The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Nov. 15]

Every week I take a look at the current top ten country songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and give each song either a +1, a -1 or a 0. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the current top ten country songs, with the highest possible score being a +10 and the lowest possible score being a -10. The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. To see the full list of hot country songs for this week, click here. Let’s take a look at this week’s top ten.

  1. Sam Hunt – “Leave The Night On” -1
  2. Jason Aldean – “Burnin’ It Down” -1
  3. Blake Shelton – “Neon Light” 0
  4. Florida Georgia Line – “Dirt” +1
  5. Carrie Underwood – “Something In The Water” +1
  6. Keith Urban – “Somewhere In My Car” -1
  7. Frankie Ballard – “Sunshine & Whiskey” -1
  8. Maddie & Tae – “Girl In A Country Song” +1
  9. Little Big Town – “Day Drinking” -1
  10. Tim McGraw – “Shotgun Rider” +1

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -1

The pulse improves to -1 from -2 last week. Could the pulse actually move into positive territory?! Just based on the ear test I can tell mainstream country has been improving a little lately. There were actually no bro country songs performed on the CMA Awards. This is all despite the fact that traditional country fans’ worst nightmare has come true: Sam Hunt is #1 on the country chart. No!!! I still have yet to hear a good argument as to why people listen to Sam Hunt music. There’s nothing creative nor country about it. Anyway the reason the pulse improved this week is because Luke Bryan dropped out of the top ten with his bland pop country and was replaced with Tim McGraw’s “Shotgun Rider.” Could McGraw be coming back to the good side? Well his new album was certainly one of the best in mainstream country this year and it’s good to be enjoying his music again. Let’s hope the pulse continues to improve.

3 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Nov. 15]

  1. Kevin Davis November 7, 2014 / 1:46 pm

    There were actually no bro country songs performed on the CMA Awards.

    You forgot, Aldean performed “Burnin’ It Down” at the CMA Awards, which is the worst of the worse bro-country songs. All in all, the CMA’s this year were perfectly calculated to appease both sides of the current civil war in country music. On the one hand: In addition to Aldean’s performance and Luke’s win for EotY, we were assaulted with the completely nonsensical decision to display the latest pop fascinations, Ariana Granda and Meghan Trainor, who are both perfectly respectable pop artists…but it comes across as just desperate pandering by the CMA’s to say, “Hey, we’re just as cool and hip too.” Once upon a time, country didn’t care to be hip. In fact, it was a badge of honor to be dismissed by the mainstream.

    On the other hand, the CMA’s were the delight of every authentic country music fan: Loretta Lynn, Vince Gill, George Strait, and wins for Miranda and Kacey. So, yeah, the CMA knew what they were doing. Please everyone. Yet, they did tilt toward the traditionalist side more. We were thankfully spared from any Chase Rice, who has had probably the longest running charted single of the year.

    As for Sam Hunt reaching #1, I am not shocked. Sad to say, it is sweet relief from “Burnin’ It Down” being number one for so long. As I have said before, Hunt is talented at crafting a catchy, ride-along song, in a style that is very reminiscent of mid-to-late 90’s pop. Country is now the format for this type of music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott November 7, 2014 / 2:37 pm

      I actually don’t consider “Burnin’ It Down” to be a bro country song, but rather terrible R&B influenced pop country. This is what I think the new trend is going to be that replaces bro country.

      You’re spot on about how the CMA played to both sides and it was a brilliant move on their part. They gave everyone in the audience something to hang their hat on. But I really think the traditional moments were what impressed people more. The Ariana Grande performance was almost universally hated. Everyone loved Loretta’s performance. Change is happening across country music and we’re going to find out soon how drastic this change could be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin Davis November 7, 2014 / 4:29 pm

        This is what I think the new trend is going to be that replaces bro country.

        Oh, the horrors! Honestly, I rather listen to stupid tailgate songs. On a positive note, I hope you are right about the impression of the traditional acts at the CMA’s. This is an advantage of having the two sides co-exist — there is an opportunity, at the mainstream level, for people to hear honest and heartfelt music, which one day may return to the forefront. It happened in the mid-80’s, so I guess it can happen again.


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