Jason Aldean has dominated the country music scene since the mid-2000s. Over 20 of his singles have topped the charts, and he's won countless CMA Awards, ACM’s and Grammy’s throughout his career. It can't be denied that Aldean has been consistent in his approach, finding great success within the genre he loves.
Here, we make a judgement call on some of his biggest hits so far.
‘Why’ rewarded Aldean with his first no.1 hit, way back in 2005. The second single from his debut self-titled album, it boasted the stellar writing team of Rodney Clawson, Vicky McGehee and John Rich. The ballad, backed by prominent electric guitar, features the male protagonist asking questions of himself as he toils over the emotional pain he has caused his lover. It’s clear in looking back that, although he has explored different themes within the genre, Aldean has stayed true to himself musically all these years.
There is a soaring chorus in this song which was Aldean’s seventh no.1. Although at first the two men on the plane are saying, "Who'd want to live down there in the middle of nowhere?" the chorus goes on to argue that they’ve never been or met anyone from those States and perhaps if they had, they’d "understand why God made those flyover States". It’s a cleverly written song - to get their point across, the songwriters have changed the lyrics to the chorus each time to include more examples.
‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ features additional vocals from Kelly Clarkson. The pair’s voices blend so well together and the emotion is palpable, especially when they join together in the chorus. The power ballad fuses pop and country and was a crossover hit on the charts - it claimed the top spot on the country charts whilst peaking at number 31 on the Hot 100. The songwriters never intended it to be a duet, but Aldean’s vision made it so. It was his first collaboration and arguably his most successful! It was Grammy-nominated and is now certified 2 times Platinum.
We certainly hear the very best of Aldean’s vocals on 'She's Country', a song that pairs catchy groove and strong lyrical content. Now certified three times platinum, it became Aldean’s second no.1 hit back in 2008, and was written by Danny Myrick (who also co-wrote ‘Truck Yeah’ by Tim McGraw and Bridgette Tatum).
The second duet to feature on our list, Jason Aldean performs ‘Drowns the Whiskey’ with fellow country star Miranda Lambert. The song was written by Josh Thompson, Brandon Kinney, and Jeff Middleton, and is dominated by steel guitar, leaning more into the neo-traditional country style than the country rock we’re perhaps used to from Aldean. It features some clever lyrics and internal rhyme in the chorus; “Whiskey's supposed to drown the memory / I’ve gone from one to one too many / And the thing that really gets me / Is how your memory drowns the whiskey”. It was a no.1 hit on the Country Airplay charts in 2018.
This wasn’t the highest charting single for Aldean - in fact, it was one of his least successful, peaking at no.15 on the country charts. It’s a driving song though, written by James LeBlanc and John Paul White, the latter of which was in the Grammy award winning duo The Civil Wars. Again, the electric guitars are an integral part of this high energy track. There’s some nice imagery as the writers describe the lover as crashing waves and a hurricane.
Aldean gets in touch with his country roots on this number, as the electric guitars are toned down and instead we're treated to acoustic and slide guitars. The song was written by Brett James and Ashley Monroe and is inspired by an ex of Monroe’s, who she was greatly missing at the time. It was first recorded by Trent Willmon, but it was Aldean that took the song to no.1. Aldean has often said in interviews that this is one of his favourite songs that he’s had the pleasure of recording.
Another Aldean track that has some big names on the writing credits - Jim Collins and David Lee Murphy. Again, he focuses on those country roots with the production of this song, although there is a lovely guitar solo in the middle eight. It’s a mid-tempo, romantic track. It claimed the top spot on the Hot Country Songs chart and is certified three times Platinum now. A fun chart fact for this song is that it became a no.1 ringtone in all genres in 2009, making it the first country song to do so, logging 1 million downloads!
Written by Deric Ruttan and Josh Thompson, this song was always destined for great things. Released in 2016, it topped the airplay charts the following year. It features the witty lines, “Sure, I take more jack in my coke now, a little more high in my smoke now”, and a simple but iconic guitar riff that’s bound to get stuck in your head. The internal rhymes within the hook also make it a bit of an ear worm! Aldean was definitely the right man for this song - it suits his vocal style and image so well.
‘Dirt Road Anthem’ is undeniably Aldean’s most successful song - the stats don’t lie! This song is in favour of the artist in that age old debate of who is most important, the songwriter or the artist. It’s a brilliant song, written by two fine artists who both released it before Aldean, though neither managed to take it to the dizzy heights that Aldean was able to. The writers in question are Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert. We’ve talked a lot about Aldean’s country-rock style, but this song takes him into country-rap territory - and he pulls it off well! It got to no.1 on the country charts and was his highest peaking song on the Hot 100 all-genre chart, reaching at no.7. It is now certified a whopping four times Platinum!