The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2007]

Every week I take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. It could be 10 years ago, 20 years ago or even further back. 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 past 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 past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week I take a look at the top 30 on the Country Airplay Chart from March 3, 2007.

  1. George Strait – “It Just Comes Natural” +1
  2. Rodney Atkins – “Watching You” +1
  3. Trace Adkins – “Ladies Love Country Boys” -1
  4. Keith Urban – “Stupid Boy” 0
  5. Jason Michael Carroll – “Alyssa Lies” +1
  6. Kenny Chesney – “Beer in Mexico” 0
  7. Martina McBride – “Anyway” 0
  8. Craig Morgan – “Little Bit Of Life” -1
  9. Tim McGraw – “Last Dollar (Fly Away)” +1
  10. Carrie Underwood – “Wasted” +1
  11. Joe Nichols – “I’ll Wait For You” +1
  12. Sugarland – “Settlin'” -1
  13. Rascal Flatts – “Stand” -1
  14. Sara Evans – “You’ll Always Be My Baby” +1
  15. Dierks Bentley – “Long Trip Alone” +1
  16. Brooks & Dunn – “Hillbilly Deluxe” -1
  17. Gary Allan – “A Feelin’ Like That” +1
  18. Toby Keith – “High Maintenance Woman” -1
  19. Jack Ingram – “Lips of an Angel” -1
  20. Alan Jackson – “A Woman’s Love” +1
  21. Billy Currington – “Good Directions” +1
  22. Clay Walker – “‘Fore She Was Mama” -1
  23. Josh Turner – “Me And God” +1
  24. Blake Shelton – “Don’t Make Me” +1
  25. Emerson Drive – “Moments” +1
  26. Tracy Lawrence – “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” +1
  27. Jake Owen – “Startin’ With Me” +1
  28. Josh Gracin – “I Keep Coming Back” 0
  29. Pat Green – “Dixie Lullaby” +1
  30. Danielle Peck – “Isn’t That Everything” +1

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: +10

This is quite an interesting score. It’s positive, but only +9 better than the current pulse and down 10 compared to last week’s past pulse. Keep in mind this is about two years after last week’s. At the very top is King George Strait where he belongs. Not one of my favorite songs from him, but a good song nonetheless. Trace Adkins was riding high off his popularity from “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” which helped propel “Ladies Love Country Boys” to the top of the chart. To me this song is a prime example of a precursor to bro country. Other songs I would consider precursors to current country trends are Craig Morgan’s “Little Bit of Life” (repetitive lyrics), Brooks & Dunn’s “Hillbilly Deluxe” (the tropes in this song are similar to Brantley Gilbert songs) and Jack Ingram’s “Lips of an Angel” (covering a popular song from another genre to gain attention).

One song I hated back in 2007 and still hate now is Clay Walker’s “‘Fore She Was Mama.” Now I enjoyed Walker’s work in the 90s, but I absolutely hate this song. The lyrics and theme of this song are annoying and dumb. This exercise also continues to prove that Toby Keith made terrible music across several years and has been a menace to country radio for pretty much the last decade. If you’re reading this Keith, please retire. I know you have enough money and you’re only doing it because you know your fan base will continue to buy your music no matter how bad it gets. You are beyond an embarrassment and need to retire for everyone’s sake.

Only four female artists made the top 30 at this time in 2007, compared to six female artists on the current chart. So the female problem on country radio was starting to rear its head back in 2007. The current country radio environment is technically better for female artists today compared to eight years ago. That’s actually surprising. Carrie Underwood is the only one to occupy both the 2007 chart and current chart. Also am I the only one who wishes Sara Evans was still on the radio? I find her to be underrated.

Before you ask me in the comments and I know you will, you’re going to wonder why I gave that McGraw song a +1. Well I gave it a positive score because it’s a funny song and if you don’t take it too seriously you can enjoy it. You have to remember this song is being sung from the point of view of a man-child who can’t grow up when all of his friends are growing up. Joe Nichols was still one of the “good guys.” I miss those days. Come home Joe! Blake Shelton was still one of the good guys too. Damn you corporate bastards in Nashville. I always thought Tracy Lawrence’s “Find Out Who Your Friend Are” to be an underrated song with a really good message. The music video is good also.

So what do you think of this chart? What’s your favorite and least favorite of the above songs?

15 thoughts on “The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2007]

  1. Scotty J March 6, 2015 / 11:29 am

    Can you imagine a song like ‘Me And God’ ever reaching as high as it did now? Hell anyone would be laughed out of the room for suggesting that a mainstream act on major label even consider releasing that as a single. But that is a great song.

    ‘Wasted’ is in my opinion Carrie Underwood’s best single it’s one of the most country sounding and the message of the song is excellent.

    A few other thoughts; ‘Good Directions’ is one of my favorites and by the way was co-written by Luke Bryan, ‘I’ll Wait For You’ is a great song and it’s sad to hear the kind of stuff Joe Nichols is producing now.

    And you are correct that a few of the signs of the coming bro apocalypse are here with all the ‘I’m really, really country’ stuff like the Adkins song and of course ‘Hillbilly Deluxe’. It didn’t all just materialize one day it slowly built up over weeks, months and years.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh Schott March 6, 2015 / 1:47 pm

      Wow I had no idea Bryan co-wrote that song. This continues to prove he is choosing not to use the talent he has on purpose. “Wasted” is also one of my favorite Carrie songs. Pretty underrated. And you’re right a song like “Me and God” would have no shot on to day’s radio. One of Turner’s best IMO.


