2005 was a good year for country songs. Dierks Bentley, Joe Nichols and Craig Morgan were seeing success at radio with the release of singles that would garner each artist a No. 1 song that year.
While Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill and Toby Keith already had their fair share of chart-toppers by that point, their talent still had them raking in the hits that year — count them among the best country songs of 2005! Taste of Country takes a look back at the 10 best tracks to come out in 2005. Some went on to win Grammys, but all remain concert staples in the artists' live shows today.
"Mississippi Girl" Faith Hill
It had been five years since Faith Hill had a No. 1 song when she released "Mississippi Girl," the lead single from her album Fireflies. Written by Big & Rich's John Rich with Adam Shoenfeld, the song was penned specifically for the singer who hails from Star, Miss. "'Cause a Mississippi girl don't change her ways / Just 'cause everybody knows her name / Ain't big headed from a little bit of fame," she sings in the chorus. "Mississippi Girl" was a welcomed comeback for Hill, who hadn't had chart success since 2000's No. 1 "The Way You Love Me." This one stayed atop Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for two weeks.
"Something to Be Proud Of" Montgomery Gentry
Written by Jeffrey Steele and Chris Wallin, "Something to Be Proud Of" tells the story of a father passing down some of his wisdom onto his son. Always full of tales of how the way things used to be, the son finds himself rolling his eyes at his dad after hearing some of these stories over and over again. However, as he gets older he finds himself appreciating the knowledge bestowed upon him — country fans could relate to this song, agreeing it was one of the best country songs of 2005.
"Play Something Country" Brooks & Dunn
As the 20th No. 1 for Brooks & Dunn, this song was actually inspired by Gretchen Wilson, whom the duo was touring with at the time. Ronnie Dunn and Terry McBride wrote "Play Something Country," and as McBride previously told Country Weekly, the idea came to Dunn after a show in Minnesota. He recalls Dunn "busting onto the bus," saying, "'How about this idea?'" and howling "that ah oooh, aw, play something country!" Dunn wanted to write the song about a "ballsy chick that bursts into the barroom, puts her hand on her hip and goes, 'play something country!'"
"As Good as I Once Was" Toby Keith
On this massive No. 1 hit, Toby Keith sings of how he's getting older and as a result, he's not quite, "As Good as I Once Was." The song paints the picture of an older man being approached by twins at a bar and later being asked by a buddy for help in a bar fight. A humorous video brings the song vividly to life with each of these scenarios acted out on screen. Keith wrote the six-week No. 1 song with longtime collaborator Scotty Emerick and it would go on to tie previous hit "Beer for My Horses" as the singer's longest run at No. 1.
"That's What I Love About Sunday" Craig Morgan
This song was released as the first single from Craig Morgan's album My Kind of Livin'," and it spent four weeks atop Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart. Morgan's only No. 1 song, the singer tells Billboard that the song speaks to him and his fans: "What the fans say and what we hear is that I make a big deal out of the little things in life. And that is who I am. It's those little things in life that are important to me. Simple things like the smell of fresh cut grass. That what 'Sunday' was about." No doubt it's one of the best country songs of 2005.
"Anything But Mine" Kenny Chesney
Released shortly after the ball dropped in January of 2005, Kenny Chesney took "Anything But Mine" to No. 1 by April, and it stayed for two consecutive weeks. The song was written by Scooter Carusoe and details young summer love in a beach town — something Chesney loves to sing about. He's well-versed in songs set by the water, and this was a massive hit.
"Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" Joe Nichols
"Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" is a funny song that has the narrator discussing the dangers tequila has on a woman he knows. "I told her put an extra layer on / I know what happen when she drinks Patron / Her closet's missing half the things she's bought / Yeah, tequila makes her clothes fall off," Nichols sings. While the girl in question can handle any other liquor, tequila has her often, "kicking out of her shoes, lose an earring in her drink, leave her jacket in the bathroom stall, drop a contact down the sink." The music video, meanwhile, brings the video to life with a very unexpected turn. This was, of course, a No. 1 song for Joe Nichols and has since become a singalong for ladies everywhere.
"Come a Little Closer"Dierks Bentley
This three-week No. 1 shows off Dierks Bentley's sexy side like we'd not seen previously. Penned by Bentley and Brett Beavers, the sultry lyrics have the singer telling a woman to, "come a little closer baby, I feel like laying you down." The light acoustic guitar and Bentley's whispered vocals further showcase the singer's ability to make women weak at the knees.
"Better Life" Keith Urban
This banjo-driven barn burner spent six weeks atop Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, and it's easy to see why. Written by Keith Urban and Richard Marx, the feel-good song has the main character singing of how he and his lady are headed toward a better life. Urban's warm vocals accompanied by his impressive guitar and banjo playing is a foot-stomping good time that's still so much fun live in concert. It's a great country song picked straight out of 2005.
"Bless the Broken Road" Rascal Flatts
While "Bless the Broken Road" had been recorded prior to this version by several other artists — like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and songwriter Marcus Hummon, who wrote the song with Jeff Hanna of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Bobby Boyd — there's something special about the Rascal Flatts version. Country fans agreed, because it climbed to No. 1 and stayed there for an incredible five weeks. "Bless the Broken Road" also earned the trio a Grammy for Best Country Song. Still a staple in their live shows, Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road" has surely survived the test of time.
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