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The Best Country Songs to Kick Off Your Summer

Nothing screams summer more than driving with the windows down on open backroads with country music blasting. So as we wrap up our school year, it’s important to have the perfect country playlist at the ready. To help you get started, I have compiled a list of some of the best country songs to kick off your summer. Because I can’t list my entire playlist without you sitting here for hours, I have broken the genre into a few must-have categories. So, get your apps and ears ready... you can thank me later.

If You’re Looking for a Love Song - “Made For You” by Jake Owen

The country music industry overflows with beautiful love songs, so there’s bound to be at least one on your playlist. This particular ballad is all about finding that special someone and I guarantee you’ve never heard anything more heartfelt. The lyrics are simple but sweet, and the melody is bound to get stuck in your head for days. Upon its debut in 2018, Owen described the song as one of his favorite songs he’s ever recorded and predicted that it would keep that number one spot for a long time; once you hear it, you’ll know exactly why. 


“The sky was made for the moon and stars. 

You were made to steal my heart. 

And I was made for you.”

If You’re Looking for a Song That Will Make You Want to Dance - “Why Don’t We Just Dance” by Josh Turner

If you think you don’t know Josh Turner, you’re wrong. You know him as the deep, rich voice who sings “baby, lock the door and turn the lights down low,” but he is more than a one-hit-wonder. In this song from 2010, the singer talks about wanting to (you guessed it...) dance, and the intro alone is guaranteed to get you up and moving. Don’t worry, your favorite deep tones are still abundant, but the rhythmic accompaniment is bound to catch your attention too. It’s perfect for frolicking in a field, dancing around the kitchen or just pumping your fist in your car if that’s more your style.


“The whole wide world has gone crazy.

So baby, why don’t we just dance?”

If You’re Country to the Core - “Where I Come From” by Alan Jackson

When people talk about disliking country music, it’s usually because of this category. Trucks, girls, fields... you know exactly what I’m talking about. But even though they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, these songs can’t be beat on long summer drives. This song describes the deep country life exactly like you’d imagine: good food and good company. Even the music matches the stereotype perfectly with a strong twang and heavy guitar. But as I’m sure your parents have already told you, don’t knock it til you try it.


“Where I come from, it’s cornbread and chicken.

Where I come from, a lotta front porch sittin’.”

If Country-Pop is Your Safe Zone - “Just the Way” by Parmalee & Blanco Brown

Even if you’re not down for all the twang and small-town stories of a deep country song, there are still plenty of options available for you, and this song is the perfect fit. Parmalee teamed up with “The Git Up” singer to bring you this feel-good, upbeat tune that is bound to have you singing along. Also a contender for the love song category, “Just the Way” describes how despite one’s imperfections, they will always be loved and beautiful just the way they are.


“I love you just the way God made you, girl he don’t make mistakes.

What you call your imperfections I call beautiful, babe.”

If You’re Looking for a Country Classic - “Jolene” by Dolly Parton

You can’t make a country playlist without including the lovely Dolly Parton. She made her first recording with Goldband Records in 1957 and has been a country icon ever since. While we all know the classic song about being the “other woman,” the original inspiration actually came from a little girl at one of Parton’s shows, who happened to have a catchy name (combined with her own story of course). But no matter how the song came to be, country music will always be grateful to Miss Dolly.


“And I can easily understand how you could easily take my man,

But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene.”


Whether you’re already a country music fan, or this is your first time considering the genre, these songs are a must for your country playlist. And if you’re ever looking for more tunes, you know who to call.

Allison is the Campus Correspondent and the Founder of the Bradley University chapter of Her Campus. She is a senior at Bradley majoring in Journalism and Social Media Marketing with a minor in Management & Leadership. In her free time she enjoys baking, hiking, or curling up on the couch with her cats.
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