The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 14]


Each week I take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart and grade the top 30 songs. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive either a +1, -1 or a 0. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site by either Derek or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated between 5 and 6.5 receive a 0. Songs rated 4.5 or lower receive a -1.

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty… 

  1. Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe – “Lonely Tonight” +1 (Up 1)
  2. Thomas Rhett – “Make Me Wanna” -1 (Down 1)
  3. Jason Aldean – “Just Gettin’ Started” -1 (Up 2)
  4. Randy Houser – “Like A Cowboy” +1 (Down 1)
  5. Brett Eldredge – “Mean To Me” (Down 1)
  6. Chris Young – “Lonely Eyes” (Up 2)
  7. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” -1 (Up 3)
  8. Darius Rucker – “Homegrown Honey” -1 (Up 1)
  9. Lee Brice – “Drinking Class” +1 (Up 2)
  10. Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time” -1 (Up 4)
  11. Zac Brown Band – “Homegrown” +1 (Up 2)
  12. Dierks Bentley – “Say You Do” +1 (Up 3)
  13. Keith Urban & Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up” (Up 4)
  14. Tyler Farr – “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” +1 (Up 4)
  15. Jake Owen – “What We Ain’t Got” +1 (Up 1)
  16. A Thousand Horses – “Smoke” (Up 3)
  17. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon” -1 (Up 4)
  18. Billy Currington – “Don’t It” -1 (Up 5)
  19. Eric Paslay – “She Don’t Love You” +1 (Up 3)
  20. Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” +1 (Up 5)
  21. Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” -1 (Up 3)
  22. Tim McGraw & Catherine Dunn – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” +1 (Up 4)
  23. Joe Nichols – “Hard To Be Cool” -1 (Up 4)
  24. Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 (New to Top 30)
  25. Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -1 (Up 4)
  26. Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 (Up 2)
  27. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns” +1 (New to Top 30)
  28. Josh Turner – “Lay Low” +1 (Up 2)
  29. Gloriana – “Trouble” (New to Top 30)
  30. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (New to Top 30)

Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze” fell from #6 to out of the top 30.

Luke Bryan’s “I See You” fell from #7 to out of the top 30.

Chase Bryant’s “Take It On Back” fell from #12 to out of the top 30.

Lady Antebellum’s “Freestyle” fell from #20 to out of the top 30.

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: +1

The pulse is back in the positive! It improves greatly from -4 last week to +1 this week. And it’s all because some trash finally got taken out of the top 30. Both Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan are out of the top 30. My reaction. Radio has appeared to give up on Chase Bryant’s “Take It On Back” causing it to fall out and Lady Antebellum’s “Freestyle” finally falls out after flailing around the top 20 for weeks. As for the songs that replaced these four, they’re mostly good. The only bad one is Brad Paisley’s “Crushin’ It,” which has to be one of the most pathetic singles he has ever released. Carrie Underwood is back in the top 30 with “Little Toy Guns,” which should rise up the chart quickly. Gloriana’s “Trouble” is an okay song and it’s better than a lot of other songs listed above. And the last new entry is Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” a song I’ve went back and forth on. But ultimately I decided this song does more good than harm and hey at least it’s a song that tells a story.

Just as I predicted last week, “Lonely Tonight” is the new #1 this week. Sure I hate to see Blake Shelton get another #1 song, but it’s great to see Ashley Monroe get her first #1. Congrats to Monroe! I don’t see this song lasting too long on top, maybe one more week at most because Jason Aldean’s “Just Gettin’ Started” got a big bump in audience numbers this week. I wouldn’t be surprised if it hits #1. Other songs that got big bumps in audiences numbers this week that should reach the top of the chart soon are Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” and Chris Young’s “Lonely Eyes.” Sam Hunt will also inevitably reach #1 again with “Take Your Time,” which had the most increased audience this week.

