The Five Worst “Country” Songs Of 2023

Kane Brown Shania Twain Dustin Lynch
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It’s that time of year again.

As 2023 comes to an end, you’ll see lists popping up everywhere recapping some of the best country music that came out this year. And there was quite a bit of good music this year to talk about.

But we’re not here to talk about that yet.

Let’s have some fun and talk about some of the WORST songs of 2023.

Luckily country music is in a much better place than it was a few years ago, so when a truly bad song comes around, it sticks out even more. So obviously we have to recognize those that stand out as the worst of the worst.

It’s an “award” that we give out every year here at Whiskey Riff, so if you’ve missed the lucky winners from years past, let’s take a look back:

The first edition of this award back in 2017 featured “hits” like “God, Your Mama and Me” from Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys, as well as the just downright strange “Take A Knee My Ass” from ’90s country legend Neal McCoy.

The Three Worst Country Singles of 2017

Florida Georgia Line actually made two appearances on the 2018 list, with both “Simple” and that obnoxiously-overplayed collaboration with Bebe Rexha, “Meant to Be.” (Remember when she said she “paved the way” for other artists to jump into country music?) But that wasn’t even the worst of the year: That title went to former Backstreet Boy AJ McClean’s God-awful foray into country music with “Back Porch Bottle Service.” Man, those were dark times back in 2018…

The Three Worst “Country” Singles of 2018

2019 saw Florida Georgia Line make it three years straight with their abomination “Swerve.” And they were also joined by “Fire’t Up” by Brantley Gilbert. But the real story of 2019 was Zac Brown Band just going completely off the rails with whatever the hell “God Given” was.

There was plenty that was shitty about 2020 – not just in country music – so there was plenty to pick from for our 2020 list. You know that Florida Georgia Line had to make a fourth straight appearance with their terrible singles “I Love My Country” and “Long Live.” And they were joined by two newcomers to the list with Kane Brown’s “Cool Again” and Dustin Lynch’s “Momma’s House.”

The 3 WORST “Country” Singles Of 2020

For 2021, well you can probably already guess that, for the fifth year straight, there was an appearance from Florida Georgia Line on the list. There may have been trouble in paradise with the duo, but they still managed to drop the ear-splitting “New Truck.” Kane Brown also made his second straight appearance with “One Mississippi.” And then there was the most WTF moment of the year: “Where the Country Girls At” by the head-scratching trio of Luke Bryan, Trace Adkins and…Pitbull.

The Three Worst “Country” Songs Of 2021

And finally we had 2022. “Rolex On a Redneck” by Brantley Gilbert and Jason Aldean took the top spot, but Dustin Lynch made a strong case for worst song of the year with “Party Mode,” and Walker Hayes followed up “Fancy Like” with the absolutely ridiculous “Y’all Life” to round out the top 3 worst songs of the year.

The Three Worst “Country” Songs of 2022

Which brings us to 2023.

Overall, it’s been a pretty good year for country music. We’ve had some incredible new artists burst onto the scene, some powerhouses continuing to drop heat, and of course Zach Bryan continuing to release new music pretty much every other day.

But enough about the good. That’s for another article.

Let’s talk about the bad – because there was plenty of bad too.

5. “Stars Like Confetti” – Dustin Lynch

The title alone was enough to earn this song a spot on the list, as Dustin Lynch continues to prove that, aside from his debut hit “Cowboys and Angels,” he’s determined to cling onto the dying corpse of bro-country.

Riding down a dirt road? Check. Beer? Check. Your girl by your side? Check.

This song has all the elements for a hit – in 2014. Luckily most of country music has moved on to bigger and better things, but Dustin Lynch apparently still hasn’t gotten the memo. I guess news travels slower on whatever dirt road he’s stuck on…

4. “Giddy Up!” – Shania Twain

Oh Shania. The ’90s country legend has cemented herself as the Queen of Pop Country with classics like “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” and “Any Man Of Mine,” but it seems like these days she’s trying a little too hard to recreate the magic of her earlier hits…and it’s just not working.

Exhibit A: “Giddy Up!”

“Up, in your giddy up, giddy, giddy up!Up, in your giddy up!Drunk in the city, got a litty in the cupUp, in your giddy up!When it gets tough, gotta get a little lovePut some up in your giddy, giddy up!”

Just stick to the hits, Shania. Everybody will still love you.

3. “Boys Back Home” – Dylan Marlowe ft. Dylan Scott

Clap tracks, dirt road beers, trucks circled up around a bonfire…was there any way this song DIDN’T make the list? It’s straight out of 2015 in the worst possible way. It sounds like a dollar store version of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” it’s completely unoriginal and says absolutely nothing interesting. Just a bunch of clichés that I thought we had left in 2015:

“Yeah, here’s to the boys back home
Drinkin’ dirt road beers on a Friday night
Yeah, I’m wishin’ I was with y’all
Singin’ them old songs
Trucks circled up ’round a farm fire “

How did this one ever make it out of the studio? Are you not embarrassed?

2. “I Can Feel It” – Kane Brown

I feel like Kane owes Phil Collins an apology with this one. Running such a dark, classic song by turning it into some pop dance track about how you can “feel it when her body starts to dance” and wanting to take her home?

Obviously calling this one “country” is a bit of a stretch, but apparently adding banjo is all it takes these days to be considered “country” by mainstream radio.

Whatever it is, this one ain’t it.

1. “Dancin’ In The Country” – Tyler Hubbard

This song was technically released at the end of 2022, but it really began to chart in 2023 so it still deserves a spot on the list.

As one half of Florida Georgia Line, Tyler Hubbard gave us some of the worst music of the 2010s, and he apparently has no intentions of stopping now that the duo has gone their separate ways. The pop/disco-sounding song follows the same formula that made FGL such a laughingstock in their time:

“I’ll take you dancin’ in the countryLevi’s in them low beamsSpin you in some red dirtSweep you off of both feetOut here where the sun setsSilverado backbeatYou’ll never wanna go homeAnd never wanna not beDancin’ in the country”

How is it 2023 and we’re still making songs about dancing in the headlights down a dirt road? At this point, it’s just lazy and formulaic bullsh*t.

So there you have it. The worst of the worst of 2023.

Luckily these songs are no longer the norm, and with so much great country music coming out this year, we’ll have our annual best albums list coming soon.

But you have to recognize the bad to appreciate the good, right?

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A beer bottle on a dock



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