Blake Shelton’s discography tracks a truly impressive run transcending trends and eras in country music. For over two decades, Blake has reached impressive highs and hilariously poor lows from his successful albums and singles to others that fell flat. Shelton has consistently released new material nearly every year of his career. From the Oklahoma native’s catalog, we’ve ranked his discography from top to bottom (excluding Cheers, It’s Christmas).
11. Body Language (2021)
Blake’s 12th studio album, Body Language, comes in dead last in our ranking coated with a sad medley of unsuccessful singles, conflicting themes, and even backlash wrought by the album’s second single “Minimum Wage.” It was led by the love song “Happy Anywhere” with Gwen Stefani, which was the only song that carried the album commercially. Aside from that cozy and affectionate track, “Come Back as a Country Boy” missed the mark and was probably a better fit for another artist, like its co-writer Hardy. HARDY does make an appearance on the song “Fire Up the Night,” which would’ve been a better single to support the theme-less album.
10. Texoma Shore (2017)
Coming off of the emotional rollercoaster of If I’m Honest, 2017’s follow-up, Texoma Shore fell flat on the charts only notching one #1 single of the three it spawned. The whole thing was a sad rehash of previous Shelton singles; the cringy “I’ll Name The Dogs” was a recycled step down from Shelton’s own hit “Honey Bee.” More pop influences and faux country were seen across the record in tracks like “At The House” and the unlistenable “Boys ‘Round Here” rip-off “Money.” The album’s final single “Turnin’ Me On” was a flat pastiche of “Sangria;” it all added up to a woefully unoriginal and forgettable effort.
9. Startin’ Fires (2008)
With Blake’s last radio single, “Home” fading from the charts, Startin’ Fires needed to be the comeback to reset Shelton’s career and relevance. Though it may not have been the commercial jet fuel he needed at the time, the album’s first track “Green” was an upbeat and bright song that set the album for success and could have easily been a single. Chosen as the lead, “She Wouldn’t Be Gone” showcased some of Shelton’s best vocals over a heartbreak track that allowed him to return to his previous chart success. Even leaning into country-pop sounds, “I’ll Just Hold On” was also the earworm Shelton needed to attract other audiences and carry him into the crossover success that the polished Red River Blue would bring. Had a third single been released, “Country Strong” would’ve been the perfect track to reflect Blake’s original country sound and be the closing chapter of the album.
8. The Dreamer (2003)
After the success of his self-titled debut record, Shelton was quick to return to the studio to record his second studio album, The Dreamer, which spawned the #1 single “The Baby.” Unfortunately, this track was the only staple of the sophomore record as the two singles that followed were met with underwhelming commercial success. The remainder of the record was mainly filled with boring filler tracks that didn’t reflect the Blake Shelton fans had come to know on his first album. With only one co-write on the album, we might have seen more growth with more lyrical input from Shelton, and highway anthems like “Asphalt Cowboy” (later recorded by Jason Aldean), simply didn’t fit Shelton’s artistic direction.
7. Pure BS (2007)
With nearly three years passing after the release of his third studio album, Pure BS pretty much just came and went without much fanfare. The album’s first and second singles, “The More I Drink” and “Don’t Make Me,” failed to crack the top 10 on the country charts, though the album had its own Hail Mary moment when Shelton’s cover of “Home” by Michael Bublé became a country crossover event for fans and casual radio listeners to appreciate. Out of all the tracks on the album, “I Don’t Care” is probably the biggest missed opportunity of Pure BS, even with its reissue on Startin’ Fires.
6. Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill (2004)
The commercial downfall of The Dreamer meant a reinvention of Shelton’s sound and image in Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill. With only two co-writes, the hand-picked tracks on the album proved that Shelton was still able to honk-tonk with songs like “Some Beach” and even show his affectionate side on “Nobody but Me.” Covering Conway Twitty’s “Goodbye Time” was a refreshing twist, but also confused things a bit, making it feel like this record was missing focus or direction. Most likely done as a last resort to jumpstart Shelton’s plateauing career (especially marketing his name in the album title), the album was met with success, but at the time, Blake Shelton was still just known as a dude with some songs.
5. Blake Shelton (2001)
Blake’s debut record successfully set the stage for a massive career with the all-time staple and lead single “Austin.” The self-titled album was one of Shelton’s most country-sounding to date and featured quite a few co-writes from the Oklahoma native. Though the album’s second single “All Over Me” didn’t create the same commercial buzz as “Austin” and was coupled with a jarringly experimental falsetto, other tracks like “Every Time I Look at You,” which Blake himself cowrote, would’ve been better offerings for radio, providing a sturdier introduction for the one-time-up-and-comer.
4. BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE (2014)
Blake’s brightest album, sonically and musically, came with BRINGING BACK THE SUNSHINE. Though it produced a fair number of hit singles, the album came as somewhat of a letdown from its predecessor Based On A True Story…, and seemed more like a slew of random songs tossed together on a record. Its lead single, “Neon Light,” was a generic honky tonk track that sounded more like a scrapped cut from Shelton’s previous record. It doesn’t seem like there was much inspiration in totality, but the album’s highlights came from “Lonely Tonight,” a duet with the Pistol Annies’ Ashley Monroe, as well as the sultry, slow-burn sound of “Sangria,” and the sweet contentment of “Just South of Heaven.”
3. If I’m Honest (2016)
Following Shelton’s divorce from Miranda Lambert, If I’m Honest brought a more emotional and vulnerable side of Blake that listeners hadn’t seen since his early records. True to the record’s title, the Oklahoma native did an exceptional job selecting tracks that honestly reflected the state of his personal life and the downfall of his public relationship. “Came Here to Forget” was the album’s highlight, breaking away from the lighter radio country that had been his comfort zone, and epitomizing the broken, bereft theme of the album. Though “She’s Got A Way With Words” wasn’t a standout single by any means, other singles carried the album better, such as “Every Time I Hear That Song.” One of the more underrated tracks on the album includes the new relationship freshness of “One Night Girl” and his first duet with Gwen Stefani, “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.”
2. Red River Blue (2011)
With over three years passing since Blake’s commercially below-average album Startin’ Fires, Red River Blue reinstated Shelton’s presence as a country music A-lister. The album marked a much-needed comeback for the veteran artists whose previous albums were fortunate to generate any hits at all. Red River Blue produced four singles, each of which went to #1 on the Billboard country charts. A quickly tapering career was revived stronger than ever with the infectious lead single “Honey Bee,” written by Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip and helmed by producer Scott Hendricks. The album also had darker shades with “Over,” and in particular, “I’m Sorry” featuring Martina McBride feels left behind as an underrated single that never was.
1. Based On A True Story… (2013)
It’s hard to argue that Based On A True Story… is Blake’s best album from his entire music catalog. Although one of the defining songs of bro-country, the album’s second single, “Boys ‘Round Here” was an undeniable smash that topped every track that Red River Blue offered two years prior. Neck and neck with Luke Bryan at the time in the battle to be the biggest solo male star in the game, labels and artists alike took advantage of the brash bro-country sound that listeners wanted to hear. With an outstanding four #1 singles to come from Based On A True Story…, even Shelton’s next follow-up album couldn’t amass the widespread crossover success that this album brought.