The 10 Worst Country Music Singles of 2009

Jim Malec | December 28th, 2009

Picking the year’s “worst” songs (an admittedly subjective matter) is quite a bit more difficult than picking the year’s best, because while any song from any artist may aspire to greatness, a benchmark for what to include on a “worst of” list is set arbitrarily. We get hundreds of CDs in our mailbox here at The 9513, many of which come from independent, self-reorded or vanity projects that contain music that would surely qualify as some of the year’s worst. Including songs from those sources would be accurate, however, doing so would make little sense, as they had little audience and little impact. The goal of this countdown is not to pick on small-time artists and songwriters or to unnecessarily and selectively choose targets, but to reflect on the year’s worst music that somehow managed to slip onto our radar.

So for this list, which I’ve compiled at my own discretion, I’ve decided to only include singles (not album cuts). Click here for our staff’s selection of the year’s 50 best country songs.

  • Easy Does It10.”Eight Second Ride” – Jake Owen

    So a cowboy walks into a bar…stop me if you’ve heard this one before. In the year’s most ridiculous scenario, Jake Owen gets laid thanks to his big ol’ tires and his charming dipping habit (note: country girls love seeing your spittoon), which apparently makes him a wild man/”true country boy.” Who knew it was that easy?

  • The Life Of A Song9.”To Say Goodbye” – Joey + Rory

    A song that starts out as a meditation on one woman’s emotional struggle after her husband died on 9/11, “To Say Goodbye” is derailed by a jarring narrative switch; the second verse abandons the widow, instead focusing on an Alzheimer’s patient and her caretaker husband. We’re never given a link between the two couples which appear in the two different scenes, which leaves us feeling disoriented. Likewise, we’re never given any emotional resolution, which renders this a very literal (and depressing) portrait of pain. “To Say Goodbye” isn’t a terrible song, but it was a wasted single that stood no choice of attaining any kind of mainstream momentum.

  • The Boys Are Back8.”Seven Nation Army” – Oak Ridge Boys

    When Johnny Cash covered Trent Reznor’s “Hurt,” it was an instance of one groundbreaking bad-ass covering another groundbreaking bad-ass. Jack White, of White Stripes/Raconteurs fame, is a bad-ass, and one of modern rock’s most respected figures. The Oak Ridge Boys are legends, icons and enormously talented singers, but with their most famous songs being “Elvira” and “My Baby is American Made” one thing the group is not is especially bad-ass. Their cover of one of modern rock’s most identifiable (and bad-ass) songs bought the quartet some time in the news cycle, but the record itself sounded awkward and totally unnecessary.

  • There is a God7.”There Is A God” – Lee Ann Womack

    What better project to follow up a collection that contained some of the decade’s best swanky drinking songs and heartbreak ballads than a nugget of religious propaganda that denounces the entire enterprise of “science?” “There is a God” says that what we don’t understand proves the existence of a higher power, but what I don’t understand is why that high power didn’t save us from this circular logic.

  • What It Takes6.”What It Takes” – Adam Gregory

    In “What it Takes,” Adam Gregory asks a series of questions about a particular woman’s likes, dreams and needs, all culminating in the statement that he needs to know what it takes to be her man. When she answers, I bet she’ll tell him that he shouldn’t have to ask. “What it Takes” completely misses that very real point, and is thus a tragically flawed song from the onset.

  • Do You Know5.”Pray Out Loud” – Jessica Simpson

    Who better to dole out spiritual advice than Jessica Simpson? Aside from putting one of music’s least-eloquent and least-respected figures in the ill-advised role of religious counselor, “Pray Out Loud” embraces some of country music’s most horrendous songwriting (“Just close your eyes and let it all out/All your fears and doubts”) while at the same time managing to run in conflict with biblical teaching, as Matthew 6:6 says, “When you pray, go into your room, close your door, and pray to your Father.

  • Son Of A Preacher Man4.”The Good Lord And The Man” – John Rich

    No one really understands why our new Japanese emperor would have forced us to speak German, but particulars weren’t especially important in Rich’s weighty criticism of people who go on TV and “Take shots at Uncle Sam.”

  • That Thang3.”That Thang” – Fast Ryde

    Da dang dang industry savant Scott Borchetta missed the mark with the signing of Fast Ryde, a duo whose first single–a generic rip-off of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”–was just plain ba bad bad.

  • That Thang2.”Make it Rain” – Fast Ryde

    What’s worse than melodramatic farm ballads? Actually, as Fast Ryde proved in 2009, not much. Like “That Thang” with “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” “Make it Rain” milks “Amarillio Sky” to generate a thematically identical but generic clone. Uninspired and strangely literal, “Make it Rain” is a farm song for people who have never heard any songs about farms before…and since “Amarillo Sky” broke in 2006, I suppose this song’s appeal is quite limited.

  • Justin Moore1.”Small Town U.S.A.” – Justin Moore

    In Justin Moore’s “Small Town U.S.A.,” you’ll spend your life performing back-breaking manual labor for a subsistence wage, that toil punctuated only by weekends of reverie and repent. In a sad acceptance of economic and social caste, the song’s narrator admits he doesn’t even want to see what the rest of the world has to offer, succumbing to the rote existence set out before him as legions of rural American youths sing along. Especially patronizing is that Moore, having escaped that Everytown prison to move to Nashville and chase fame and fortune, rejects his own narrator’s sense of apathy.

