The Shotgun Seat’s Top 20 Singles of 2015

top singles 2015

#20
Thomas Rhett
“Die A Happy Man”
Individual Rankings: #6 – Natalie

*Relationship goals.* Thomas Rhett clearly knows the way to a woman’s heart–an Ed Sheeran-esque country love song, of course. It’s simple and minimalistic, which makes the sweet message shine so much brighter. The accompanying video isn’t for the faint of heart… the genuine adorableness might seriously overwhelm you. Good work, Mr. Rhett. – Natalie Schumann

#19
Thomas Rhett
“Crash And Burn”
Individual Rankings: #10 – Annie; #17 – Christina

“Crash And Burn,” which followed “Make Me Wanna,” may have been the turning point this year taking Thomas Rhett from mid-size artist to budding superstar. With the genre-bending release of his sophomore album, the single poises him for a huge 2016. -Annie Dineen

#18
Lee Ann Womack
“Send It On Down”
Individual Rankings: #13 – Markus, Annie

Released as a single in January of 2015, “Send It On Down” was a stellar release from Womack’s Grammy nominated The Way I’m Livin’, showcasing her per-usual incredible vocals paired with a gripping and well-executed concept. “Are there any answers / Up in the hereafter / Oh, if you got something won’t you send it on down / While I’m still able to be found.” AD

#17
Tim McGraw feat. Catherine Dunn
“Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”
Individual Rankings: Markus – #3

Tim McGraw released one of 2014’s strongest albums in Sundown Heaven Town, and the best track off the album was this subdued, brilliantly country gem. Built around a clever metaphor of a hook, McGraw wraps his tender vocals around one of the year’s best lyrics, backed by a gorgeous production and fantastic melody. Throw in Catherine Dunn’s sparkling back-up vocals, and you have the year’s bets top-five airplay hit. – Markus Meyer

#16
Old Dominion
“Break Up With Him”
Individual Rankings: #1 – Natalie

With this single, Old Dominion took over country radio and somehow made unrequited love catchy and relatable. The song is brimming with confidence and piggybacks on the “talking” trend popularized by Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time.” Basically, Old Dominion is giving everyone a forceful, no-nonsense nudge out of the friend zone. “I know you ain’t in love with him / Break up with him.” It’s as simple as that. – NS

(Check out: Old Dominion Discusses New EP, Touring, and Band Mascot)

#15
Chris Stapleton
“Traveller”
Individual Rankings: #9 – Markus; #14 – Annie

Chris Stapleton is one of our only two artists to earn two places on this list (as well as co-writing our #19 song,) and with the banner year he’s had, we don’t even need to justify it. The title track from his solo debut helped place the phenom on the map, and serves as another fine example of Stapleton’s writing and vocal craftsmanship. – AD

(Check out: Review: Chris Stapleton Wows on Debut Solo Album ‘Traveller’)

#14
Florida Georgia Line
“Confession”
Individual Rankings: #2 – Markus; #18 – Annie

Florida Georgia Line stop the party for a quick second to give us this wonderful slice of reflective pop-country goodness. With a lyric that leaves room for interpretation while telling a captivating story, anchored by the line “guy in the windshield looking back / looks just like me but there’s a crack”, “Confession” ranks as FGL’s best lyrical moment to-date. Complete with an addicting melody and a confident vocal from Tyler Hubbard, this is a route that the reigning CMA and ACM duo of the year best be going down further. – MM

(Check out: Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession” Is A Masterpiece of Honesty, Disguised as a ‘Jesus and Jack’ Anthem)

#13
Keith Urban
“Break On Me”
Individual Rankings: #5 – Natalie; #16 – Annie; #20 – Markus

This song is literally a hug from Keith Urban in musical form–and what more could you ask for from your car radio or Spotify playlist? It’s comforting, reassuring, and might make you cry, but it’ll certainly leave you feeling better about life than you did five minutes ago. Keith, you win. Again. – NS

(Check out: Keith Urban’s Newest Song, “Break On Me”)

#12

Jason Isbell
“24 Frames”
Individual Rankings: #7 – Markus; #9 – Annie

Jason Isbell returned with a vengeance this year, beating back the bro batch with lyricism so intricate it could easily stand alone as poetry. “24 Frames” is emotionally heavy and image-laden in a way that yields meaning on the first – and 500th – listen. –AD

#11
Kacey Musgraves
“Dime Store Cowgirl”
Individual Rankings: #3 – Natalie; #6 – Markus

Kacey Musgraves has never sounded as refreshed and accessible as she does on “Dime Store Cowgirl”. The highlight track of her extremely solid sophomore project Pageant Material, the record is poignant, hook-laden, and refreshingly country. From the bouncy melody, to Musgraves’ strong technical performance, it may just be the young star’s finest moment yet. – MM

