The Shotgun Seat’s Best Singles of 2017

It’s that time of year again, when we look back on our favorite music of 2017! We’re starting with our top 20 singles of the year, brought to you by six of our Shotgun Seat Team members: Annie Dineen, Jackie Ebnet, Markus Meyer, Colin Buchinski, Lydia Simonetti, and Natalie Schumann. Also check out our list of the Best Albums of 2017.

Brothers Osborne – “It Ain’t My Fault”

Individual Rankings:  #10 – Jackie; #16 – Lydia

The Brothers Osborne are just plain badass and “It Ain’t My Fault” is evidence of just that. Spirited riffs and crunchy electrics, along with a driving beat, accompany T.J.’s growl and sometimes tongue-in-cheek lyric. – Annie Dineen


Ryan Hurd – “Love In a Bar”

Individual Rankings: #7 – Colin; #16 – Jackie; #18 – Lydia; #19 – Natalie

Ryan Hurd’s debut single, “Love In A Bar” is authentic, relatable and catchy. The song is very much inspired by his relationship with fiancé and fellow country star, Maren Morris. Ryan shows off both his voice and writing skills on the track. It’s hard to believe the song peaked at just #50 on the Billboard country airplay chart. We have not heard the last of Ryan Hurd though, he is much too talented. Look for a possible ~breakout 2.0~ in 2018. – Colin Buchinski


Luke Bryan – “Fast”

Individual Rankings: #6 – Markus; #7 – Annie

After a run of singles that underwhelmed and sounded more or less the same as the last, Bryan finds himself in top form once again with “Fast.” It’s a thoughtful, reflective record that shows Bryan in a mature setting. The production is modern but not intrusive, while thriving melodically on a hooky chorus. It’s an exemplary effort from an artist who rarely showcases his true talent in such a subdued setting. – Markus Meyer

Midland – “Make a Little”

Individual Rankings: #5 – Natalie; #15 – Jackie; #18 – Markus; #20 – Colin

The second single from the retro-cowboy kings of Midland is lighthearted and uplifting. Its lyrics are peppered with plenty of innuendos and funny wordplay, while the harmonies are irresistible and the rhythm begs for a breakout dive bar swing-dance routine – a sign of a truly happy song, in my opinion. – Natalie Schumann

Midland – “Drinkin’ Problem”

Individual Rankings: #1 – Colin; #12 – Natalie

Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem” is a huge win for traditional country music.  Their lead single, which was very well received by country radio (and the Recording Academy, of course), takes you straight back to the 1990s. The song is fun, addictive and features great wordplay. – CB


Brett Eldredge – “The Long Way”

Individual Rankings: #10 – Markus, Lydia; #15 – Annie; #20 – Jackie

A standout from his third studio project, “The Long Way” finds Brett Eldredge playing to all his strengths. It’s a sentimental yet personal song that allows Eldredge’s vocal to shine through. It’s simple, yet evocative and is a truly excellent example of what Eldredge is capable of. – MM

Carly Pearce – “Every Little Thing”

Individual Rankings: #5 – Lydia; #11 – Annie; #17 – Markus

The title track off Carly Pearce’s debut album is a hauntingly beautiful ballad that showcases her remarkable vocal skill and ability to emotionally connect through her lyrics. The song, which she co-wrote with busbee and Emily Shackelton, is based on her experience handling heartbreak. Pearce’s “Every Little Thing” proves that she’s an incredibly talented artist bringing a breathe of fresh female air into a genre that is currently male-dominated. – Lydia Simonetti

Will Hoge feat. Sheryl Crow – “Little Bit of Rust”

Individual Rankings: #1 – Lydia; #13 – Annie; #19 – Jackie

Will Hoge’s most recent album featured “Little Bit of Rust,” a song that perfectly describes the reality of a long term relationship. Hoge’s strong, commanding voice is beautifully paired with the softness of Sheryl Crow’s vocals.  The song details the effort and struggles required to make a relationship last for the long term. “Little Bit of Rust” reminds the listener that even after the shininess fades, as long as you have the common denominator of love, you can weather any storm and stand the test of time. – LS

Ashley McBryde – “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega”

Individual Rankings: #3 – Jackie; #2 – Lydia

This is THE dive bar anthem of 2017!  Once you figure out how to pronounce Dahlonega (Duh-la-na-ga) there’s nothing stopping you from holding your beer in the air while swaying back and forth, arms around your neighbor, belting out this song. Ashley McBryde perfectly captures all of the emotions and defeat that we all face in life, from break ups to break downs, and leaves us with a hope that it’ll all work out in the end.  Because we all need to “hear a song from a band that saves ya” every once in a while. – JE


LANCO – “Greatest Love Story”

Individual Rankings: #6 – Colin, Jackie; #15 – Markus

Lanco’s breakout single, “Greatest Love Story,” which was featured on Netflix’s comedy The Ranch, is some of the finest storytelling you’ll find in country music this year. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and has put Lanco on the map. – LS

Jon Pardi – “She Ain’t In It”

Individual Rankings: #5 – Jackie; #7 – Markus; #9 – Annie

This song is traditional country meets 2017 at its absolute finest. The lyric is clever without being overdone, emotive without being sappy, and classic without being redundant. The emotion is incredibly tangible, and the music is the perfect dive bar jukebox slow dance – or, if you’re feeling as Pardi’s protagonist does, the perfect opportunity to grab another Bud Light – and listen close. – AD


