What a year it was for country music! Lady Antebellum didn't just cross over into the Top 40, they ruled the airwaves for the better part of the year, settling in the No. 2 spot in Billboard's Top 100 Songs for 2010, while the album Need You Now lands in the No. 3 spot for overall sales for the year. And Taylor Swift, who continues to be an ambassador for the genre, ends the year with two albums in Billboard's year-end Top 200 chart; Fearless at No. 7 and Speak Now at No. 9. Pretty impressive!
While those are two extremely potent examples of America's current love affair with country, they certainly don't tell the whole story. Country music had its fair share of down-and-out moments, drinking and ruined relationships, all put to song. Small-town civic pride, unemployment struggles and wistful looks back at the simpler days also permeated the world of country music. Napster's list of the best country albums of 2010 is not based on radio or Internet play, sales numbers, concert attendance or any number-crunching criteria. Rather, this list is compiled from the heart of Napster's country editor, Linda Ryan.