The biggest gainers this week are Carrie Underwood’s “Little Toy Guns,” which moved up 12 spots to #27 (most added song of the week), Brad Paisley’s “Crushin’ It” moved up eight spots to #24 and three songs moved up five spots. The biggest losers this week are all four songs I mentioned above that fell out of the top 30 and top 60 completely. Two notable drops that caught my attention were at the top of the chart, which were Brett Eldredge’s “Mean To Me” and Randy Houser’s “Like A Cowboy.” With several fast rising songs coming behind them, don’t expect them to go any higher on the chart. In fact they will probably be gone from the top 30 soon. As for songs outside the top 30 I could see making it in the top 30 soon, I expect Rascal Flatt’s “Riot,” Frankie Ballard’s “Young & Crazy,” Kip Moore’s “I’m To Blame” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Sippin’ On Fire.” With “Sun Daze” now off the charts, “Sippin’ On Fire” is going to get a heavy push. So enjoy this one week without Florida Georgia Line in the top 30. I know I will.

As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s chart in the comments below!

23 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 14]

  1. Raymond March 4, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    Yay my top 30. Top 60s are only once in a whileCommentary per usual.
    1. Lonely Tonight +1. To me everything Ashley touches turns to gold they both sound really good together. I don’t care if it’s inferior to Need You Now it’s a damn good song. With Blake releasing Sangria and Ashley releasing her new single lets see where the two of them go from here.
    2. Make Me Wanna -1. A pathetic disco country song. I don’t get why people like him so much his songs have all been bland. Having said this I’m curious of where he goes with his next album with bro-country dying let’s see if he can get better from here.
    3. Just Getting Started -1. Check Country Universes review of this song it will make you laugh.
    4. Like A Cowboy +1. Bye My Good Friend you put a hell of a fight and you should be proud. Randy said in an interview he will be doing more of these types of songs.
    5. Mean To Me +1. Man this guy has such a voice. I’m thinking this song will get number 1 when Jason Aldean’s done hopefully.
    6. Lonely Eyes +1. The more I listen the more I like I’m curious of what Chris’s next album will hold this songs nearing the end it should get number 1.
    7. Ain’t Worth The Whiskey -1. Seriously when I hear this song I feel like he wants to call the girl in this song a bitch (pardon my language.)
    8. Homegrown Honey -1. Darius I hope you have better material than this I mean come on dude. This will get the short end of the stick like Radio
    9. Drinking Class 0. Meh it will probably hit a brick wall sooner than later.
    10. Take Your Time -1. Hey Josh how is this guy country answer back.
    11. Homegrown +1. Simple pure effective multi week number 1.
    12. Say You Do +1. Copy above but I think he will only get one week at number 1.
    13. Raise Em Up +1. I like the Somebody Like You vibe it was one of Keith’s best songs in my opinion so that’s why I like this song.
    14. A Guy Walks Into A Bar+1. Keep it up Tyler. Although judging by the album cover I’m not hopeful.
    15. What We Ain’t Got +1. The last week together with this guy. Jake next album blow us away.
    16. Smoke 0. Meh hey they’re not getting On The Verge treatment. New artist Michael Ray is oh boy (sarcasm.)
    17. Little Red Wagon -1. As an album track good but why the hell would they release this as a song mark my words it will get Top 10 and that’s it.
    18. Don’t It 0. The more I listen I like it total guilty pleasure but damn this song is catchy. Still nothing special.
    19. She Don’t Love You +1. Ditto what Noah said about it last week word for word should get Top 10.
    20. Wild Child +1. Not quiet You & Tequila but still an awesome song.
    21. Baby Be My Love Song -1. Easton this better be an outlier or else I’m done with you. Pisses me off.
    22. Diamond Rings & Old Barstools +1. Perfect song thru and thru really a shame it’s not doing well digitally.
    23. Hard To Be Cool -1. Well Joe your credibility days are over. You have failed country music.
    24. Crushing It -1. Obnoxious Rude and not funny I find it insulting to George Strait. Brad made an ass out of himself.
    25. Love Me Like You Mean It 0. I explained my reasoning I feel she’s more naive and I think she has an awesome voice. Really this song would’ve been better had she not said ” with your hat back.” Cut that out and you have a good pop song.
    26. Love You Like That -1. (Mockingly) City boys aren’t right I’m all about the country. (Serious) Whatever Canaan.
    27. Little Toy Guns +1. My gosh this song keeps getting better the more you listen to it. Carrie Underwood has never had a bad song can you guys come up with.
    28. Lay Low +1. Modern without sounding forced having said that this MIGHT get Top 10. But I don’t know.
    29. Trouble +1. Love Love Love this song. About time it got Top 30. Can’t wait to hear this weekend on my radio station for their countdown show they’ll have no choice. This works for me cause of the sass and man Rachel has a killer voice. I’m so happy it finally got Top30. I don’t see Top 10 but if it can get Top 20 I will be ecstatic. Seriously this though needs to do better digitally if it wants to have success.
    30. Girl Crush +1. Arguably their best song since Sober which don’t get me started on that country music Nirvana. Back to this song I love Karens voice and the Girl has the one thing she wants her ex-man. The production despite not being country is so addicting. Job well done. Josh do they have any other songs on their album that would at least get a 0.
    The songs that could get a 0/10.
    Love You Like That
    Little Red Wagon
    Raelynns New song For A Boy
    Kiss You In The Morning
    Turn It On
    I don’t know who else.
    Total Score: +6. A lot to like with this week,