Thomas Rhett – “Marry Me”

Individual Rankings: #1 – Markus; #12 – Annie, Lydia; #15 – Colin

“Marry Me” stands as a career-song for Rhett – not just commercially, but in terms of quality. It’s a clever, sharply written song that comes off as both descriptive and poignant, backed by a crisp and open production. It’s an outstanding record that allows Rhett to showcase himself as a true artist and storyteller, and separate himself from his reputation as a performer of sappy-love-songs/bro-retreads. It is a shining moment for both Rhett and country music in 2017, and a record without flaw. – MM


Maren Morris – “I Could Use a Love Song”

Individual Rankings:  #4 – Natalie; #8 – Jackie; #11 – Colin; #13 – Lydia

This late-bloomer (and Grammy-nominated) single off of Morris’ debut LP Hero is arguably one of her best offerings – a sleeper hit that sneaks up after the sparkle of “80s Mercedes” wears off. She sings wistfully of love lost, wishing a song could come along and save her from despair and heartache, and yet she simultaneously realizes that the fairytales described in love songs lack the inevitable realities of relationships. Overall, a stellar showcase of her more emotive vocal style and skillful songwriting. – NS

Devin Dawson – “All On Me”

Individual Rankings: #4 – Jackie; # 8 – Lydia; #10 – Colin; #16 – Annie; #18 – Natalie

Devin Dawson’s debut single “All On Me” is smooth and soulful. With it, he’s reassuring a woman that he’ll be there for her when the going gets tough, singing: “When it gets heavy put the weight on me.”  It’s feel-good, upbeat, and has a catchy hook that will no doubt leave you tapping your foot and singing along. – LS


Luke Combs – “When It Rains It Pours”

Individual Rankings:  #2 – Colin; #7 – Natalie; #9 – Jackie; #14 – Lydia,

Luke Combs scored his second consecutive number one on the country airplay charts with “When It Rains It Pours,” and it’s easy to see why.  The song is fun, upbeat and tells the best case scenario of a break up story, with Combs putting a spin on the phrase that normally comes with a negative connotation. Like his previous single, “Hurricane,” “When It Rains It Pours” has a catchy chorus that begs listeners to sing along at the top of their lungs. – JE


John Mayer – “In the Blood”

 Individual Rankings: #2 – Annie, Natalie; #3 – Markus

Whether or not John Mayer was aiming for country cred is debatable, but what’s not is the quality of this song. The production behind Mayer’s The Search For Everything country single is decently simple (and Johnny Cash reminiscent, perhaps) while he sings about family and identity with poignant and dexterous lyrics. – AD


Chris Stapleton – “Broken Halos”

Individual Rankings: #2 – Markus; #4 – Lydia; #6 – Natalie; #8 – Annie

Backed by a simple, elegant acoustic production, Stapleton croons a tune about those we have lost. It’s a lyrically complex record that taps into Stapleton’s strengths as a vocalist, and as a performer. It shines melodically, while allowing plenty of room for sonic elements to flourish. “Broken Halos” may be Stapleton’s finest moment to-date. – MM


Eric Church – “Round Here Buzz”

Individual Rankings:  #4 – Colin; #6 – Annie; #7 – Lydia; #8 – Natalie; #13 – Jackie

It’s not surprising that Eric Church wrote a song with a strong sense of character and an interesting perspective, but it continues to be impressive, and this year’s “Round Here Buzz” is no exception. Church gives voice to the one who stays back in their hometown – “just a parking lot down-and-outer” – with perfect tone, concept, and delivery. You can see Church’s guy sitting on the hood of his car with a six pack, thinking back on the girl who had “big city eyes.” A song like this could get cute or overdone in a hurry, but in typical EC fashion, it’s just right. – AD


Cam – “Diane”

Individual Rankings: #1 – Jackie; #3 – Annie; #9 – Lydia; #10 – Natalie; #13 – Colin

From the first note, “Diane” hits listeners with force. Not only is the song making an impact with its major 70’s vibes, but also its subject matter. Rather than telling the story of the lover who was wronged, it gives the perspective of the other woman, which makes it an interesting change from what listeners are used to. With Cam’s soaring, pleading vocals and the heart pounding beat of the song, it’s easy to imagine it becoming a classic much like the song that inspired it: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” – JE


Miranda Lambert – “Tin Man”

Individual Rankings: #1 – Annie, Natalie; #2 – Jackie; #3 – Lydia; #5 – Markus

Oof. This song, this concept, this production. “Tin Man” is a gem from Lambert’s double album The Weight of These Wings, but don’t be fooled by the gentle acoustic guitar or understated vocal delivery. The lyrics are guaranteed – GUARANTEED, I tell you – to rip. your. heart. out. (No pun intended.) Lambert co-wrote the track with Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, and their poignant narrative flips the Tin Man’s plea on its end: “Every time you’re feeling empty, better thank your lucky stars / If you ever felt one breaking, you’d never want a heart.” The song fits flawlessly into the overall vibe of Lambert’s project, but undoubtedly deserves its own string of praises as some of her finest songwriting work. – NS


This list was compiled by The Shotgun Seat team and organized by Markus Meyer.