The Hodgepodge: Is Pop Radio Better Than Country Radio Right Now?

A look at the current state of country radio and really mainstream country music in general.

Yesterday in this week’s current pulse of mainstream country music, I was pretty frustrated and exasperated with country radio. The reasons being of course is that nothing new is being tried by country radio and the songs with substance are getting harder to find. They’re simply rehashing the same old crap. Case in point: Jason Aldean’s new single “Tonight Looks Good On You” is surging and will undoubtedly reach #1 on the chart. It’s just another version of Aldean’s 2014 hit “Burnin’ It Down.” On top of that it’s a Dallas Davidson song. I mean come on! I thought country radio had moved passed Davidson’s bullshit, but apparently not.

So as I normally do when I get frustrated with terrible music, I go listen to music I enjoy. As I sat and listened to Hozier’s excellent 2014 debut album, an idea came to me for this week’s Hodgepodge. Why not take a look at pop radio and compare it to country radio? It’s a perfect time to do so when many country stations across the nation are playing blatant pop music. When Kanye West and Ed Sheeran are getting airplay on country radio, you know shit has hit the fan and country stations have run out of answers. So to conduct this comparison, we’ll take a look at the top 20 on the Billboard Top Pop Songs chart from last week and compare it to the top 20 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart from last week. The same exact rules will apply to this as the current pulse that runs every week.

The -3 score on last week’s pulse will not be used, since it’s the cumulative score of the top 30. Only the pulse of the top 20 will be used. By taking away the bottom ten songs, the pulse of the top 20 is 0. That will be the score we use to compare to the pop chart. Today you will get to see the very rare occurrence of yours truly evaluating pop music. See what you’ve done to me country radio? So without further ado let’s take a look at the Top Pop Chart:

  1. Taylor Swift – “Style” 0
  2. Maroon 5 – “Sugar” 0
  3. Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” +1 (Sheeran is awesome)
  4. Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson – “Uptown Funk” +1 (This song is great, despite being overplayed)
  5. Pitbull & Ne-Yo – “Time of Our Lives” -1 (Pitbull sucks no matter what genre he is in)
  6. Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do” -1 (A terrible Fifty Shades of Grey song)
  7. Kanye West, Rihanna & Paul McCartney – “FourFiveSeconds” 0
  8. Natalie La Rose & Jeremih – “Somebody” -1
  9. Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding – “Outside” 0
  10. Ariana Grande – “One Last Time” -1
  11. Nick Jonas – “Chains” +1 (I’m surprised I liked this)
  12. Zedd & Selena Gomez – “I Want You To Know” +1
  13. Taylor Swift – “Blank Space” -1
  14. One Direction – “Night Changes” -1
  15. Lillywood & Robin Schulz – “Prayer In C” 0
  16. Flo Rida, Sage The Gemini & Lookas – “G.D.F.R.” -1 (Flo Rida is the Toby Keith of pop music. He just keeps hanging on.)
  17. Jason DeRulo – “Want To Want Me” -1
  18. The Weeknd – “Earned It” -1 (Another terrible Fifty Shades of Grey song)
  19. Usher & Juicy J – “I Dont Mind” -1 
  20. Tori Kelly – “Nobody Love”

So the total current pulse of pop music is -8. Wow! It’s even worse than country radio! Yet country radio is borrowing from it. It shouldn’t be borrowing period from pop music, whether it’s better or worse. Still country radio is borrowing from a genre that is even worse. There are genre lines for a reason. The only common denominator between both groups of songs is the club theme. You can thank Sam Hunt for bringing this into country music. Music about going to the club is just plain dumb and it’s why people laugh at artists like Pitbull and Flo Rida. I will say though I would take pop’s club music over country’s club music.

After this not very surprising revelation, I think I can safely say that all of radio is nothing but a vast wasteland of garbage songs. Country radio isn’t the only one lacking substance. However it’s imperative if I point out the big different between both. Country radio and pop radio historically have been viewed completely different by listeners. Pop radio is a mix of several different genres all in one place for casual listeners to hear. Upbeat, fun, party songs are the norm for pop and everyone pretty much knows this. You don’t hear a lot of songs that you would consider classics get on pop radio today, save for the likes of Adele and Hozier maybe. In years past you had icons like Michael Jackson dominating pop, but I don’t see any singers like Jackson on the horizon.

Country radio on the other hand was always viewed by people as a place to go for songs about life, love and other themes that explore deeper meaning. It was the genre of substance. You could hear a song like Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High On That Mountain” and be brought to tears. George Strait’s “Give It Away” or Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” connected with anyone out there whoever had their heart-broken. Go back a little over ten years and you could hear a song on country radio like Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train” that had a great message to anyone of any age. These are the kind of songs that made country music what it was. It was what made you and me fans of country music.

Now an entire generation views country music as a laughing-stock full of songs about drinking, debauchery and partying. That respect country music once held in popular culture has eroded away. People turn on country radio and don’t even recognize the genre. Some people don’t even turn on the radio. Sure there is plenty of great independent country music out there and sites like this help spread the word of it. But why would people seek it out? After what they hear on country radio, it makes them run away from the genre. They’ve got such a sour taste from country radio that they won’t even try the good country music. Country music fans need something to believe in and hear to reaffirm their faith in the genre. Will we get that before it’s too late? For the sake of country music, I hope so.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Will Hoge will come out with his new album Small Town Dreams next Tuesday. A couple of months ago we got a taste of what’s to come on the album and based on that I’m expecting this to be a good one. Derek will be reviewing this one, as Hoge is one of his favorites.
  • Kristian Bush’s debut solo album Southern Gravity will also be released next Tuesday. The lead single “Trailer Hitch” was a surprisingly good song, so it’ll be interesting to hear what the rest of the album sounds like and whether the sound of Sugarland is evident at all.
  • The third notable release next week and the biggest in the independent realm is Pokey LaFarge’s Something In The Water. This could quietly be one of the best releases in April.
  • On Monday, Jason Isbell tweeted: “New new album is done and mastered.” So maybe we’ll get this sooner than July? I certainly hope so. We should at least hear the first single from it very soon.

