“Ranking Every ___” Series
Ranking Every Luke Combs Song
I had the idea of starting a very ambitious new series on this page. A series where I rank everything — of something.
I am a massive fan of Luke Combs, and he is one of the biggest reasons I got back into country music when I did. I’ve heard all his songs, numerous times, including every unreleased one he’s posted publicly. This knowledge of every song, plus the fact he only has two full length albums, means he is a great place to start this series.
I am only qualifying original songs that are officially released; therefore I will not be including live performances, covers, and unreleased music. I would also like to say; none of these songs are bad. I at least mildly enjoy all 50. Just because something is at 50, doesn’t mean I don’t like it; it just means I don’t like it as much as the others.
Prepare yourselves, because I feel like there are some hot takes in here. These are strictly my opinion, and my rankings.
I also probably won’t be writing too much about each song, because obviously there’s a lot to get through. Ranking these was hard, because as I said before; I love all these songs.
Let’s get into it.
50. “Angels Workin’ Overtime”
Let the controversy begin…
I put this one in last place because, even though it’s unique, I don’t really think it works. There’s just something about the mixing on this song that just doesn’t do it for me.
49. “My Kinda Folk”
I like this song, but it’s a bit too unabashedly checklisty for me. “We like beer and trucks and church, and we ain’t city slickers” type of song. I still do find myself listening to it from time to time though because the melody is great.
48. “One Number Away”
Oh boy… it’s not like this is one of his biggest hits or anything. I’m sorry, but I’ve never really been able to fall in love with this song, the way I have so many of his others. The track sounds hollow to me, and I just don’t dig it.
47. “Blue Collar Boys”
I hate to put this one so low, because I adore the verses, but I really don’t like the chorus at all. It suffers from the same checklist vibe “My Kinda Folk” does. I will say though, this was my least favorite, not too long ago, and it grows on me every time I hear it. Give me a few months and it may be top 25 (kidding… I think).
If I gave points for impact, this would be top five — but I don’t. Just because it was his breakthrough hit doesn’t mean it gets higher position. “Hurricane” suffers the same weird emptiness I feel from “One Number Away.” I will say though; it pains me to put anything this low because I legitimately love everything from this point on.
45. “Let’s Just Be Friends”
Yes…the Angry Birds song did beat Hurricane, and no… I’m not sorry. This song is adorable and well-written at the same time. It honestly reminds of, if Kacey Musgraves was a male honky tonk singer. It’s just a fun time; not too much substance, but delivers a good message.
44. “Let The Moonshine”
This is one his songs from his first official EP, and everything from those early EPs hold up well, considering this is the lowest ranked one from them. This one is clever, but the less professional sound does impact this one a bit more than the others from that era of Luke Combs.
43. “Memories Are Made Of”
I find that a lot of the lower songs just come down to production and mixing choices; this one is no exception. I love the lyrics and the message, but something about the production just doesn’t hit me, especially the backing “woah-oh”s.
42. “The Way She Rides”
I normally don’t like euphemism songs, but I love this song so much. The wordplay is just next-level. It’s so cleverly written that it might take you a minute to really understand the punchline — “Whether it’s in park, or it’s in drive, I love the way she rides.”
41. “Beer Can”
Another great use of wordplay on this one. It’s hard to find such a clever double entendre in country music. You will find with any time listening to Luke Combs, that he is the king of writing genius lines, that are subtle enough to take several listens to catch.
40. “I Know She Ain’t Ready”
Just a solid song, with a solid story. I like a song that develops the whole way through, and then changes the last chorus slightly to match the new situation in the song. This song does that very, very well. It also has great production despite being one of those earlier songs like I mentioned before.
39. “All Over Again”
This song has the reverse effect of “Blue Collar Boys.” I don’t enjoy the verses, but the chorus is absolutely unbelievable. It honestly is probably a top 10 chorus, but I just can’t stand that first verse specifically; it sounds too Sam Hunt-esque for me, and just doesn’t work.
38. “Don’t Tempt Me”
Nothing too special to note here. It’s a good song, good lyrics, good production.