    Please Respond.


    • Josh Schott March 4, 2015 / 2:14 pm

      Well Sam Hunt is not country. He is simply marketed as country. As for the rest of Little Big Town’s album, “Live Forever” is the only other song I would say is close to decent.


      • Raymond March 4, 2015 / 2:21 pm

        Ok thank you Sam’s popularity to me at least is very puzzling. Wow I asked you a month ago about Girl Crush and you said you hated it. What made you change your mind. Besides what you said. Will you guys have a review of Don’t It. When will the 0/10 review happen this week cause I’m blanking on what song it could be. Oh yeah guess what song I heard on the radio Sugarland Life In A Northern Town with Little Big Town and Jake Owen. Man that song was good what did you guys think of that cover song? Thanks for the pulse I say the pulse next week will be for you at least will hear back to the negative.


        • Josh Schott March 4, 2015 / 2:34 pm

          Well I didn’t hate the song, but I hated the fact that it didn’t live up to its full potential. Plus it doesn’t sound very country. It’s barely a +1 in my book, but hey its a +1. If I have time I’ll review Don’t It. And I’ve never heard of that Sugarland song.


      • Raymond March 4, 2015 / 2:44 pm

        Oh look for it online it’s really an awesome song what did you overall think of Sugarland as a whole. Me if they were still mainstream right now they would’ve been a B or C range. Anyways What We Ain’t Got will leave next week so enjoy the fact that it got Top 15 and yet Sun Daze got number 1 for a week. That’s just sickening. I am curious of when Luke Bryan’s new song is released what will he do will he finally prove he’s the real deal or will he make an ass out of himself.

        Thanks again Josh for the pulse Sorry I’m not harsh enough on songs I tend to be easier but thanks for reviewing Kelseas song. Looking forward to the Hodgepoge.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lorenzo March 4, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    I don’t know if Brad Paisley’s song is all that bad! sure it’s not an intelligent song and it sure doesn’t deserve a 0, but it’s not that offensive. and at least it features a great fiddle work. glad that Blake and Ashley reached #1, the song is good. I hope it’ll keep that f*****g aldean away from #1, but I’m almost sure next week the official country music douche will have another #1 hit. I don’t like at all that little big town song but I’m glad Carrie entered the top 30. my favourite top 30 songs are Raise Em Up, Wild Child, Say You Do, Diamond Rings and Old Barstools and Lay Low!


  3. NoahHibiscusEaton March 4, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    Eh, my score is an improvement too from last week, but still in the negative (because of disagreements we have over “Lonely Tonight”, “Drinking Class”, “Smoke” and “Wild Child”).


    I still consider “Lonely Tonight” a flat-out 0 song. It clearly succeeds at what it sets out to do and the vocals are good, but it’s just a dull, unremarkable and pedestrian song to me.

    “Drinking Class” also isn’t bad, but especially after a prolonged chart run, the production is just so boring and doesn’t match up with the empowering, populist swell it’s supposed to have lyrically. Instead of eliciting a feel-good celebratory vibe with blue-collar colleagues, its brooding, overly serious tone hits you over the head too much and sounds too sleepy.

