The predecessor to rock ‘n’ roll, country music is definitively American. The banjo—that centerpiece of the genre—is an iteration of the West African lute brought to the United States by slaves, who figured the instruments centrally into the songs they wrote while in bondage. Banjos figured largely in minstrel and blackface performances, which gave rise to hillbilly music, which borrowed heavily from religious hymns and slave spirituals. As time progressed, that hillbilly music grew into what came to be called, simply, country music.
More than any other musical genre, country music speaks to what it means to live in the United States and is often marked by deep and personal feelings of patriotism, Christian religiosity, love, commitment, and honor. As a genre so fastened to American culture and complicated history, country music has also greatly evolved since its beginnings hundreds of years ago.
While the “Grand Ol’ Opry Sound” familiar throughout the 20th century is still central to the genre, today there is increased blending with other genres that include trap, pop, hip-hop, and rap at the margins. Since Nelly’s collaboration with Tim McGraw for “Over and Over,” there has been a marked increase in willingness among country artists for experimentation. This has created a wider spectrum of styles than what one may have expected from the country charts and more room for new fans to find something they like.
The genre has also waned a bit in popularity. Once the most popular genre of music in the nation, country music in 2018 was eclipsed in album consumption by hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, and Latin music.
Stacker looked at top country charts to determine the 25 top country songs in the United States for 2019. For the forthcoming gallery, Stacker compiled Billboard data on the top country songs of 2019 (data released Dec. 5, 2019). Billboard uses a hybrid formula made up of Nielsen Music sales data, radio data, and streaming data to rank the tracks. While we cited the Billboard Hot 100 in our commentary, our listing relies on Billboard’s Year-End Hot Country Songs chart. Tracks published in previous years but released on singles that made the charts this year were considered for this gallery.
Keep reading to learn if your favorite country song from 2019 made the cut.
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Released on the album “GIRL,” Maren Morris’ “The Bones” was the album’s second single on hot adult contemporary radio. A study on reliability in relationships, the song opines “The house don't fall when the bones are good." “The Bones” spent 11 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Rearview Town” is the fourth single from Jason Aldean’s album “Rearview Town.” Like the three singles before it, the single hit #1 in the Billboard Country Airplay chart. “Rearview Town” spent 18 weeks on the Billboard 100, peaking in August at #40.
When most people that are not country music fans think of country music, they imagine a lost soul pounding out a tough break story on a worn-out guitar. Luke Combs’ “She Got the Best of Me,” off “This One’s for You,” appears to follow this pattern at first glance. However, the song’s music video actually chronicles Combs’ career trajectory from penning lyrics in a notebook to becoming a country star. Combs co-wrote while he was still in college. “She Got the Best of Me” spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #31 in January 2019.
Marshmello and Kane Brown are an unlikely pairing. EDM star Marshmello, whose trademark helmet has become a viral hit on the internet, seems to be worlds away from the country superstar. However, “One Thing Right” meets the two in the middle with a light, catchy song about a lost soul finding redemption in his choice of loves. “One Thing Right” spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #36 in November.
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Matt Stell’s debut single “Prayed for You” is drawn from the experiences of Rice and co-writers Ash Bower and Allison Veltz, based on an organic conversation between the three about someone charmed by luck in most parts of their life. “Prayed for You” was the first debut single to reach the top spot since Jimmy Allen’s “Best Shot” in 2018.
Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell’s “What Happens in a Small Town” is featured on Gilbert’s “Fire & Brimstone.” The song centers around how local landmarks from his hometown remind him of a past love (in Gilbert’s case, a past breakup with his now-wife, Amber). “What Happens in a Small Town” spent 14 weeks on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #53 in November 2019.
The unapologetic snapback single “Miss Me More” details Kelsea Ballerini’s real-life breakup and subsequent rediscovery of herself. “Miss Me More” spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #47 in June 2019.
Maren Morris won CMA’s Best Album of the Year in 2019 for “GIRL.” For the album’s title track, Morris took an introspective step back, asserting that there is no need for her to compete with herself and that she should accept who she is. “GIRL” spent 21 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #44 in August 2019.