  1. Drew
    December 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I don’t know if this is the flat-out worst singles there were… or rather just the “wasted singles” (like you said in Joey + Rory’s case) and/or songs where you didn’t like the message and the way the song was constructed like a lot of the descriptions seem to imply.

    Many of these certainly wouldn’t classify for the very worst music. If you wanted to go that route, you’d keep on putting up stuff like the Fast Ryde and Oak Ridge Boys stuff, because that was god awful.

    Justin Moore’s debut single I was actually a fan of. Same with Joey + Rory’s. And nothing that Lee Ann Womack is behind will ever be on a year end WORST list.

    It’s a fine and fun list if you take it for what it is… opinionated based on the subject matter, and once again trying to get some conversation started, since he knows many will disagree. And I don’t have anything wrong with that… I mean, really, who would write any comments if numbers 1 to 10 were just Fast Ryde, “Boots On”, “Honkytonk Stomp”, and the like.

  2. Dan Milliken
    December 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    “Seven Nation Army” belongs off this list if only for camp value, but hard to argue with anything else. Well done, sir.

  3. 1953
    December 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    John Rich knows more about song writing than you do about history. It doesn’t make you angry when you see people berating our country as if they aren’t the most blessed people on earth to live here?

  4. Steve M.
    December 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Yes, because 1953, we all know free speech is a terrible thing.

  5. Stephanie Rehder
    December 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I have to totally agree with “Eight Second Ride” being on this list. That song makes me want to stab myself in the ears so I don’t have to hear it anymore.

  6. Hard Times
    December 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Lee Ann Womack is one of my top three favorite country singers, so it pains me to see her on this list. But I have to agree, that song really stinks up the joint. Let’s hope it was a momentary lapse of judgment on her part. I forgive you, Lee Ann. Come back.

  7. Andrew
    December 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    @1953 Yes, it does. But that doesn’t make Rich’s song good.

    Also, I can’t speak for Jim, but I’d bet everything in my wallet I know more about U.S. History than Rich knows about writing.

  8. AikoujOi
    December 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Ok the last two comments made me giggle out loud, especially Steve’s sarcastic comment hahaha.

    I agree with Jim’s comment about the John Rich song, I mean why would we speaking German if Japan took over you know, unless he/she liked German so much that its made a 2nd language, but anyway haha nice list. I also agree with what he wrote about the Jake Owen and Justin Moore singles

    Also made first post ever on here lol.

  9. AikoujOi
    December 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Ok my post was supposed to go under Steve’s

  10. Guy
    December 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    “Small Town U.S.A.” is laughably predictable and filled with cliche after cliche … but if I’m not mistaken it went to “No.1″ on some Country charts. It’s simultaneously remarkable and pathetic that this can even happen.

  11. Jon
    December 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I know more about U.S. History than Rich knows about writing.

    Whoa…

  12. idlewildsouth
    December 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I kind of look at “To Say Goodbye” as a Cormac McCarthy novel. There’s not ever any real closure. Besides, that’s the point of the song. We’re seeking a resolution we’ll never get in wanting to say goodbye to those we’ve lost, so it’s lacking resolution fits the song.

  13. Physicist
    December 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Good list, Jim. Number one was a pleasant surprise – maybe I am really out of the loop, but I was under the impression I was the only person who thought that song was terrible. Also, I think Lost You Anyway, Love Your Love the Most, and the last three Dierks Bentley songs are deserving of honorable mentions.

  14. Matt B.
    December 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I certainly agree with some of these songs but not all of them. And I agree that “To Say Goodbye” was a wasted single. It would’ve made more sense to release it right after “Cheater Cheater” than “Play The Song.”

  15. Carrie W.
    December 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    WOW I have no clue why Jake Owen or Justin Moore make this list!!!
    Small Town USA is a great country song and was a break out for Justin. ALOT of people know that song and it is very much country.
    Jake on the other hand is an amazing artist and one of my favorites!!! 8 Second Ride was career changing before that nobody knew who he was and now everybody knows him by that song! People tell me all the time how much they like that song! Jake has gotten so many fans in the fan club since that song came out! btw it is also an amazing song live!!

  16. kevin w
    December 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    ‘What better project to follow up a collection that contained some of the decade’s best swanky drinking songs and heartbreak ballads than a nugget of religious propaganda that denounces the entire enterprise of “science?

    This is anti-religious bias, plain and simple.

  17. kevin w
    December 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    “Also, I can’t speak for Jim, but I’d bet everything in my wallet I know more about U.S. History than Rich knows about writing.”

    Suuuuuure

  18. merlefan49
    December 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Where’s Honky Tonk Badonadonk?

  19. Leeann Ward
    December 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Not in 2009.

  20. CMW
    December 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Merlefan: It’s back in 2005-2006. These are Jim’s worst singles of 2009.

  21. Rick
    December 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Wow, the songs with an overt Christian message are really taking a pounding here! Was our Canadian pal Noeller a contributing consultant to this list? (jk)

    “To Say Goodbye” may have been a “wasted single” but were their really any other songs on “Life of a Song” that would have stood even a faint chance at Top 40 Airhead Country Radio? I say no. I agree with Idlewildsouth that the song was clearly painting separate vignettes and was not a timeline of the life of a specific person like Kathy Mattea’s “Where Have You Been”. This is the one song that truly does not belong on this list. I would offer Jypsi’s “Mister Officer” as a suitable replacement…

  22. Sheep
    December 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Amen to this list.

  23. CB
    December 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    My goodness, you all sure don’t like any songs about the Lord.

