By James Pavel

 10. Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban

McGraw explains that if you’re looking for a pity party, an inanimate object is a terrible source for sympathy. Highways are cold, dark and endless and apparently, terrible listeners. Based on Taylor’s Swift multiple train-wreck relationships, she’s likely attempted having an intense dialogue with the mountains, rivers and potentially even highways, so this song may serve as more than just a metaphor for running away.

9. We Are Tonight – Billy Currington

It’s a Friday night, it’s a small town girl, and it’s every country music stereotype Billy Currington can muster. Country exists on trite concepts and half-truths, similar to how rappers pretend they’ve all slanged crack and been shot at. The ability to embody the night is enchanting, but knowing a country singer, it will boil down to cold beer and campfires because one of the primary objectives of a great country song is to make life appear as simplistic as possible. Country singers are compulsive about simplicity. Every outfit, every scenario is dripping in monotony, hence why the warm, snug blanket of the never-to-be-forgotten past is constantly their topic of discussion.

8. If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away – Justin Moore

It’s country music’s version of Bone Thugs n Harmony’s “Crossroads.” The dogmatic beliefs of country music may come across as naïve, but more often than not, are generally charming and inspirational. Nobody listened in church more attentively than aspiring country singers, and based on Justin Moore’s depiction of heaven, he sounds like a first-class altar boy. The lyrics make one swear they were dicing onions while the song was humming because nothing makes eyes redder and wetter than a grown man dreaming of being reunited with his dead dog.

7. Get Your Shine On – Florida Georgia Line

The rap/country synthesis is so implausible that it could only be true. The only instrument separating Florida Georgia Line “Get your Shine On,” from a Cash Money Millionaire 90’s banger is the timeless banjo guitar. Florida Georgia Line is further evidence that the winter season does not exist in the realm of country music. It`s a world oblivious to snowflakes and parkas; a land where “getting your shine on” is part of a compulsory diet.

 6. Merry Go ‘Round – Kasey Musgraves

It’s a shotgun blast at marriage disguised as a nursery rhyme. Based on the almost comical divorce rate in North America, Musgraves probably has a point. Despite the outlandish expenses to raise a family and the odds of someone’s marriage surviving similar to him or her becoming an NFL quarterback, the societal pressure to get married is oddly as popular as ever.

5. Drunk on You – Luke Bryan

Country music is incredibly cryptic about sex. Rock music talks about sex on fire and pop music does everything short of recording a live orgasm, yet country music blushes when describing how tight a pair of blue jeans look. We’ll never know who has left Luke Bryan intoxicated because he spends 75 per cent of “Drunk on You” describing the mystery fox’s ass. Her behind makes his speakers go “boom boom” an analogy better fit for a school boy fresh off learning about the birds and the bees. If one were incapable of reading between the lines, it would sound as though no country singer has ever made it past second base.

4. Sure Be Cool If You Did – Blake Shelton

The verses are painfully forgettable, but the chorus is country wizardry. Black Shelton has served as the proud middleman between the old guard of country and the pop transformation that the genre has more or less been forced to undergo, which we suppose, is kind of cool. The song’s cheekiness practically winks at the listener, a tactic George Strait would be proud of.

3. Cop Car – Keith Urban

Keith Urban will likely be recalled as one of the most significant country music figures from this era because despite sounding unique and advanced, he is unmistakably country. There is no erroneous hip-hop lingo encroaching on his lyrics, nor does he storm up preposterous choruses completely manufactured for night clubs. Urban is as metropolitan as country will allow, but his guitar-God status seems to determine everything else.

2. Somewhere With You – Kenny Chesney

Country songs that sound like what ripping down the freeway in a sports car feels like are almost always pure dynamite. Chesney has his cowboy boot glued to the gas pedal as he is relishing the opportunity to be anywhere with the subject of this desperate confession. Country songs are always properly enunciated by the singer and easily deciphered by the listener making the narrative not only a clutch aspect, but imperative to country radio.  Sure, it’s generally the same plot over and over, whether it be chasing girls or coping with heartbreak, but country remains feverishly popular because no other fan base can relate more intimately with their favourite artist’s lyrics.

1. Springsteen – Eric Church

No other genre is built so dependently on nostalgia. Pop and rock both tinker with the past, but country is almost obsessed with dwelling over yesterday’s news. There doesn’t seem to be a particular era the honky tonkers yearn for, only as long as it does not coincide with the present or the future. Country music was for a great period a foreign species and for brief moments, appeared to be an endangered species. Living outside the parameters of the big city with nothing but a tractor and a bottle of whiskey has become only simplistic fantasy of the modern cowboys running the country music barn. “Springsteen” is what sounds like a genuine gun-slinger reminiscing about how he grew up listening to rock ‘n roll, a candid account of what the teenage years for modern country singers was realistically like. No country artist strictly exists on a diet of George Jones or Johnny Cash anymore. It’s a brave new world for the country proud and one that shows tremendous promise based on what this past decade has offered up thus far.