Throwback Thursday Song

George Jones – “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” – You know how I was saying up above about how country music was the genre about life and connecting with everyday people? This song articulates that point perfectly. And it’s a song many country fans wonder today.

Non-Country Song of the Week

AC/DC – “Shoot To Thrill” – This is one of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs. The high notes blow me away every time.

Tweet of the Week

Anti-Bobby Bones tweets are always great. He’s another problem hurting country music, but that’s another post for another day.

Two iTunes Reviews That Will Make You Face Palm

Stupid EYB Comment 2


Stupid EYB Comment 3


I’ve been sitting on these gems for a couple of weeks. These were under Eli Young Band’s new EP Turn It On. The first one justifies this terrible EP by saying everyone’s going pop in country, so it’s fine. The other says it’s fine because they wrote all four songs. Here’s an easy way to determine whether or not a song or group of songs suck: people having to list reasons to justify why it’s good. People making excuses for it. A great song speaks volumes on its own merit and doesn’t need to be explained why it’s good.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

48 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: Is Pop Radio Better Than Country Radio Right Now?

  1. dan April 2, 2015 / 11:27 am

    Although I’m firmly on your side and support great country music, and mainly ignore mainstresm radio, Is there any chance there’s a bit of survival bias going on in some discussion of the past? As in sports, where older generations tend to believe their heros and athletes were better, etc. that maybe we’re doing the same with music? There has probably always been great artists like Vince and MJ that you mention, which I agree..But havent the charts also always had the poppier stuff and fluff as well?


    • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 11:47 am

      I definitely think survival bias plays a factor in how fondly we look back at past music. A lot more people appreciate Garth Brooks’ music and some poppier stuff from the 90s now than they did when it was popular at the time. Personally I never had any major issues with 90s country, other than Shania Twain’s music, which I still don’t like. So I think the survival bias is definitely a factor, but it doesn’t completely change the overall view of an era of music. In other words, I think a lot of people looked at the 90s era of country as mostly good at the time and we only look at a little better now due to time passing. I don’t think people will ever look back and say bro country was good. It will still be condemned by many country fans like today, much like many rock fans look at the disco era.

      Based on my experience, yes the charts have always had more fluff stuff with some good songs sneaking in. That’s pretty much been the case forever and is still like this today. The majority of the best music I listened to in 2014 didn’t make the charts.


      • Raymond April 2, 2015 / 6:03 pm

        What do you have against Shania Twains music.


    • Clovis Mello April 2, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      I think this is an interesting discussion point. Certainly, I love MY artists (Alabama, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Earl Thomas Conley, Conway Twitty, etc.) and would love more music that sounds like that. I can see even in my own list artists who previous generations would say “that’s not country.” So, this point is not one that should be dismissed too quickly.

      However, I do believe this goes beyond that. I’m looking for those songs on the radio that I can connect with. There’s been a few songs that have been released in the last few years that I’ve liked, even on pop-country radio. I thought Lee Brice’s “A Woman Like You” was refreshing. After listening to it more, I even like Luke Bryan’s “Do I”. I think it falls more in line with 90’s country messages. For a while, I loved what Blake Shelton put out, but he’s slowly moved more and more to bro-country land with each release.

      The point I’m trying to make is that there are a few songs that are released from time-to-time that I feel mean something. However, they are just not encouraged and are usually drowned out by fluff. I’d love to hear more people’s thoughts on this.


      • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 12:33 pm

        Well tomorrow I take a look at the chart in the 90s and this will demonstrate your point about songs you can connect with not being drowned out by fluff. That’s the problem today. There are some good country songs that mean something still being released like Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got” or Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You.” But they don’t top the chart and are outnumbered by the bad songs. Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line are the ones topping the chart most of the time. Five years ago country radio wasn’t close to being perfect, but people didn’t complain loudly like now because the good stuff still got highlighted enough. Here are the #1 country songs of 2010:

        Sure there are some bad songs in there, but there is a lot of good too. And it still sounded like country music.


  2. Zack April 2, 2015 / 11:37 am

    I don’t follow pop at all so I’ll trust your judgment on that chart. I’ve said it before but I don’t like the pop direction that country is going. Sure it might help financially RIGHT NOW. But what happens when people get tired of this stuff(Because God knows it won’t last, Shit,bro country only lasted really what, 2 years?) Then it hurts the genre financially and also just hurts the reputation. I love the genre and I’ll be damned if I’m going to see it fall for a quick profit. The sad thing is that you never know when the latest catastrophe will strike next. You see guys like FGL and Sam Hunt and think they’re harmless and then all of a sudden, WAM! its just sad….

    I can’t wait for Will Hoge’s album. Derek, since you are a huge fan, what album do you recommend starting with for Hoge? Thanks!
    I have hope for Kristian Bush so hopefully he doesn’t disappoint (like Love and Theft did)

    Love the Jones song, actually the throwback song is always one of my favorite parts. 🙂

    And the Eli Young Band reviews just anger me. This isn’t them at all, and anyone who thinks it is, well sorry interupt, I’ll be over hee listening to some Sturgill, Blackberry Smoke, Lone Bellow…etc

    Also off topic, but I just got a copy of The Lone Bellow’s “Then Came The Morning”. You guys were right its an incredible album!

    Nice work Josh!


    • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 11:55 am

      Trend hopping. That’s all country music has been doing the last several years. They went through bro country, rap country and now metropolitan music. Yes this netted them a nice short term gain, as you said. But there are no long term plans in terms of profit or legacy. Country artists are starting to take notice in the mainstream too, like Love & Theft and The Brothers Osborne. They’re realizing chasing trends is bad and doesn’t really benefit anyone. I think this is why many independent country artists are content to stay independent. They don’t want to get involved with Music Row because they know their careers will be ruined. With the advent of the Internet, many will look back at this time and remember the independent country more than the bro country, despite the latter having much more success now. This goes back to legacy and reputation. History will look more kindly upon Sturgill Simpson than Florida Georgia Line.