  24. Steve M.
    December 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    No, just ones that advocate a return to the Dark Ages and an age of ignorance.

  25. Bobby P.
    December 28, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    You actually thought “Make It Rain” was WORSE than “That Thang”? Wow. I admit that I’m probably one of the only people who non-ironically liked “That Thang,” and I’m kind of surprised that I didn’t lose any cred for giving both of Fast Ryde’s singles (and, for that matter, “Sara Smile”) positive reviews.

    I was also under the impression that almost everyone thought “That Thang” was so terrible that even a “Bob That Head” cover would’ve been a step up.

    #7 and #6 are the only two I agree on (and to an extent, #4 — the German/Japan line nearly ruined it, but I thought the rest was fine). Never heard either version of “Seven Nation Army” so I can’t comment there.

  26. Michael
    December 28, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I don’t disagree with any of the entries on this list. Unfortunately, the state of mainstream Country radio being what it is these days, 10 doesn’t seem like enough. More honorable mentions to “She’s Country”, “I Run To You” and “Rocking the Beer Gut”.

  27. Brady Vercher
    December 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    It doesn’t seem to be the popular opinion, but whatever flaws “There Is A God” exhibits, it doesn’t denounce the entire enterprise of science nor does it advocate a return to an age of ignorance.

  28. Steve M.
    December 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    No, but it fits into a troubling American pattern that echoes back to the Scopes Monkey Trial of rejecting science because it doesn’t fit into preconceived beliefs. Its a scary trend that leads to those who promote the false beliefs such as vaccines creating autism.

  29. Drew
    December 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Are we doing a worst single of the decade? “Bob That Head” has got to take the cake.

  30. Matt B.
    December 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    an alternate take was planned for posting later this week at Roughstock is now live if anyone wants to see our list. There are a couple crossovers on the list (as there are with the County California list as well) but nothing that’s unexpected, I think.

    http://www.roughstock.com/blog/the-ten-worst-singles-of-2009

  31. Brady Vercher
    December 28, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    @Steve M: I don’t see what any of that has to do with fabricating an argument against the song.

  32. Steve M.
    December 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I’ll leave it at this, that I, at least in my own opinion, thought the song was anti-intellectual. and I found it disappointing from one of the few mainstream artists I not only enjoy but usually buy her albums.

  33. merlefan49
    December 28, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Ah okay I thought it was worst of the decade.

  34. Sam Sattler
    December 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I am truly blessed this Christmas season. I have not heard a single one of these songs – and, from the list of performers, I see that was not an accident. Several of these “singers” are on my short list of performers capable of getting me out of a comfortable chair and rushing to turn off the radio before my ears bleed.

  35. Sheep
    December 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Is the 9513 doing a 10 Best Singles of 2009? I mean, you guys did a 50 Best Songs, but I’d like to see an entry on each of them like you did for the Worst Singles list.

    Just wondering.

  36. Razor X
    December 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    “To Say Goodbye” may not have been the wisest choice to release as a radio single but it in no way deserves to be on a Worst Singles of the Year list. I can think of two Taylor Swift singles and one Miley Cyrus single that ought to be on this list before anything by Joey + Rory.

  37. Leeann Ward
    December 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Yeah, I think “To Say Goodbye” is the glaring misfit here. It’s definitely not my favorite song, but it has redeeming qualities that the others on this list don’t have. I don’t like the Womack song either, but I still think there are other songs from 2009 that are far worse. I agree with the other choices though, though I’d replace the Womack and J+R songs with Phil Vassar’s “Bobby with an I” or Pat Green’s “Country Star.”

  38. Rick
    December 28, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Hey Leeann, sounds like you are trying to turn this list into Roughstock’s! Matt B. gave the link in his post above, so check it out. Now, that didn’t make you twitch, did it? (lol)

  39. Nicolas
    December 28, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    “To Say Goodbye” is an awesome song… I do think it would have been nice to connect the two pieces of the story, but its still great as is IMO — only problem is that they chose a bad time to release it… a ballad like that had no chance in July.

    I also love Lee Ann Womack n think that while it may not be her best song, I believe it is quite good. =)

  40. Noah Eaton
    December 28, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Though I agree it’s a wasted single, “To Say Goodbye” is far from the very worst of the crop this year.

    I’d replace that single with Randy Houser’s latest: “Whistlin’ Dixie”, and replace the Oak Ridge Boys’ cover of “Seven Nation Army” (unnecessary but not atrocious) with “That’s How Country Boys Roll”.

  41. Chris N.
    December 28, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” surely deserved a spot here. I maintain that history will vindicate the Oaks’ “Seven Nation Army.”

  42. Noah Eaton
    December 28, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    In addition, I have to ask: “Was ‘Bonfire’ released very early this year, or quite late in 2008?”

    If it’s the former, “Bonfire” is undoubtedly in my Top Three for Worst Singles of 2009. At least it’s appropriate the Christmas rendition of the song was recorded in a hotel bathroom! :P

  43. Noah Eaton
    December 28, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    As baffling as it may be for any of these acts listed to one-up their dubious titles, I have a very bad feeling Fast Ryde will do just that and release “Top Down” as a single in 2010! :/

    It’s just as bad as the two singles listed, with an additional icky twist……….”Top Down” commits Auto-Tune abuse! (eye roll)

  44. Leeann Ward
    December 28, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Hey Leeann, sounds like you are trying to turn this list into Roughstock’s!

