The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2010]

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 13, 2010.

  1. Josh Turner – “Why Don’t We Just Dance” +1
  2. Billy Currington – “That’s How Country Boys Roll” -1
  3. Darius Rucker – “History In The Making” 0
  4. Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins – “Hillbilly Bone” -1
  5. Brad Paisley – “American Saturday Night” 0
  6. Easton Corbin – “A Little More Country Than That” +1
  7. Carrie Underwood – “Temporary Home” +1
  8. Keith Urban – “‘Til Summer Comes Around” 0
  9. Zac Brown Band – “Highway 20 Ride” +1
  10. Lady Antebellum – “American Honey” 0
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Ain’t Back Yet” -1
  12. Taylor Swift – “Fearless” -1
  13. Rascal Flatts – “Unstoppable” -1
  14. Kellie Pickler – “Didn’t Know How Much I Loved You” +1
  15. Steel Magnolia – “Keep On Lovin’ You” 0
  16. Justin Moore – “Backwoods” -1
  17. Eric Church – “Hell On The Heart” +1
  18. Joe Nichols – “Gimme That Girl” 0
  19. Alan Jackson – “It’s Just That Way” +1
  20. Chris Young – “The Man I Want To Be” 0
  21. George Strait – “I Gotta Get To You” +1
  22. Tim McGraw – “Still” +1
  23. Martina McBride – “Wrong Baby Wrong” +1
  24. Clay Walker – “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” +1
  25. The Band Perry – “Hip To My Heart” -1
  26. Reba – “I Keep On Lovin’ You” 0
  27. Love and Theft – “Dancing In Circles” +1
  28. Luke Bryan – “Rain Is A Good Thing” -1
  29. Lee Brice – “Love Like Crazy” 0
  30. Gretchen Wilson – “Work Hard, Play Harder” 0

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: +4

As we continue to look further towards the present, the pulse continues to drop. Two weeks ago we looked the chart in 2005 and it was +22. Last week we looked at the chart in 2007 and it was at +10. This week we look at the chart in 2010 and it’s down to +4. Clearly the quality drops the closer we get to present day and the pre-cursors to the problems currently plaguing the genre are rearing their ugly heads. At the top of this chart is a good song, Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance.” Turner to this day continues to produce solid country music that appeals to the roots of the genre and country radio. We need more artists like Turner. Right behind that though is a problematic song in Billy Currington’s “That’s How Country Boys Roll.” This song being a success is what helped lead to a lot of country songs about how country they are. Then you have the ridiculous “Hillbilly Bone,” which was pretty much Trace Adkins last hurrah as he’s faded into obscurity since this hit. Also another song comparing country boys to city boys.

Easton Corbin just broke out with “A Little More Country Than That” and really got me excited about his potential at the time. Unfortunately he’s declined in quality ever since. What a shame. Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home” was a nice return to her early beginnings after releasing mediocre pop country singles “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It.” Zac Brown Band’s “Highway 20 Ride” is one of the group’s most sentimental songs in their library. Kenny Chesney had run out of ideas at about this time in 2010 and really he’s still out of new ideas for songs. Same could be said for Rascal Flatts. Taylor Swift was in the midst of her big rise to becoming a superstar. Kellie Pickler was still on radio and I wish I had appreciated it more. Steel Magnolia doesn’t even exist anymore and one half of the duo is now “trying out” on The Voice.

Justin Moore’s “Backwoods” was terrible then and still terrible now. This song and really his music helped usher in bro-country. I need to pick a week when “Bait A Hook” is charting so I can rant about it. Eric Church wasn’t an egomaniac making pop rock yet. Joe Nichols was slowly starting to fall to the dark side. Sure “Gimme That Girl” isn’t terrible, but giving it a pass is what led to him making “Yeah” in my opinion. From 19-24 (other than Chris Young), torch bearers of country music from the 90s and 2000s were slowly fading in radio play. Love and Theft was still a trio and this single was actually not that bad. Luke Bryan’s “Rain Is A Good Thing” was his first big hit and it annoyed the absolute shit out of me. Radio played this one to death, at least in my area. This just made me hate rain even more.

