Remember when there was no such thing as "bro-country" or "hick-hop?" We do, and it was a little time called the '90s. That was basically the best decade ever for country music. Garth Brooks was at his best, and artists like George Strait and Clint Black were killing it with every single move.
Oh, and let's not forget the ladies. Shania Twain, anybody? How about Martina McBride or the Dixie Chicks? And good ol' Faith Hill was just getting geared up. Basically, we'd pay some serious dolla-dolla bills, y'all, if it meant we could get the big names of the '90s country scene to start being awesome again. But since we're not magicians, or billionaires even, we'll have to settle for a Top 10 list of their best songs instead.
10. "Amazed," Lonestar While '90s country giants Lonestar were the first to record this lovey-dovey little tune, a number of artists have followed suit. Performers like Bonnie Tyler to Duncan James have done a decent job, but ultimately Lonestar owns this sappy love song. They reaped the benefits of confessing all those feels, as "Amazed" stayed on top of the Billboard charts for a couple of months. It's still their only No. 1 hit, and biggest song to date.
9. "Life's a Dance," John Michael Montgomery John Michael Montgomery's 1992 single is just about the cutest, most pseudo-lovelorn song around. His anecdotal advice about not missing your chance to make a move (on a cute girl in school, no less) is right out of the country-music playbook.
But that's fine, because those heartstring-tugging moves employed by '90s country musicians work well enough to forgive all the potential cheesiness. Nobody cares if it's a typical country ballad, cause it's heartwarming and we like it.
8. "You're Still the One," Shania Twain Oh, Shania. We just really like her, even in those confusing leopard outfits. Although "You're Still The One," her late-'90s country-crossover smash, never actually hit the top of the charts, it's still widely considered one of her most successful songs. Shania won a couple of Grammys, and quite a few hearts, with her sweet ode to (former) husband Mutt Lange, with whom she cowrote the song. That marriage dissolved, but our adoration for Shania never did.
7. "Independence Day," Martina McBride McBride's ode to freedom may not have done as well as some of the contenders on this list, at least in terms of awards and chart rankings, but we still really, really dig it. Really, "Independence Day" is great anti-love song, or perhaps a love song to yourself, or something. Whatever it is, it's great.
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6. "Strawberry Wine," Deana Carter This song, about the loss of one's...innocence...is a pretty little ballad. Deana didn't write it, but she sure did perform it well enough that it became a No. 1 hit. Sure, it's a little odd to be singing along to the lyrics about how Deana is heading back to the first place she bumped uglies, but whatever. It's all good when a song is as sweet as this one.
5. "Is There Life Out There," Reba McEntire All of Reba's videos have some serious dramatic elements, which is awesome for a number of reasons. Here, she's sick of her boring home life, after being married for a billion years from a young age, and she's wondering if it would be worth the change to make herself happy.
What happens in the video is that all those dramatic song elements get rolled into some dramatic video scenes, some of which involve Reba being very out of place in a college class with a dick of a professor. It sounds borderline mad, but they take a good song and make it great. Just watch the damn thing already.
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4. "Wide Open Spaces," Dixie Chicks If you've never belted out the lyrics to the Dixie Chicks' best-known anthem, you should try it sometime. It doesn't matter that you're slightly off-key compared to Natalie Maines, because she's all warbly and country-accented, and you probably can't even hear yourself over her loud girl-power lyrics anyway. She made this song all kinds of awesome.
3. "Check Yes or No," George Strait It's George Strait. Just about any of his songs could have fit here, because they're all fantastic. But we like this one because it's pretty darn sweet and there are loving little kids in it, one of whom looks eerily like grownup George Strait. And really, that's what a proper country song from the '90s should be: sweet. Well, sweet or heartbroken; take your pick.
2. "He's Got You," Brooks and Dunn It sure is a shame that Brooks and Dunn broke up, isn't it? We wish there was some sort of online petition that we could e-sign, because these guys should still be making sweet, sweet music together. After all, that duo gave us songs like "He's Got You," which is so heartbroken and so sappy that it's impossible to dislike. And while B&D songs like "Boot Scootin' Boogie" are way more popular, this song is just flat-out better.
1. "The Dance," Garth Brooks This song makes us forgive the fact that Garth Brooks hasn't announced any tour dates yet, after gettin' us all jacked up by saying he will. Don't play with our emotions, Brooks, not after you drop songs like "The Dance." It's already made us teary-eyed.
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