Jason Aldean Tops Google’s 2023 Trending Musicians List, ‘Try That in a Small Town’ Leads Song Search
Google released its list of the biggest trending searches of 2023 and when it comes to music, Jason Aldean‘s controversial “Try That in a Small Town” led the list of search inquiries for songs, with Aldean also hitting No. 1 as the top trending musician.
In a year when Taylor Swift and Beyoncé were perpetually in the news thanks to their massive tours and the live concert films, the high placement for Aldean was not totally surprising given the weeks of attention he got for “Small Town,” which was pulled from CMT and labeled by some detractors as being pro-gun, pro-violence and akin to a “modern lynching song” after the release of the track’s video.
The visual found Aldean performing the song in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, TN, the site of the 1927 lynching and hanging of 18-year-old Henry Choate over allegations that he sexually assaulted a white girl, as well as the spot of a 1946 race riot in which two Black men were killed. Aldean rejected detractors’ claims about the song whose video featured images of an American flag burning, protesters clashing with police, looters breaking a display case and thieves robbing a convenience store; the video was later seemingly edited to remove images of a Black Lives Matter protest following the backlash.
Right behind Aldean was buzzy rapper Ice Spice, followed by “Rich Men North of Richmond” country singer Oliver Anthony, Peso Pluma, Joe Jonas, Sam Smith, The 1975’s Matty Healy, Kellie Pickler, Kim Petras and Sexxy Red.
Google’s data shows the top trending searches in the U.S., referring to trending queries as searches that had a major spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2023 versus 2022, which is why despite being a near-ubiquitous search term who has a consistently high search interest, TIME‘s Person of the Year Swift (and Beyoncé) didn’t top the ranking for musicians; click here for Gizmodo‘s explanation.
The year’s most buzzed-about movies, Barbie and Oppenheimer (combined as Barbenheimer by fans) came out on top, followed by the controversial anti-trafficking movie Sound of Freedom and Oscar-winner Everything Everywhere All At Once, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Creed III, John Wick: Chapter 4, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Cocaine Bear. The No. 1 trending actor was Jeremy Renner, who suffered serious injuries in a snowplow incident in January.
Jamie Foxx, who was sidelined most of this year after an unexplained “medical complication” in April, was just behind Renner, followed by disgraced That 70’s Show actor Danny Masterson, comedian Matt Rife, Pedro Pascal, Jonathan Majors, Sophie Turner, Russell Brand, Ke Huy Quan and Josh Hutcherson.
The trending people list had Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin at No. 1 following his scary on-field cardiac incident during a Cincinnati Bengals game in January, followed by Renner and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, likely due to his romance with Taylor Swift; Kelce was also among the top five most-searched athletes.
The TV tally featured mostly Netflix projects, including its originals Ginny & Georgia, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, Wednesday, That 90’s Show, Kaleidoscope, Beef and The Fall of the House of Usher. Other shows that got in the mix included Daisy Jones & the Six (No. 4) and The Weeknd’s one-and-done HBO series The Idol (No. 9).
Late Friends star Matthew Perry was No. 1 on searches for celebrity deaths, followed by Tina Turner, Jerry Springer, Jimmy Buffett and Sinead O’Connor, with Lisa Marie Presley coming in at No. 8. The news headlines that we searched the most were those related to the war between Israel and Hamas, followed by the sinking of the Titanic tourist submarine, Hurricanes Hilary, Idalia and Lee, as well as a mass shootings in Maine and Nashville, the Maui wildfire, the Idaho college campus murder trial and the Canadian wildfires.