Jake Owen's new single "Best Thing Since Backroads" is most like his first radio release from a brand-new record. It's a progressive throwback, if one will allow such a contradiction.

An Alabama-esque guitar (this time an acoustic/electric combo) opens this new song, as it did the shuffling "Down to the Honky-Tonk" in 2018. But Owen and producer Joey Moi aren't natural traditionalists, so as the first verse closes, the thunder of an eager rhythm section starts to build.

From there it's a made-for-radio head-bopper that Owen was fortunate to have claimed first. Ben Johnson, Geoff Warburton, Hunter Phelps and Jordan Minton penned this song — one any superstar artist in Nashville would be happy to have on the radio.

In addition to the vintage guitar vibes, fans may recall songs from the previous decade as they listen to "Best Thing Since Backroads." Familiar scenes of lovemaking by the riverbank and dirt road drives with a cooler in the back dotted many of Moi's best arrangements in the early 2010s, and Owen picks up the baton for this likely hit.

Big Loud Records

Jake Owen's "Best Thing Since Backroads" Lyrics: 

I got one that I take to a honey hole / Where the bluegill always bite / And one that's a shortcut to anywhere / As long as you ain't short on time / I been down every one in this town / At least a couple thousand times / They can get these four wheels from A to B / Oh, but they can't take me where you take me ...

Chorus:

You're the best thing since backroads, baby / Pedal to the metal with the windows down / Sunshine setting on a cross that saved me / Hanging from a rearview in red-dirt clouds / Two-lane heaven's one hell of a view / But it ain't got nothing on you / Driving this good old country boy crazy / You're the best thing since backroads, baby ...

I can show you one nobody knows / It turns into Cinnamon Creek / We can get a little moonlight, mud on the tires / Baby, if you know what I mean / Angel in the front seat, Yeti in back / Out here connecting dots on a map ...

Repeat Chorus

Pretty as a windshield / Painted with a blue sky / Hotter than a leather seat, seat belt buckle / In the middle of July ...

Repeat Chorus

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Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list.

Our team has sourced fans to create 10 superlatives for this mid-year version of the year-end songs list. Best Country Tearjerker? Best Country Baby-Maker? Best Country Breakup Song of 2021? Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Chris Bandi and more help make up this portion of the Top Country Songs list, while hitmakers like Thomas Rhett and Little Big Town lead the 10 best songs portion.

Did your favorite song of 2021 make this list? To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Breland and Triston Marez crack the Top 10. Let us know your favorite song of 2021 at Twitter or email, at staff@tasteofcountry.com.