The 50 greatest country songs of the 2010s, ranked

2 January 2020, 13:56 | Updated: 2 January 2020, 14:01

Country stars
Country stars. Picture: Big Machine/Republic/Capitol/YouTube

By Tom Eames

Now that we look forward to what 2020 may bring for country music, it got us thinking back to the previous 10 years.

It was no easy task, but we've ranked what we reckon were the greatest country songs of the 2010s.

See if your favourite songs are in our list below, and make sure to listen to Smooth Country for the best country music of all time 24 hours a day.

50. Florida Georgia Line - 'Stay'
49. Kelsea Ballerini - 'Peter Pan'
48. Brett Eldredge - 'Drunk on Your Love'
47. Old Dominion - 'Break Up with Him'
46. Maren Morris - 'Rich'
45. Easton Corbin - 'Are You With Me'
44. Lady Antebellum - 'You Look Good'
43. Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood - 'The Fighter'
42. Luke Bryan - 'That's My Kind of Night'
41. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope - 'Think of You'
40. Old Dominion - 'Snapback'
39. Brothers Osborne - 'Stay a Little Longer'
38. Kacey Musgraves - 'Rainbow'
37. Sam Hunt - 'Break Up in a Small Town'
36. Dan + Shay & Justin Bieber - '10,000 Hours'
35. Kenny Chesney - 'Come Over'
34. Sam Hunt - 'Make You Miss Me'
33. Tebey - 'Wake Me Up'
32. Glen Campbell - 'I'm Not Gonna Miss You'
31. Keith Urban - 'Somewhere in My Car'
30. Dierks Bentley & Elle King - 'Different for Girls'
29. Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood - 'Remind Me'
28. Eric Church - 'Springsteen'
27. Hunter Hayes - 'Wanted'
26. Luke Combs - 'Beautiful Crazy'
25. Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban - 'Highway Don't Care'
24. Zac Brown Band - 'Homegrown'
23. Carly Pearce - 'Every Little Thing'
22. Little Big Town - 'When Someone Stops Loving You'
21. Chris Stapleton - 'Tennessee Whiskey'
20. Kacey Musgraves - 'Space Cowboy'
19. Taylor Swift - 'Mean'
18. The Band Perry - 'If I Die Young'
17. Florida Georgia Line - 'HOLY'
16. Kacey Musgraves - 'Follow Your Arrow'
15. Darius Rucker - 'Wagon Wheel'
14. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper - 'Shallow'
13. Keith Urban - 'Blue Ain't Your Colour'
12. Little Big Town - 'Better Man'
11. Tim McGraw - 'Humble and Kind'

  1. Taylor Swift - 'Back to December'

    Before Taylor went full pop on later albums, she was still largely sticking to her country roots on her third album Speak Now in 2010.

    The song became a top 10 hit in the main US Billboard Hot 100, and helped cement her as a future international superstar.

    The ballad is an apology to a past lover, with Taylor explaining: "I've never felt the need to apologize in a song before. But in the last two years I've experienced a lot, [including] a lot of different kinds of learning lessons. And sometimes you learn a lesson too late and at that point you need to apologize because you were careless."

    Fans speculated that the song was about her ex-boyfriend, Twilight star Taylor Lautner.

  2. Dan + Shay - 'Tequila'

    This was the lead single from Dan + Shay's self-titled third album, and features Dan Smyers' wife Abby Law on backing vocals.

    The track went to number one in the country chart, crossed over to the Hot 100 and won the duo Grammy and CMA prizes.

  3. Sam Hunt - 'Body Like a Back Road'

    This banger broke all kinds of records in 2017, and stayed at number one in the country chart for a ridiculous 34 weeks.

    It was written by Hunt and his producer Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally. Hunt said the song was written after his engagement to Hannah Lee Fowler.

    Hunt described it as "a lighthearted song", as he wanted to release something lighter than the "heavy direction" his new album was taking. He said: "I connect music to the emotions that come from relationships, so most of the songs that I write are inspired by those circumstances, emotions, feelings, all that kind of stuff."

  4. Lady Antebellum - 'Just a Kiss'

    This country number one is about a "tortured romantic scenario" of a new couple's relationship. It describes how the couple prefer not to take their romantic relationship further anytime soon, want to take things slow, and are happy with "just a goodnight kiss".

    Charles Kelley said that the song was inspired by the band members' experiences: "I remembered being out the first night with Cassie and thinking, 'This is different, and I don't want to give any wrong impression.

    "I don't want to make the wrong move because this feels like something special.' We started talking about that and going back and forth with different experiences when we wrote the song."

  5. Florida Georgia Line - 'Cruise'

    This insanely catchy tune is the best-selling country digital song of all time in the US, and is generally considered the most famous example of the genre termed 'bro-country'.

    It spent 24 weeks at number one on the country chart, and was later remixed with R&B legend Nelly. Because why not?

  6. Thomas Rhett - 'Die a Happy Man'

    One of the decade's greatest country ballads topped the country chart in late 2015.

    It was written for Thomas Rhett's wife, Lauren, whom he'd known since first grade, and married in 2012.

    "I just think this song shows how me and Lauren love each other, and I hope this song is an encouragement to other married couples or people that are dating," he said.

  7. Little Big Town - 'Girl Crush'

    Lori McKenna has said that that when she presented the idea of this future country number one to co-writer Liz Rose, Rose disliked the idea but changed her mind after hearing the first verse Hillary Lindsey had written.

    Group members Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild later heard the song and asked that it be saved for them.

    The song sees Fairchild sing about her envy over an ex's new girl. "It's written like a good old country jealousy story," she said. "I think we've all felt that, where we've lost a relationship and been rejected and we look at, 'What did he want that I didn't have?' I think it's a really easy thing to relate to, and yet you've never heard it said in that way."

  8. Luke Bryan - 'Strip it Down'

    Luke Bryan scored a country number one with this track, the first single from his fifth album Kill the Lights in 2015.

    The song is about a disconnected couple trying to recapture the magic they once had.

    "We get busy in our lives," the singer told Billboard. "Me and [wife] Caroline will be at dinner, and we'll be looking at our phones texting people. You know, sometimes you just have to strip it back, and I think everybody can relate to that."

  9. Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line - 'Meant to Be'

    Pop star Bebe Rexha decided to go country for this track, which proved to be a massive country crossover hit, staying at number on the Billboard Country chart for a ridiculous 50 (FIFTY!) weeks, breaking a new record.

    She said of the song: "I never thought a New York girl like me would have a country hit, but I guess it goes to show you that some things are just... meant to be."

  10. Lady Antebellum - 'Need You Now'

    Released in the US in 2009, this country power ballad became a UK hit a year later. It had become one of the biggest country-pop crossover hits in their homeland for nearly a decade.

    The song describes calling someone in the middle of the night due to loneliness (we've all been there).

    Singer Hillary Scott said: "All three of us know what it's like to get to that point where you feel lonely enough that you make a late night phone call that you very well could regret the next day."