      Good to hear! That’s a really great album. I wish more critics would give it attention. I hope this album, along with opening for Eric Church will help net the group more attention.



    • Derek HudginDerek April 2, 2015 / 12:32 pm

      Zack, that’s a tough call to just pick one. DRAW THE CURTAINS is, in my opinion, his most country album with a lot of great, well written songs. Including “Highway is Home” which is a fantastic, Hank Williams esc, country tune. (A favorite Hoge song of mine.) BLACKBIRD ON A LONELY WIRE is more pop country/pop rock, but just so much fun to listen to. It’s an album that, when first released, seemed to be ahead of its time for mainstream country’s sound (before bro-country took over). THE WRECKAGE has ” Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and is a well rounded showcase of what Will is capable of: rock, country, blues, heavy story telling, great writing.


  3. fromthewordsofbr April 2, 2015 / 11:44 am

    My thoughts:

    1. Taylor Swift – “Style” +1
    2. Maroon 5 – “Sugar” -1 (Everything was right until Overexposed.)
    3. Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” +1
    4. Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars – “UpTown Funk!” +1
    5. Pitbull & Ne-Yo – “Time of Our Loves” -1
    6. Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do” +1 (Doesn’t DESERVE to be lumped up with that Fifty Shades of Grey movie. AT ALL.)
    7. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney – “FourFiveSeconds” +1
    8. Natalie La Rose & Jeremih – “Somebody” -1
    9. Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding – “Outside” +1
    10. Ariana Grande – “One Last Time” 0 (Her other stuff is better. This is forgettable.)
    11. Nick Jonas – “Chains” 0
    12. Zedd & Selena Gomez – “I Want You to Know” +1
    13. Taylor Swift – “Blank Space” +1
    14. One Direction – “Night Changes” -5
    15. Robin Schulz & Lillywood – “Prayer in C” +1
    16. Flo Rida, Sage the Gemini & Lookas – “G.D.F.R.” -1
    17. Jason Derulo – “Want to Want Me” -1
    18. The Weeknd – “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” -1 (I also dislike The Weeknd, too, so that’s a double whammy.)
    19. Usher & Juicy J – “I Don’t Mind” 0
    20. Tori Kelly – “Nobody Love” 0

    Final grade for me: -2


    • fromthewordsofbr April 2, 2015 / 11:49 am


      1. “Style” is simply beautiful.
      2. I like their first three albums. But the two after that? NOPE.AVI.
      3. See 1.
      4. It’s awesome in every way possible.
      5. I hate Pitbull.
      6. See 1 and 3.
      7. I kind of like its weirdness.
      8. I hate Jeremih.
      9. I’m simply a sucker for EDM.
      10. It’s just forgettable.
      11. I don’t care for the Jonas Brothers.
      12. See 9.
      13. Has a nice, Lorde-esque trip-hop feel to it.
      15. It’s pretty decent.
      16. It’s a huge pile of crap.
      17. I hate Jason Derulo.
      18. I hate The Weeknd and Fifty Shades of Grey.
      19. See 10.
      20. Meh.


    • ron12274 April 3, 2015 / 11:59 am

      I agree. I like both 50 shades songs particularly Ellies. At least its the same old boring dance stuff like Ariana, Flo, Pitbull, Derulo or Zedd. And so far I’ve been a fan of all 3 of Taylors pop songs, much more than WANGBT. Maroon5’s last 3 songs, Maps, Animal and Sugar have all been pretty bad. I’m amazed I’m not sick of Uptown funk yet. It really is an instant classic and I hope it breaks the Hot 100 record (13 weeks and counting and nothing is close to catching it)


      • fromthewordsofbr June 6, 2015 / 4:29 pm

        Okay, “Nobody Love” is starting to grow on me a lot, so it’s now a -1.


      • fromthewordsofbr June 6, 2015 / 4:30 pm

        The grade for the charts, NOT the song.


  4. Raymond April 2, 2015 / 11:56 am

    Well not my favorite Hodgepodge but still good. I never listen to pop radio except for when I go to dances where they play it at my high school. Fun Fact: First time I heard Uptown Funk what makes you like that song Josh. Anyways I’ve compiled a list of the heroes of country music the good guys. Kacey Musgraves Brandy Clark Kip Moore David Nail Carrie Underwood Ashley Monroe Gary Allan Dierks Bentley Mickey Guyton Reba Gloriana Josh Turner The Band Perry Little Big Town Zac Brown Band Martina McBride Sara Evans Jon Pardi Eric Paslay Jake Owen and Maddie & Tae. Now the Bad Guys. Luke Bryan FGL Thomas Rhett Cole Swindell Colt Ford Canaan Smith Raelynn Easton Corbin Darius Rucker Montgomery Gentry Justin Moore Dustin Lynch Lady Antebellum Rascal Flatts Sam Hunt. Any mainstream artist I didn’t list like Miranda Blake Joe Nichols are neutral.
    Are you guys planning on reviewing Reba’s album and when it comes out Kelsea Ballerini.
    Ok I comment on Country universe and me and a few other had a discussion who’s overall a better artist Josh Turner or Joe Nichols. Who do you guys think is better overall body of work.


    • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 12:02 pm

      I like “Uptown Funk” because of the throwback sound to the heydays of funk. You don’t hear too many funk songs nowadays and Bruno Mars’ style just goes perfectly with funk. It’s a fun song with catchy beats and good lyrics.

      Yep Reba’s album will be reviewed. Ballerini would depend on how many other releases are coming out at the time.

