Garth Brooks, "All Day Long"
As far as the foundation is concerned, "All Day Long" is not the type of song that would usually make this list. Garth Brooks really couldn't have executed it in a worse manner though. Beyond featuring the most dated production of 2018, “All Day Long” just goes overboard in every way possible. Brooks tries hard with his vocal performance, but a normal Friday night makes him sound like he just won the Super Bowl. There's nothing "fun" about this. - ZK
Luke Bryan, "What Makes You Country"
In a odd sense, it's tracks like this one that are some of the worst of Luke Bryan's career over the more obvious candidates. Country artists have had to answer to authenticity concerns as of late, and "What Makes You Country" answers it in the wrong way. It does have good intentions by pointing out how country music is a wide umbrella, but it’s also filled with an egotistical sentiment (good on you for getting that “dirt road cred” though). We know you know what country music is, Luke Bryan - now go make some! - ZK
Kelsea Ballerini, "Miss Me More"
The songwriting is fine, but any of those merits are immediately cratered by an awful production. Thick and blatantly pop, it leaves little room for Ballerini to shine. The electronic "whoas" in the chorus are beyond grating, and the melody does little to make up for these faults. - MM
Michael Ray, "One That Got Away"
Michael Ray may have good intentions with his songs, but he's quietly had some of the most offensive songs to hit mainstream country airwaves ever. This is probably the least subtle attempt at glorifying one-night stands in music, with Ray treating this woman as a piece of meat rather than with respect. It’s a disgusting track where the mediocre production winds up being its only good element. - ZK
Jake Owen, "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)"
The smooth, sterile production clashes with a song that’s riddled more with country music clichés than rock ones. This is simply more of the same generic fodder we’ve expected from Owen for a few years now ever since “What We Ain’t Got” was the little engine that couldn’t. At least he’s consistent I guess. - ZK
Rodney Atkins feat. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, "Caught Up in the Country"
This is one of those tracks where pretty much nothing goes right. Atkins' fast, half-spoken delivery reads like a Mad Libs edition of country boy clichés. It’s contradicted by its loud, overblown production. It also somehow gets progressively worse as it drags on. This is a mess from an artist who knows way better. - ZK
Chris Young, "Hangin' On"
Not so much bad as it is soulless. It's glimmery pop-country meant to fill space on the radio between commercials. There's no need for it to exist. On airwaves stacked with mundanity, Young manages to outdo nearly all of them. People have said this at ad naseum, but man is Young better than this. Sad part is it's hard to be dissapointed anymore at this point. - MM
Keith Urban feat. Julia Michaels, "Coming Home"
Nothing about this song makes any sense. The lyrics are broadly written at best, Julia Michaels serves absolutely no purpose here, and why Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” of all songs was sampled here is beyond me. Yes, Urban is forging his own path, and that type of spirit in this genre is commendable. But his efforts are ultimately scattershot, making “Coming Home” feel nothing like a tribute to a past legend. Instead, this song serves as one of many songs that should just be swept under the rug and forgotten. - ZK
Morgan Evans, "Day Drunk"
This song is more comical than anything else. It rips off the melody from Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Backroad” which ripped off Flo Rida’s “My House” before it. Sure, there are some memorable lines here and there, but they usually end up working against the narrator. Otherwise, the song is shallow and unmemorable in this department. Elsewhere, Morgan Evans continues to be the blandest vocalist in country music right now, both technically and emotionally. - ZK
Dustin Lynch, "Good Girl"
I could cut and paste any review I've done of Dustin Lynch and just put it here. It's ridiculous at this point. Drenched in autotune, meaningless lyrics, a poor hook, a phoned in performance, the critiques go on and on. Lynch hasn't released anything worthwhile to radio arguably since his debut single and the act is growing very, very old at this point. - MM
Walker Hayes, "90's Country"
Truthfully, up until "90's Country" was released, this felt like an overall mediocre year for the genre. The best songs were better than years past, but in terms of songs that could fill this list, there just wasn't that one song that screamed, "atrocity" like past contenders at No. 1 for this list have. Then came this song. If "90's Country" is anything, it's the proof that this stupid civil war between traditional and pop-country fans has gotten way out of hand. This is not a tribute to an American art form - it's an embarrassment. Hayes sounds as horrible as ever with his whispered delivery coupled with a chorus where he can't even hit all of the notes. That's just one of many horrible elements too.
The references, while admittedly clever in maybe one or two spots, are strung together with no meaning. They're referenced not for honor, but instead to allow Hayes to drool over his love interest. Ultimately, "90's Country" is one part bad and one part comical, making it an easy choice for This Is Country Music's No. 1 worst single of 2018. - ZK