2017 was a year of record-breaking hits. From Sam Hunt’s unprecedented 34-week run at No. 1 with the infectious “Body Like A Back Road” to Carly’s emotional heartbreak on “Every Little Thing,” which became the highest charting solo female debut since July of 2015, country music left its mark in a major way. Sounds Like Nashville looks back on some of the biggest releases of 2017. Below are our 25 favorite singles of 2017.
Miranda Lambert shares past heartache on the poignant “Tin Man.” The song has her eloquently advising the Tin Man that he shouldn’t want a heart, but if he does she’ll gladly trade her broken one for his armor. The stripped down song is the most vulnerable single she’s released in years with memorable lyrics that stay with the listener long after the song is played.
Without a doubt the biggest song of 2017, Sam Hunt’s feel-good “Body Like A Back Road” surpassed the previous record held by Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” for the most weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. “Body Like A Back Road” spent an unprecedented 34 weeks at No. 1. The song’s remarkable success marks the longest time a solo male artist held the top position and is likely only the beginning of Hunt’s record breaking career.
Blake Shelton returns to his roots with one of his most memorable singles to date. “I’ll Name the Dogs” is a catchy song with a sweet sentiment of a man wanting to settle down. “You name the babies and I’ll name the dogs,” he croons on the upbeat number.
An instant hit for Thomas Rhett, “Unforgettable” is an earworm of a song that paints the picture of the beginnings of a relationship. While he’s said it isn’t exactly a story about how he and his wife Lauren met, it’s hard not to envision the couple sipping on mango-ritas during a night out on the town. With slick beats and TR’s rhythmic singing style, “Unforgettable” is a jam.
“I Could Use a Love Song” is a brutally honest track that has Maren Morris trying her best not to be jaded about love. “I haven’t lost all hope yet,” she sings. A welcomed song on country radio that makes the listener feel, “I Could Use A Love Song” is one of the most heartfelt singles out this year.
Luke Combs saw his first chart success with his No. 1 single “Hurricane.” The North Carolina native co-wrote the song, which vividly compares an ex to a hurricane that he can’t seem to avoid. “Rain was driving, thunder, lightning / You wrecked my whole world when you came / And hit me like a hurricane,” he sings.
On the gritty “It Ain’t My Fault,” Brothers Osborne’s musicianship is fully displayed with thumping drums and hand-clapped rhythms. All the while, TJ’s voice blends impeccably with John’s always impressive guitar shredding. It’s a track that should be listened to on repeat.
Jon Pardi is bringing the traditional back to mainstream country music and no song better showcases this than “Dirt On My Boots.” A mix of old and new, the distinct music combined with Pardi’s captivating singing style makes it nearly impossible not to tap your boots along to the song.
A song he co-wrote, the singer looks back on life nostalgically throughout “Fast.” The usual hip-shaking country star shows his soft side on this one and it pays off, marking his 18th career No. 1 single and also making him the only artist to garner six No. 1 singles from an album.
Midland took the country world by storm this year with their classic country throwback sound heard on “Drinkin’ Problem.” Transporting listeners back into the ’70s and ’80s with their striking harmonies, traditional country instrumentation and visual storytelling, the infectious lead single “Drinkin’ Problem” is only the beginning for the well dressed trio.
Keith Urban has a knack for releasing songs that resonate deeply with listeners. He couldn’t have dropped a more fitting single than “Female” this year as the world has been shook with the unveiling of countless abuses of women by men in power. While the song was inspired in part by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it serves as more of an uplifting song to embolden women. “When you hear a song that they play saying you run the world / Do you believe it? / Will you live to see it?” he sings.
The lead track to Kip Moore’s third studio album SLOWHEART, “More Girls Like You” also became the fastest rising single of his career. On the song, his romantic side is showcased as he sings of the hope to settle down, “grab a piece of land and raise a few more girls like you.” With each lyric, Moore reveals his willingness to tap into vulnerable territory. Radio listened and responded, making it his fourth career No. 1.
Carly Pearce launched onto the country music scene this year with her debut single “Every Little Thing.” Written from a true place, the emotional ballad about trying to let go after a breakup struck a chord with listeners. As she hit No. 1 on the charts, she also broke several records as she became the highest charting solo female debut since July of 2015 as well as was the only solo female to have a debut single certified gold.