      Josh Turner easily. If you asked this question like ten years ago, it would be a tossup. But Nichols has thrown his credibility out the window the last five years. Each year he releases worse music than the year before. Turner doesn’t have a single song close to the terribleness of Nichols’ “Yeah.” While Nichols has more commercial success, Turner has more critical success, as well as respect.


      • Raymond April 2, 2015 / 12:07 pm

        Well they had the argument saying Josh Turners song Time Is Love was a sellout. They said Joe Nichols best is better than Josh Turners best and that Joe Nichols has only a couple of bad songs with Yeah I just wanted to know your opinion. Who will review Reba’s album and since I thought about it what would be your Top 5 Reba songs since 2007. Bet you can’t come up with 5.


        • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 12:25 pm

          Hahaha! “Time Is Love” was a sellout? That’s crazy talk. I will agree Nichols has the best song amongst the two, at least in singles, with “Brokenheartsville.” But Turner is consistently better across the board. Meanwhile Nichols has songs like “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” “Gimmie That Girl,” “Sunny & 75,” “Yeah” and “Hard To Be Cool.” Three of the five have come out in the last two years. Nichols has been regressing while Turner has stayed consistently good. I can’t believe people think Nichols is better, but I digress…

          Yeah you’re right I can’t come up with top five Reba’s songs since 2007. Her best stuff came in the early 90s in my opinion. I don’t know who will review the Reba album because there are two other important albums coming out that same day (Dwight Yoakam and Zane Williams).


      • Zack April 2, 2015 / 12:47 pm

        Josh, Brokenheartsville > Long Black Train ? Huh, well to each his own I just thought you would have picked that. Anyway Raymond, Turner > Nichols


        • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 12:50 pm

          It’s close. I barely give it to Brokenheartsville because I feel it’s more emotionally connecting than Long Black Train.


    • Lorenzo April 2, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      so Easton Corbin is, according to you, one of the bad guys? dude, I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t like much his new single (even though I firmly believe is not a bad song) but the rest of his stuff is outstanding! just go listen to Tulsa Texas, A Thing for You, All Over the Road, Someday When I’m Old, Leavin a Lonely Town. that’s amazing music man! Easton Corbin is definitely a great artist. and Darius Rucker is a good artist as well, I don’t get all the gate against him. Homegrown Honey is stupid but he’s a plenty of great songs. also, you put Kip Moore among the good guys? really? we’re talking about the man who had the guts to release that something bout a truck garbage. I hate all of his stupid overproduced and boring singles except for I’m to blame. also, his voice is good but it annoys the hell out of me, he’s a rock artist.
      you left the official douchebag jason aldean off of your list. You also forgot Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Billy Currington.


      • Raymond April 2, 2015 / 4:51 pm

        Ok Easton has never been that strong lyrically he always sells himself short he has a great voice but his lyrics are usually boring and cliche and I’m sick and tired of it. I can only go thru mediocre material and songs that don’t grab me till I’m eventually turned off. Oh no I agree with fellow commenter Noah though that All Over The Road was basically pandering if he’s such a great artists than why has he not released one of those better songs off his albums,Darius has never impressed me he ruined Wagon Wheel and every other song has been bland to me and then Himegrown Honey felt like a sad bid to stay relevant. Kip is an acquired taste if you listen to his debut song it’s really solid I’m more than confident Kip released that just to get his name on the board cause the rest of his album was pretty darn good Jason Aldean is not a good guy at all he sucks. Keith Urban Kenny Chesney Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley I think are more good than bad. As for Billy I’m Indiffrent about he’s just been slipping lately with Hey Girl and We Are Tonight. If he continues to go up and do better with Don’t It and further releases he’ll move up. Honestly my opinion thanks for responding.


      • Lorenzo April 3, 2015 / 7:27 am

        Raymond, you should really go listen to Easton’s albums and you may not like them, but that’s undeniably good true country music. and I don’t get why you think he should release better material while kip moore can release bad songs, I actually think every Easton Corbin single (leave Baby be my love song off) is way better than any Kip Moore single (leave his first single, which I don’t know, and I’m to blame off). I’ll try to listen to his record but I’m not sure what to expect. also, Darius Rucker’s new record is great! I like it so much, there’s a lot of good country music in it. I’ve been missing that Frank Rogers/Keith Steggal sound and I’m glad Darius brought it back! I completely agree with you on the others


      • Raymond April 3, 2015 / 7:52 am

        Different strokes for different folks
        Lorenzo here’s the thing Kip at least to me released better singles Darius whatever doesn’t impress me his songs have been too safe and forgetful I’ve expected more out out. Easton’s songs hood production and voice but my gosh their so boring bland and vanilla if he has better material then why doesn’t he have the guts to release it than going with fairly stale safe boring material explain that Easton’s debut song was checklist-y Roll With It and I Can’t Love You Back and Lovin You Is Fun were boring Clockwerk was boring pop-country and well I hate Baby Be My Love Song. That’s the thing he and Darius are so boring with their singles I’m not gonna like an artist if they keep releasing boring bland middle of the road material eventually I’ll get bored and move on to better artists. Kip released to me one godawful song but let me go thru the rest of his discography
        Beer Money. Pretty Dumb but to me this one was catchy as can be.
        Hey Pretty Girl. Simple pure and effective Kip really releases one of his better vocal performances.
        Young Love. Meh I do like the story so I’ll take it.
        Dirt Road. Ok I’ll agree here this to me was an overproduced mess.
        I’m To Blame. To me another solid showing.
        I’m glad you agree with the others.


      • Lorenzo April 3, 2015 / 6:13 pm

        Raymond I don’t think we can agree on this, personally I think Easton’s music is amazing and Darius’ is overall good. I don’t think they can be considered ‘Bad Guys’ because their albums feature solid material and they didn’t build their success on stupid songs. then I can’t make you like them, I don’t want to. but even if you consider them boring this doesn’t mean their impact is bad on country music. I hope we can agree on this.


