Luke Combs performs the half-time show of the NFL game between Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 25, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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12 Songs Behind Luke Combs' Ascent as Country's Brightest-Shining Megastar

Since debut major label single "Hurricane" in 2016, Luke Combs has risen the country music ranks. "Hurricane" reached No. 1, with his next 13 singles —stretching to 2022's "The Kind of Love We Make"— topping either the Billboard Hot Country Songs or Country Airplay chart.

The North Carolina native isn't just a singles artist, with his albums This One's For You, What You See is What You Get and Growin' Up bringing us gems beyond the obvious country radio hits. Toss in a rocking stage show in the spirit of Brooks & Dunn and other '90s country greats and you have what proved to be a surefire country superstar with a drive to thrive that's described in "Doin' This."

Thus, it's hard to narrow down the defending CMA Awards' Entertainer of the Year's deep discography to a short Spotify playlist. We gave it a go, putting together the following stacked yet ripe-for-debate rundown of 12 Combs' best songs.

12. "Even Though I'm Leaving" (What You See is What You Get, 2019)

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Singer Luke Combs performs prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (

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Combs' tearjerker "Even Though I'm Leaving" was written by Combs, Wyatt Durrette and Ray Fulcher and featured on the country singer's second album What You See is What You Get. Like George Strait before him, Combs brings enough heart to this song for it to reveal a secret about a father's love.

Listen here.

11. "Cold As You" (What You See Ain't Always What You Get, 2020)

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 10: Luke Combs performs during the 55th Annual Country Music Association Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Combs tributes dive bars with beers as cold as his ex on "Cold as You." There's probably a joke to be told here about how often the Sony recording artist used to sing about adult beverages (before becoming the tender-hearted romantic behind "The Kind of Love We Make"), though he for sure deserves credit for sticking with what works. Combs wrote the tune with Randy Montana, Shane Minor and Jonathan Singleton.

Listen here.

10. "Forever After All" (What You See Ain't Always What You Get, 2020)

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 07: Luke Combs (R) performs during Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park on October 7, 2017 in Austin, Texas.

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Released on What You See Ain't Always What You Get, the deluxe edition of his second album, "Forever After All" is a gorgeous love song about Combs' relationship with his wife Nicole: the inspiration for "Without You" and other honorable mention picks. Combs wrote the song with Rob Williford and Drew Parker.

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9. "Lovin' On You" (What You See is What You Get, 2019)

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs performs during the 2017 CMA Music Festival on June 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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"Lovin' On You," which Combs wrote with Fulcher, Thomas Archer and James McNair, is a steamy, hard-driving anthem about the joy derived from loving the one you're with. Bonus points for the adorable official video that casts youngsters as Luke and Nicole.

Listen here.

8. "When It Rains It Pours" (This One's for You, 2017)

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 08: Luke Combs performs during the 2017 Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival on June 8, 2017 in Manchester, Tennessee.

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The second single from Combs' debut album was not only a chart-topper in the US but was his first No. 1 in Canada. The song really shows off Combs' humor as he sings about a serious of unfortunate events after his girlfriend leaves him, creating distance between him and his "ex-future mother-in-law." It's among the funnier songs on country radio in recent years, placing it in the same discussion as Old Dominion's "I Was on a Boat That Day."

Listen here.

7. "Hurricane" (This One's for You, 2017)

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 05: Recording Artist Luke Combs performs onstage during 8th Annual Darius and Friends concert at Ryman Auditorium on June 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Combs's debut single started off his career with a bang. He showed off his songwriter chops in this co-write with Thomas Archer and Taylor Phillips. Its lyrics compare an interaction with an ex to the destruction of a hurricane. It's easily among the best first impressions a country artist has left this century.

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6.  "Beer Never Broke My Heart" (What You See is What You Get, 2019)

MERRITT, BC - AUGUST 03: Singer-songwriter Luke Combs performs on stage during day 2 of Rockin' River Music Festival 2018 on August 3, 2018 in Merritt, Canada.

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This cheeky single came from Combs's second album, What You See Is What You Get, the same disc that gave us duet with Eric Church,  "Does to Me." Combs sings about all of the disappointing things in life that are never a cold beer. It lists off universally relatable heartbreaks, from romantic rejection to the agony of watching your favorite sports team in defeat.

Listen here.

5. "Houston, We Got a Problem" (This One's for You Too, 2018)

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 09: Luke Combs performs on the Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage at the 2016 CMA Music Fest on June 9, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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From the deluxe album This One's For You Too, this tune shows Texas some love. He sings about how while Texas may have everything, it doesn't compare to having the one he loves. Reaching a respectable No. 22 on the country charts, this is a fun song with a clever NASA tie-in (NASA, Houston... see what he did there?).

Listen here.

4. "Must've Never Met You" (This One's for You Too, 2018)

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 13: Country singer & songwriter Luke Combs performs to a sold out audience at Bridgestone Arena on December 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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This Top 20 country song is intimate and just one of the many examples that showcase the singer's strong vocal talents. His raspy voice takes us on a journey where he talks about how hard it is to get over the loved one he lost. It proves that Combs is as adept at getting the most out of heartbreak songs as he is with such stories of true love as "Better Together."

Listen here.

3. "One Number Away" (This One's for You, 2017)

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 07: Country artist Luke Combs performs at Bridgestone Arena on September 7, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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This song about a man trying not to fall apart and call his ex was an instant hit. Another No. 1, the video is just as powerful as the lyrics themselves. As a good country song should, it tells a story that resembles the personal experience of a countless number of listeners.

Listen here.

2. "She Got the Best of Me" (This One's for You Too, 2018)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 24: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs (C) performs onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 24, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Combs wrote this hit four years before recording it at a bar in Nashville called Tin Roof. This song was Combs's fourth consecutive No. 1 and for a reason. The lyrics follow the narrator who can't stop thinking about the woman that "got the best of him" with a catchy chorus and some outstanding vocals.

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1. "Beautiful Crazy" (This One's for You Too, 2018)

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 05: Leon Bridges and Luke Combs accept and award onstage at the 2019 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 05, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for CMT

Written with Durrette and Robert Williford, the song debuted at No. 1 before even being released as a single. It's a heartfelt love song that best represents the sensitive side that's been on full-blast since Combs became a husband and father. Plus, the song got a compelling second life as a Combs duet with Leon Bridges.

Listen here.

READ MORE: Thomas Rhett + Lauren Akins: From High School Sweethearts to 10 Years of Marriage

This story originally ran on Feb. 25, 2020. It was previously updated on March 2, 2022.