I know everyone keeps saying it, but it really is hard to believe that 2023 is almost over.
And as we approach the new year, you know we love to bring you tons of great lists and end-of-year content, and our Top 40 Country Albums of 2022 list will be here very soon.
But in addition to tons of great music dropping over the last 12 months, some of my favorite songs got the full treatment with a music video, and though they’re pretty few and far between for the most part, quite a few artists put out some really good ones.
They certainly aren’t what they used to be (remember when CMT was actually fun to watch on Saturday mornings?), but artists like Lainey Wilson, Megan Moroney, Kaitlin Butts and more nailed it this year, so I wanted to put together a quick list of some of my personal favorite’s to close out 2023.
There’s just something about the way a properly done music video can push a song into a whole other realm, giving it a new take and visual for the artist to fully present their vision for the meaning and importance of what they’re trying to say with the lyrics.
But mostly, for me, they’re just fun to watch, and it’s always exciting when an artist you love drops a great video.
As you’ll find quickly in this article the ladies really held it down this year, and in no particular order, let’s get into it…
“Watermelon Moonshine” — Lainey Wilson
From Lainey Wilson’s 2022 Bell Bottom Country record, she reflects on the taste of her first love and how it took the help of a little watermelon moonshine to calm her nerves back then.
The music video tells the whole story so perfectly, which finds a young, carefree couple falling in love in the heat of the summer, though they both know it’s not ultimately meant to be.
The hazy visual and woozy steel guitar brings it all to life, and it was easily one of the best music videos released this year, as it should be for a hit #1 single.
He previously said it was inspired by his personal struggles to cope with life indoors while the world was shut down during quarantine a few years ago, but the video gives the song a completely new meaning, as he portrays a man who is addicted to drugs and losing everything in his life as a result.
It showed a new depth to Parker that I don’t think we’ve seen before, and I find it admirable that he wanted to address this tough subject matter in such a popular song.
“I”m Not Pretty” — Megan Moroney
This video is just so. Much. Fun. Megan Moroney released “I’m Not Pretty” as a single from her debut studio album Lucky this year, and I still can’t get enough of it.
She calls out her ex’s new girl for stalking her on Instagram and putting her down based on the small snippets of her life that are advertised there (which you’ll also see in the video), though she’s never met her before and doesn’t really know anything about her.
It’s a great, funny, pretty tongue-in-cheek portrait of mean-girl behavior that I think we’ve probably all unfortunately experienced at one time or another, but she sure does make it sound fun.
It’s my personal opinion that pink just makes everything better, too…
“That’s Why We Fight” — Ella Langley featuring Koe Wetzel
In the video, you see Koe taking on the roll as coach, as Ella gears up for a championship fight as “the clear underdog.” It was so well-done and high quality, and a bit of a different take than what I expected, which was cool to see.
The song itself is so rock and roll, and they nailed it with the production here in terms of bringing the song to life like this.
“Oklahoma Smokeshow” — Zach Bryan
If there’s one person in country music who puts an incredible amount of thought and time into really crafting a music video into a story, it’s Zach Bryan.
While he doesn’t have a ton of them in comparison to all the music in his catalog, the video for “Oklahoma Smokeshow,” from his Summertime Blues EP, captured the essence of the song and the feeling at the heart of it.
It’s so aesthetically pleasing and nostalgic, which is someting Zach is great at, and definitely deserves a spot on this list.
“Blood” — Kaitlin Butts
This song already cuts deep, and the music video only kicks it up another notch. The lyrics are mostly based on Kaitlin Butts’ experience when her parents were going through a divorce years ago, though it goes far and beyond her personal trauma from that time in her life.
Included on her 2022 What Else Can She Do?album, the video (which came out in January) tells the story in a poignant and important way that the song really deserves.
It’s a pretty simple concept, where Kaitlin plays the role of a 50’s-era housewife, making dinner for her husband who is an “abusive narcissist,” as you see him berating her and yelling at her over something with the food.
Kaitlin says she wanted to give people a peak at what some experience behind closed doors, in an effort to help anyone going through a similar experience feel a little bit less alone, and it’s evident that she poured her heart and soul into every aspect of the song and video.
You can see and feel the passion in every minute of the video:
And that rounds out my top five country music videos for this year… what are some of your favorite’s?