Yesterday here at I published my list of the Top Ten Songs of 2012.  Today, I am publishing my list of the Worst Five!  I realize that, anytime someone publishes a list like this, it can strike quite a nerve, but you can't have the best without the worst and here goes!  See if you agree or disagree . . .

#5-  Kick It in the Sticks- Brantley Gilbert.  First of all, don't hate on me yet.  Let me explain.  Brantley made my Top Ten list with "More Than Miles," a slickly produced, well-performed, well-written country tune.  But THIS song, for me, is just none of the above.  I think Brantley is one heckuva song writer and he has written some monster country hits.  But "Kick It in the Sticks" just isn't one of them. The song was a bust on the charts.  I suppose when you've made a name for yourself playing the "rebel" it's really easy to fall into that role and stay there.  But, in this day and age, when country has really outgrown it's "rebel" roots, you've got to be more than that.  I think Brantley is . . . but he needs to continue to show it instead of releasing songs like this that sound like they were mixed out back in the shed.

#4-  Begin Again-  Taylor Swift.  I am not sure who I would be more afraid of.  Angry Brantley fans or angry Taylor Swift fans.  LOL.  I have actually become a fan of Taylor Swift.  In fact, much of her CD Red is tremendous.  "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" are GREAT songs.  Oh wait.  Let me clarify.  They are great POP songs.  And pop is exactly what Taylor needs to be doing and I think she knows it.  However, she feels obligated, I think, to release songs to country radio as way to keep that fan base intact.  I get it and I don't mind it.  What I do mind is the throw-away, same ole, same ole she's giving us here in country.  There's nothing really wrong with "Begin Again."  It's well-written as expected.  I just feel like it's the same song she keeps giving us time and again.  I just wish her country music was written and performed with the same fervor as her pop music.

#3-  Goodbye in Her Eyes-  Zac Brown Band.  It pains me to include this group on this list.  But here's why I am doing it.  I am a HUGE Zac Brown Band fan.  And what I love most about them is the way they take risks with their music.  A lot of artists, once they have success, will follow the same formula over and over to replicate their previous chart successes.  Carrie Underwood has done it since she became a star.  Kenny Chesney used to do it, until he realized he had real songwriting in him.  But not these guys.  Zac Brown, from the start, has been an innovator.  Every single song released to country radio has sounded completely different from its predecessors.  Until now.  Listen to "Goodbye in Her Eyes."  Now, sing "Highway 20 Ride" as you listen to it.  It's virtually the same melody, virtually the same song.    And, for me, it was a huge disappointment.  These guys are amazing and one of the most creative and genre-twisting forces in music.  But, in this particular case, you would never know it.

#2-  Southern Comfort Zone-  Brad Paisley.  I don't get this at all.  I actually like the message of the song.  It basically encourages folks to break free from their "southern comfort zone" to seek open-mindedness and acceptance of the outside world.  It explains to the country-music faithful (who apparently still live in the land of cotton) that there's a whole world out there with different ideas, traditions and ways of living.  I get it, Brad.  I actually appreciate you stepping up to the plate and saying it.  But I think you just went about it the wrong way.  This song's message is so pure and simple, yet everything about the production of it is completely overstated.  The bluegrass instrument overload (again, the land of cotton), the obligatory, amped-up guitar solo, and the choir.  Oh, Lord.  That choir!!  And the song goes on for days.  Just when you thought Kenny Chesney had become the king of the 5-minute radio single, Brad Paisley has served notice that he's right there for the ride-a-long.

#1-  All I Want for Christmas is You- Lady Antebellum.  One of the best and liveliest Christmas songs ever meets a trio that is becoming more and more lifeless every day.  What is up with Lady Antebellum?  Remember when they made it big time?  Their second big radio single was "Looking for a Good Time."  They must have found that good time pretty quickly, because since then, they seem to be looking for severe bouts of depression.  There just doesn't seem to be any life or joy in their music-making of late and their cover of Mariah Carey's Christmas smash is proof in the figgy pudding. Lady Antebellum, on their newly released holiday CD, turn "All I Want for Christmas is You" into a cry for Xanax.  This is horrible and, for me, the single worst country song of the year.  Lady Antebellum, right now, is the most one-note act in country music.  They are completely predictable, somber to a fault and, dare I say, dull.  Rogue from The X-Men, anybody?  Lady A needs to take a look at another trio, the impeccable The Band Perry, and learn it's okay to have fun again. Lady A, please!  Look for a good time!