Top 5 Country Hits of 2012

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Every year, Billboard ranks the most popular songs in a number of categories, as determined by radio airplay and audience impressions measured by Nielsen. In 2012, it seemed country music fans had one thing on their minds—love. Whether celebrating a new love or trying to let go of an old one, the year’s top five songs focused on the sweetest and simplest things that make moments matter—for better or for worse.

5 Gloriana – “(Kissed You) Goodnight”

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You have a great date. You feel a strong connection and everything goes smoothly, but at the end of the night, there’s no kiss. What gives? Gloriana’s song “(Kissed You) Goodnight” explores the alternative ending to that scenario. What if, after dropping the girl off and turning to go, the boy turns around, runs back and gets that goodnight kiss? Gloriana’s Tom Gossin wrote the song with award-winning songwriter Josh Kear after being inspired by a conversation he overheard at a restaurant. The perfect song to resonate with anyone who’s ever been shy, and wondered what might’ve happened if they weren’t.

4 Dustin Lynch – “Cowboys and Angels”

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Cowboys are common tropes in country music, so it’s no surprise Dustin Lynch snagged the No. 4 slot with his debut single “Cowboys and Angels.” The Tennessee native traveled to Nashville and hit pay dirt with lyrics that appealed to traditional sensibilities. The pure, untouchable woman meets the dirty, rough-and-tumble cowboy—and somehow it just works. Every man who ever thought the woman he loved was too good for him related to this song—as did every woman who wished a man thought this way about her.

3 Jana Kramer – “Why Ya Wanna”

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Conveniently enough, the No. 3 song for 2012 went to Jana Kramer’s paean to that ex you just can’t get over—also the topic of her fiancé’s No. 2 hit the same year. With her engagement to Brantley Gilbert making headlines as the year drew to a close, it’s safe to say they finally got over those old loves. What girl doesn’t relate to the secret wish that after the relationship falls apart, the other will become a dirty and dejected loser—and the frustration when it doesn’t come to pass?

2 Brantley Gilbert – “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do”

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Brantley Gilbert co-wrote Billboard’s second biggest hit of 2012 with Jim McCormick. The song, inspired by a conversation the two songwriters were having, ended up on Gilbert’s album “Halfway to Heaven.” It’s been said country music is “three chords and the truth.” In this case, the truth was two guys having a heart-to-heart about girl problems, and it struck a chord with country audiences. Only fitting that Gilbert’s second single off his second album would end up in the No. 2 spot for the year.

1 Josh Turner – “Time is Love”

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Josh Turner claimed the top country hit of 2012 with a song that has a message— despite the importance of work and other commitments, it’s the people in your life that really matter. With relatable lyrics that equate time to hugs and kisses rather than dollars, Turner’s song—the debut single off of his album “Punching Bag”—seeks to redefine the concept of the value of time. The value of time isn’t money, the song quietly argues—it’s those priceless moments spent bonding with the people you love the most.

Jennifer Mueller has been writing professionally since 1995, when she began writing a bi-monthly column for "This Week in WNC." Mueller holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University School of Law.

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