The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 18]


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

Rascal Flatts’ “Riot” fell from #29 to out of the top 30 (#31).

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -4

The pulse falls a spot from -3 last week to -4 this week. Unlike last week, there was little movement in the top 30 this week. The only song to drop out is Rascal Flatts’ “Riot,” which is now back at #31 on the chart. Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds humor in the fact that this song has found its way back to #31 after being stuck there for like a month. You gotta have a sense of humor when looking at this chart, especially when you see the song that replaced “Riot.” The new addition to the top 30 is Jason Aldean’s “Tonight Looks Good On You.” For those who haven’t heard it yet, it’s simply a rehash of “Burnin’ It Down.” It’s been rocketing up the chart and should continue this upward trajectory.

The good news is for the second week in a row Zac Brown Band remains at the top with “Homegrown.” It’s the first song to spend multiple weeks at the top of the airplay chart since February 21. Right behind it, just as we all expected, is Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time.” The million dollar question: Does “Homegrown” have enough support to stay at the top for one more week and hold off Hunt? I think it’s possible and I look forward to seeing what happens. Another interesting development is Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do” making a big jump up to #4. With “Lonely Eyes” peaking in front of it, “Say You Do” will be in the discussion for the #1 spot soon too. So two traditional leaning country songs will take on the monster pop artist Sam Hunt.

As for songs I see dropping out next week, Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” and Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” should be out. Miranda Lambert’s “Little Red Wagon” should drop out soon too. The biggest losers this week were both Rucker and Swindell’s aforementioned songs dropping four spots and Joe Nichols’ “Hard To Be Cool” dropping three spots. The biggest gainers this week were Jason Aldean’s “Tonight Looks Good On You,” which moved up seven spots from #37 and was the most added song of the week and Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do,” which moved up three spots.

One 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 Rascal Flatts’ “Riot” (or it will be stuck at #31), Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night,” Maddie & Tae’s “Fly” and Blake Shelton’s “Sangria.” “Riot” has to get back in the top 30, right? By process of elimination it should at least get back in. As I said last week, Lynch is loved by radio and should be in the top 30 soon with ease. “Fly” has been on the chart now for 11 weeks and has steadily worked its way up. With several songs on their way out in the top 30, it should give room for Maddie & Tae’s latest single. Shelton’s “Sangria” was the second-most added song this week and I guarantee it will be in the top 30 next week. I think it’s a pretty lackluster single choice by Shelton, but then again I’m just happy he didn’t choose “Buzzin’.”

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

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

  1. Raymond April 8, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    Well I wish Jason Aldean would go back to songs like this

    Anyways Lay Low and Hard To Be Cool along with Homegrown Honey and Ain’t Worth The Whiskey should also drop out look for a potential housecleaning next week. Even though she didn’t gain that much in places Kelsea Ballerini had a pretty god week she’s closing in on passing Miranda & Brad. If I was Miranda is release a more radio-friendly song and same thing with Brad cause neither song is gonna last a ton much later. Ha! A newcomer is kicking too veterans butts. Don’t be mad but I do kinda request Kelseas song biggest guiltiest pleasure since Taylor Swift and Our Song which I don’t know how anyone can hate that song

    Anyways I’m still gonna fight for Trouble to at least get Top 20 I know it’s a lost cause but I really wanna new album from them. Speaking of which I heard this album cut from Gloriana from their sophomore album online when I was bored I think you guys might enjoy it.

    Let’s hope Fly can get in soon Maddie & Tae are the only duo I can love right now. Striking Matches won’t count until they get a bigger label or chart.


  2. Scotty J April 8, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    Lower down it’s worth noting that ‘Biscuits’ is still treading water just outside the top 40 and ‘Hangover Tonight’ dropped a few places this week (while barely keeping it’s bullet). Gary Allan has never been an act that races up the chart so it may not be over for this one but it’s kind of interesting that his much discussed ‘sellout’ song hasn’t exactly come out blazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond April 8, 2015 / 2:30 pm

      Scotty J. Biscuits has just started along with Hangover Tonight both should at least come close to the Top 40 there’s no immediate song passing them now. For now. But with Darius Rucker and Cole Swindell leaving Joe Nichols and Miranda Lambert are also close to leaving with Joe looking more than likelyKacey and possibly Gary could wiggle their way into the Top 40 but that’s only if Gary can pass Parmalee. Right now Gary’s Bullet isn’t great it’s in the negative so we will have to see but Gary next week looks to be at least on the cusp of the Top 40. As for Kacey she is just gonna have to take her time sure it’s a lead off single for her upcoming album but she’s not an A-lister who can dole out hits on the radio if she’s gonna make it to like the Top 20 it’s gonna be a long journey. But Kacey song Biscuits and Hangover Tonight have only been on the charts for about a month or so it’s nothing to fret over.


