heading towards #1.

    The only song I’d add is Julie Roberts’ “Whiskey and You.” I don’t know if its an official radio single, but she did just release a video for it.

    I’m in agreement with everyone on the Lee Brice hit. Don’t care for it. Same goes for Carrie’s “Good Girl” which is the first single of her career I very much dislike to the point where I can’t even listen to it. Too much screaming and raspy singing for me. She’s been way better than this, even on her worst material. I may write about it this week.

  14. Cee says:

    Springsteen? Really? Of all the singles perfect for country radio, they had to make one about Springsteen? **shakes head**

  15. Dylan says:

    I like all the songs on the list. I’d add “Fly Over States” though.

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