I recently checked out the Top 10 Country Singles as of May 7, as reported in Country Weekly Magazine
I like several of these songs, and despite the cries of 'country isn't country anymore', I've found some refreshing results.
Let's start from the top
1. "Last Dollar (Fly Away) by Tim McGraw
The song isn't very country, but it's pretty catchy. I don't know how many times I can listen to the conclusion with those kids singing in harmony. They might need to put this song on the Disney Channel, instead of Country Music Television
2. "Wasted" by Carrie Underwood
Carrie's a great vocalist and many of her songs are lyrically rooted in country, if not in sound. This one is a straight pop song, but I still like this tune, which is the opening track on her "Some Hearts" album.
3. "Beer in Mexico" by Kenny Chesney
Fun song for a live concert or a hoppin' party, but country? I think not. We're batting 0 for 3 now.
4. "Stand" by Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts has some good songs, but does even one of them have any twang in it? Nope.
5. "Settlin" by Sugarland
Probably the most country song in the top five, although it does get better in the next five. Lead singer Jennifer Nettles has a definite twang, and the country song, albeit contemporary, shines through on this one.
6. "Anyway" by Martina McBride
Since the mid-1990's, McBride has been a CSINO - a Country Singer in Name Only. The only thing that proved different was her excellent "Timeless" album where she sang 18 covers of country classics. However, her new hit is a return to the adult contemporary sound, packaged under the country label.
7. "I'll Wait For You" by Joe Nichols
By far, the best pure country song in the top 10, from the lyrics to the sound. Nichols gives hope that tradition hasn't been completely forgotten.
8. "High Maintenance Woman" by Toby Keith
Another fun, party song. More country than "Beer in Mexico" or "Stand" but can't hold a candle to "I'll Wait For You"
9. "Good Directions" by Billy Currington
A pleasant surprise. Who would have thought Shania Twain's duet partner from "Party for Two" would have a traditional country streak. If you listen to most of his two albums, he's primarily a country singer. "Party" is the exception. This song was written by a great newcomer who hasn't released a full album yet, Luke Bryan.
10. "Long Trip Alone" by Dierks Bentley
Bentley brings a nice combination of traditional and contemporary country. He falls somewhere between McGraw and Nichols.
Other "real country" songs in the Top 30: "Ticks" by Brad Paisley (14), "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" by Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney (17), "Me and God" by Josh Turner (18), "Lucky Man" by Montgomery Gentry (21), "Startin' With Me" by Jake Owen (22) and "Guys Like Me" by Eric Church (30).