    Nope.

    Matt B. gave the link in his post above, so check it out. Now, that didn’t make you twitch, did it? (lol)

    Huh?

  45. Leeann Ward
    December 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Matt B. gave the link in his post above, so check it out. Now, that didn’t make you twitch, did it? (lol)

    Huh?

  46. stormy
    December 28, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    So a cowboy walks into a bar…stop me if you’ve heard this one before. In the year’s most ridiculous scenario, Jake Owen gets laid thanks to his big ol’ tires and his charming dipping habit (note: country girls love seeing your spittoon), which apparently makes him a wild man/”true country boy.” Who knew it was that easy?

    Not to mention, how did she stop laughing after he promised her it would be wilder than an 8 second ride.

    Pray Out Loud” embraces some of country music’s most horrendous songwriting (“Just close your eyes and let it all out/All your fears and doubts”) while at the same time managing to run in conflict with biblical teaching, as Matthew 6:6 says, “When you pray, go into your room, close your door, and pray to your Father.”

    To be fair, wasn’t he the guy who got her into this mess to begin with?

    1953: As David Sedaris once said, there are hundreds of other countries out there with nationalistic slogans of their own. None of which are “We’re Number Two!”

  47. Mayor JoBob
    December 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Small Town USA may suck, but it worked.

  48. Janelle
    December 28, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    haa – love it…great idea – worst songs! Love the comments, too! I’d back up “Rockin’ the beer guy” and “Bonfire”! And add Keith & Brad’s “Start a Band”, Trace’s “Ala-freakin-bama” and Brooks & Dunns “Honky Tonk Stomp”!

  49. sam (sam)
    December 28, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Brady is right to say, that There Is A God “doesn’t denounce the entire enterprise of science nor does it advocate a return to an age of ignorance.”

    I can’t find anywhere in the lyrics that the song does that nor can I think of any plausible interpretation of the song that suggests it implies those things. It may suggest that some scientific theories are mistaken, but that is a far cry from denouncing science in general.

    That said, I understand where Steve M is coming from. I agree with Steve M that certain denunciations of science because a scientific theory allegedly is inconsistent with faith are indeed troubling. I hope the song does not play into the minds of those who would so treat science.

    And Steve M also says the song is anti-intellectual: though I don’t know if that is true, the lyrics’ numerous logical problems, the line about science, et cetera, do seem to offend the intellect. That said, I’m not sure if the song merely contains an intellectually dubious argument or if the song is suggesting that our intellects cannot provide complete knowledge of the world, or if the song is actively suggesting (or implying) that we should abandon intellectual pursuits that might conflict with faith.

    I dislike “There Is A God” largely because of its dubious logic; for that reason, I think its a bit unfortunate that the song is criticized in the column as “denouncing the entire enterprise of science.”

  50. Dan Milliken
    December 29, 2009 at 12:43 am

    I don’t think “There Is a God” explicitly denounces the whole enterprise of science, but it does set science up to be the “enemy” to the type of belief the song espouses. That’s still pretty lame.

  51. J.R. Journey
    December 29, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Circular logic is my favorite kind.

    Great list for the most part. I hate most of the same songs you guys do.

  52. Brady Vercher
    December 29, 2009 at 2:05 am

    but it does set science up to be the “enemy” to the type of belief the song espouses.

    Not really. I think it’s pretty clear that when taken in context, that particular line is in reference to the creation of Earth and life itself, neither of which science has a definitive explanation for nor do they comprise the entirety of science, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    And don’t forget that the song also mentions taking a look at the world from 30,000 feet and finding a baby’s heartbeat via an ultrasound, neither of which would be possible without science.

    It’s not nearly the propaganda the detractors have painted it to be and now that I’ve had time to consider it, I wouldn’t put it anywhere close to the worst singles of the year, although I wouldn’t consider it among the best, either. In any case, I don’t have any problems with its message.

  53. Dan Milliken
    December 29, 2009 at 2:55 am

    “that particular line is in reference to the creation of Earth and life itself, neither of which science has a definitive explanation for”

    Right. And yet the line reads, “science says.” If science doesn’t have a definitive explanation for those creations (and it doesn’t), why does the line say it does and give it one (“that this whole world is just an accident”)? The idea that the world is an “accident” – as in, unplanned by any deity – is not a scientific one; it is a religious one, specifically one held by those who reject all other religious belief. Science itself isn’t concerned with things that can’t be proven or disproven, like whether there is a God. Thus that line unnecessarily (and wrongly) drags science into the picture, basically blaming it for preaching an atheistic concept of the world’s creation.

    And anyway, it’s way more than just that particular line that points to the song’s relation to science. The bulk of the song is about offering “proof” of God’s existence, with the repeated line, “how much proof do you need?” suggesting that the song is written in direct address to a perceived people who don’t believe because of a lack of a evidence. Then the last line of the bridge, “If you want to shoot that theory down, just take a look around,” restates the aesthetic argument for God’s existence that’s been built throughout the song, suggesting that the entire thing has basically been a steady rebuttal to the “science” (whatever that term encompasses in this case) mentioned in the earlier part of the bridge. I find it very unlikely that that “science” line is some kind of tangent within the song, like, “oh, and while we’re at it, here’s science’s take on the issue.”