      • Raymond April 3, 2015 / 6:19 pm

        Ok their impact isn’t bad however I’ll see what Country Perspective says about their albums. If Easton or Darius or both deliver I’ll promote them to good guys however if they don’t deliver I’m done right now their in the middle if they deliver I’ll promote if they don’t then I’m done I’ve had enough safe single releases release better stuff do what Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi did bad lead-off song followed by compelling album Easton nor Darius hasn’t done that if they do well enough I’ll consider them good until then they remain in the middle.


  5. Cobra April 2, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    “Here’s an easy way to determine whether or not a song or group of songs suck: people having to list reasons to justify why it’s good.”

    Love that. I said something similar a few weeks ago regarding country music not having to be defended as country. Go onto Youube videos of Sam Hunt and see his fans try to defend him as country because “the music has evolved.” You don’t see a debate about whether George Strait or Alan Jackson are country…because their music speaks for itself. If there’s a heavy debate if something is country or not, it’s probably because it’s not country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 12:14 pm

      Yep! You can tell a song is great just by listening, not by defenses on YouTube.


  6. bob April 2, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    I haven’t listened to any radio on a regular basis since 1977 when I went from driving to work to taking the railroad (LIRR) and the subway. After that switch, the few times I Iistened to radio was almost exclusively country radio such as Y-107.


  7. Fat Freddy's Cat April 2, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    Two unrelated points:
    1- I agree with your assessment of Pitbull. The first time I ever saw him was in a beer commercial, and I was surprised that he is actually some sort of “star”. I’m not a Taylor Swift fan, but I can understand how some folks could be fans; with Pitbull I totally don’t get it.

    2- Re: the iTunes reviews: I always laugh when I see the word “hater” used by a defender of crap music. However old the writer is chronologically, I can tell that the mental age is 12 or less.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Raymond April 2, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    Ok I heard the funniest thing Brantley Gilbert is Outlaw Country I’ll let you guys respond.


    • Lorenzo April 2, 2015 / 4:47 pm

      Brantley Gilbert is as outlaw country as Willie Nelson is a rapper


  9. Cobra April 2, 2015 / 2:35 pm

    The thing is, any kind of “popular” radio at this point is made for the lowest common denominator of taste. It’s mass-produced, and manufactured with the sole purpose of selling as much, to as many people, as quickly, as possible. And the quicker a song hits number one, the better, because then they can churn out more and more singles.

    It used to be that an album would have a lead single to garner excitement for an album. Now it seems that two singles are released before the album hits shelves (or at least as soon as it hits shelves, the second single is released), and singles are churned out faster and faster.

    It’s all about being the current big thing, not making something of any lasting quality.

    Obviously, there are exceptions to any rule, but this is the general modus operandi of the record industry right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott April 2, 2015 / 3:51 pm

      For the most part I would say this is true. Most artists are focused on their singles rather than the album and as you said it used to be the other way. The instant gratification attitude of people today combined with the speed of availability for music and media has brought this change. Nobody wants to buy albums in the age of iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify. Hence why Garth Brooks created GhostTunes and makes you buy his entire album, which I don’t blame him. I used to never buy albums, but now that’s mainly what I purchase. But back to the album issue. Artists are definitely well aware of this and I can cite numerous examples. You have artists like Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce surprising everyone with their album releases. No announcement, they just drop it. The rap duo Run The Jewels have released both of their albums for free digitally the last two years. Weird Al Yankovic said he’s pretty much done with albums and will now release music when he wants. Instant gratification and the fact people steal music is causing the concept of albums to die. Singles are now the focus because creating an eye catching single is quicker and much easier than creating a great album. Release one huge single and you’re set financially. Look at PSY’s viral hit “Gangnam Style.” And yet country music wants to copy pop. There are so many issues in not just country, but the entire music industry.


  10. Noah Eaton April 2, 2015 / 4:55 pm

    Here’s my Pop Pulse:


