Mitchell Tenpenny started singing at church, fronted a heavy metal band in high school, then did a complete 180 and started chasing success as a country singer. It took him a couple of years to get it, but in 2018, he hit the big time with the phenomenally successful Drunk Me. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Mitchel Tenpenny songs of all time.
10. Truck I Drove In High School
Tenpenny’s first album, Black Crow, passed most people by unnoticed on its release in 2015. His second album was a whole other story. Released in December 2018, Telling My Stories made it to number 5 on the US country charts and achieved moderate crossover success, reaching number 53 on the Billboard 200. As All Music says, Tenpenny isn’t a lover in the vein of some of his peers like Sam Hunt or Thomas Rhett – while he might sing about romance, the songs are laced in heartbreak and nostalgia. The bittersweet album opener, Truck I Drove In High School, is a classic example of his style.
9. Telling All My Secrets
Tenpenny’s second album, Telling All My Secreta, might be as slick and professional as country albums get, but that’s not to say it’s without heart. Tenpenny’s songwriting has a deep undercurrent of soul, something he brings to the forefront on the achingly vulnerable titular track. With lines like “Making sure she feels safe in arms/fighting for the flame when your feeling that spark,” the song showcases Tenpenny’s willingness to open himself up to the audience in a way that many singers would balk at.
8. Walk Like Him
Tenpenny wrote Walk Like Him as a tribute to his father, who passed away from cancer in 2014. At first, Tennypenny coped with the loss by numbing himself to it, but three years later, he was driving his band’s van and suddenly got overwhelmed with emotion. “It just hit me and I broke down that night,” he told People. “There was just something about the loneliness and everything, realizing that my dad’s not there.” The title came from his mother and grandmother, who’d always commented on how Tenpenny walked like his father. It’s a beautiful song, although one that, understandably, Tenpenny still struggles to perform live.
7. Somebody Ain’t You
Another song from Telling All My Secrets next, this time the sublime Somebody Ain’t You. The song, which was co-written by Tenpenny along with Thomas Archer and Dallas Wilson, is sung from the perspective of a man stuck in a relationship he knows he should end, but that he can’t move on from. Speaking to The Boot, Tenpenny revealed the song was inspired by a toxic relationship he struggled to leave. “That’s one I remember. I remember being stuck in that purgatory for a little while there back in the day,” he said. “That song was really all about that.”
6. Bucket List
Tenpenny wrote Bucket List with Chris DeStefano and Laura Veltz in 2019 but waited until January 2021 to drop it. Like Walk Like You, Tenpenny was inspired to write Bucket List by the loss of his father, saying that he “wanted another song that not only talked about loss but also about living in the moment. My hope is that it inspires people to make goals and try to cross them off as fast as possible.”
5. Broken Up
On Broken Up, Tenpenny casts himself in the role of a man who can’t get over a breakup. “Usually I’m put together/ Most the time I’m fine/ Normally I break up better/ But baby not this time,” he sings, He might have been the one to have messed up, but’s he’s also the one that’s lost, broken, and too miserable to do anything but drink the pain away.
4. Anything She Says (featuring Seaforth)
Tenpenny teamed up with country-pop duo Seaforth on this gentle, pop-inflected country tune about a guy’s love for his girl. Released as a standalone single in 2020, the song reached number 58 on the US Country Airplay chart.
3. Alcohol You Later
If there’s one thing that comes across loud and clear on Tenpenny’s second album, Telling My Secrets, it’s the singer’s fondness for a tipple. In addition to the hugely popular Drunk Me, there’s also Alcohol You Later, a smart, sly song that puts a microscope to the relationship between booze and relationships. Slick, funny, and just a little bit saucy, it’s one of the album’s highlights.
2. Truth About You
Speaking to Taste of Country, Tenpenny revealed that Truth About You is about an “ex”, “experiences his friends have gone through” and his “own bad behavior in relationships“. Released on July 9, 2021 as the lead single from the EP Midtown Diaries, the song became an immediate hit, generating over 2.5 million streams in the first three days alone and later reaching number 27 on the US Hot Country Songs chart and number 19 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
1. Drunk Me
In at number one on our list of the 10 best Mitchell Tenpenny songs of all time is Drunk Like Me, a wry, clever tale of heartbreak that finds Tenpenny coming to the conclusion that the only way to get over a relationship is to put the booze aside. Candid but amiable, with a supple vocal performance from Tenpenny and an outrageously catchy hook, the song became his first major hit, taking him to number two on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, number six on the Hot Country Songs chart, and giving him his first (and so far, only) top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s since certified 2x Platinum after selling over 2 million copies in the US alone.