Country Music at the Margins
When talking about music -- particularly country music -- the cliché is that the weird, the innovative and the messy stuff happens at the fringes while the watered-down, middle-of-the-road pap reaches the radio and the Top 10. And while 2013's Billboard charts featured a fair share of Scotty McCreerys and Parmalees (hey, nothing wrong with that), they were also the best place to find the genre's innovators and risk-takers -- artists who weren't afraid to, say, cover Jack Johnson's "Banana Pancakes" or find a rapper to add a bonus verse. Sometimes these moves worked (as it did with Florida Georgia Line's Nelly-featuring "Cruise" remix) and sometimes it failed (see Kenny Chesney's reggae tunes), but this playlist doesn't care either way. Instead, it simply celebrates the last 12 months in pop country oddities, as strange as some might be.