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

18 thoughts on “The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2010]

  1. Raymond March 13, 2015 / 1:26 pm

    Ok now were in country music where I heard all songs so YAY PAST RANKINGS!!!!!!!!!!
    1. Josh Turner Why Don’t We Just Dance. Agreed still hear this song every once in a while always brings a smile to my face. 8/10
    2. Billy Currington. Such a lazy boring song. 2/10
    3. Darius Rucker. Agreed not bad but it tried a little too hard. 5/10
    4. Blake Shelton. I’m sorry I don’t got a hillbilly bone buh bone bone hillbilly bone buh bone bone. Such a stupid song 1/10
    5. Brad Paisley Eh this would be a 7/10. So barely a +1. But I kinda like the charm in this song.
    6. Easton Corbin. Agreed let’s hope to gosh his album is even mediocre. 8/10
    7. Carrie Underwood. Love this song one of my favorites. Oh who am I kidding I love all her songs. 10/10!!!!!!!!
    8. Keith Urban. I flat out disagree here beautiful song near perfect pop country production and that voice man 10/10 hands down.
    9. Zac Brown Band. This is what made me a fan truly of theirs every time I hear it I still cry. 10/10
    10. Lady A. Another disagreement This was when Lady A I found to be good not great overall 8/10.
    Ok so the Top 10 for me +5. Looking good so far.
    11. Kenny Chesney. Agreed 3/10.
    12. Taylor Swift. Um NO I love her voice in this song plus the quirky production 9/10.
    13. Rascal Flatts. Agreed Hated this song now and still hate it. 0/10.
    14. Kellie Pickler. Fun Fact her last Top 20. 8/10.
    15. Steel Magnolia. Agreed I wish the girl the best on the voice. 5/10
    16. Justin Moore. Next 0/10.
    17. Eric Church. Like not love 7/10.
    18. Joe Nichols Agreed 5/10.
    19. Alan Jackson Oh of how I miss him 9/10.
    20. Chris Young Disagree. The song grips you really hard 9/10.
    21. George Straight. Agreed 8/10.
    22. Tim McGraw. Disagree. Meh 5/10.
    23. Martina McBride. Oh of how I miss her so much. 9/10.
    24. Clay Walker. Agreed 9/10.
    25. The Band Perry. Agreed 3/10.
    26. Reba. Love this song 10/10
    27. Love & Theft Meh. 5/10.
    28. Luke Bryan. The sellout phase began 2/10.
    29. Lee Brice Agreed 5/10.
    30. Gretchen Wilson Agreed 5/10.
    Overall Score +9. Some hiccups but the good songs to me are great just the trash was clearly there.
    I never got to ask this during the Q/A and I just remembered if she somehow got mainstream by a miracle where would you say Katie Armiger is.

    Love this feature thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott March 13, 2015 / 2:04 pm

      I’m really not that familiar with Kate Armiger. I’ve heard a lot about her, but I haven’t heard a lot of her music so I really don’t have an opinion on her.

      Like

      • Raymond March 13, 2015 / 2:39 pm

        Well I suggest checking her work out she would rank in a B and C range. Her problem her label is so small. Check her out.

        Like

  2. Scotty J March 13, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    Yep it’s pretty amazing to see the decline coming.

    Wonder what the August 11, 2012 chart looks like.

    What happened that week? ‘Cruise’ debuted on the Country Songs chart!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zack March 13, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    I loved 2010. Personally I thought a lot of great songs were released that year. Plus it was the year that Jamey Johnson’s “The Guitar Song” and Dierks Bentley “Up On The Ridge” came out 🙂

    anyway here is my pulse:

    1. Why Don’t We Just Dance- +1
    2. That’s How Country Boys Roll- – 1
    3. History In The Making- 0
    4. Hillbilly Bone- +1 (really sorry, guilty pleasure)
    5. American Saturday Night- 0
    6. A Little More Country Than That- 0 (love the sound, the lyrics not so much)
    7. Temporary Home- +1
    8. Til Summer Comes Around- +1 (curious on your thoughts on this one, I’m certainly not trying to disagree with your opinion, just curious what it is about it that bugs you)
    9. Highway 20 Ride- +1
    10. American Honey- 0
    11. Ain’t Back Yet- +1 (same as Hillbilly Bone….hey I was 13 give me a break lol)
    12. Fearless- -1
    13. Unstoppable- -1
    14. Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You- 0
    15. Keep On Lovin’ You- 0
    16. Backwoods- -1
    17. Hell On The Heart- 0
    18. Gimmie That Girl- 0
    19. It’s Just That Way- +1
    20. The Man I Want To Be- +1
    21. I Gotta Get To You- 0
    22. Still- +1 (my favorite McGraw song, means a lot to me)
    23. Wrong Baby Wrong- +1
    24. She Won’t Be Lonely Long- +1
    25. Hip To My Heart- -1
    26. I Keep On Lovin’ You- -1
    27. Dancing In Circles- +1
    28. Rain Is A Good Thing- -1
    29. Love Like Crazy- +1
    30. Work Hard Play Harder- -1

