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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Country Songs of 2014 So Far

No truck songs here… our readers are more into planes, trailers and turtles

Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan

Frederick Breedon IV/WireImage

Whether you're into bro country or girl power, an afternoon cocktail in your trailer or a keg stand at 30,000 feet, country music graced our speakers with a little something for everyone in the first half of 2014. Rolling Stone Country asked you about your favorite country songs of this year (so far), and here are the results from our social media tally. By Joseph Hudak, Stephen L. Betts and Beville Dunkerley

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10. Kacey Musgraves, “The Trailer Song”

(Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally) As a treat for fans awaiting the follow-up to her Grammy-winning album Same Trailer Different Park, Musgraves offers up a deliciously bitchy modern take on Hank Williams' "Mind Your Own Business." Opening with the line, "You say that you're watchin' the birds out the window, well, I got a bird you can watch," Musgraves peers through her mini-blinds as a nosy, judgmental neighbor keeps an eye on what everyone else is getting up to in the trailerhood. Whether she's trading iced tea for scotch on a weekday at noon or hanging someone else's undies on her clothes line is nobody else's business. If she didn't sound so sweet, one might suspect she's got a case of double-wide paranoia.

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9. Sturgill Simpson, “Turtles All the Way Down”

(Sturgill Simpson) If only for the nonchalant way the groundbreaking Simpson delivers the way-out-there line "where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain," the Kentucky native's debut single from his Metamodern Sounds in Country Music stands as one of the year's greatest. Of course, there's more to the psychedelic ballad than just those galactic words, but it's that lyric that announces "Turtles" as a new kind of country, slowly but decisively emerging from its shell. 

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8. Chasin’ Crazy, “That’s How We Do Summertime”

(Thomas Matthew Karlas, Matthew Thomas Ramsey) Hello, Chasin' Crazy fans. Driven by a passionate online community, the debut single by this unabashed country boy band made a surprise showing in Rolling Stone Country's readers' poll. Tailor-made for the warm-weather season not just in title, "That's How We Do Summertime" is so light, breezy and sun-kissed, it makes Jake Owen's "Beachin'" sound like a dirge. Unlike Owen's boardwalk rap, Chasin' Crazy's confection isn't blowing up radio just yet, but thanks to the quintet's harmonies, the song adds a dose of the Beach Boys to country's endless summer.

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7. Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”

(Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally) "The rhythms, the images, the way the melody moved… it just grabs you and holds on, but even more importantly, it feels really good,” says Chesney of knowing he was going to record this song the minute he heard it. Good choice. The carefree, nostalgic tune went to Number Two on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in a hot country minute, becoming one of the fastest-rising songs of his career. The country megastar has hinted that his upcoming album won't venture into the trendy bro country territory, and this song proves he doesn't have to. Chesney owns the feel-good, summertime terrain by putting memories to music and relating to everyone on "map dots, New York to L.A."

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6. Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”

(Dierks Bentley, Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear) It's easy to dismiss Bentley's mile-high party anthem as just that. But what elevates this moment of levity on the decidedly serious Riser — and keeps it from being a country cliché nightmare at 30,000 feet — is the attention to lyrical detail paid by Bentley and co-writers Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear. Below the surface, "Drunk on a Plane" is a heartbreaker, a glimpse into what happens when a relationship goes south and how, right or wrong, one copes. The magic, however, is in Bentley also making it the best sing-along of the summer. 

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5. Eric Church, “Cold One”

(Eric Church, Luke Hutton, Jeff Hyde) Drinking songs are a dime a case in country music, but Church turns the keg on its head in this clever single. Here, the brews aren't a means of celebration but a metaphor for the chilly way his woman said adios to their relationship. Opening with some tasty Dobro and Church setting the scene of what, at first, sounds like a typical summer song , "Cold One" quickly heats up by the time the chorus reaches its payoff: "damn, babe, that was a cold one." For all the sonic adventures of The Outsiders, the song also boasts some of the most traditional pickin' on country radio. Intoxicating. 

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4. Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”

(Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley) If it were revealed that the chorus to Bryan's super-catchy love song was actually written from texts found in the iPhone of a female teen fan, we wouldn't be surprised. But it's that simplicity and accessibility that makes "Play It Again" such a winner — and so utterly addictive. One listen to that "she was like, 'Oh my God, this is my song'" refrain and you can expect it to haunt your waking moments, especially as country radio continues to play it again, play it again, play it again. 

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3. Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”

(Miranda Lambert, Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby) Her youngest fans, who eagerly follow the singer on Twitter and Instagram, may have to Google such antiquated artifacts as pay phones and cassettes, but for listeners of a certain age, Lambert's ruminations on days gone by are either sweetly nostalgic or slightly depressing. The cleverly titled track not only refers to automobile transmissions (manual vs. automatic) but also to anything that's been made easier and more instantaneous thanks to modern technology — and yet has somehow lost some of its appeal in the process. Thankfully, five albums into her phenomenal career, Lambert's gift for relatable lyrics and accessible melodies remains as strong as ever. 

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2. Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”

(Chris DeStefano, Brett James, Priscilla Renea) The raucous "Somethin' Bad" turned into something great, thanks in part to a 19th century hymn. In 2011, Underwood, joined by Vince Gill on guitar, belted out a goosebump-raising rendition of "How Great Thou Art" for the ACM's Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country TV special. Seated in the audience, Lambert was inspired to propose working with Underwood on a track for her next album, Platinum. "'Somethin' Bad' came across and it just felt like the rock & roll edge that she and I have in some of our songs put it all into perspective," Lambert told Rolling Stone Country. "I sent it to her and she said yes. It was that easy." Get ready to clear some awards-shelf space, ladies.

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1. Chris Young, “Who I Am With You”

(Marv Green, Paul Jenkins, Jason Sellers) This tall Tennessean with the booming baritone dodged the balladeer pigeonhole by kicking off his current album, A.M., with the rowdy ode to all-night drunk fests, "Aw Naw." But fans are still partial to Young's chart-topping softer side, as the project's second single, "Who I Am With You" is the kind of love letter that leaves them salivating with its romantic declaration of, "A better man is who I am with you." (Additional props from us for the opening line, "I've been a rolling stone all my life.")