The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 11]


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. Zac Brown Band – “Homegrown” +1 (Up 2)
  2. Darius Rucker – “Homegrown Honey” -1 (Up 2)
  3. Chris Young – “Lonely Eyes” (Down 1)
  4. Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time” -1 (Up 1)
  5. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” -1 (Down 4)
  6. Lee Brice – “Drinking Class” +1 
  7. Dierks Bentley – “Say You Do” +1 (Up 2)
  8. Keith Urban & Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up” (Up 2)
  9. Tyler Farr – “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” +1 (Up 2)
  10. Billy Currington – “Don’t It” -1 (Up 3)
  11. A Thousand Horses – “Smoke” (Up 1)
  12. Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” +1 (Up 3)
  13. Tim McGraw & Catherine Dunn – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” +1 (Up 3)
  14. Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” -1 (Up 3)
  15. Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire”  -1 (Up 4)
  16. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon” -1 (Up 2)
  17. Eric Paslay – “She Don’t Love You” +1 (Up 3)
  18. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns” +1 (Up 3)
  19. Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 (Up 3)
  20. Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 (Up 4)
  21. Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -1 (Up 2)
  22. Joe Nichols – “Hard To Be Cool” -1 (Up 3)
  23. Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” -1 (Up 3)
  24. Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” (Up 4)
  25. Josh Turner – “Lay Low” +1 (Up 2)
  26. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (Re-enters Top 30)
  27. Gloriana – “Trouble” (Up 2)
  28. Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” 0 (Up 2)
  29. Rascal Flatts – “Riot” (New to Top 30)
  30. Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” -1 (New to Top 30)

Brett Eldredge’s “Mean To Me” fell from #7 to out of the top 30 (recurrent).

Jason Aldean’s “Just Gettin’ Started” fell from #8 to out of the top 30 (recurrent).

Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got” fell from #14 to out of the top 30 (recurrent).

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -3

The pulse remains the same at -3 this week. It stays the same despite a big shift in the charts, as three songs went recurrent and fell out of the top 30. Brett Eldredge’s “Mean To Me” and Jason Aldean’s “Just Gettin’ Started” were two of the songs. They both went #1 already and had big drops in last week’s chart, so this is no surprise. The third song that dropped out is Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got.” This song is so good and yet it never even reached the top 10 (peaked at #14). See why I hate country radio? Stuff like this is the reason why. Props to Owen for putting a great song on the radio. It earned a lot of respect from yours truly.

So with three songs out, we have three new songs replacing them. The first is a song making its return to the top 30 and that is Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” After the last couple weeks of controversy and fuss surrounding this song, I’m not surprised to see it back. I’m also not as angry as I was about it last week seeing it back in the top 30 now. But let’s not get into that again. Rascal Flatts’ “Riot” finally got out of the #31 spot it was frozen at for weeks and cracks the top 30 at #29. The song isn’t terrible, so I’ll take it. The final new song in the top 30 is Eric Church’s “Like A Wrecking Ball,” a song that annoys me very much. I guarantee it will at least be a top ten hit.

There is good news though and it’s sitting at the top of the chart. Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown” is the new #1 and it could enjoy multiple weeks at the top spot. This song has been steadily gaining on the charts since it came out and shows no signs of slowing down. To me it’s the best country song released by a mainstream act in 2015. Good to see it get treated as such. I think both Rucker and Young have peaked with their respective singles. Both should fall out within a few weeks. Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” will be battling for the top spot soon. Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” will go recurrent and fall off the chart next week.

Two of the four songs I predicted would make the top 30 soon last week made it this week. As for this week, the songs outside the top 30 I expect to see in the top 30 soon are Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night,” Luke Bryan’s “Games,” Reba McEntire’s “Going Out Like That” and Jason Aldean’s “Tonight Looks Good On You.” Lynch is loved by radio, plain and simple. “Games” is getting treated like a new single from Bryan because radio is so desperate for new songs right now. Plus they love Bryan even more than Lynch. Reba’s “Going Out Like That” feels like it’s getting a renewed push with her new album coming out this month. Aldean’s “Tonight Looks Good On You” was not only the most added song this week, but also had the most increased audience and gained a whopping 17 spots on the chart. Oh and it’s a Dallas Davidson song.