    Final: +6

    Like

    • Scotty J March 13, 2015 / 3:06 pm

      I kinda like ‘Til Summer Comes Around’ also and I’m not really a Keith Urban fan but something about the mood of that song appealed to me.

      Like

    • Josh Schott March 13, 2015 / 3:51 pm

      My problem with Til Summer Comes Around is it sounds too much like his other singles. Plus it’s just a little too bland for my taste.

      Like

  4. DimM March 13, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    Next week please go back to 2000!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scotty J March 13, 2015 / 4:23 pm

      Yeah I would find it interesting to see a chart from back then also if for know other reason than shine some light on some good stuff that has been forgotten by most. Plus it further reminds people that things haven’t always been this way and the whole ‘evolving’ crap isn’t necessarily always good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. bob March 13, 2015 / 5:20 pm

    I love Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” but for me, his output of good songs since then has been very small, especially considering his talent. Joe Nichol’s had a strong start to his career but his recent efforts have not been to my liking. George Strait I’ve always thought is vastly overrated. Boring.
    Love “Highway 20 Ride”.
    I like Trace’s early work but songs like “Chrome” and Badonka whatever made me lose interest.
    The only thing I like about Hillbilly Bone is that it mentions Queens, the part of NYC where I grew up.
    “Yeah I got a friend in New York City
    He’s never heard of Conway Twitty
    Don’t know nothing about grits and greens
    Never been south of Queens”
    I heard of Twitty thanks to his pop hit of 1958, “It’s Only Make Believe”.
    Happy Friday the 13th!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kuzco March 13, 2015 / 7:28 pm

      George Strait overrated? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but can I ask what kind of country music you are looking? He’s
      pretty much the standard for traditional style melodies with modern production that doesn’t sacrifice lyrically, all while sung by one of the greatest performers ever to play country.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lorenzo March 13, 2015 / 6:25 pm

    how did American Saturday Night, ’til Summer Comes Around and The Man I Want to Be only got a 0? three great songs!

    Like

  7. Pete Marshall March 13, 2015 / 7:18 pm

    i have few disagreement here Billy Currington “That’s how country boy rolls”, Rascal Flatts “Unstoppable”, Taylor Swift “Fearless”, Kenny Chesney “Ain’t back yet” all with +1. The rest is right on the money keep it going Josh.

    Like

  8. Pete Marshall March 13, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    I forgot Hillbilly Bones with Blake and Trace deserves a +1. Luke Bryan “Rain is a good thing” is a +1 9/10
    Josh.

    Like

  9. NoahHibiscusEaton March 13, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    Eh, I have some disagreements.

    Here’s mine:

    *

    1: Josh Turner – “Why Don’t We Just Dance” +1
    2: Billy Currington – “That’s How Country Boys Roll” -1
    3: Darius Rucker – “History In The Making” 0
    4: Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins – “Hillbilly Bone” -1
    5: Brad Paisley – “American Saturday Night” +1
    6: Easton Corbin – “A Little More Country Than That” 0
    7: Carrie Underwood – “Temporary Home” +1
    8: Keith Urban – “‘Til Summer Comes Around” +1
    9: Zac Brown Band – “Highway 20 Ride” +1
    10: Lady Antebellum – “American Honey” 0
    11: Kenny Chesney – “Ain’t Back Yet” -1
    12: Taylor Swift – “Fearless” -1
    13: Rascal Flatts – “Unstoppable” -1
    14: Kellie Pickler – “Didn’t Know How Much I Loved You” 0
    15: Steel Magnolia – “Keep On Lovin’ You” 0
    16: Justin Moore – “Backwoods” -1
    17: Eric Church – “Hell On The Heart” 0
    18: Joe Nichols – “Gimme That Girl” -1
    19: Alan Jackson – “It’s Just That Way” +1
    20: Chris Young – “The Man I Want To Be” +1
    21: George Strait – “I Gotta Get To You” 0
    22: Tim McGraw – “Still” 0
    23: Martina McBride – “Wrong Baby Wrong” +1
    24: Clay Walker – “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” 0
    25: The Band Perry – “Hip To My Heart” -1
    26: Reba – “I Keep On Lovin’ You” 0
    27: Love and Theft – “Dancing In Circles” +1
    28: Luke Bryan – “Rain Is A Good Thing” -1
    29: Lee Brice – “Love Like Crazy” +1
    30: Gretchen Wilson – “Work Hard, Play Harder” 0

