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The Best Jon Pardi Songs

October 10, 2022 2:49 pm GMT
Last Edited June 20, 2023 11:12 am GMT

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Jon Pardi is an original in the country genre.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a modern-day artist who more expertly encapsulates traditionalism while simultaneously incorporating so much unique, signature style.

Pardi delivers classic country with rock swagger and a California sunburn; his guitarwork sizzles like Dwight Yoakam’s, and he can turn a phrase like George Strait.

Read on for our top 10 favorites:

10
Capitol Records Nashville | 2020

Ain't Always The Cowboy

This script-flipping ballad off Pardi’s 2019 Heartache Medication is an homage to Western imagery and classic cowboy tropes - it’s full of fiddle and lonesome heartbreak, and the music video centers around a woman on horseback, set against a Western mountainscape - but differs from most cowboy narratives in one important way. This time around, it’s a nomadic woman who gets restless and leaves the relationship, and the cowboy who’s left heartbroken.

9
Capitol Records Nashville | 2016

Paycheck

If you’re looking for a grungy country banger to crank up on a Friday night, look no further than 'Paycheck', a song that proves that a song doesn’t have to be complicated to be great. From the sing-a-long lyrics - “I got cash, yeah / Should I save it, no” - to a rocking guitar solo, Pardi keeps the tempo and the good vibes coming on this stand-out album cut from his 2016 album, California Sunrise.

8
Capitol Records Nashville | 2016

Heartache on the Dance Floor

By 2017, many fans had Pardi pegged as a straight-ahead traditionalist, but he proved ‘em all wrong with the release of 'Heartache on the Dance Floor', a top-10 country radio hit that featured a crooning, R&B-influenced melody that could easily have felt at home on a Thomas Rhett album. Some appreciated the switch-up, while others favour Pardi’s more traditional work: But no matter which side of the traditional/modern country divide you favor, you’ve got to respect Pardi’s commitment to keeping fans on their toes.

7
Capitol Records Nashville | 2019

Oughta Know That

There’s perhaps no better example of how Pardi updates traditional country with modern-day swagger than 'Oughta Know That', a thumping album cut off Heartache Medication. The song opens with the kind of muffled, pounding beat you’d hear from the street outside a house party in full swing, and by the first chorus, the good-timing fun of this danceable drink-a-long tune is already in full swing.

6
Capitol Records Nashville | 2019

Heartache Medication

The title track of his 2019 album, ‘Heartache Medication’ became Pardi’s third No. 1 country radio hit, and for good reason: It’s a classic good-timing heartbreak tune that the singer says takes cues from George Strait circa the 1980s. Fun fact: The music video for ‘Heartache Medication’ features Pardi dancing with his then-girlfriend Summer Duncan, who he marred in 2020.

5
Capitol Records Nashville | 2016

Dirt On My Boots

Pardi’s second song to go No. 1, 'Dirt On My Boots' features what just might be the most-recognized lyric of his career so far: “I can get cleaned up if you ask me / But I can only get so fancy.” It’s always a big moment in the singer’s show when this song comes up in the set list, and the song, off California Sunrise, is Pardi at his toe-tapping, beat-thumping, fiddle-filled best.

4
Capitol Records Nashville | 2014

What I Can’t Put Down

In 2014, Pardi introduced a mainstream audience to his signature blend of hard-rocking country and hard-hitting truth with his debut album, Write You a Song. One of the finest cuts off the track list is 'What I Can’t Put Down', a hard-rocking tribute to hard-to-break habits. Though the single never made it into the Top 30 at country radio, it remains a stand-out in Pardi’s discography, and gave fans one of their first tastes of the kind of song they could look forward to from Pardi in the years ahead.

3
Capitol Records Nashville | 2016

She Ain't In It

It’s been well established that Pardi’s a master at tempo, but he’s also a stellar balladeer. Case in point: 'She Ain’t in It', one of his most subdued singles, and a stand-out track off California Sunrise. Pardi conjures the ghost of country heartbreak songs past, offering a powerful reminder of classics like George Jones’ 'The Grand Tour' and Charley Pride’s 'Where Do I Put Her Memory', In fact, the song is so true-blue country that it was originally on hold for George Strait.

2
Capitol Records Nashville | 2019

Starlight

You might not hear it on country radio, but this deep cut off Heartache Medication is one of the finest and most personal songs of Pardi’s career. A bluegrass-flavored, mid-tempo ballad that meditates on grief, love and hope, 'Starlight' was written about Pardi’s love for his grandmother. In terms of both subject matter and style, it’s a bit of a left choice for a Jon Pardi album, but he knew he had to cut it after he sent the song to be played at a friend’s funeral and saw the impact it had on listeners.

1
Capitol Records Nashville | 2016

Head Over Boots

Jon Pardi earned his first No. 1 hit with his mainstream breakout, 'Head Over Boots', in late 2015; nearly seven years later, the song still stands out. It’s a love song - a relative rarity in Pardi’s discography - and showcases his ability to avoid over-complicating simple, good music. While some might call it a little cheesy, 'Head Over Boots' is a sugary sweet classic, and established Pardi as a powerful country traditionalist with a knack for making well-worn subject matter feel fresh and essential.

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Written by Carena Liptak
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