Blake Shelton's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks
Everyone knows Blake Shelton as the wisecracking coach of NBC’s The Voice, who is known throughout social media circles far and wide for his witty wordplay. Of course, country fans have known for close to two decades just how talented the Oklahoma native is. Sure, he’s funny -- but he can also turn listener’s hearts inside out with a ballad.
In choosing a list of 10 Blake Shelton songs that stand as his best, we tried to find the right mix of Shelton being humorous -- and him at his most heartbreaking. With more than 20 number one hits to his credit, it’s a tough call. But here are 10 that have helped him to build one of the biggest careers in the entertainment world today.
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10. Blake Shelton - “Some Beach”
The first opportunity for Shelton to show his totally irreverent side with a radio single came with this Rory Feek/Paul Overstreet composition. The writers mastered the art of the double entendre throughout the song, and audiences fell for the song in short order, providing Shelton with his third number one song.
9. Blake Shelton - “Every Time I Hear That Song”
The lyrics -- from Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey, and the Warren Brothers -- were fine enough in Shelton’s most recent hit, but the melody (as well as the production from Scott Hendricks) are front and center in this Shelton song which has already become a crowd favorite.
8. Blake Shelton - “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”
If there is any era of Shelton’s career that seems to be under-appreciated, it would be the middle one. This regret-filled mid-tempo song earned the singer a number one in 2009. In hindsight, the singer realizes it’s the simple things in life that are the most special, and are the exact ones he wishes he had a chance to do if he had the chance again. The singer was on the verge of a major breakthrough with songs like this one.
7. Blake Shelton - “Goodbye Time”
Yes, Shelton can be "Hollywood" with the best of them. But what gets lost in all of his most recent success is how much of a student he is about the greats in country music, with tweets over the years praising the works of Earl Thomas Conley, The Bellamy Brothers, and The Oak Ridge Boys. Perhaps no male artist is closer to his heart than the late Conway Twitty. Shelton has name-checked the singer in such hits as “Honey Bee,” and earned an early hit in 2005 with his power-packed performance of a love on its last legs. Twitty’s catalog has plenty more moments that are worth considering in introducing to a new audience, and perhaps Shelton could do so once again.
6. Blake Shelton - “God Gave Me You”
In spite of his larger-than-life personality and tendency to go for the shock factor in his comments on social media, Shelton does have a sentimental and spiritual side that comes out every now and then -- check out his brilliant “Savior’s Shadow” on his most recent album If I’m Honest if you need a refresher. He scored one of his major romantic ballad hits with this cover of Dave Barnes’ contemporary Christian hit that resulted in one of the most meaningful recordings of Shelton’s Voice era career.
5. Blake Shelton feat. Pistol Annies & Friends - “Boys ‘Round Here”
OK. If any other artist had recorded this song, you might be prone to say the lyrics were exactly what has been wrong with country music this decade. And, some critics weren't too kind to this rollicking 2013 performance. But, in Shelton’s hands, this one turned into a performance full of redneck bravado, that -- come on, admit it -- you have turned up the radio volume loud to and sang the lyric “Chew Tobacco Spit” as loud as you possibly can.
4. Blake Shelton - “Austin”
The Blake Shelton song that brought him to the winners’ circle for the first time remains a classic. The lyrics resonated with an audience who was in tune with the song’s story about a dream answering message. The song was simple in its storytelling process, proving the old adage true that sometimes, less is definitely more.
3. Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe - “Lonely Tonight”
Ask any artist of any genre, and they will tell you that when you collaborate with an artist of equal vocal caliber, you will raise your “A” game. There are few better vocalists in Nashville -- or anywhere -- than Ashley Monroe, and Shelton’s 2014 collaboration with the Pistol Annies member concerning the possibility of a one night stand -- while as current sounding as anything on the air -- brought to mind the yearning of a Porter and Dolly or Conway and Loretta duet.
2. Blake Shelton - “Ol’ Red”
No, it wasn't even a top 10 record. But, we doubt there have been many concerts Shelton has had over the years where he has omitted this one from the playlist. A much different “love song” than anything Shelton ever recorded, this tale of a lovesick prison guard dog who inadvertently helps the subject to escape a life sentence, this one had you singing along with the memorable chorus -- and smiling at the song’s end. Interestingly enough, Shelton was not the original artist to record the song -- Hoyt Axton, George Jones and Kenny Rogers all took turns at it, but it was Shelton who made the connection with audiences.
1. Blake Shelton - “The Baby”
It’s hard to go in any other direction than to choose this absolute gem of a tearjerker from the pen of Michael White and the late Harley Allen. It gave Shelton his second number one song, and demonstrated the growth he underwent between his first and second albums as a song interpreter. Any child that ever lost a parent -- particularly a mother -- can identify with the emotion that Shelton showed on this track. You find yourself hoping against hope that the subject of the song can make it home for a last goodbye, to no avail. Simply put, in the canon of Blake Shelton songs, this is at the top of the list.