(Check out: For Kacey Musgraves, Going Against Country Norms Is Her Best Bet For Stardom)

#10
Dierks Bentley
“Riser”
Individual Rankings: #4 – Markus; #7 – Christina; #11 – Annie;

Dierks Bentley really didn’t want to move on from the album cycle without releasing the title track, “Riser,” as a single, and his dedication to the incredible song just serves as a further testament to its deserving of a top slot this year. -AD

#9
Keith Urban ft. Eric Church
“Raise ‘Em Up”
Individual Rankings: #4 – Annie; #8 – Christina; #11 – Markus

Though released in 2015, “Raise ‘Em Up” is in many ways timeless, detailing the cycle of life in carefully chosen imagery – “it’s just a whiskey glass if you ain’t makin’ a toast” – that sneaks past clichéd, simply sentimental instead. The song fit well for the firebrands now tending hearth fires, especially Church, who welcomed his second son Tennessee Hawk this past year. -AD

#8
Chris Stapleton
“Tennessee Whiskey”
Individual Rankings: #2 – Christina; #7 – Natalie

This song essentially launched Chris Stapleton into the mega-star stratosphere (with a little help from JT, of course). Whether you’re a bandwagon Stapleton fan or longtime follower, this George Jones cover just can’t be ignored. It’s full of feeling, radio-ready (props to you, Mr. Jones), and still allows Stapleton’s insane vocal abilities to dominate the track. A+. – NS

(Check out: Interview: Chris Stapleton Talks ‘Traveller,’ Writing Process, and a Changing Nashville)

#7

Love and Theft
“Whiskey On My Breath”
Individual Rankings: #5 – Markus, Annie

Well, I certainly didn’t see this coming. Love and Theft, a duo built around fluffy pop-country tunes, delivered us one of the year’s most intricate and most emotionally gutting songs of the year. Telling the story of an alcoholic while incorporating spiritual elements makes it a compelling example of modern storytelling, while the duo’s harmonies, acoustic based production and the tight melody make for an absolutely invigorating lesson. If this is what Love and Theft plans on giving us without major label support, count me as interested. – MM

#6

Ashley Monroe
“The Blade”
Individual Rankings: #2 – Annie; #14 – Christina; #15 – Markus

“You caught it by the handle, baby, and I caught it by the blade.” The title track from Ashley Monroe’s latest cuts to the quick, in a powerful, simple, and expertly executed way. -AD

(Check out: Review: Ashley Monroe’s Perfectly Titled ‘The Blade’ Cuts Deep)

#5
Eric Church
“Mr. Misunderstood”
Individual Rankings: #4 – Natalie; #8 – Annie; #16 – Markus

The surprise delivery of this sneaky-good single (and the entire album, for that matter) made it one of the year’s true standouts. The instrumentation proves that Church is still rooted in rock, but the lyrics tell a gentler story that makes the tune inherently country. “Mr. Misunderstood, I understand.” He’s been-there-done-that, and, well, he just gets you. – NS

(Check out: Eric Church Digs Deep for Surprise Album, ‘Mr. Misunderstood’)

#4
Kip Moore
“Running For You”
Individual Rankings: #1 – Markus; #3 – Annie

On an album full of dynamic arena-rock, Kip Moore’s best moment came on the touching “Running For You”. With a refreshing lyric that replaces the bitter feelings of a breakup with acceptance, Moore stands out among his peers lyrically, and does so even more with his emotionally-committed performance, melodic strength, and nicely balanced pop-country production. “Running For You” is an absolutely stunning single, and is without question among the best 2015 had to offer. – MM

(Check out: Kip Moore Releases New Single, “Running For You”)

#3
Brothers Osborne
“Stay A Little Longer”
Individual Rankings: #1 – Christina; #6 – Annie

The second single from the Brothers Osborne features gritty vocals and a 3 minute guitar solo featuring John Osborne that will leave you wanting even more. Nominated for Best Country Duo Performance, this song has staying power and is one of those songs you can listen to over and over again. – CB

 

#2
Little Big Town
“Girl Crush”
Individual Rankings: #1 – Annie; #3 – Christina; #10 – Natalie

This song took 2015 by storm, demanding discussions of women at radio, women kissing women at radio, and ballads at radio, resulting in a brilliant triumph of sales over cynics for the group. LBT delivered big with this simmering slow burner, which served as one of the biggest moments of 2015. – AD

#1
Cam
“Burning House”
Individual Rankings: #2 – Natalie; #4 – Christina; #8 – Markus; #12 – Annie

Cam took the country genre by storm with her bubbly personality this past year however her single “Burning House” which was also nominated for a Grammy is a sultry song with substance and meaning. Displaying raw emotion Cam carefully tries to put the pieces back together of a broken relationship and shines brightly with stunning vocals. – CB