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)
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.
11. "Cold As You" (What You See Ain't Always What You Get, 2020)
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.
10. "Forever After All" (What You See Ain't Always What You Get, 2020)
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.
9. "Lovin' On You" (What You See is What You Get, 2019)
"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.
8. "When It Rains It Pours" (This One's for You, 2017)
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."
7. "Hurricane" (This One's for You, 2017)
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.
6. "Beer Never Broke My Heart" (What You See is What You Get, 2019)
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.
5. "Houston, We Got a Problem" (This One's for You Too, 2018)
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?).
4. "Must've Never Met You" (This One's for You Too, 2018)
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."
3. "One Number Away" (This One's for You, 2017)
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.
2. "She Got the Best of Me" (This One's for You Too, 2018)
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.
1. "Beautiful Crazy" (This One's for You Too, 2018)
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.
This story originally ran on Feb. 25, 2020. It was previously updated on March 2, 2022.
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