Country Music Nation

Watch the CMA Awards November 8

Country music is about to have another big night. This Wednesday, the Country Music Association will declare which country artists made the best music in the past year. We’re grateful we are not responsible for judging whose music is best, because those decisions would be very difficult. How can you listen to the nominees for Female Vocalist of the Year and pick just one? How can you say which is the Song of the Year? We can’t.

But we are happy to watch the CMA Awards. The live performances alone are worth the price of admission. We’ll see Kelsea Ballerini with Reba McEntire, Maren Morris with Niall Horan, plus a huge collaboration featuring Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Keith Urban to open. The 51st Annual CMA Awards airs Wednesday, November 8 at 8/7c on ABC.

Today, kick your boots up and get acquainted with the nominees for Music Video of the Year. We’ve said before that country music videos are getting better and better. Watch on your Hopper with the integrated YouTube app. And see all the ways you can listen to your favorite music with DISH. Here, ranked by our own unscientific reckoning, are the five best country music videos of 2017.

Blue Ain’t Your Color – Keith Urban

For the minimalist “waltz with a doo-wop thing,” as Keith describes this song, a minimalist video treatment was in order. They shot at the perfect, bare-bones bar. The upturned stools create just the right kind of empty, desolate atmosphere. But as you can see, even minimalism can be lush and textured. Thank director Carter Smith, who spends most of his time as a fashion photographer.

Better Man – Little Big Town

We were all surprised when Little Big Town revealed “Better Man” was written by Taylor Swift. She sent it to Little Big Town via email, the story goes. Said Taylor, “I wrote this song and I keep hearing your voices on it. I know you’re making a record — if you want to cut it, great. If not, no big deal.” Actually, it would have been a big deal. The video brings the song’s story about unrequited love to life as it spans generations.

Miranda Lambert – Vice

The video for Vice has one of the more intense openings you’ll ever see. Miranda Lambert struggles out of an overturned car as smoke wafts, sparks fly, and gas leaks everywhere. Unscathed, she walks up the road singing of the bad situations she gets into, and then, as she takes a shot in a dark bar, she shows us how she gets into them. Stories of regret and poor decisions are universally relatable, or so we’re told. This one is no exception.

Craving You – Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris

The idea here is that Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris are in a movie about a sting operation. They drive fast cars, sling big guns, and whack past some henchmen on their way to bringing down a crime boss of some kind. Things are not entirely clear, but that might be because the five-minute music video is set up as a movie preview. The story might be easier to understand if it were feature length. Still, this is a very catchy song to make a fun video for.

It Ain’t My Fault – Brothers Osborne

The clear choice! A great country song gets the video it deserves. Four criminals disguised as the four most recent U.S. presidents rob a pawn shop owned by the Brothers Osborne. Then the crooks lead the police on an extended chase. The concept is inspired by the Ex Presidents gang in the 1991 movie Point Break, but the digs and jabs in, “It Ain’t My Fault” are cutting and delightful.

Which video will win? We don’t know—we only have our preferences. Tune in and find out with us on Wednesday.