    1.Taylor Swift – “Style” 0 (One of her better offerings from “1989”, unlike the lead single.)
    2.Maroon 5 – “Sugar” 0 (Meh, it’s effective for what it is: a harmonious, infectious throwback kind of pop song that sounds modern enough for current ears. Levine is increasingly getting on my nerves as a lead vocalist and the lyrics are all “Been there, said that!”, but all in all it works in what it’s set out to do.)
    3.Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” +1 (Not a huge Sheeran fan, but can’t deny he nails his performance here.)
    4.Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson – “Uptown Funk” +1 (Mark my words: this WILL be the once in a blue moon KC & The Sunshine Band or Sister Sledge generation-defining megahit of this generation. This just absolutely NAILS it as a pop anthem: from Bruno Mars’ charisma delivered in spades, to numerous catchphrases (“I’m gonna make a dragon wanna retire, man!”), infectious beat and epic swell.)
    5.Pitbull & Ne-Yo – “Time of Our Lives” +1 (I’m honestly mixed on Pitbull. He can be absolutely insufferable in terms of recycling the exact same lyrics and interjections for every single song he cuts. But on the other hand, you can’t deny he is loaded with natural charisma and genuinely sounds like he’s having the time of his life on almost everything, too. You can believe what he’s selling because he throws himself into everything with aplomb. It doesn’t change the reality that his lyricism is dumb as sand and often sleazy, but when you have as much energy as Pitbull does and the anthems are basically intended for “Carpe diem!” escapism, you know what? I’ll take it. And this is one of his better songs because he even shows some surprising sensitivity to blue-collar concerns and that his fans are faced with economic struggles: which I kind of appreciated.)
    6.Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do” 0 (I don’t mind this, but it’s also a step down from “Anything Can Happen”, “Figure 8” and “Lights”.)
    7.Kanye West, Rihanna & Paul McCartney – “FourFiveSeconds” 0 (Eh, I fail to see howthis will be “timeless” as Rihanna stated she wants her music to be for her forthcoming album. Still, Rihanna has always sounded better with restraint as opposed to bombast, and I appreciate this step to more maturity.)
    8.Natalie La Rose & Jeremih – “Somebody” 0 (Meh…………’s just………………….there.)
    9.Calvin Harris & Ellie Goulding – “Outside” 0 (I do like the dark edge that Calvin Harris tends to bring to his brand of corporate EDM, and Ellie Goulding actually delivers a stronger performance here than on her own current single I reviewed above. But, at the end of the day……………….Calvin Harris is still Calvin Harris, and doesn’t signify a step in growth as a producer for him.)
    10.Ariana Grande – “One Last Time” 0 (Good vocals, competent production, but ultimately forgettable. More texture in the vein of “Love Me Harder”, please.)
    11.Nick Jonas – “Chains” 0 (It’s not bad, but also feels a bit hollow compared to Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack”, which it’s obviously emulating.)
    12.Zedd & Selena Gomez – “I Want You To Know” -1 (Uggghhhhh, has Zedd ever sounded this sterile?)
    13.Taylor Swift – “Blank Space” -1 (Technically, this gets plenty right, but I can’t help but roll my eyes at the immaturity of Swift’s performance and the lyrics.)
    14.One Direction – “Night Changes” +1 (You know what? I’m no One Direction fan most of the time, but this is actually a pretty good standout that highlights where their potential for more resides in the more understated performance and interesting production flourishes. This has a gravity to it I can’t quite put my finger on.)
    15.Lillywood & Robin Schulz – “Prayer In C” 0 (Not much to say here. It delivers in a club setting, but feels flat on the radio airwaves.)
    16.Flo Rida, Sage The Gemini & Lookas – “G.D.F.R.” -1 (We already had “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo and 2 Chainz. Why exactly do we need a sequel? Oh………………rrrrrrrright……………..because Flo Rida is desperate to get back in the limelight! 😉 )
    17.Jason DeRulo – “Want To Want Me” -1 (Well, what do you expect? Jason Derulo is basically an inferior clone of Usher without the vocal prowess and impressive dance moves, just like Chris Brown. So you get another performance that dreams to reach Usher’s heights but does so much less.)
    18.The Weeknd – “Earned It” -1 (I’m perplexed by this song’s success.)
    19.Usher & Juicy J – “I Dont Mind” -1 (Usher, you’re better than this. Juicy J………..well, you haven’t amounted to much as of late anyway, but yeah………… still suck.)
    20.Tori Kelly – “Nobody Love” 0 (I like her voice, and the production is respectable enough. It just lacks………………..teeth………………….something to ensure some kind of staying power or promise of career longevity.)


    My Pulse: -1

    Sorry, my friend. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you. Corporate country radio is slightly worse than pop radio at the moment. In the margin of error for sure, but yeah…………slightly worse nonetheless! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • NoahHibiscusEaton April 2, 2015 / 4:59 pm

      Correction: The pulse is actually a -2 upon reviewing it, not a -1.

      Still slightly better than the last Country pulse! 😉


  11. Rick April 2, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    Everyone complains about Modern Country by saying “this isn’t country” just because it isn’t the same resurrected music over and over again as if “country music” as a genre isn’t allowed to grow and have metamorphosis and evolve like it’s ALWAYS done. Ask your’e parents and grandparents what they (or others in their generation) thought when Johnny Cash changed the face of country music. Or Waylon Jennings. Or Hank Williams Jr. They got the same treatment you guys are giving FGL, Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, and they’re what you call “real country” (referring to Waylon, Cash, Hank) – but it wasn’t always that way, was it? They weren’t always the idols of country music. They were the outlaws (hence the outlaw movement), the ones ridiculed for not being “true to their country roots” and “ruining country music” by being too much like rock-n-roll and Elvis.

    Tim McGraw got heat for remaking R&B songs and featuring non-country artists. Shania Twain was ripped apart for being “too sexy” in her videos. Even Brooks & Dunn and Garth Brooks were proclaimed to be “not ‘country’ enough” when they were changing the face of country music with their revolutionary sounds. George Strait the proclaimed “King of Country Music” struggled breaking in to the country music scene due to not being country enough. Yet he is the King?

    Even more recently, the great Kenny Chesney met the same resistance because of his unique qualities and what they brought to the table. “Beach party songs aren’t country” one would say about his music – yet he’s a staple in the country music patchwork now some 15 years later. Funny how that works. Someday our children will look at this country music as “old” and and we’ll complain that their artists are ruining country music. But they’re not, they’re just evolving it the way their predecessors did. Why can’t these new refreshing artists allow there musical influences and life experiences play through there music. Change IS NOT a bad thing in country music. I have yet to see a proper definition established for country music that keeps these artists from being considered country.

    I understand if you don’t like their music, I respect that, as much as I listen to Modern Country Music,I listen to more “Traditional” Country music, and I enjoy them both. But just because Country Music has evolved in the direction you did not want it to does not mean you can label them as not being country. All forms of music borrow different aspects of other genres. Why isn’t country allowed to do the same? In my opinion we are seeing the concept of genres dying, simply due to the fact that genres are blending. And I do believe that as country music progresses and changes some people will say they would rather listen to “Bro-Country” than what ever comes next. And believe it or not, artists of the future will say their influences are FGL, Luke, Cole, Sam Hunt, Jason Aldean etc. We are starting to see it now (mostly Bryan and Aldean). Artist in this era have influences ranging from the likes of Cash, Jones, Jennings to Tim Mcgraw, Garth Brooks. Always remember that a majority of the people criticizing this generation are the ones who raised it. To follow their dreams, expand the boundaries, be free, and be who they want to be.


    • Derek Hudgin April 2, 2015 / 11:23 pm

      But Rock and Country share a lot more commonalities than Rap/Hip-Hop and Country. Sure Waylon and his peers pushed Country’s boundaries, but they actually “evolved” country. Sam Hunt doing his R&B/Pop spoken word is not evolving country. It’s pop music mislabeled as country in order to make a quick buck.