37. “Can I Get An Outlaw”
This is kind of a weird one, because I love this song; it just doesn’t sound like a Luke Combs song. It’s just weird to hear him sounding so aggressive on a song, I don’t dislike it, but it’s just somewhat out of character. It also sounds like one of those songs you’d hear on a badly edited Facebook compilation of a middle aged man in a greasy tank top flexing with a rebel flag tattoo. I don’t blame Luke Combs for that, but it does subtract from the appeal a bit.
36. “South On Ya”
I’m just now realizing I put the two “aggressively southern” songs back to back, so that’s fitting. This one was written for use in commercials for SEC college football, so it’s a bit gimmicky on purpose. It is much better than most other commercial-made songs you’ll find.
35. “New Every Day”
I always forget how much I like this song until I listen to it. I see the title and I’m like “man I might’ve put this too high,” and then I listen again and remember I love it. The chorus isn’t the strongest, but I love the verses, and production.
34. “A Long Way”
This is just a great song about the memories of being young (I’m still somewhat young but I appreciate the sentiment). It’s a creative way to talk about the subject as well, and the production matches perfectly.
33. “Be Careful What You Wish For”
This song is a bit different lyrically, but overall has the exact same feel as “A Long Way” to me. They’re from the same album so the similar sound makes sense. I do prefer the message in this one just a little more though, so that’s why this one is ahead.
32. “The Other Guy”
This is just a great song about the two sides you feel after a break-up. The guy who talks to people and shows how great he’s doing, and then “the other guy” who mourns at night over his girl leaving. As always, Combs showcasing the creativity when writing about things that are commonplace in country music.
31. “Sheriff You Want To”
How can you not be endeared by this one? It’s so inventive, and I would love to know how he came up with that hook. It feels like it would be the basis of an 80s or 90s comedy movie.
30. “Without You”
“Without You” has kind of faded on me since it came out. I love the concept, it’s like a love letter to everyone who made Luke Combs the superstar he is today. I just don’t dig the production — other than the Amanda Shires fiddle of course. It’s so earnest; and that genuineness is why Luke Combs has such a dedicated fanbase.
29. “Out There”
The opening track to Combs’ first full-length record is such a great way to start an album. The rumbling of a truck pulling up to lead into the music is pretty creative. Without the album context though, it’s still a fun song about having a good time with your buddies.
28. “Lonely One”
“Lonely One” is written from the perspective of a bartender trying to help a lonely drinker feel better; letting them know they’re not the “only lonely one.” One of my favorite Luke Combs lines is in this song; “that clock on the wall will cure it all, even though that ain’t how it seems.”
27. “Must’ve Never Met You”
The production here isn’t my favorite, but the lyrics make up for it immensely. When I found this song, I was going through some heartbreak of my own, and “Must’ve Never Met You” hit close to home. It really does feel like you’ll never find better, and even though everyone trying to help are probably right, it feels like they don’t understand.
26. “Even Though I’m Leaving”
A real tear-jerker here. I love this song, the story is so touching, and I have cried to it multiple times. The only reason it’s this low is because it’s very saturated on radio and I think I’ve just heard it too many times.
25. “Forever After All”
This is the first one of the major Luke Combs love songs on the list, and the fact there hasn’t been one outside the top 25 should tell you how good he is at writing them. I am so painfully single and this video reminds me of that fact, but also, if Luke and Nicole ever split, I will never date anyone again, because love is not real.
24. “Used To You”
Here’s another one to make you cry. You can just feel that pain of having to deal with the loss of a loved one, especially if you have actually lost someone you’re close to. It does a phenomenal job at balancing hopefulness and hopelessness that comes with the healing process.
“Reasons” would be much, much higher if it was just a tiny bit more cohesive. Sound-wise, and verse-wise, it’s probably a top 10 song, but the chorus doesn’t really have that much to do with the rest of it. Relating the little quirks of the world and things strangers do, to losing a girl in the way this song does, just doesn’t make a ton of sense. That being said, I still jam out to this song consistently, and love it.
22. “Honky Tonk Highway”
Good gravy, now this is a roadtrip song. This used to be my least favorite song from This One’s For You, but over time it’s become one of my favorites. It’s just so fun to sing along to while driving. I love the rowdiness, the melody, everything.