You want to know how I feel about all of this? This is how I feel.

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

18 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 11]

  1. Lorenzo April 1, 2015 / 11:52 am

    I think Riot is a pretty good song, the production is not offensive and I like its lyrics. I don’t like that stupid wanna-be-romantic wrcking ball song and I hate that creepy and disgusting aldean new single. Brantley Gilbert needs to go away because even if the song carries a good message COUNTRY IS NOT F*****G PUNK ROCK. I hope to see Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton and Kacey Musgraves enter the top 30.
    I’m completely in love with Mo Pitney’s debut single “Country”, it sounds like George Strait, Alan Jackson and Easton Corbin mixed all together! but somehow I got the feeling that “on the verge” will not help this song. what do you think about it Josh?


    • Josh Schott April 1, 2015 / 12:01 pm

      I like Mo Pitney and I like his voice. The potential is definitely there. However “Country” is just too bland for me. It plays it too safe, even though I like the instrumentation. I’m looking forward to hearing more challenging material from him. The big question will be whether or not Curb screws him up like they’ve done to a laundry list of artists.


      • Raymond April 1, 2015 / 12:16 pm

        Curb screws artist over I didn’t know that. I wonder if they’ll do that to Lee Brice.


  2. Raymond April 1, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    Country Top 30. Well I don’t have a lot to say I hope that Maddie & Tae enter I’m really hoping Gloriana can kick it up a notch. Hey Josh have you yet to hear Reba’s previews for her album. Really hope Carrie Umderwood or hell even Kelsea become the first female Airplay number 1 since October 2012. Even if you hate Kelseas new song you’d have to agree if somehow and I mean somehow got a number 1 despite how godawful that song is it would mean she’d be the first woman to get a debut number 1 since Carrie Underwood it’d be very bittersweet.


    • Josh Schott April 1, 2015 / 12:15 pm

      I haven’t heard the previews for Reba’s new album yet. I saw the track list and writers, but I haven’t heard the previews. Usually I avoid previews so I don’t have a preconceived notion of the album before listening to it.

      Personally the female artist I would like to see top the chart is Mickey Guyton and her single “Better Than You Left Me,” but that’s a pipe dream. If she makes the top 30 I’ll be thrilled. Carrie is realistically the only female right now, along with Miranda, who can top the airplay chart. But Carrie didn’t even top it with “Something In The Water.”


      • Raymond April 1, 2015 / 12:18 pm

        Well you can give RCA the middle finger on that they f****d Carrie over in that deal. Little Toy Guns and Love Me Like You Mean It and if it can get up fast enough Biscuits are only hope Mickey Guyton if she gets it it’s gonna be a long long journey.


  3. Zack April 1, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    Well the pulse is bad but at least we got a great #1! Take Your Time is at #4 if it goes #1, idk what to say….. How the hell are FGL already at #15!?!

    Btw Josh, you heard the sample of Thomas Rhett’s new song, “Crash & Burn”? I think it could be a candidate for Country Perspective’s worst country song award

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond April 1, 2015 / 12:31 pm

      So that’s a yes as to say that Thomas Rhett is still one of the worst in country music


    • Josh Schott April 1, 2015 / 12:42 pm

      I did and Rhett thinking he can pull of a Bruno Mars sound is one of the most delusional moves I’ve ever seen by a country artist.


      • Zack April 1, 2015 / 1:11 pm

        What’s sad is that Gary Allan wanted to record that song first….


    • Derek Hudgin April 1, 2015 / 2:21 pm

      I may be in the minority, but I think “Sippin’ On Fire” is worse than “Sun Daze.” “Sun Daze” has terrible, god-awful lyrics, I know. But “Sippin’ On Fire” has some terrible production. The lyrics also suck, and the autotune makes Tyler and Brian sound worse than without. I think “Sippin’ On Fire” is cringeworthy bad, and I can’t believe FGL, or even Joey Moi & Scott Borchetta can release that without being embarassed by how bad it is


      • bob April 1, 2015 / 2:53 pm

        I doubt there’s anything worse this year than David Fanning’s “Doin’ Country Right”.


