The Best Country Albums Of The 2010's:
In the past decade, country music has gone through the most change. Some for the good but most recently, some would argue for the bad. In the early 2010's, we started to see a pop influence that made country music even bigger than ever. I didn't think that was a bad thing at all, the "pop" country was still COUNTRY and it was STILL good. It wasn't until the past few years it went so far pop that it was no longer considered country...or even "pop country." Even with their early radio success/late demise of radio in general, people like Cody Johnson, Riley Green & Chris Stapleton helped turn that back around. Anyways, here are my top albums from the 2010's.
10. Jake Owen | Barefoot Blue Jean Night (2011)
Looking back, I feel like this album is slept on. "Anywhere With You" kicks off the album and something about this song just makes me happy. Maybe it's the acoustic on the first verse or maybe it's the feel good chorus that makes me wanna bob my head and take the top of my jeep. Regardless, it doesn't stop there. The next track "Keepin' It Country" makes you feel almost the same. "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" is still one of the best feel good summer anthems in country music and I'm willing to argue that. He slows it down with the hit ballad "Alone With You" but keeps it rollin with "The One That Got Away." Bravo, Jake.
9. Taylor Swift | Speak Now (2010)
As much as many may not want to include her or forget about her country records, Taylor was a one of a kind. She has multiple notable albums but for some reason, I'm adding this to the fucking list.
- Sparks Fly
- Back To December
- Speak Now
- Dear John
(All damn good. Sorry, not sorry)
8. Lee Brice | Hard 2 Love (2012)
When it comes to Lee Brice, he's never put at the top or given the respect he deserves. This album gave us huge hits such as "A Woman Like You," "Hard To Love," and "Parking Lot Party." In my opinion, Hard To Love is one of the best/most slept on songs from the 2010's. Its simplistic, yet emotional vocals and lyrics tug right at the heart strings. Arguably the best song on the record is "I Drive Your Truck." It won song of the year at the 2013 CMA awards and Lee ultimately deserved it. (Other notable songs include "That's When You Know It's Over" and "Friends We Won't Forget.")
7. Jason Aldean | Night Train (2012)
This album came slam packed with hits and at least for me, it brings back a lot of nostalgia. There's only one song on here that's "ehh" and that's "1994." I'll still jam to it when i'm drunk because it's fun and rockin' but let's get to the most notable songs.
- When She Says Baby
- Night Train
- Staring At The Sun
- Walking Away
- Black Tears (Written by Florida Georgia Line)
- I Don't Do Lonely Well
- This Nothin Town
- Feel That Again
- Wheels Rollin
- Staring At The Sun
- Take A Little Ride
I just named 12 out of 15 songs, that's how good this album is. Not every song is radio ready but pretty damn close. Aldean does ballads, mid-tempos, and rock done perfectly right on this record.
6. Eric Church | Chief (2011)
Eric Church wrote almost all of this album and it just so happens to be the album that solidified him as one of the biggest country singers and entertainers out there. "Springsteen" had MASSIVE success, as well as "Drink In My Hand", "Like Jesus Does", "Homeboy", and "Creepin." This album gets 5 stars and graded as an A+.
5. Chris Stapleton | Traveller (2015)
Chris was laying low for years just song-writing but when he was put to the front lines, holy shit was he a force to be reckon with. Mixed with a little old-school bluegrass, his insane pipes made this album a grammy award winning one. Rightfully so.
4. Luke Combs | This One's For You (2017)
I'm not sure if I can think of anyone who splashed onto the country music scene as fast and as big as Luke Combs. Besides being unapologetically him and insanely relatable, the guys vocals are just so damn good. His debut single from his debut record was "Hurricane." That song is my personal favorite and allowed him to make "When It Rains It Pours" massive as well. The thing Luke does so fucking well is mix todays pop-country with 90's country without it being forced or fake. Congrats on a killer debut record, Luke.
3. Brantley Gilbert | Halfway To Heaven (2010)
Given what you may know about Brantley today, or at-least what you THINK you know abut him, this is one of the best records....ever. Brantley is still a great artist but his vocals and songs as a whole do not live up to par as they did in his sophomore album. He's proud of what he releases today, i'm sure, but i'd like to assume that even he knows this and his first album, are hard to beat. It's the re-release of this record that gives us smash hits like "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" and "More Than Miles" but it's every other song that is like "Holy Fuck."
If BG was big or signed to Big Machine, like he is now, the song "My Kind Of Crazy" would've been a big number 1. He still hasn't released a southern rock anthem as good as "Kick It In The Sticks" and don't forget he wrote/originally recorded "Dirt Road Anthem" with Cold Ford. Highlights of this album are:
- Saving Amy
- Fall Into Me
- Halfway To Heaven
- Them Boys
- Hell On An Angel
- Back In The Day
- Country Must Be Country Wide
- Take It Outside
- Bending The Rules And Breaking The Law
I just about named every song because it's THAT good. Take my word for it and listen y'all.
2. Luke Bryan | Tailgates and Tanlines (2011)
A lot of people like to say that "Crash My Party" is the album that did it for him, but i disagree. Don't get me wrong, that album was HUGE and a solid follow-up to "Tailgates and Tanginess" but I still think this album was what made him the phenomenon that he was/is. It was MASSIVE. "Drunk On You", "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye", "I Don't Want This Night To End", "Country Girl." Luke and Jason were at the top of the genre at this point and maybe that's why they were also on tour together right after this. Some other notable songs that weren't radio singles are:
- You Don't Know Jack
- Faded Away
- Been There Done That
- Muckalee Creek Water
- Been There, Done That
1. Jason Aldean | My Kinda Party (2010)
Yes, Jason Aldean has 2 albums on this list. He's the artist of the decade for a reason. This album is what all new(ish) country should sound like. He has big, in your face, guitar riffs, with an awesome and unique production/sound throughout it all. Some say "She's Country" or "Big Green Tractor" made him big, and that may be so, but this album solidified him as A phenomenon.
- Dirt Road Anthem - A different turning point to country music. Some say it was rap influenced, but regardless if you call it rapping or "talking," the song is COUNTRY and was a huge mega-anthem. One of the best of the decade.
- Don't You Wanna Stay ft. Kelly Clarkson - The best country duet (besides Brad and Carrie's "Remind Me" almost EVER. A powerful ballad with powerful vocals and heavy guitar riffs.
- My Kinda Party - Another Brantley written song that I don't think tops any of Jason's other heavy rockin tracks since. The song is just badass.
- See You When I See You - Oh man, the song that should've been a radio single. The lyrics and the way Aldean delivers an emotional vocal performance..son of a bitch it’s good.
Other notable songs include: Country Boys World, Days Like These, Tattoos On This Town, Fly Over States, Texas Was You & Just Passing Through.
Fuck, I forgot Blake Sheltons “Based On A True Story” album. Oh well, I’m drunk. Just know it belongs.