Lady Antebellum had a brief hiatus before regrouping for their latest album, Heart Break. With a renewed sense of energy they boldly returned in 2017 with the horn-heavy “You Look Good.” A sexy number that begs to be danced to, “You Look Good” showcases the band’s fun side as they embrace a refreshing new sound.
Brett Young followed the success of his first No. 1 hit “Sleep Without You” with another chart-topper thanks to “In Case You Didn’t Know.” Throughout the song, Young sings of all the things he’s been feeling for a girl but can’t quite put into words. Luckily for his lady, he can serenade her instead.
Zac Brown Band’s emotional single “My Old Man” has a young man hoping to bestow the lessons his father taught him upon his own son. A striking song with soaring strings, acoustic guitar and Brown’s emotive vocals, it tugs on the heartstrings as Brown sings of how he’s trying to fill the boots of his father. “Do the best I can to raise him up the right way / Hoping that he’d someday wants to be like his old man,” he sings.
Little Big Town are well known for their heart-wrenching ballads and their Taylor Swift-penned single “Better Man” exemplifies this talent. A song about a man who did her wrong, Karen Fairchild’s smoky vocals get the song’s point achingly across with the assist from her band mates on harmonies.
This feel-good track has Old Dominion also hoping to bestow lasting life lessons onto their children. “When the whole world is down on its luck / I gotta make sure they keep their chin up / Cry when it hurts / Laugh when it’s funny / Chase after the dream don’t chase after the money / And know we got each other,” frontman Matthew Ramsey sings. With hand-clapped rhythms, memorable lyrics and Ramsey’s smooth vocals they adequately get their point across.
Chris Stapleton’s poignant “Broken Halos” is a song that gained more power as 2017 developed into a year of immense loss, whether it be the death of country legends or the senseless shooting at country festival Route 91 Harvest in Las Vegas. At a concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena in October, Stapleton dedicated to the song to the lives lost in Vegas and as the stadium grew silent, the lyrics took on new meaning. “Don’t go looking for the reasons / Don’t go asking Jesus why / We’re not meant to know the answers,” he croons.
A country duo and ’90s boy band may sound like an unlikely collaboration at first — until you hear the song. Florida Georgia Line teamed up with the Backstreet Boys for “God, Your Mama, And Me” and the song quickly became the boy band’s first No. 1 at country radio. An ode to all the females in their lives, “God, Your Mama, And Me” blends the spot-on harmonies BSB are known for with the genre-bending duo for a truly unique track.
Kenny Chesney showcases what he does best on the fun-filled “All the Pretty Girls.” With rolling percussion, Chesney’s smooth vocals and lyrics about pretty girls and lost boys home for the summer, “All the Pretty Girls” is the perfect summer song about living in the moment. Another No. 1 hit, it also became Chesney’s 30th chart topper.
Kelsea Ballerini showcases her power as a songwriter on the memorable “Legends.” The first single off her sophomore album, Unapologetically, Ballerini wrote the song with her songwriting hero, Hillary Lindsey, and frequent collaborator Forest Glen Whitehead. A story of a woman looking back nostalgically on a former relationship, “Legends” is a colorful and grandiose track that only strengthens the singer’s already impressive catalog of songs.
The best songs are often taken from the pages of one’s life and Lauren Alaina’s “Doin’ Fine” is exactly this. “Daddy got sober, Mama got his best friend / I’ve cut down cryin’ to every other weekend,” Alaina sings on the song’s first verse. An uplifting track about dealing with struggles by embracing life with a heart wide open, Alaina’s powerful vocals convince the listener that they, too, will be just fine.
LANCO made chart history with their debut single, “Greatest Love Story.” Also their first No 1, frontman Brandon Lancaster became the only country artist in over a decade to sing and write his first chart topper alone. The sweet story song is about high school lovers who lose touch and reconnect years later. It struck a chord at country radio and it’s easy to see why as the song’s light instrumentation put the focus on Lancaster’s confessional singing style and descriptive lyrics.
A powerful No. 1 song for Kane Brown and Lauren Alaina, “What Ifs” also broke Sam Hunt’s 34-week run at the top of the country charts. “What Ifs” has Brown trying to convince a girl with hesitations that a relationship with him is meant to be. Added harmonies from Alaina’s powerful pipes make this song a show stopper and a sweet one at that, as the two are childhood friends.