21. “I Got Away With You”
This may not be one of his smash hit love songs, but it’s still damn good. I like to sing, and before I ever even vaguely knew what I was doing, this was one of the songs I would practice with. The idea of comparing someone you love to famous art pieces and jewels, is just so beautiful.
20. “This One’s For You”
The title track from his debut record shares the same gratitude of “Without You,” and does it better in my opinion. I like the subdued nature of this one a lot, and it makes it feel like more of an ode. You can just feel that he truly appreciates everyone who has supported him.
19. “Every Little Bit Helps”
Who doesn’t like a good punchy song about the highs of getting over a breakup? This song is all about celebrating those little victories in the road to feeling better. Optimistic breakup songs are rare, so you have to appreciate one when you see it.
18. “Nothing Like You”
I was kind of disappointed when “Forever After All” was the big, mass marketed love song from this album, because I prefer “Nothing Like You.” It’s a much more slow, quiet song. I love the way he describes the beautiful things he’s seen, even if they pale in comparison to his loving spouse.
17. “Doin’ This”
The newest single from Combs is another page in the “Luke Combs is relatable and humble” chapter. “Doin’ This” is such a beautiful love letter to his job, and how nothing would be different, even if he hadn’t hit it big. It was also so cool of him to feature his old bandmate, and friend in the video.
16. “What You See Is What You Get”
With an opening riff straight from a Brooks & Dunn album, this is an unapologetic song about being yourself, and being proud of it. The chorus is one of his best, and features such a cool, catchy flow.
15. “Better Together”
Yeah, yeah, I know — it’s a checklist song; but it’s done with much more taste, and the things listed are deeper than just trucks and beer. It’s just a sweet, simple love song that compares things that go together well. This has one of my favorite lines as well; “the way you say I love you too, is like rain on an old tin roof, and your hand fits right in to mine, like a needle in a groove.”
14. “1,2 Many”
Speaking of Brooks & Dunn, they feature on one of the more intuitive drinking songs ever written. Yet another example of Luke Combs’ incredible ability of writing impressive plays on words, the catchy hook will stay in your head for days; “five, four, three, two, one, too many.”
13. “Moon Over Mexico”
“Moon Over Mexico” has Luke Combs taking a dip into that beachy sound of Kenny Chesney, and it works much better than you’d guess. Every time I hear this song I’m transported to the gulf coast, the same way Chesney’s newer stuff really immerses me in that locale. This is one of my favorite summer songs on my playlist. The slower vibe of the song fits well, and allows Combs’ voice to really shine bright.
12. “Refrigerator Door”
The angle of this song has always been super intriguing to me. I love the idea of an ode to a simple refrigerator door. It’s an often overlooked aspect of many people’s lives, and this song really makes you think about all the memories located there. Another one of my favorite lines, lies within this song; “just one small part of a work of art, signed Kenmore in ‘98.”
11. “Six Feet Apart”
If I remember correctly, this was the first real song released by anyone about Covid-19. It’s incredibly well written, and sadly still applies, nearly two years later. Regardless of the covid relation, this song really does take me back to spring time. I think “Six Feet Apart” will be a big part of history when we look back on these plagued years.
10. “Cold As You”
Kicking off the top 10 is this rowdy, moving-on song. If this doesn’t make you want to smash a chair and run through a wall, I don’t know what will. This one is a perfect honky-tonk tune. I remember when he released a clip of this song to his YouTube, I was dying to hear the full version and it did not disappoint.
9. “Lovin’ On You”
The verses on this song and the way they flow are some of my absolute favorites. There’s nothing like singing along to those smooth verses, and then just letting it all hang out when you bust into that chorus. The way he strings words together in this song is so entrancing, and masterful. It’s also a nice change of pace away from the slower, ballad-type love songs he usually specializes in.
8. “Beautiful Crazy”
The segways in this article have been impeccable huh? Here is one of those slower, ballad-type love songs I was talking about. This was his first huge love song, and it absolutely deserved to be. If you can make calling someone crazy into a love song, then you’re just great at what you do. I want this song played at my wedding for sure, it’s a perfect slow-dance song.