      And, regardless of genre, Waylon and Cash actually wrote and recorded good music. Waylon & Willie, especially, made their brand of Country their own “Outlaw” way in order to fight the corporate norms established by Chet Akins at RCA and the label’s competitors. Those same corporate norms are the exact type of music that FGL, Sam Hunt, Cole, Luke etc are making nowadays. So saying Waylon’s different sound of Country is on the same page as FGL’s different sound is incredibly misguided.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Rick April 3, 2015 / 12:08 am

    I see your point Derek, but why does the amount of commonalities between two genres dictate if you can use parts of both to create a different type of music. And who’s to say these modern artists aren’t pushing the boundaries? I love and respect all artists, everyone from Sturgill Simpson and Aaron Watson to FGL and Luke Bryan. But who knows whats ahead for country music. I see these artists that are using parts of EDM, and hip hop as people trying something new, that they may not have heard before. Whether or not it sounds good is up to the listener, there have been traces of rock and other music in country before, why not these genres?

    And saying the music they recorded is good (which in my opinion it is) is rather subjective don’t you think? What one person says is good may not be good to another. And I don’t believe at all that Waylon’s different sound is on the same page as FGL’s but the principle its self is. Country music has been pushed in many directions in its rich history, this is just a new direction that it is going in.


    • Josh Schott April 3, 2015 / 1:18 am

      Whether or not it sounds good is up to the listener

      Bingo! You’ve answer your own point. Music is subjective. You’re free to agree or disagree with fellow fans or reviews on blogs just like this. Nobody is forcing anyone to like the other side’s music. Again music is subjective and the quality of it is in the eye of the beholder.

      As far as pushing country in new directions, I could refer to the demise of rock as a mainstream genre and how it’s different directions led to it’s downfall (hair metal and grunge). But let’s go back to your point about genres blending: “In my opinion we are seeing the concept of genres dying, simply due to the fact that genres are blending.”

      This is true, but also a huge problem. It creates the monogenre problem where the homogenization of music across the board creates music that all sounds the same. Creativity and variety go out the window. Everyone is making music that sounds exactly the same. Trigger at Saving Country Music brilliantly explains this issue, which arose in country music when rap country started to make an impact a few years ago. From the linked piece:

      The problem with the mono-genre, especially for country music is the potential loss of autonomy and control over the music by the genre, both sonically and through the genre’s infrastructure and institutions. During music’s lost decade of the 2000’s when the industry bobbled the move to digitization, country music weathered the storm much better than other genres because it had its own built-in institutions like the CMA and ACM Awards shows, and the Country Music Association itself which unites US radio broadcasters around the country format. And unlike hip-hop or rock and roll, country music is heavily steeped in tradition, with legacy institutions like The Grand Ole Opry acting as pillars for the music. But if the term “country” can’t define a well-recognized sound, it risks diminishing the effectiveness and viability of these country music institutions in the long term.

      There’s a big difference between evolving and losing a genre’s identity. I’m all for new approaches, but some approaches simply don’t work in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin April 3, 2015 / 9:49 am

      Because I don’t think Florida Georgia Line are writing songs like “This Is How We Roll” and “Sun Daze” as a way to push country’s boundaries and evolve the music genre. Sure, they claim that because it’s an easy excuse to hide the truth that all they do it for is money. FGL, Luke, Jason, Cole, Chase all make their labels and themselves a ton of money because they’re willing to record generic music with pandering lyrics and buzzwords. The Least Common Denominator music consumer eats that generic pop music up like it’s cake. Florida Georgia Line doesn’t combine country and rap and say thinks like “holler at your boy” or “where my favorite shades and get stoned” to evolve country. They do it because it makes money and gets airplay and helps them get headlining shows quicker than many of their country peers.


      • Raymond April 3, 2015 / 10:09 am

        Which Chase Rice or Bryant heh. You can add Raelynn and Thomas Rhett Justin Moore to those just their for the money.


  13. Pete Marshall April 3, 2015 / 12:46 am

    First of all I can’t stand pop music crap, and second Sam Hunt, Cole Swindell, Chase Rice, and Florida Georgia Line need to move to pop A.S.A.P.


  14. Jay April 3, 2015 / 1:31 am

    Honest question: what is preventing us, the people who listen to music, support it and those artists who still take pride in their own music, from establishing our own radio stations and playing that music on airwaves? Already you can make your own playlists on Pandora and Spotify, so what real obstacles, besides financially, are there that prevent the creation of a new radio station playing true, honest to God country music. Grassroots movement. Here and on several other websites like SCM people constantly talk about the sad state of country and the inability of good artists to get their music played on radio, or mainstream artists forced to not release those album cuts that ARE meaningful and actually country. I’m sorry to rant but this has been on my mind for a while now and im curious as to your opinions.


    • Derek Hudgin April 3, 2015 / 9:40 am

      I’d be all for that, Jay! I think the main obstacle would be music royalties. Granted, you could just subscribe to Spotify playlists. But I think as long as you can financially support something like that, there really isn’t anything stopping someone from creating CASH FM or something like that.


      • Jay April 3, 2015 / 11:57 am

        My thought about subscribing to playlists is that for alot of people, including me, you don’t get anything but FM radio in a car lol. Anyways, thanks for a response!


      • Derek Hudgin April 3, 2015 / 1:41 pm

        Well yeah, I’d love to hear more classic country on the radio. Fortunately, where I live there are two options for this, which is fantastic. I’d love for it to be more nationwide though. I hope that maybe as the backlash against current country continues, then more and more might start popping up


  15. NoahHibiscusEaton April 3, 2015 / 3:55 am

    I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that I didn’t read the initial disclaimer carefully regarding your decision to only take a pulse of the Top 20 of each chart, because your Top 20 Country Pulse came out at zero (mine came at -2, so the two formats actually come to a dramatic tie when only counting the Top Twenty of each one! ) ).