    “Smoke” isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t do enough to warrant a 0 score to my ears. For an act influenced by the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, this is completely faceless, middle-of-the-road fluff that also doesn’t do anything for me lyrically and will be forgotten almost instantly.

    And, finally, “Wild Child” is indeed a decent song and there’s plenty to like about it; especially the gorgeous imagery the lyrics reflect and, of course, Grace Potter. But it doesn’t quite go far enough at warranting a +1 to my ears. It falls a little short, and the main reason why is because 1) the production is pretty dull and 2) it’s not as impactful as the hype surrounding its release that this would be an anthem respecting women suggested. It’s really just a song about a specific gypsy spirited woman who goes to Burning Man and Bonnaroo and is sexually more adventurous compared to most, and while it’s refreshing seeing songs like this out in the open where such subjects aren’t judged or dismissed, that’s not the same thing as penning an anthem respecting women in general. The promotion surrounding this album and song can’t help but strike me as disingenuous, and while “Wild Child” doesn’t deserve demerits just because of the disingenuous marketing, this still stands as a high 0 song instead of a low +1 song.


    So, my tally came out as -3 this week.

    Still, a marked + improvement over last week though! ^__^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond March 4, 2015 / 3:42 pm

      Hey Noah what do you think of the5 songs that entered the Top 60 Hangover Tonight. I Got The Boy. Love This Life. Turn It On and Folks Like Us. I’m really curious to hear your opinion on them.


  4. bob March 4, 2015 / 4:13 pm

    I’m glad to see Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You” move up 3, especially after seeing this:

    from country california:
    “I’ve had people say Eric Paslay/She Don’t Love You is a career song, but we can’t play it because ballads kill format.” RJ Curtis #CRS2015 ●
    — @RossOnRadio, tweeting from the Country Radio Seminar.

    My most frequently played songs for the last two weeks have all been by the Western Swing Authority.


    • Josh Schott March 4, 2015 / 4:21 pm

      Yes I was happy to see it move up too. I witnessed Paslay sing this in-person last year and it’s even better live.

      Windmills Country tweeted about the radio programmers thoughts on that song too. A real downer to read, but not that surprising. I’ll be happy if it can just reach the top ten.

      Glad I could turn you onto some good music!


  5. Zack March 4, 2015 / 8:29 pm

    Nice to see a positive response on the charts! It won’t last long (after all FGL is coming around again, as well as Luke). But this week ain’t bad. Instead of a pulse I’m just gonna rank my top songs in the 30.

    1. What We Ain’t Got
    2. Diamond Rings and Old Barstools
    3. She Don’t Love You
    4. Homegrown
    5. Lay Low
    6. Say You Do

    These are what I label as A or A+

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond March 4, 2015 / 10:33 pm

      Ooh nice Top 6. I’m gonna put my two cents and say my top 6.
      1. Little Toy Guns
      2. She Don’t Love You
      3. Say You Do
      4. Trouble
      5. What We Ain’t Got
      6. Girl Crush
      (Honorable Mentions)
      Lay Low
      Raise Em Up
      Diamond Rings & Old Barstools
      Wild Child
      What would be your score overall.


  6. Pete Marshall March 4, 2015 / 9:58 pm

    Florida Georgia Line next single is okay 8/10


    • Raymond March 4, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      I disagree it’s way too overproduced and cheesy it’s better than Sun Daze the problem is that the vocals and production together lead too a mess. I want these guys to release more stuff like Dirt and stop making themselves look stupid. To me FGL have paper-thin voices. I’d love for you to explain cause this FGL song is a 2/10 for me.


      • Pete Marshall March 4, 2015 / 10:25 pm

        I missed typed it. the song is 1.5/10 I really apologize for my mishap it won’t happen again . I do apologize to you Raymond the song is not to good.


        • Josh Schott March 4, 2015 / 11:15 pm

          Hey it happens. No need for apology.


  7. Pete Marshall March 4, 2015 / 11:36 pm

    My top 5 country singers are:
    my bottom 5 are:
    Who are on your list Josh and Derek?