7. “Dear Today”
The production on this one may be a bit polarizing, but I absolutely treasure it. It starts by being completely acoustic, and unpolished, then when the second verse hits, it’s fully produced and recorded in a studio. The lyrics are also on par with the best of his stuff. “Dear Today” gives a great lesson to stop procrastinating (a lesson I could use).
6. “The Great Divide”
“The Great Divide” is a bluegrass song, so it’s quite the switch-up from Combs’ usual style. It features the phenomenal Billy Strings on guitar, and background vocals (I think). This song details the very real, lack of compassion, and general disagreeability of people in the world right now. It warns that if we can’t fix this, we may collapse as a society. I love the step into bluegrass for Luke Combs, and he has mentioned a bluegrass that was put on the back-burner; hopefully it still happens at some point.
5. “When It Rains It Pours”
Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. This was the first song I heard by Luke Combs, and I was immediately drawn in by the great flip on the commonly used phrase “when it rains, it pours.” One of my favorite things about this song is the descending order of numbers in the choruses. An example from the second chorus; “I spent five bucks at the Moose Club raffle, won a used four-wheeler, and three free passes, for me and two of my buddies to play a round of golf.” This took me forever to notice, and when I did, it made me love the song even more.
4. “Beer Never Broke My Heart”
When I talked about “Cold As You,” I mentioned it making you want to run through a wall; this song makes you want to run through a mountain. Sure, it’s not as lyrically advanced as most of the songs high on this list, but good lord, the vibe of this song is immaculate. If you’re ever in search of a rowdy, honky tonkin’, beer chuggin’, fit throwin’, bonafide, drinkin’ song — this is it. If you ever see me on the road, yelling my lungs out to a song; this is probably the song.
3. “She Got The Best Of Me”
Yet another smash of a double-meaning song. “She Got The Best Of Me” explains Combs’ reasoning behind the beginning of his music career, he got his heart broken and turned to music for refuge. The songs we hear are what’s left of him, because she got the best of him. This one was another slow burner for me, I always liked it, but it just grew and grew on me, and here it is, at number three.
2. “Does To Me”
This was one of the songs I chose for my “5 Country Songs That Define Me” list. “Does To Me” is the perfect ballad of the average Joe. It speaks on how minor things in someone’s life can actually mean the world to them. Whether it be a family heirloom, or a certain moment from your past, different things mean different things, to different people. I cried the first, probably, ten times I listened to this song, and still do, if I decide to sing along. It’s so powerful and just makes you feel so good.
1. “Houston We Got A Problem”
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you were waiting for. “Houston We Got A Problem” is the definitive best song by Luke Combs (so far).
I feel like this isn’t too controversial, because this song seems to be a bit of a cult classic among Luke Combs fans. It’s just a deep cut off his first album, but it’s so, so, so good.
This was the song that made me fall in love with Luke Combs’ music, and is still my favorite to this day. It has that same creative writing that you’d expect, and is such an interesting concept for a song. Every line goes together so well, and he worked “Houston we got a problem” so effortlessly into making sense in a song — that’s impressive.
He is in Texas (Houston specifically), and loves it, but just doesn’t feel at home because his loved one isn’t there.
The way some of the lines in this song roll off the tongue is insane; “a lonestar postcard, postmarked to missin’ you.” I mean come on — that is gorgeous!
Thanks for reading! Luke Combs grew up about 45 minutes away from my hometown, so he’s a pretty special artist to me. This was a blast and I can’t wait to do more of these!
If you have any suggestions, I can’t promise I’ll do them, but feel free to leave them below! I already have an idea on the next one.
If you agree with my picks let me know! If you didn’t — let me know anyways; I’d love to hear what the other Bootleggers think!
Also would to see any of my fellow music writers give this a go if they feel like it: Terry Barr, Bonnie Barton, David Acaster, Pierce McIntyre, If Ever You’re Listening, Steven Hale, Alexander Briseño, Krystal Mossbarger, Kevin Alexander, and even if I didn’t list you; I’d love to see anyone hop in and give it a go! It doesn’t have to be songs; it can be anything, that is everything, of something — makes total sense right? It also doesn’t have to be this long because my god, this took forever.