    “And don’t forget that the song also mentions taking a look at the world from 30,000 feet and finding a baby’s heartbeat via an ultrasound, neither of which would be possible without science.”

    Yes, you should mention this to the songwriters. Maybe they’ll be more careful about how they phrase their mischaracterizations next time.

    I think “propaganda” is probably making it out to be more malicious than it means to be, yes, but it is a pretty clumsy, irresponsible song as far as I’m concerned.

  54. Rose
    December 29, 2009 at 3:18 am

    Does anyone else here just like the melody of “Small Town U.S.A.”? Sure, the lyrics could use a major overhaul, but if you ignore them, I think the underlying song itself is pretty decent. Also, at least it wasn’t a pseudo-rock song like the rest of these “I’m country!” songs tend to be…

  55. Dan Milliken
    December 29, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Also:

    “neither of which science has a definitive explanation for nor do they comprise the entirety of science, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.”

    I realize this is something of a heated issue, but I don’t think I’ve said anything obnoxious or stupid enough to warrant sarcastic jabs like that. I’m probably reading the remark too seriously, but still.

  56. Occasional Hope
    December 29, 2009 at 4:31 am

    I really like To Say Goodbye.

  57. Lisa
    December 29, 2009 at 7:42 am

    It physically pains me to hear “Rockin’ the Beer Gut”…that should’ve taken the cake with Phil Vassar’s “Bobbi with an I”, Sugarland’s “Joey”, and Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice” not far behind.

  58. Sheep
    December 29, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Why isn’t “Summer Nights” on this list?

  59. waynoe
    December 29, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Kind of seems that ole Jim has an aversion to songs that remotely mention God or faith. Hmmmmmm. Is that what it is Jim?

    You mean to tell me that songs by Not-so-Swift, Rascall-Too-Flatts, Dixie Chucks, et all cannot appear here?

    Look at the titles and subject mater of several of the songs mentioned here folks and I think it “might” reveal something about ole Jim.

    Oh well, where is a God-fearing, red-white-and blue, politically incorrect, gasp (conservative) when you need one? Never fear, I are here! And I don’t even have a skoal ring and I have more than an eighth-grade education.

  60. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 8:42 am

    You mean to tell me that songs by Not-so-Swift, Rascall-Too-Flatts, Dixie Chucks, et all cannot appear here?

    Considering the Dixie Chicks (“Dixie Chucks”) haven’t released a song this year, it’s safe to say that they “cannot appear here.”

  61. Lewis
    December 29, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Sara Smile ought to be on the list since it’s virtually copying the Hall and Oates version same arrangement and all and then them singing it along with Jimmy.

    Here are some others:

    I Still Like Bologna (not one of Alan’s best)
    Twang (worse uptempo of George Strait’s career, if it had been recorded more than 10 years ago, it would have been a bigger hit for George, another person like Randy Houser should be singing this)
    Gotta Be Somebody (never do a Nickelback cover)
    Bobbi With An I (probably will be a bad year for Phil in 2010 if he doesn’t pick a good song for a single)

  62. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

    @Waynoe: “Kind of seems that ole Jim has an aversion to songs that remotely mention God or faith. Hmmmmmm. Is that what it is Jim?

    Ask Brady what I put at the top of my “Best Songs of the Year” ballot.

    Aside from that, I think science has a pretty compelling answer for how and when the earth was created. And that points a big problem with the song–it says that a lack of individual understanding offers more truth that the entire enterprise of science.

    Legions of scientists among all disciplines spend their lives researching and experimenting to find answers to the world’s mysteries. This song basically says that your wonder or sense of awe at the beauty of the world around you overrides all of that scientific work–if you need proof that God created the earth, just look around and see how beautiful it is and you’ll know he must have created it. If you want to disprove scientific theory, just look around.

    If that’s the case, what’s the point of even partaking in scientific exploration? That’s why I see it as a denunciation.

    Religion should be really careful about embracing the God of the Margins: if we use God to provides answers for what we think science can’t explain, what happens to God when the space between what we can’t explain decreases? Science and faith don’t have to be mutually exclusive–they provide answers to two different sets of questions. Science can tell us how we got here, but it can’t ever really tell us why we’re here. Faith is a matter of purpose, and God becomes a lot more powerful when we allow him to exist alongside the girth of human knowledge rather than in opposition to it.

  63. Brady Vercher
    December 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I realize this is something of a heated issue, but I don’t think I’ve said anything obnoxious or stupid enough to warrant sarcastic jabs like that. I’m probably reading the remark too seriously, but still.

    Sorry if it rubbed you the wrong way, Dan, but I meant that in earnest. No need to take offense.

  64. Brady Vercher
    December 29, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Oh, and just to nip ol’ Waynoe’s accusations in the bud, Jim put a song called “Give Me Jesus” by a woman named Sara Watkins at the top of his best of the year list. Y’all might want to go check that one out.

  65. Charlie
    December 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    you’re an idiot…Small Town USA is no way the worst song of 2009…it’s worse than “rockin the beer gut”?

  66. Charlie
    December 29, 2009 at 9:36 am

    oh by the way….Rascal Flatts should be #1-#10…you didn’t even put them on the list.