    *

    There are four songs that I actually hold in higher regard (“American Saturday Night”, “Til’ Summer Comes Around”, “The Man I Want To Be”, “Love Like Crazy”) and seven I hold in less regard (“A Little More Country Than That”, “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You”, “Hell On The Heart”, “Gimme That Girl”, “I Gotta Get To You”, “Still” and “She Won’t Be Lonely Long”).

    Thus, my Final Score came out to a near-flat +1.

    *

    Firstly, I respected Brad Paisley’s efforts at intelligently articulating how American exceptionalism is rooted in much ignorance and that America thrives as a bastion of diversity and a cultural melting pot. The lyrics aren’t especally deep, but they still make you think and I really liked that song.

    I’ll also note that, despite some safe production, “Love Like Crazy” still has a charming quality to this day that hasn’t waned. I just appreciate that it tells a bit of a story and has some nice lyrics in the chorus including “Don’t outsmart your common sense!”. It really clicked for me, and still does.

    And “Til Summer Comes Around” does just enough to cross the +1 threshold. It takes a while to build up admittedly, but the spacey soundscape and intimacy really fits with the imager of the lyrics and Urban’s more understated delivery. Yeah, it works.

    *

    Among those I can’t help but like a little less…

    While I agree Easton Corbin has declined in quality year by year…………I wasn’t even floored by his debut single. Sure, I give him props for his vocals and the neotraditional production, which was itself near-revolutionary at the time…………………but the lyrics just aren’t good. They’re actually below-average, in my opinion, and really brought the song down a few pegs to my ears. In all honesty, he has yet to release a +1 single to my ears (five of his seven singles to date are 0s, and two are -1).

    “I Gotta Get To You”, “Still”, “Hell On The Heart” and “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” are all zeroes because they just all sound too boring and paint-by-numbers in their production and presentation. The Strait song is easily among his less-impressive singles to date, and lacks lyrical depth, but competently performed otherwise. “Still” is a total borefest, but competent nonetheless. “Hell On The Heart” doesn’t sound boring, actually, but it just sounds too formulaic and the lyrics are quite unremarkable also, though they strike me as honest in their delivery. And “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” pretty much defines dime-a-dozen.

    “Didn’t You Know How Much I Love You” probably qualifies as a high 0 to m ears, but it just doesn’t go far enough to cross the +1 threshold. Her aching vocal delivery is easily the high point of the track, but it’s undercut by some overly poppy, somewhat sterile production that kind of diminishes the full emotional payoff this song could have had.

    And I didn’t like “Gimme That Girl” one bit. Joe Nichols just comes across as overly needy and selfish in his delivery and the lyrics, not to mention reduce the subject to physical looks and attractiveness primarily. The rock production was a little much too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Marshall March 14, 2015 / 2:44 pm

      I do not like Band Perry “Hip to my Heart” at all -1, and Alan Jackson ” I’m just that way was little boring for me 0 I don’t really like that song, but I don’t know why. Give me that girl by Joe Nichols was ok not his best 0 -1

      Like

  10. Kevin Davis March 14, 2015 / 7:56 pm

    I recommend doing a month in 1989 or 1990, considering the importance of the “class of ’89” — the debut of Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Garth Brooks, among others. Clint Black is one of my all-time favorite country artists. Mark Chesnutt, another favorite of mine, debuted in 1990. I was only a little kid, but those were the days!

    Liked by 1 person

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