Special Report

Best Country Songs of 2021

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If 2020 was the year for country artists to hunker down and try to avoid the pandemic, 2021 was the year to recover. After taking advantage of time off the road to craft new songs and develop ambitious projects, they hit the bricks last year with renewed vigor.

Some artists mined social media to develop new fan bases and produced unlikely hits. The genre that made the twangy guitar famous continued to reach across the music spectrum to create new collaborations and generated more music than ever. 

To determine the best country songs of last year, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Year-End Chart for 2021. Billboard’s rankings are based on radio airplay audience impressions, sales data, and streaming activity as compiled by Nielsen Music. Data on each song’s number of lifetime Spotify streams was collected on January 18, 2022.

It was a big year for the controversial Morgan Wallen, who placed five songs on the list. He also released a 30-track album titled “Dangerous: The Double Album” that became only the fourth country album to top the Billboard 200 for a year.

Luke Combs and Florida Georgia Line each landed three songs on the list as solo performers and in collaboration with other artists. The latter continued country music’s genre-crossing success by pairing with rapper Nelly on the song “Lil Bit.” Country stalwarts Thomas Rhett and Chris Stapleton (five Grammy wins), meanwhile, each placed two songs on the list. (These are the 50 most popular country stars right now.)

Some artists skillfully used social media to promote their music. Walker Hayes’ tune “Fancy Like” went viral on TikTok and soared to the top on both Billboard’s Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. It became a crossover hit when it reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

Click here to see all the best country songs of 2021

Lainey Wilson had a breakthrough year, with the No. 1 single “Things A Man Oughta Know” from her debut album “Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’.” Gabby Barrett has leveraged her appearance on “American Idol” in 2018 to build her career. Her debut album “Goldmine” in 2020 featured the catchy and ubiquitous hit “The Good Ones.” Performers like Niko Moon, himself a successful songwriter, released the hip-hop-influenced album “Good Time,” containing the hit single of the same name. (Can you answer these real “Jeopardy!” clues about country music?)

50. You Time
> Artist: Scotty McCreery
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 7
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 17.7 million

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49. Momma’s House
> Artist: Dustin Lynch
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 8
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 46
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 50.2 million

48. Next Girl
> Artist: Carly Pearce
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 23
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 35
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 55.1 million

47. Lady
> Artist: Brett Young
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 7
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 49
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 68.8 million

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46. 7 Summers
> Artist: Morgan Wallen
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 178.8 million

45. Somebody Like That
> Artist: Tenille Arts
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 7
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 31
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 59.5 million

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44. Knowing You
> Artist: Kenny Chesney
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 10
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 34
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 34.7 million

43. Minimum Wage
> Artist: Blake Shelton
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 12
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 31.4 million

42. Somebody’s Problem
> Artist: Morgan Wallen
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 33
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 131.1 million

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41. Buy Dirt
> Artist: Jordan Davis Featuring Luke Bryan
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 33
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 69.5 million

40. Just the Way
> Artist: Parmalee x Blanco Brown
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 58
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 106.6 million

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39. We Didn’t Have Much
> Artist: Justin Moore
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 7
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 40.4 million

38. Nobody
> Artist: Dylan Scott
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 5
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 30
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 79.3 million

37. Long Live
> Artist: Florida Georgia Line
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 4
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 31
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 47 million

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36. I Was on a Boat That Day
> Artist: Old Dominion
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 8
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 25
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 30.8 million

35. Down to One
> Artist: Luke Bryan
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 5
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 46.7 million

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34. Cold Beer Calling My Name
> Artist: Jameson Rodgers Featuring Luke Combs
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 44.4 million

33. More Than My Hometown
> Artist: Morgan Wallen
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 42
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 204.2 million

32. You Should Probably Leave
> Artist: Chris Stapleton
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 41
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 78.6 million

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31. Blame It on You
> Artist: Jason Aldean
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 5
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 38.6 million

30. Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.
> Artist: Chase Rice Featuring Florida Georgia Line
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 52.9 million

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29. Made For You
> Artist: Jake Owen
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 91 million

28. My Boy
> Artist: Elvie Shane
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 4
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: N/A
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 27.3 million

27. Waves
> Artist: Luke Bryan
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 29.6 million

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26. Memory I Don’t Mess With
> Artist: Lee Brice
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 5
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 39
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 55.2 million

25. Country Again
> Artist: Thomas Rhett
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 5
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 25
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 31.1 million

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24. Breaking Up Was Easy in the ’90’s
> Artist: Sam Hunt
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 4
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 34
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 57.3 million

23. Single Saturday Night
> Artist: Cole Swindell
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 4
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 41
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 80.5 million

22. If I Didn’t Love You
> Artist: Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 24
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 48 million

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21. Wasted On You
> Artist: Morgan Wallen
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 26
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 138.7 million

20. Good Time
> Artist: Niko Moon
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 44
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 85.2 million

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19. Gone
> Artist: Dierks Bentley
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 38
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 46.4 million

18. Almost Maybes
> Artist: Jordan Davis
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 7
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 59
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 88.2 million

17. Things a Man Oughta Know
> Artist: Lainey Wilson
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 29
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 59.1 million

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16. Hell of a View
> Artist: Eric Church
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 32
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 69.8 million

15. Sand in My Boots
> Artist: Morgan Wallen
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 5
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 47
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 115.6 million

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14. Settling Down
> Artist: Miranda Lambert
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 6
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 42
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 45.4 million

13. What’s Your Country Song
> Artist: Thomas Rhett
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 27
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 60.1 million

12. Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)
> Artist: Elle King & Miranda Lambert
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 11
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 45
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 60.1 million

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11. One Too Many
> Artist: Keith Urban Duet With P!nk
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 10
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 47
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 129.1 million

10. Glad You Exist
> Artist: Dan + Shay
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 30
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 109.5 million

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9. Lil Bit
> Artist: Nelly & Florida Georgia Line
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 39
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 116.5 million

8. Starting Over
> Artist: Chris Stapleton
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 37
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 115 million

7. Chasing After You
> Artist: Ryan Hurd with Maren Morris
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 3
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 43
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 86.4 million

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6. The Good Ones
> Artist: Gabby Barrett
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 52
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 112.5 million

5. Famous Friends
> Artist: Chris Young + Kane Brown
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 2
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 35
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 76.7 million

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4. Better Together
> Artist: Luke Combs
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 48
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 186.8 million

3. I Hope
> Artist: Gabby Barrett
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 99
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 253.1 million

2. Fancy Like
> Artist: Walker Hayes
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 30
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 128.9 million

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1. Forever After All
> Artist: Luke Combs
> Billboard Hot Country Songs peak position: No. 1
> Total weeks on Hot Country Songs chart: 52
> Lifetime Spotify plays: 210.6 million

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