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