  2. Raymond March 6, 2015 / 11:52 am

    Ok love the feature still. Out of them I heard before I agree on all except Settling by Sugarland that’s one of my favorite songs by them I’m also wondering why Anyway got a 0. But besides that nice work again.


    • Josh Schott March 6, 2015 / 1:48 pm

      Anyway is a little bland for my taste and Martina could have made the song better.


      • Raymond March 6, 2015 / 1:53 pm

        Well what’s your problem with Settlin’ and if the grade system now what would you give Long Trip Alone


        • Josh Schott March 6, 2015 / 2:17 pm

          I just don’t like it. I’m very split on Sugarland’s music. There are songs of theirs I love and others I hate. Also my local radio station overplayed the shit out of their music, which made me more weary of them. I still haven’t listened to Long Trip Alone, but I’ll let you know what I think when I do.


  3. Lorenzo March 6, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    I think Stupid Boy deserves a +1, it’s a rock song but it’s a beautiful one. The lyrics are great, the vocal performance is stellar and the guitar work is downright amazing. Also, Stand is not a bad song. I totally agree with you on Sara Evans, you can’t believe how much I miss her! I love her music, and I think her latest single Put My Heart Down was an excellent pop song. sadly it only peaked at #57. as for Toby Keith, I had almost forgotten how much that song suck. when he released the horrid I wanna talk about me I thought I’d never hate any country singer more than him. Then jason aldean came…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Zack March 6, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    You’re not the only one who loves Last Dollar, Josh. When I was little, my grandfather and I would sing along at the top of our lungs when that song came on. Whenever I hear that song I always think of those memories.

    Anyway, I wish I was familiar with some of these songs, I would do a pulse myself. And wow, Jack Ingram’s hugest dud came out that year….

    I love the Currington tune, can’t believe it was co-written by Luke Bryan. I will say I’ve never heard the Clay Walker song, but hey, ignorance is bliss right?

    My top 5 favorite songs from this chart (that I’ve heard) are(in no order):

    Last Dollar (Fly Away)
    A Feelin’ Like That
    Good Directions
    Startin’ With Me
    I’ll Wait For You

    The only ones I hate are the Craig Morgan one as well as the Kenny Chesney one. I’ve never heard the Toby song so I guess I lucked out haha

    I really enjoy this feature! Its nice to know your opinions on songs from the past

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott March 6, 2015 / 1:49 pm

      Yes I’m glad someone else likes that song. And yes just make sure keep avoiding that Walker song. Haha! And thanks!


  5. bob March 6, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    For me, the best song on the list is “Moments” by Emerson Drive, writers Dave Berg and Sam & Annie Tate. Should have been song or single of the year. I agree that TL’s “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” is underrated. I have it on a 2007 TL album “For the Love”. I like “Settlin’ ” but I’m a big Sugarland/Jennifer Nettles fan except for the Not so Incredible Machine. Joe Nichols started out well but has been a major disappointment. For worst song on this list, I’ll go with “Hillbilly Deluxe”.


  6. Pete Marshall March 6, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    I agree with your scores except 4. Rascal Flatts STAND, Sugarland SETTLIN’, Jack Ingram LIPS OF AN ANGEL, and Brooks & Dunn HILLBILLY DELUXE all deserve a +1.


  7. Kuzco March 7, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    A few thoughts:

    So many of these songs, if they were released today, would stick out like sore thumbs: Alyssa Lies, I’ll Wait For You, Long Trip Alone, A Woman’s Love, Me and God, Moments, Find Out Who Your Friends Are, Startin’ With Me. I can’t see a single one of these getting a shot today. What a shame.

    I like Last Dollar too! Great song to crank up and sing along to, and there’s a place for that! Lightweight lyrics aren’t always bad (recent example being ZBB’s Homegrown).

    My favorite has to be Good Directions. Can you imagine if Luke Bryan was the biggest star in country music, but he was making songs like this one? Maybe one day…

    I have to admit I loved Ladies Love Country Boys when it came out. Yeah, I know it’s a dumb song, but that was before we had bro-country. I still like it. At least it’s self-aware, and I think it’s pretty funny. It’s definitely far far better than the crap we get now. Plus, I don’t mind bro-country quite so much when it’s one song out of thirty.

    Lastly, the only ranking I really disagree with is Stupid Boy. I think it’s a +1 for sure! Well-written, introspective lyric about how your own stupidity and ego cost you the woman of your dreams. Yes, the production leans toward rock, but that’s not a bad thing. And the lyrics are stone cold country. One of Keith Urban’s finest, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scotty J March 7, 2015 / 8:11 pm

      ‘Stupid Boy’ would probably be a borderline +1 for me. Another interesting songwriting note is one of the co-writers of ‘Stupid Boy’ is Sarah Buxton who is also one of the co-writers of the glorious ‘Sun Daze’ by Florida Georgia Line. How’s that for artistic growth!


  8. DimM March 8, 2015 / 6:18 am

    What a great song I’ll Wait For You is! Also, Me and God & Good Directions are songs you don’t hear these days.I can’t believe there were too many good songs just 8 years ago. It’s time for all these Jakes, Joes, Lukes & Blakes to go back to 2007 to see how good they were.


  9. Alan Pierce March 21, 2015 / 5:12 am

    Lots of great songs here but my favorite by far is “Startin’ With Me”. I don’t think Jake Owen has come close to equalling it’s lyric content since.


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