Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 10 Best Songs of 2012

2012 has come and almost gone.  Now, it's time to look back on the best and worst of the year.  First, we will look at the 10 best songs, followed by the Top 5 albums and the Worst 5 songs of the year.  The songs chosen for this list were either tracks on albums released in 2012, or a single released in 2012.  Who walks away with the best song of the year????

Before the countdown begins, lets recognize some honorable mentions: 
Home- Dierks Bentley
Mother's Day- Kellie Pickler
Safe & Sound -Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars
Satan Knew My Grandma Well- Bradley Gaskin
Pallbearer- Josh Turner
Born To Be Blue- The Mavericks
One Horse Town- Blackberry Smoke
Merry Go Round- Kacey Musgraves
Over You- Miranda Lambert
El Cerrito Place- Kenny Chesney
Rock It All Away- Dwight Yoakam

Now, on to the countdown

10. Better Than I Used To Be- Tim McGraw
     In this song, Tim brings a nice old school flavor that, while alive and well on the alternative circuit, is sorely missing from big name radio stars.  Tim has had some ups and downs lately, as you will see in the worst of 2012 list, but this ballad was a solid knock out of the park.

9. Comin Around- Josh Thompson
Josh Thompson wrote a solid country song with a relatable story line and strong chorus only to see his record label drop him after the single underperformed.  Well Josh, whether or not radio and your label want to admit it, you got yourself a hell of a song here, and it will get the credit it deserves on this site!

8. Springsteen- Eric Church
If you flipped on your radio in summer 2012, you couldn't go 5 minutes without hearing the Chief belting out this tune.  It's a story we have heard a million times, but Eric makes it fresh and new with well written lyrics and a killer sound.  Many memories have been made to this melody.

7. Neon- Chris Young
In yet another radio travesty, Neon barely made a blip on the charts.  However, it certainly set off the radar at Keep It Country Kids as a solid traditional country hit.  With guys like Alan Jackson and George Strait reaching the twilight of their careers, Chris Young is one to look to to keep tradition on the charts.  As Chris says in the video, the title alone just draws you right in.  A showstopper for sure!

6. AM Country Heaven- Jason Eady
If you think the country music world needs a wake up, this is the song for you.  Jason Eady offers up a protest to the "I'm more countrier than you" crowd with a real country song.  He calls out the stars who would rather just sell trucks and brag about drinking rather than sing heartfelt tunes about real life.  Jason even calls out the record labels for promoting the endless dribble.  It won't get played on the radio, but it should.  Thanks for standing up for real country Jason!

5. Bastard Child- Hellbound Glory
When we ask for country songs that are gritty, real, and honest, this is what we are talking about! "Bastard Child" is an in your face biography that's as real and rugged as they come.  No fairy tales here, just a honest tune from a couple of "scumbags".  Hellbound Glory is a group that's about to bust open in a big way, so jump on the bandwagon if you haven't already.  Lead singer and songwriter Leroy Virgil is one of the most talented country artists in years.

4. Gin, Smoke, Lies- Turnpike Troubadours
The Turnpike Troubadours SHOULD be the hottest new band in country right now, selling out arenas and winning CMAs... the world isn't a fair place, however, so the Troubadours are not at that level yet.  If they keep putting out music like this, however, they will be soon.  They combine classic country with a modern twist and create one of the coolest sounds out there right now. You'll hear much more about them in the top albums of the year feature.  The hardest part of this was picking one of their songs as the best, they are all that good!  "Gin, Smoke, Lies" is the opening track to their album Goodbye Normal Street, and was their first single and video.  Big things are in store for these guys!

3. The Real Me- Shooter Jennings
Shooter Jennings returned to the country scene with his new album, Family Man,  in February, and the title certainly proves true.  Shooter evokes the sound of his legendary father on this song, and others on the album, but still creates his own unique Shooter sound.  This song is a fun southern rock style stomp that you just can't help but sing along to (if you can keep up).    Shooter does a lot of things well, but his biggest skill are the high energy rocking country songs with that Jennings family backbeat.   "The Real Me" is a perfect representation of what Shooter does, and a perfect representation of what popular country music could and should be.

2. Drinkin' Man- George Strait
This may be one of the best singles George Strait has recorded in years, if not his career.  Unfortunately, its also the worst performing single of his career.  "Drinkin' Man" is a real look at the life of an alcoholic, and the troubles that comes with the bottle.  Its a throwback to the sad drinking songs of yesteryear, a stark contrast from today's drinking songs which focus on partying and mass consumption. Of course, George delivers it with the honesty and passion that have made him a legend.  This song is the real deal.

(George did not do a video for this song, and the quality of the live performances were not up to par, so a lyric video has to do...)

And now, the Keep It Country Kids Song of The Year:

1. So You Don't Have To Love Me Anymore- Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson has had so many amazing songs through his career that you'd think he could never match it.  Well, he has, and surpassed many of the old ones with this song.  "So You Don't Have To Love Me Anymore" is from his excellent album, Thirty Miles West, and was written by his nephew Adam Wright, and Jay Knowles.  Alan uses his perfect country voice to bring the emotion of this song to life.  This song focuses on a man taking the blame for a breakup, helping his woman through the healing process.  It's an original idea, departing from the everyday love songs you hear on the radio.  The backing track of steel guitar is solid country gold.  This song should have been a massive number one, winning awards and giving Alan's career new life.  Unfortunately, as is the case with many real country songs, radio mostly ignored this.  Luckily for us, we don't have to listen to the radio only to find good music!  I hope you enjoyed this look at the hits of 2012.  It was a truly great year for music, and proves real country hasn't died yet.  If you feel a song is ranked too high or too low, or you feel I missed a song, let me know!  Get the comment page rolling!  Now, please enjoy your 2012 Keep It Country Kids Song Of The Year, So You Don't Have To Love Me Anymore by Alan Jackson!

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