It's the season for year-end lists, and 2017 was a great one in country music. However, for every smash, there were 2-3 that should've been, but ran out of gas before getting to the upper half of the top 50. Here's the top 5.

5. Little Big Town - Happy People

Fresh off one of the biggest hits of their career in "Better Man," and with critical praise heaped on their album The Breaker, "Happy People" will go down as another strange case of chart inconsistency in the LBT discography. They turned in a superb performance during the ACM Awards, and the song catches the band at their Fleetwood Mac folky/pop best. The upbeat tune, full of self-actualization, stalled just outside the top 40.

 

4. Trace Adkins - Watered Down

2005 Trace Adkins made millions off "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." 12 years later, the former Celebrity Apprentice standout recorded the polar opposite of that career defining song. In the ballad, which Trace called the most personal of his career, he reflects on being happy taking it slow. Think a less comedic "As Good As I Once Was," by pal Toby Keith. Watered Down peaked at 55.

3. Chris Stapleton - Either Way

How does the best selling country artist of the last three years make a list of should've been? While Chris has had a few big singles such as "Nobody To Blame," and more recently "Broken Halos," this ballad quickly ran out of steam after release. With striking delivery of lyrics belting "We can just go on like this - Or say the word, we'll call it quits - Baby, you can go or you can stay - But I wanna love you either way." Call it poor timing, as summer is generally filled with more upbeat material. When I first heard the song, I thought if it became a single, it would either be #1 for weeks, or not even break the top 40. It lagged in the 40's for weeks before briefly spiking to #26 on the airplay chart.

2.  Runaway June - Lipstick 

If there were a chart for relationship memes, "Be with a guy who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara" would be #1 for weeks. However, a song that was born from that very meme barely dented the top 30. The debut single from the trio which features the granddaughter of John Wayne was rich with harmony and sass not seen since the glory days of the Dixie Chicks. Runaway June's debut album has yet to be released, and here's hoping 2017 is the last year they make this list.

1. Drake White - Making Me Look Good Again

Drake White has been on the road constantly. Opening for everyone from Eric Church, to Lynyrd Skynyrd, to the Zac Brown Band. All of which hand pick their openers. That should tell you something about what he brings to both song and stage. This piano ballad isn't something that'd be out of place on either a ZBB or Chris Stapleton record. In a year where Keith Urban's "Blue Ain't Your Color" was (rightfully) one of the year's biggest songs, it's could-be second cousin should have been higher than a mopey #26.