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The third single from pop-country duo Dan + Shay’s self-titled album, “All to Myself” offers a traditional love song with a Caribbean flair. “All to Myself” spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #31 in August 2019.
Essentially a pick-up line set to music, Chris Lane’s “I Don’t Know About You” is a slow jam where the narrator is trying to seduce a woman in a bar. The track is the second single off Lane's sophomore album, “Laps Around the Sun.” “I Don’t Know About You” spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #39 in October 2019.
“Good as You” is the second single on Kane Brown’s second album “Experiment.” The ballad’s lyrics are about wanting to be a better man. “Good as You” spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #36 in June 2019.
The R&B-influenced balled “Talk You Out of It” by Florida Georgia Line is hat co-writer Hunter Phelps called that album’s “baby-making song.” The track spent 26 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #57 in August 2019.
“Look What God Gave Her,” off Thomas Rhett’s fourth studio album “Center Point Road,” is a love song to Rhett’s wife, Instagram influencer Lauren Akins. The song is a list of Akins’ best qualities, as well as a moment of introspection when Rhett wonders about the God that created her. In a first for Rhett’s career, the musician co-wrote all of the tracks on “Center Point Road.” “Look What God Gave Her” spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #32 in June 2019.
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“Meant to Be” is a track off of two Bebe Rexha albums, “All Your Fault: Pt. 2” (2017) and “Expectations” (2018). Featuring Florida Georgia Line, there are two versions of the song: one where Rexha sings the first half of the verse alone before being joined by Florida Georgia Line, and one where Florida Georgia Line sings the first verse and the first version of the chorus before Rexha takes over. The best-performing country song of the year, “Meant to Be” spent a full year on the Hot 100, reaching the second position in March 2018.
“Knockin’ Boots” was released in April 2019 as the lead-up single to Luke Bryan’s forthcoming seventh album. The track spent 22 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at 31 in September 2019.
The second single into Lee Brice’s self-titled album, “Rumor” is about a small-town man and woman who is in a long-term, but wholly platonic relationship. Due to their closeness, rumors are circulating around them at the same time the man is ready to take the relationship to the next level. “Rumor” spent 20 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #25 in June 2019.
With a name like “Tequila,” one could expect a drinking song from Dan + Shay. The Grammy Award-winning song is a heartbreak song that deals with breakup, regret, and remorse. “Tequila” spent 50 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #21 on June 2018.
Thought to be a possible sequel to Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up” seeks to take up the mantle of hit country rap. “The Git Up” is the first single from Brown’s first studio album, “Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs.” In July, the song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Song chart.
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The pragmatic song “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” off Luke Combs’ second studio album “What You See is What You Get,” is the first of two Combs tunes in our top five. Drawing a line of skepticism, Combs argues that beer never did him wrong, like many of the loves in his life. The song spent 21 weeks on the chart, hitting #21 in April 2019.
“Beautiful Crazy” was the Country Music Awards’ Song of the Year. Written for his fiancée Nicole Hocking, it is a love song about a woman with a free spirit. The song was released, however, before the two started to date. The song spent 31 weeks on the Hot 100, with the song peaking at 21 in April 2019.
The first single from Blake Shelton’s compilation album “Fully Loaded: God’s Country,” “God’s Country” was an accidental hit. Shelton first heard the demo for the song while working on his farm and was enthralled by it. “God’s Country” spent 23 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at #17 in July 2019.
A track from the duo’s self-titled third album, “Speechless” was inspired by how Dan + Shay felt seeing their wives walk down the aisle on their respective wedding days. Not only was the duo married within a few months of each other, but they were also each other’s groomsmen. “Speechless” spent 40 weeks on the Hot 100, with the song peaking at #24 in January 2019.
The best country song of 2019, per Billboar data, is “Whiskey Glasses” by Morgan Wallen. The tune is about a man drinking to numb the pain of being left by a woman he’s in love with. “Whiskey Glasses” is the third single from the studio album “If I Know Me.” “Whiskey Glasses” spent 27 weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at 17 on June 2019.
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