  67. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 9:37 am

    “Rockin’ The Beer Gut” was a terrible idea, but it’s not an especially poorly executed song.

  68. Chris N.
    December 29, 2009 at 9:44 am

    A terrible idea perfectly executed is perfectly terrible.

  69. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 9:46 am

    But still better than terribly terrible.

  70. Jon
    December 29, 2009 at 10:20 am

    So maybe, then, the Grascals’ version of “Give Me Jesus” will be at the top of Jim’s list for 2010. One can hope. In the meantime, I don’t see any way “There Is A God” deserves to be on any “worst of” list, unless it’s like the 1000 worst country songs of the year. And I guess it’s time for another reminder that while you can legitimately assess a song’s lyrics, you can’t legitimately assess a song only by its lyrics. There is a persistent tendency to forget that, and not just with respect to this particular song. As for the inclusion of the Joey+Rory song on the list for the sin of being a “wasted single,” the less said, the better.

  71. waynoe
    December 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Sheep,

    No need to have 9513 list the ten best songs. They would probably be from singers that we have never heard of. They tend to get the best reviews here.

    In addition, they couldn’t mention anything about God, American tradition, Guns, or other such seemingly nonsensical subject matter. They would just call it cliche’s.

  72. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I actually think “To Say Goodbye” was their best chance at a successful single. Out of all of the songs on their album, it was the most formulaic, as far as what radio and mainstream country music audiences want to hear, and probably would have been a big ‘ol hit from a more mainstream/popular artist.

  73. waynoe
    December 29, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Jim,

    I appreciate your forthcoming but it is blatant for all to see now that your strong bias in this matter affects how you rate songs. That’s o.k. and is your prerogative but at least we know now.

    Brady,

    One choice does not change my statement or opinion as just displayed by Jim in his post. Again, at least he states his bias as many do not.

  74. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

    And I guess it’s time for another reminder that while you can legitimately assess a song’s lyrics, you can’t legitimately assess a song only by its lyrics.

    In this case the music (track) is so typical and generic that it doesn’t bear mentioning. It’s a non factor.

    @LeeAnn: Nothing that slow gets played on today’s country radio. All other considerations aside, the chances of getting a song that slow on today’s country radio are slim to none. Not to mention that the music (track) has no character. A better play would have been “The Heart of the Wood,” which was a tremendously good song, or “Twenty Dollar Bill,” which might have won some favor in the roots circles.

  75. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

    @Waynoe: What’s my bias?

  76. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 10:51 am

    When you say slow, are you referring to tempo or development? If tempo, I’m not understanding, since radio still seems to be playing slow songs and this one doesn’t seem to be particularly slow compared to other slow songs, not to mention the plethora of radio hits that lack character productionwise. As I said before, this is one of my least favorite songs on a great album, but I think it was the wisest choice from the album for a single and I knew it would be one the first time I heard the album.

  77. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

    LeeAnn, if you think country radio still plays songs as downtempo as “To Say Goodbye,” maybe you haven’t been listening to enough mainstream radio.

  78. Carrie W.
    December 29, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I would agree that Rockin’ the Beer Gut should have made the list.
    I don’t know why you would make a list like this though we all have our favorite artist and songs and Jake Owen is one of my favorite artists! When you meet the man you’ll understand why he is such an amazing person and artist.
    I really don’t think this list should have made AT ALL!!! Case of Point!

  79. Jon
    December 29, 2009 at 11:47 am

    @Jim In this case the music (track) is so typical and generic that it doesn’t bear mentioning. It’s a non factor.

    Music is never a non-factor in evaluating a song; it’s what makes a song a song instead of a poem.

    A better play would have been “The Heart of the Wood,” which was a tremendously good song, or “Twenty Dollar Bill,” which might have won some favor in the roots circles.

    You know, I have stoutly defended the proposition that one doesn’t have to be a successful songwriter to have a legit opinion about the quality of a song, or a successful performer to have a legit opinion about the quality of a performance, but dishing up advice about business strategies does begin to raise the question of whether the person offering it has any track record of success in that particular business. And no, going to school to learn about the music business is not the same as being successful in the business.

  80. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Guilty as charged, Jim. But I know they’re still playing slow songs in 2009 just by looking at airplay charts, though I solidly concede that downtempo songs are less desirable than uptempo songs on radio playlists. “Heart of the Wood” truly is a great song, but the stripped production keeps it from being a viable radio hit, I think.

  81. Leeann Ward
    December 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Maybe it’s the awesomeness of my new headset, but I’m revisiting the song right now and I actually like everything about the song except for the formulaic lyric. Joey sings the heck out of the song, the melody is nice and the production is commercial yet still restrained. Since I typically don’t listen to mainstream radio, I don’t know how the song would sound in that context, but I still maintain the opinion that it was a safe choice for a single as far as that argument goes.

  82. Jim Malec
    December 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Actually, a song is defined as lyrics and melody, Jon. The “music” and arrangment would technically be part of the recording, independent of the song itself. Just sayin’…

  83. Dan Milliken
    December 29, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    “Sorry if it rubbed you the wrong way, Dan, but I meant that in earnest. No need to take offense.”

