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CMT Hot 20 Decade: The Top 25 Songs of the 2010s

Which Modern Classic Tops the List?

In the final months of 2019, CMT Hot 20 Countdown surveyed 10 years of incredible music with Decade, a weekly segment that featured a modern country classic that made its greatest impact between 2010 and 2019. Browse our ranked list of the decade's biggest country songs, then enjoy quotes (and interviews) from the artists who recorded them.

25. “Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley

"The first reaction I got was, 'Man, rednecks don’t fly. No one’s gonna get that song. Airplanes? Country music?' It’s like, really? I’ve been on a lot of Southwest flights with a lot of rednecks and we’ve all been pretty hammered. And the flying and drinking, you sure? Have you ever been on a flight down to Cancun?" (Read the interview.)


24. “American Kids, “Kenny Chesney

“I knew within the first 30 seconds of hearing ‘American Kids’ that I was going to record it. The way the melody wrapped itself around the lyric and the cadence of the verses -- and just the fun factor of that song was so different for me. I think it captures the real essence of my audience. They're smart, they're wild, especially if they grew up in a small town." (See the interview.)


23. “Burning House,” Cam

"I know in retrospect, we’ve talked about having a visual first line and how impactful that is. But I don’t know that it was really calculated in that way. I think it’s a story and 'Let me tell you this story. Last night I had this crazy dream.' It’s definitely an opening to a conversation you’re about to have." (Read the interview.)


22. “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” Luke Combs

"We already had so much momentum going, things were going really well, and this song came along and it stepped up. It was the most rockin’ thing that we have at that time and I think still is. It elevated us, whereas the highs in our shows before were 'Hurricane' and 'Best of Me,' which are upbeat songs but they’re midtempo. They’re more like vibey songs as opposed to a right-in-your-face kind of thing." (Read the interview.)


21. “Girl in a Country Song,” Maddie & Tae

"I just didn’t realize that we were making as big a statement as we were. We were just so naïve that we thought, 'This is cool, this is the story,' and then it was this huge thing. I’m proud of it though, and I’m really proud of us and I’m really proud of that song and that video and not backing down and telling our truth." -- Maddie Marlow (Read the interview.)


20. “Pontoon,” Little Big Town”

“It sounded like a hit, but we couldn’t have guessed. That’s not the kind of thing you can predict. The first time I heard it, I thought, ‘It could be really huge or really bad.’ There was some cool swagger that it had. We had a really good feeling about it.” -- Jimi Westbrook (Read the interview.)


19. “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” Keith Urban

"One of the things that I was actually trying to do was take away some of the inherent waltz structure if I could. Because it just felt — retro is one thing but sort of like 'heard it before' is another thing. I’m always trying to find a way to bring something else into it. So it’s like a combination of old and new." (Read the interview.)


18. “Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt

"It was an experiment a little bit originally. I don’t know that I could have written it with any two different people other than Shane [McAnally] and Josh [Osborne]. But we found a sweet spot and it was a lot of R&B influence in my music. That song of captured that, I think early on, in a way that was authentic to me." (Read the interview.)


17. “Boys ‘Round Here,” Blake Shelton

"The thing about 'Boys ’Round Here' is it’s not brain surgery. No matter what you do, if it’s successful in this business, there’s gonna be haters out there. But I embrace that and I embrace the goofiness of 'Boys ’Round Here.' It’s not meant to do anything other than make you smile and wanna have a beer and laugh." (Read the interview.)


16. “Die a Happy Man,” Thomas Rhett

"If I had written that song and no one had any idea who my wife was, or I wasn’t married, or I was whatever, I think it would have had a whole different effect. But I think that people knew who my wife was and how much that we shared each other on Instagram, and our love story." (Read the interview.)


15. “Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw

"It's just such a special song and it reminded me of the things that you heard growing up. The things that you would always strive for as a father, and as a person, and as a friend. And all those things you try to be. You miss the mark most of the time but you’d strive to be that." (See the interview.)


14. “What Ifs,” Kane Brown feat. Lauren Alaina

"Back then I didn’t know where my career was gonna go after that song. It is a big song for anybody, for their first No. 1. To have to come back with another song and hope that it reaches that point, it was kind of scary. But now looking back, it’s like that started my career. … 'What Ifs' was the one that pushed me over the top and gave me a name in country music." (Read the interview.)