    Therefore, the only true way to settle the score is to grade the Top Forty of each chart in Mediabase form! 😉

    (Disclaimer: I’m copying and pasting the Mediabase airplay chart for each format as it stands on Thursday, April 2nd)


    *****Mainstream Top 40 (Pop)*****

    1: Maroon 5: “Sugar”: 0
    2: Taylor Swift: “Style”: 0
    3: Ellie Goulding: “Love Me Like You Do”: 0
    4: Ed Sheeran: “Thinking Out Loud”: +1
    5: Mark Ronson: “Uptown Funk (Featuring Bruno Mars)”: +1
    6: Pitbull: “Time Of Our Lives (Featuring Ne-Yo)”: +1
    7: Natalie La Rose: “Somebody (Featuring Jeremih)”: 0
    8: Rihanna: “FourFiveSeconds (Featuring Kanye West & Paul McCartney)”: 0
    9: Ariana Grande: “One Last Time”: 0
    10: Calvin Harris: “Outside (Featuring Ellie Goulding)”: 0
    11: Zedd: “I Want You To Know (Featuring Selena Gomez)”: -1
    12: The Weeknd: “Earned It”: -1
    13: Nick Jonas: “Chains”: 0
    14: Jason Derulo: “Want To Want Me”: -1
    15: Flo Rida: “GDFR (Featuring Sage The Gemini)”: -1
    16: One Direction: “Night Changes”: +1
    17: Tori Kelly: “Nobody Love”: 0
    18: Vance Joy: “Riptide”: +1
    19: Kelly Clarkson: “Heartbeat Song”: 0
    20: Tove Lo: “Talking Body”: 0
    21: Sam Smith: “Lay Me Down” 0
    22: Walk The Moon: “Shut Up And Dance” +1
    23: Lillywood & Robin Schulz: “Prayer In C”: 0
    24: Nicki Minaj: “Truffle Butter (Featuring Drake & Lil Wayne)”: -1
    25: Usher: “I Don’t Mind (Featuring Juicy J)” -1
    26: Echosmith: “Bright”: +1
    27: Meghan Trainor: “Dear Future Husband”: -1
    28: Lunchmoney Lewis: “Bills”: +1
    29: Chris Brown & Tyga: “Ayo”: -1
    30: Imagine Dragons: “I Bet My Life”: 0
    31: Who Is Fancy: “Goodbye”: 0
    32: David Guetta: “Hey Mama (Featuring Nicki Minaj & Afrojack)”: -1
    33: Fifth Harmony: “Worth It (Featuring Kid Ink)”: -1
    34: DJ Snake & Aluna George: “You Know You Like It”: 0
    35: Iggy Azalea: “Trouble (Featuring Jennifer Hudson)”: +1
    36: Ne-Yo: “She Knows (Featuring Juicy J)”: -1
    37: George Ezra: “Budapest”: +1
    38: Life Of Dillon: “Overload”: +1
    39: Shaggy: “I Need Your Love (Featuring Mohombi, Faydee & Costi)”: 0
    40: Andy Grammer: “Honey, I’m Good”: 0




    1: Zac Brown Band: “Homegrown”: +1
    2: Sam Hunt: “Take Your Time”: -1
    3: Chris Young: “Lonely Eyes”: 0
    4: Darius Rucker: “Homegrown Honey”: -1
    5: Lee Brice: “Drinking Class”: 0
    6: Dierks Bentley: “Say You Do”: +1
    7: Cole Swindell: “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”: -1
    8: Keith Urban: “Raise ‘Em Up (Featuring Eric Church)”: 0
    9: Tyler Farr: “A Guy Walks Into A Bar”: +1
    10: Billy Currington: “Don’t It”: 0
    11: A Thousand Horses: “Smoke”: -1
    12: Kenny Chesney: “Wild Child (Featuring Grace Potter)”: 0
    13: Brett Eldredge: “Mean To Me”: 0
    14: Tim McGraw: “Diamond Rings & Old Barstools (Featuring Catherine Dunn”: +1
    15: Easton Corbin: “Baby Be My Love Song”: -1
    16: Jake Owen: “What We Ain’t Got”: +1
    17: Eric Paslay: “She Don’t Love You”: +1
    18: Florida-Georgia Line: “Sippin’ On Fire”: -1
    19: Carrie Underwood: “Little Toy Guns”: +1
    20: Miranda Lambert: “Little Red Wagon”: -1
    21: Jason Aldean: “Just Gettin’ Started”: -1
    22: Brad Paisley: “Crushin’ It”: -1
    23: Kelsea Ballerini: “Love Me Like You Mean It”: -1
    24: Canaan Smith: “Love You Like That”: -1
    25: Joe Nichols: “Hard To Be Cool”: -1
    26: Frankie Ballard: “Young & Crazy”: 0
    27: Michael Ray: “Kiss You In The Morning”: -1
    28: Little Big Town: “Girl Crush”: +1
    29: Gloriana: “Trouble”: 0
    30: Josh Turner: “Lay Low”: +1
    31: Brantley Gilbert: “One Hell Of An Amen”: 0
    32: Rascal Flatts: “Riot”: 0
    33: Dustin Lynch: “Hell Of A Night”: -1
    34: Kip Moore: “I’m To Blame”: 0
    35: Eric Church: “Like A Wrecking Ball”: 0
    36: Maddie & Tae: “Fly”: 0
    37: Mickey Guyton: “Better Than You Left Me”: +1
    38: Chase Rice: “Gonna Wanna Tonight”: -1
    39: Reba: “Going Out Like That”: -1
    40: Jason Aldean: “Tonight Looks Good On You”: -1




    Well, there you have it! Pop radio is at least slightly better than country radio is in the meanwhile! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Applejack April 3, 2015 / 7:05 am

    I give “FourFiveSeconds” a +1.


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