    Fair enough, Brady. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  84. RMC
    December 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Physicist: I could not disagree with you more on adding all 3 Dierks songs to the list. True, they’re not rocket science, but they don’t have to be to appeal to the masses–radio and listeners. Feel That Fire and Sideways both went to #1 and I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes will make it 3 in a row. All three are painting a picture about real life human thoughts and feelings, exactly what they are supposed to do. And although not officially released, Beautiful World (with Patty Griffin) was nominated for a Grammy–well deserved.

  85. Jon
    December 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Actually, a song is defined as lyrics and melody, Jon.

    I think, Jim, that as you accumulate experience as a songwriter, you will find (if you haven’t already) that most of us typically compose not just a melody, but a harmonic structure that underlies it and is as integral to the song as the naked melody. These two components – the melody and the harmonic structure on which it rests – are often referred to by songwriters as the “music,” to distinguish them collectively from the other major component, i.e., the lyrics For instance, when a BMI-affiliated songwriter such as yourself registers a work with the PRO, he or she specifies whether the work is “lyrics,” “music,” or “music & lyrics.” Note the use of the word “music” rather than the word “melody.”

    Anyhow, that reminder – for surely this isn’t new information for you – aside, the fact remains that even by your own statement, there’s more to a song than just the lyrics, and ignoring an integral part of the song (whether it’s the naked melody or the melody and associated harmonic structure) in the course of proferring an analysis of the song as a whole is never a good idea.

  86. Blake Boldt
    December 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Faith is a beautiful thing, but “There Is a God” moves that message forward at the expense of credibility. Lee Ann’s performance is gorgeous as always, but the bit about cancer and the claim that all scientists are non-believers really sticks in my craw. I accept the discoveries of science and also believe in God, but my God is not the one that’s referenced so often on country radio. Still, there are probably a long list of worse singles released in 2009.

    “Small Town U.S.A.” is the biggest lemon of the year. Leading a simple, understated life is nothing to sneeze at, but being willfully ignorant is another thing altogether.

  87. Noeller
    December 29, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Hidden in all this religious vs. science debate is a great nugget from Jim where he says “Religion and Science don’t have to be mutually exclusive” and that’s really my point in disliking the song.

    It seems to continually want to reinforce the idea that Science is evil and Faith is good, but can’t see them working in tandem.

    I’m personally sort of an agnostic fence-sitter, but believe that there is room for both faith and science and instead of trying to prove that one is right and the other wrong, time and effort would be better spent trying to find common ground.

  88. idlewildsouth
    December 29, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Generally speaking, science and faith do not have to be exclusive. However, when it comes to determining certain aspects of life and creation, they are. By definition, faith requires a lack of complete proof. If something can be proven, faith does not enter the equation.

    @Dan…just because science doesn’t have a definitive explanation for creation, doesn’t mean science doesn’t say it does. So, the song isn’t too far off with that line. All of my life I’ve read in texts books about how old the earth is, as though it were fact. And that the world came from the big bang theory, evolution, etc. as though it were fact.

    As far as the song goes, I don’t think it’s anything revolutionary, though I think Lee Ann’s version is a little less hostile than Trent Willmons.

  89. Noeller
    December 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    As much as I disagree with the song’s sentiments, I think it’s biggest crime is ripping off George’s “I Saw God Today” so terribly.

  90. idlewildsouth
    December 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    That would be a horrendous crime Noeller, if only Trent Willmon hadn’t released his album with “There Is A God” a few months before George Strait released “Troubadour”.

  91. nm
    December 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Religion should be really careful about embracing the God of the Margins: if we use God to provides answers for what we think science can’t explain, what happens to God when the space between what we can’t explain decreases?

    Now, I tried to point that out the first time this song was discussed here, but I didn’t say it nearly as well.

  92. Matt B.
    December 29, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    “There Is A God” was also on the CCM rascal-flatts’-like trio 33 Miles album around the same time Trent came out with his song.

  93. Noeller
    December 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    But all this talk of Tomlinson says nothing of LAW choosing to release this song after Strait already had a massive hit with a MUCH (can’t stress that enough) better version of the exact same song.

  94. idlewildsouth
    December 29, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I’m missing the talk of Tomlinson, so I’ll assume you mean Willmon. Regardless, you can’t rip off a song by a song written prior. If you’re insinuating that she’s trying to ride on the coattails of “I Saw God Today”, I believe it’s been a little while to be able to exploit that songs success.

  95. Dan Milliken
    December 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Idlewildsouth,

    But whether science treats the big bang theory, etc. like facts or not isn’t my point. My point is that the song suggests that science makes religious proclamations about why the world was created (e.g., saying it was an accident), when it doesn’t. Science just proposes “how” that creation came about; it’s really only in conflict with Christianity if you take the Book of Genesis as literal fact.

  96. idlewildsouth
    December 29, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Could you explain how saying creation was accidental is a religious statement?

  97. Dan Milliken
    December 29, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    In the context of the song, “accident” is used to suggest that no plan went into the creation of the world. That is an atheistic perspective. It is not the same as a scientific one, which wouldn’t comment on whether anyone planned the world or not.

  98. luckyoldsun
    December 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I think the blogger mixed up John Rich’s song “Good Lord and The Man” with “Shutting Detroit Down.”

    I agree that they both suck, but–as much as the lyrics– it’s because John Rich is such a horrible, cement-head of a singer.

    John Anderson co-wrote “Detroit” with Rich and put it out on his own album, “Bigger Hands”. In the hands–and mouth–of a great singer like John Anderson, “Detroit” does not sound quite so terrible.