13. “Red Solo Cup,” Toby Keith

"We’ve been doing it live for eight years now, but there was a point where it was so hot that it was like the second they saw any inkling on stage that it was coming, you’d hear the crowd start taking off. And it was Super Bowl loud, you know what I mean? Everybody in the world wanted to hear the 'Solo Cup.'" (Read the interview.)


12. “My Church,” Maren Morris

"I was out in Los Angeles, driving around trying to find the ocean. I was on the PCH and I was just listening to music. It was so nice out and I just love being in the car and listening to music. It’s how I de-stress and I thought to myself, 'This is like church to me. This is where I feel really spiritual and just free.' So I wrote in my phone, immediately, 'My Church' would be such a great song title." (Read the interview.)


11. “Tequila,” Dan + Shay

"We also heard some arguments that no one drinks tequila, which we drink tequila. All of our friends do, so I don’t know if that was valid. We shot that one out the door really quickly. But yeah, apparently a lot of people like drinking tequila and a lot of people ended up liking listening to the song, too." -- Dan Smyers (Read the interview.)


10. “Meant to Be,” Bebe Rexha (feat. Florida Georgia Line)

"We wrote the song out in LA, so that was very untraditional for what we do. But it’s another testament to getting out of our comfort zone a little bit, getting out of the box, doing stuff that’s not really done here in Nashville, and I think that was a very rewarding experience from day one." -- Tyler Hubbard (Read the interview.)


9. “That’s My Kind of Night,” Luke Bryan

"'That’s My Kind of Night' is just another energetic, high-energy stadium song. It’s so hard to find those up-tempos that really move the needle for you. ... And 'That’s My Kind of Night' just works for a good time and you gotta have those, in my opinion, in your career. And it did, it gave me another element of a big ol’ fun up-tempo." (Read the interview.)


8. “Springsteen,” Eric Church

"I had music change me as a younger man. When I heard a certain song, it was the reason that I picked up a guitar. The most interesting thing about music is, no matter how old I get, when I hear that song, I'm 16 years old again. I think that's what so great about music. It captures a moment in time. It never ages. It never gets old." (See the interview.)


7. “Girl Crush,” Little Big Town

"There was a little bit of controversy when it first started. Not everybody in the morning time, like on their drive to school, wants to hear provocative lyrics, and the girls wrote it in a provocative way on purpose, so it says, 'Taste your lips.' It’s about jealousy. It was like a modern version of 'Jolene' in a way." -- Karen Fairchild (Read the interview.)


6. “Wagon Wheel,” Darius Rucker

"I don’t go to a lot of bars or anything, but we were somewhere in Missouri and decided to go out on a night off. We went into this bar where bands were playing. I walked over and they had a sign on the stage and it said, '22 days since someone played "Wagon Wheel."' [Laughs] I thought that was so awesome. That is so awesome to have a song that’s impacting people so much that they want to hate it." (Read the interview.)


5. “Blown Away,” Carrie Underwood

"One of the reasons I was drawn to the song is that I love strong female characters who take a stand in some way. I love that the girl in the song was pushed to her breaking point and she’s like, 'I hope everything is gone.' Blow this house down, like leaving it up to nature but she still takes ownership over herself and her feelings and just stands up for herself." (Read the interview.)


4. “Dirt Road Anthem,” Jason Aldean

"It was such a different-sounding song on the radio than anything else that was out there. A lot of people loved it, a lot of people hated it, and to me that’s what music’s about, anyway. I’ve always said I want ‘em to love it or hate it. Either way. I’d rather them feel passionate about it one way or the other." (Read the interview.)


3. “Cruise,” Florida Georgia Line

"It was really cool to be a part of that process for both of us, to create it, to record it, to take it out on the road, to watch it grow, watch it build and meet fans along the way, see their excitement. That’s the song that put us on the map in a huge way, in a really quick way, in a very humbling way." -- Brian Kelley (Read the interview.)


2. “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum

"We’ve definitely heard the booty call thing a lot. But I think it’s more than that. What I like about this song, when I look back and think about it, and maybe what we related to so much, is there’s still a little tinge of hope. … I’m not quite over this and I’m not giving up yet. We’re still calling each other late at night." -- Charles Kelley (Read the interview.)


1. “The House That Built Me,” Miranda Lambert

"What I appreciate the most about it is that they took a long time to write it. I love that they went back and forth and back and forth, trying to get it perfect for a long time. It’s one of those songs that every single person thinks it’s about them and their life. I mean, how can it be that universal? It’s an emotion they captured so well. I felt like when I first heard it, that I was hearing my story and that’s how everybody feels." (Read the interview.)

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