      • Raymond April 1, 2015 / 3:18 pm

        Oh no Derek I agree but all FGL songs are awful no matter what way you look at it. It’s basically comparing a 0.1/10 to a 0.05/10. Either way FGL songs are awful I think we will eventually see FGL leave but for now let’s just wait it out. Either way these guys are hear to stick around but they’ll leave sooner instead of later.


      • Pete Marshall April 1, 2015 / 10:09 pm

        I don’t like that song neither.


  4. NoahHibiscusEaton April 1, 2015 / 2:14 pm

    …………………! For once, my score was not multiple points negative than yours, Josh! 😉

    My pulse registers at -4, and we disagree for the following reasons.

    You regard “Drinking Class”, “Smoke” and “Wild Child” more highly than I do, while I regard “Don’t It” and “Like A Wrecking Ball” more highly than you do.


    Darius Rucker has definitely peaked as of this weekend. His label, Capitol Nashville, had a ridiculously artificial push to get the song to #1 on Mediabase (a predominantly spins-based chart) that is by far the most manufactured push since Eric Paslay’s “Friday Night” made a similar absurd vault last year.

    If anything, it’s an absolute relief the horrible “Homegrown Honey” fell short on the audience-based Billboard chart. Because the thing is, had Capitol Nashville decided not to rest on its laurels and go for the Billboard #1 too, it would have easily snagged that too because the difference in audience between the two songs on the final update was only slightly above 100K. With just another dozen spins or so, Rucker would have stole that #1 too.

    So, obviously, I’m delighted “Homegrown Honey” will never be regarded as a #1 Billboard song, hahaha! 😉


    Chris Young, in contrast, is making his final push this week, as we speak.

    However, I am not expecting him to top either chart. I am sure the Zac Brown Band now want to follow suit and pick up the Mediabase #1, while Sam Hunt is gunning for the Billboard #1 this week (it will be a close race). “Lonely Eyes” will probably get stuck at a #2 peak on both charts.

    Eh…………… has been a pretty forgettable era for Chris Young anyway, so I’m indifferent about the whole situation. I’d rather award a superior song (“Homegrown”) multiple weeks at the summit. Now, if only the Zac Brown Band can find a way to stonewall Sam Hunt! 😉


    As for Rascal Flatts and “Riot”, yes. I agree it’s a 0 song.

    It’s one of their better singles as of late. I appreciate Gary LeVox has listened to his critics and has made a genuine effort to relax his voice registers on more recent efforts ever since “Why Wait” instead of belting everything to death. And I also get the thematic sentiment of this track. It’s one many can easily relate to. Nonetheless, this is ultimately rendered forgettable by overly toothless production, and will have to settle for a 0.


    As for “Like A Wrecking Ball”………….it’s a 0 song to my ears, but I’ve already spoken my piece about that song so don’t feel the need to reiterate it here.



    • Raymond April 1, 2015 / 2:31 pm

      Oh there is no way Sam Hunt is gonna stop after Sam I think Dierks could get the number after Sam no Noah there’s no way in hell Zac holds off Sam.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 1, 2015 / 2:55 pm

      Hey glad to see we’re in near agreement! Glad to hear that about “Homegrown Honey.” I want to never hear that song again and it was nowhere near deserving of being #1 on Billboard. I also don’t expect Young to top the chart. The timing was unfortunate for him, as two hot songs happen to be rising right when it was Young’s “turn” to be at the top.

      Yes it will be interesting to see how “Homegrown” and “Take Your Time” fare against each other in the coming weeks. I hope “Homegrown” gets multiple weeks at the top. Hunt is going to get there inevitably, but I would at least like to see ZBB hold it off a little bit.


      • Pete Marshall April 3, 2015 / 12:51 am

        I can’t stand Homegrown Honey. What do you think about Chase Rice “Ride”?


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