  99. Justalistener
    December 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    “just because science doesn’t have a definitive explanation for creation, doesn’t mean science doesn’t say it does. So, the song isn’t too far off with that line. All of my life I’ve read in texts books about how old the earth is, as though it were fact. And that the world came from the big bang theory, evolution, etc. as though it were fact.”

    Science follows in the direction the accumulated evidence points to. From the accumualtion of evidence, a hypothesis is formed and out ofthat theories grow to best explain where and why the evidence and hypothesis point to and where they might lead. Scientific theories are continually testedtested. If or when they fail they are discarded or surpassed by ones that work better.

    My theory is that science, like reason, is something God wanted us to have. It helps us move along in the direction of better understanding the mystery. I think science is God’s way of saying ‘come here I want to show you something really wonderful you didn’t know before.” In other words my core belief is that God has launched each of us on a voyage of discovery.

    But that is just my opinion.

    Before I sign off, I wish to point out that the way individual teachers teach science may be disconnected from real science in the same way that an individual preacher’s interpretation of the meaning of the Gospel might be only that: just one person’s interpretation. I think we’ve all witnessed at least one certifiably crazy person twisting religious words into justifications for evil acts, or claiming God told them to run for political office.

  100. Janelle
    December 29, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I thought of another one…”Moo la Moo”…seriously, what was country radio thinking with that one? It was played so many times on my local station, I was beginning to think Steve “had” something on them and they had to play it. What awful lyrics and a waste of 2 or 3 minutes a day when something more substantial could have been played!

  101. idlewildsouth
    December 29, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Accident can be defined as “any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.” If there’s no higher being to plan creation, then it is accidental.

  102. Dan Milliken
    December 30, 2009 at 1:58 am

    “If there’s no higher being to plan creation, then it is accidental.”

    I agree. But science doesn’t argue that there’s no higher being.

  103. Lewis
    December 30, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I didn’t see anyone downing Diamond Rio for them releasing “I Believe”, “One More Day”, or their new Christian album “The Reason” so why are so many people downing Lee Ann for doing “There Is A God” or George for doing “I Saw God Today”. I think that there ought to be something in the fact that someone out there is talking about God in some way. Remember Cristy Lane’s “One Day At A Time” from almost 30 years ago? It was a #1 hit for her as was “I Saw God Today” for George in 2008 so there is room for singers singing about God.

  104. Brian
    December 30, 2009 at 10:10 am

    The bigger question to me with LAW’s song is- does disagreeing with what she says mean it’s a bad song. She sings it earnestly and it fits into what a majority of the target demographic believes.

    I’m a pretty devout Christian and I tire of the endless debate that always comes up with creation vs evolution. People from opposite sides are never going to agree on it. Even if I believe in creation, it doesn’t mean I have to denounce science which is the stance many take, and vice versa*. In this case though the song isn’t necessarily doing that. The biggest problem is the song presents the singer as being blissfully ignorant towards what is around them that science begat.

    The ultrasound, and riding the plane are both science creations, and would be good counter-arguments against the song if that’s what it is trying to do. The song isn’t putting down science but rather talking about the majestic nature of what surrounds us. And the baby thing- unless every health class I had was wrong- is clearly a product of creation, which I guess furthers the slant of the song.

    I don’t think the song is necessarily anti science- just oddly written. It defintiely wouldn’t be on my worst 10 singles of the year though. There is way too much that would bump it.

    * In the interest of fairness, I’ve always kind of combined sunday school and real school learnings together and believed in intelligent design. Something created things and over time they evolved into what we now. I can understand why people think creationism is a crazy idea, but I don’t think it’s any crazier than thinking- stuff just happened.

  105. Andrew
    December 30, 2009 at 10:11 am

    No one is downing “I Saw God Today”. We’re down on “There Is A God” because it’s not a good song.

    Also the production on “The Reason” is so bad it overshadows any problems people might have with the content.

  106. Physicist
    December 30, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I’m surprised no one mentioned “It’s America” yet.

  107. Physicist
    December 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    And now I see why. It was released in late 2008, while the album with the same name was released in 2009.

    Let me throw another one out there: “Sounds Like Life to Me.”

  108. Bobby P.
    December 31, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Why the hatred for Make It Rain? I don’t see how that one comes out to being worse than That Thang.

  109. Janey
    January 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    WHAT?! Why on earth would Jake Owen and Justin Moore be on this? Where I’m from all you need is a jacked up truck to get a woman! Jake Owen is an amazing singer and that is my favorite song! and Small town USA is a great song and hello it was NUMBER ONE!

  110. richard
    January 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I just want to say, I really love songs that talk the military and the wars that America has fought. But I just don’t understand the John Rich song. If we were living under the flag of Japan, why in the world why would we speaking German? It just doesn’t make sense. But I really liked “8 second ride” and “Small Town USA” because they’re great country songs and those are songs about living in the South.

  111. T
    February 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    So according to this list that was made by stain on the under pants of society, if a song talks about god, guns, chew, big tires and trucks then it’s a horrible country song. Well If a song doesn’t talk about god, guns, chew, big tires and trucks then it ain’t no country song! This terd dosen’t know a thing about bein country or bein American

  112. the realist
    February 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

    It’s obvious that the author of this list is an atheist and hates songs that recognize God or praying.

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