  8. NoahHibiscusEaton March 5, 2015 / 4:16 am

    Hey, I just thought of another grading system concerning the track records of entertainers.

    Have you seen sports standings in newspapers or online? Well, I thought of utilizing that template into music: including total career Wins (6.5/10 or higher), Losses (0/10 to 5/10) and Overtime (5/10 to 6.5/10) for single releases, Points (A Win counts for two points, an Overtime for one point, and a Loss for zero points), Last Ten single trends, Total Win Percentage and streaks.

    I also separated recording artists into their own divisions. So, in using the Top Sixty, here is an example:




    —Country-Rawker Division—

    Wins: 8
    Losses: 4
    Overtime: 6
    Points: 22
    Grade Point Average: .611
    Last Ten: 6-2-2
    Streak: OT1
    Games Played: 18

    Wins: 4
    Losses: 11
    Overtime: 8
    Points: 16
    Grade Point Average: .347
    Last Ten: 3-6-1
    Streak: L5
    Games Played: 23

    Wins: 0
    Losses: 4
    Overtime: 5
    Points: 5
    Grade Point Average: .277
    Last Ten: 0-4-5
    Streak: OT1
    Games Played: 9


    —90s Veterans Division—

    Wins: 18
    Losses: 4
    Overtime: 18
    Points: 54
    Grade Point Average: .710
    Last Ten: 4-3-3
    Streak: L1
    Games Played: 38

    Wins: 10
    Losses: 2
    Overtime: 22
    Points: 42
    Grade Point Average: .618
    Last Ten:
    Games Played: 34

    Wins: 24
    Losses: 13
    Overtime: 27
    Points: 75
    Grade Point Average: .586
    Last Ten: 3-4-3
    Streak: W3
    Games Played: 64

    Wins: 7
    Losses: 5
    Overtime: 6
    Points: 20
    Grade Point Average: .555
    Last Ten: 2-4-6
    Streak: L2
    Games Played: 18

    Wins: 11
    Losses: 8
    Overtime: 39
    Points: 61
    Grade Point Average: .526
    Last Ten:
    Streak: OT4
    Games Played: 58



    Eh? Eh? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh Schott March 5, 2015 / 11:29 am

      As a sports fan I know exactly what you mean by this. And I like it. Very interesting look at different artists. Not surprised to see a lot of OTs for Urban, as I find many of his songs to be in this range. He’s the poster boy for safe and neutral songs. This would be fun to look at all of the artists.


      • NoahHibiscusEaton March 5, 2015 / 1:18 pm

        He has very few losses (along with Brad Paisley) because 1) Urban is very emotionally committed to what would otherwise be forgettable fare in other hands and 2) he has a great ear at craftsmanship.

        I forgot to fill in a couple of his fields. He is currently at OT1.

        Tim McGraw is the only one with a notable winning streak right now (W3). Here’s hoping it continues to pad itself out! =)


  9. NoahHibiscusEaton March 5, 2015 / 4:29 am

    Oh, one more! I can’t resist! 😉


    —Bromance Division—

    Wins: 1
    Losses: 8
    Overtime: 7
    Points: 8
    Grade Point Average: .250
    Last Ten: 0-6-4
    Streak: L1
    Games Played: 16

    Wins: 1
    Losses: 6
    Overtime: 1
    Points: 3
    Grade Point Average: .187
    Last Ten: 1-6-1
    Streak: L2
    Games Played: 8

    Wins: 0
    Losses: 2
    Overtime: 0
    Points: 0
    Grade Point Average: .000
    Last Ten: 0-2-0
    Streak: L2
    Games Played: 2

    Wins: 0
    Losses: 3
    Overtime: 0
    Points: 0
    Grade Point Average: .000
    Last Ten: 0-3-0
    Streak: L3
    Games Played: 3

    Wins: 0
    Losses: 5
    Overtime: 0
    Points: 0
    Grade Point Average: .000
    Last Ten: 0-5-0
    Streak: L5
    Games Played: 5



    Not a single bro here is on even an overtime streak presently! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pete Marshall March 5, 2015 / 11:15 am

    Carrie Underwood “something in the Water” hit #1 for 7 weeks on Hot country songs chart.


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