The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Dec. 13]

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. Tim McGraw – “Shotgun Rider” +1
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Something In The Water” +1
  3. Keith Urban – “Somewhere In My Car” -1
  4. Maddie & Tae – “Girl In A Country Song” +1
  5. Sam Hunt – “Leave The Night On” -1
  6. Brad Paisley – “Perfect Storm” +1
  7. Little Big Town – “Day Drinking” -1
  8. Florida Georgia Line – “Sun Daze” -1
  9. Eric Church – “Talladega” -1
  10. Jason Aldean – “Burnin’ It Down” -1

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -2

The pulse drops from -1 to -2. The culprit? The return of Florida Georgia Line to the top ten. And with what I consider their worst song ever in “Sun Daze.” Everything about this song is terrible, especially the lyrics. Eric Church also makes it into the top ten this week with one of the weaker songs from his album, “Talladega.” As a result Frankie Ballard and Blake Shelton fall out of the top ten. I thought we would get a positive pulse by the end of the year, but I don’t think we are going to see it now. Maybe in 2015 if we are lucky.


10 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Dec. 13]

  1. Applejack December 5, 2014 / 11:38 am

    “Shotgun Rider” is quite pleasant. Tim McGraw has really turned things around since the complete debacle which was “Looking for That Girl.”

    Anyway, I agree with all of your ratings here, except for “Talladega,” which I kinda like. Despite the overall negative score however, looking at this list makes me feel like mainstream country is already trending away from the worst excesses of bro-country. Of course, “Sun Daze” which is still rising on the charts is the obvious exception to this, and I’m sure we’ll have to burn through a couple other FGL singles from their most recent album before all is said and done. And the success of Sam Hunt presents other problems. At least we aren’t having to deal T-Swift’s pure pop songs appearing on the country chart at this point, though.

    Also, I will be curious to see if Maddie and Tae can continue to have radio success moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin December 5, 2014 / 12:16 pm

      For right now, the fact that the top 5 itself is a +1 speaks miles. Good Tim and Carrie in the top two Billboard charts is huge.

      “Sun Daze” might be bad enough to get scored a -2! Hahaha…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Josh Schott December 5, 2014 / 12:41 pm

      Yes I definitely see some signs of improvement across mainstream country music. It feels better and sounds better, but like you said we still have to deal with FGL, Sam Hunt and a few other annoying artists.

      I think Maddie & Tae will continue to have success just because they’re really starting to connect with younger female listeners. I think this is exactly what mainstream country music needed to help the male-dominated problem plaguing the genre. If their team is smart they’ll choose “Sierra” as their second single because I think it appeases to the majority of fans in terms of sound and the theme appeals to younger female listeners. I’m anxious to hear their first album in 2015.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek Hudgin December 5, 2014 / 12:13 pm

    Talladega as a -1? To me, I think that warrants a 0. I think it’s a nice nostalgia song, and in my opinion, a better song off The Outsiders.


    • Josh Schott December 5, 2014 / 12:37 pm

      It is one of the better songs off The Outsiders, but the lyrics are just too cliché to me. Plus this song has been done to death a million times. We’ll agree to disagree on this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derek Hudgin December 5, 2014 / 12:50 pm

        Fair enough. To each their own.


  3. wandervogel33 December 5, 2014 / 1:15 pm

    “We’ll agree to disagree on this one.”

    “Fair enough. To each their own.”

    Come on, there is no need for that kind of attitude. I enjoy the site but I wish y’all would tone down the vicious arguments.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott December 5, 2014 / 1:39 pm



  4. Applejack December 5, 2014 / 1:19 pm

    D’oh! That last comment was by me. I wasn’t logged in properly.


  5. NoahHibiscusEaton December 6, 2014 / 4:00 am

    Interesting that you don’t like “Talladega”. Ah well………… one one’s own I suppose.

    On the contrary, I consider “Talladega” one of the three strongest tracks off of “The Outsiders” (behind only “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” and arguably “Dark Side”, while I also enjoyed “Cold One”, “Like A Wrecking Ball” (mostly because the light groove does it for me in spite of the inferior lyrics, which even those are spoken more tastefully than most sex songs) and “Give Me Back My Hometown” and have even found “The Joint” growing on me after initially not knowing what to think of the bizarre listen). I’d actually grade “Talladega” a B+.

    Why is that? Firstly, I’ve always found Church succeeds best at nostalgia songs. On paper, I can see why “Talladega” would look “Meh!” in that, after all, it cites whiskey, “getting rowdy” and some other imagery that panders straight to the NASCAR key demographic that is inclined to listen to country music more than any other genre. I’m well aware Eric Church got his start in marketing while attending college, and there is probably sly marketability at play here.

    But that still doesn’t take away from Church effectively hitting this nostalgia song out of the park just as he has with “Springsteen” and a handful of other album tracks. I like that the track progresses from a more intimate, acoustic-driven start to building up with more urgency and longing as the electric guitars begin to assume control, and I also appreciate that it never gets too bombastic. Even the searing guitar solo in the coda didn’t overwhelm me because it plays squarely to the yearning and semi-melanchoic vibe the song emits. It’s a song about fondly recalling a moment with buddies from years past, but it’s also a melancholic realization that the moments we cherish most are often the most ephemeral and the bridge is particularly gut-punching in that respect. The arrangement is nothing groundbreaking and actually the most conventionally arranged track on the album, but I have to say I really dig it and it’s his best single since “Creepin'”. A +1 in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.