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Chad’s Top Ten Country Songs of 2012 [Video]

Last Friday, we held our 2nd annual Big BKR Smackdown and let you guys pick YOUR favorite songs of 2012.  We took thousands of votes over the course of 12 hours until we finally narrowed the Top 92 songs of the year down to the #1 song of the 2012.  Check out your Top Ten by CLICKING HERE!  As the year officially comes to its close, I have decided to share my picks for the Best Songs of 2012.  Some on my list made yours.  Others may be a surprise.  So, here goes . . .

#10- More Than Miles by Brantley Gilbert.  It’s interesting.  Brantley has made a name for himself playing the roughneck rebel.  But, his best moment musically, without a doubt, is this song.  Like Sears . . . Brantley has a softer side.  Who knew?

#9-  Til My Last Day-  Justin Moore.  For me, Justin Moore is a sleeper hit.  He’s not an artist that typically comes to mind when someone asks me who may favorite country singers are.  But, he always seems to churn out music that I love.  And this song is no exception.  Bad boy meets good girl and good girl sweeps the bad boy off his feet.  Sounds like Grease, doesn’t it?  LOL!  But I am hopelessly devoted to this song.

#8- Even If It Breaks Your Heart- Eli Young Band.  I didn’t get the infatuation with “Crazy Girl” at all.  But, I suppose I should be grateful it became a huge #1 smash.  Because that song paved the way for this one . . . a stirring ode to music, passion, and dreams.  “Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart!”

#7- Cryin’ on a Suitcase-  Casey James.  I wasn’t all that blown away by Casey James when he was on American Idol and honestly wasn’t convinced he was going to make it as a country artist.  He just struck me as way more “bluesy rock” than “country” when he finished 3rd in Season 9.  However, in this song, he successfully blends both those worlds.  “Cryin’ on a Suitcase” is a masterful blend of country AND rock and Casey’s voice seems to have finally found its home.

#6- Mr. Know It All-  Kelly Clarkson.  Typically, when a song crosses from one chart to another, it starts out as country.  Then producers get hold of it, strip it of its country elements and send it off to pop radio.  Not this time.  When Kelly Clarkson decided she wanted to release her POP hit to COUNTRY radio, she went into the studio and completely recut it.  New vocals, new instrumentation and a completely country vibe.  The finished product?  A country “Mr. Know It All” that is superior to the pop original on every level.  I really believe that if she had released this song to country radio first, she would have taken it Top 10!

#5-  Pontoon/Tornado-  Little Big Town.  2012 was a milestone year for Little Big Town.  The first time I heard “Pontoon”, I knew (we all knew) it was going to be an enormous,  career-changing hit.  And it was.  It’s epitomizes what every country music fan wants in a summertime party song.  LBT could easily have fizzled with the follow-up to their big #1, but didn’t.  With “Tornado,” they gave us a vivid revenge tale.  Just months after Carrie Underwood released “Blown Away,” her own stormy tale of retribution, Little Big Town one-upped her.  “Tornado” is darker, more harrowing and right in your face.

#4-  So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore-  Alan Jackson.  I hesitate to write this, because I know, for many, it’s blasphemy.  I am just not a big Alan Jackson fan.  There!  I said it.  However, he is now responsible for two of my favorite country songs ever.  I still love “Drive (for Daddy Gene)” and always will.   And now, I am even more crazy for Alan’s wrenching 2012 ballad, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore.”  Alan sounds great.  And the song . . . my gosh that song.  When every relationship ends, the battle lines between the good and bad guys get drawn immediately.  Here, Alan just assumes the role of bad guy, to make the break-up easier on his gal.  He says he’ll be the S.O.B. but, with his heart laid bare, sure doesn’t seem to be that at all.

#3-  Somethin’ Bout a Truck/Beer Money-  Kip Moore.  He had me at hello.  I met Kip, for the first time, two years ago when he opened for Brantley Gilbert at the Big O preview concert.  Nice guy.  Great story of how he got into country music.  And now he has a great story of how he stormed the top of the country music charts in 2012.  “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” is pure country and an anthem anyone who has ever partied in a field can relate to.  “Beer Money” is pure pop-rock country.  There’s something about Kip’s voice and style that reminds me of late 80′s Bon Jovi and I am diggin’ it.  Two big hits under his belt.  I say, bring on the third!

#2-  I Drive Your Truck-  Lee Brice.  When Dave Spencer, Jaclyn and I heard this song months ago, we knew it was going to be a single.  And now it is.  And the response to it is just what we all expected.  I am not ashamed to admit it.  I love when a song moves me completely.  It happened last week when I saw the movie version of Les Miserables and Anne Hathaway poured her guts out on “I Dreamed a Dream.”  I sat in the theatre and sobbed like a child.  She KILLED it.  And Lee Brice KILLS this.  I was sitting in my office the first time I heard it played on WBKR.  I remember hearing it start . . . then remember nothing else.  I was completely swept away by ” I Drive Your Truck”.  Lee’s voice.  The lyric.  When the song ended, I sat at my desk and cried.

#1-  Cruise-  Florida Georgia Line.  The most infectious country song in years.  With their debut single, Florida Georgia Line has given us the single-best driving song ever.  When I was younger and moved to California, I made a series of mix tapes to get me across the country.  I wanted a collection of “driving” songs to underscore my trip to San Diego.  If “Cruise” had been released in the mid 90′s, I wouldn’t have needed the collection.  This is PERFECTION.  And the opening lyric completely sums it up . . . “Baby you a song.  You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise.”  YEP!

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