The degree to which the top country songs of the year were born from the events and hardships behind us has never been as evident as it is with the Top 21 Country Songs of 2021.

No, hit songs like "Country Again" by Thomas Rhett, "The Good Ones" by Gabby Barrett and "Buy Dirt" by Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan do not mirror a year of anxious isolation and continued social unrest. Music — now more than ever — is a release or a break from real life, and thus we get songs that make people feel complete. "Where I Find God" by Larry Fleet (No. 10 below) is a great example. Sure, it's a tremendous vocal performance but for many, finding God at every possible moment has delayed an emotional breakdown.

There is some sadness on this list. Country music is, after all, the genre for heartbreak and storytelling, so artists including Garth Brooks (No. 16), Chris Bandi (No. 14) and Lainey Wilson (No. 5) stand tall among their peers to make the Top 21 of '21. Several of the Top 10 songs rely on a return to a person you once were, or some good advice to get you there. Listen closely to Davis, Cody Johnson and Luke Combs. Heck, even "Fancy Like" by Walker Hayes (No. 2) celebrates a less glamorous lifestyle that's all too familiar to the country fan.

Sales data, streaming numbers, chart position, fan response and staff opinion helped shape the Top 21 Country Songs list that follows. Each description includes a link to hear the song as well, and there are a few from new artists (see Morgan Wade at No. 13) that you might not know yet.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on Taste of Country staff and country music fan opinion, plus commercial data (sales, streaming, airplay).

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, Larry Fleet and Morgan Wade crack the top songs list, while hitmakers including Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and Luke Combs make the Top 10.

Let us know your favorite song of 2021 on Twitter, or email us at staff@tasteofcountry.com.