      • Scotty J April 8, 2015 / 2:56 pm

        First of all, I’m not fretting over anything and they are already close to the top 40 and will probably make it in the next few weeks. But my point was that many have said that Musgraves first single from her new album will be key since she has received so much industry love and so little radio love. And then there was much consternation when ‘Biscuits’ was first heard that it was more of the same that radio was lukewarm about in the past. So I was simply pointing out that this single is tracking about like her last few which have been bogged down in the thirties and forties on the chart. As for ‘Hangover Tonight’ as I said many described this as Gary Allan selling out for radio airplay and so far it is behaving about like many of his past singles.

        These things are really bigger than whether some song will pass another on the charts it’s more about where two interesting acts are going with their music right now.


    • Raymond April 8, 2015 / 3:05 pm

      Actually Scotty Kaceys new song is actually doing better than most of her other songs still not A-List but it’s doing fine. Kacey Musgraves Biscuits still sound pure country it’s just a little underwhelming lyrically so Kacey is still sticking to her roots. As for Gary Allan it’s not selling-out until we get the album I feel like Gary is simply just releasing something to kinda get his name back on the radar I’m more than confident Gary will still release sold material so really. Besides one bad song shouldn’t mean we should all be like Gary Alan sold out until the album comes out he still hasn’t sold out at least not to me.


      • Scotty J April 8, 2015 / 3:22 pm

        Saying it’s doing better than her other singles isn’t saying much though. This is an act that has been featured on numerous awards shows including the Grammys and has many glowing articles written about her in mainstream media outlets so personally I don’t think her radio performance is coming anywhere near matching the hype. She should be compared with the success of Lambert, Swift and Underwood not Kelsea Ballerina and Raelyn so to me it’s interesting that these two things are so out of whack.

        As for Gary Allan I will repeat again I was simple observing that many were saying that this song was solely designed for radio success and it was even implied by his production team that this was true and yet he is not seeing any more success than with his better past material.


    • Raymond April 8, 2015 / 3:40 pm

      Kacey gets hype more for her subject material I don’t think anyone really expects for Kacey to break out on radio more so digitally is more where she is a force. Kacey is more of a B to C artist for radio so these are probably exceeding typical radio reactions

      As for Gary Allan I think the reason his song is going so slow is well cause of his age. Before somebody says what about Tim McGraw Kenny Chesney Reba or Keith Urban, Gary never really a radio force. He’s not an A-Lister like them where he can’t just reliably put stuff out and expect a hit that’s why his career is dwindling and no amount of safe radio-friendly material I feel will save it. Sure he might get the occasional Top 20 but overall Gary’s in the last stages of his career

      I never wanted to get you mad. Just trying to explain the entire situation. No offense.


      • Scotty J April 8, 2015 / 3:58 pm

        Not mad, not even close. Just felt like you were arguing against points I wasn’t making.

        Many people have tried to make the point that Musgraves is or at least should be the next big female star and for that to happen she needs to have radio success it’s just how it works in country music.

        And with Gary Allan that was basically my point he has never been a top lister but a lot people were saying he was chasing trends in an effort to be in line with what’s big on radio right now. Also to be fair he did have a #1 on his last album on both the radio chart and the mongrel chart so he isn’t that far from being relevant.


    • Raymond April 8, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      Ok sorry you mentioned these songs so I figured I’d give you and basically everybody a gist of how there doing. Maybe if Kacey was a blonde she would have more success. She’ll be big…….. critically though so there not wrong just Kacey just killed her chances at radio though basically with Follow Your Arrow great song but it was to risqué to play on the radio.

      As for Gary and that previous Number 1. Different chart time FGL just broke out Luke Bryan hadn’t her released Crashes My Party and we didn’t yet have Cole Swindell and Chase Rice (we did have Thomas Rhett but he didn’t quite become HUGE). Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain was not only radio friendly but it sold very well digitally and that’s what Gary’s other songs now lack strong digitally and he just doesn’t appeal I feel like to a lot of fans the way unfortunately Luke Bryan FGL and Cole Swindell do. Different times.


      • Scotty J April 8, 2015 / 4:19 pm

        OK one final response. Yes, ‘Every Storm’ was radio friendly and I think that is exactly why it was decided to record ‘Hangover Tonight’ the way they did because they wanted another radio hit which has been my point all along. And maybe it still will be a hit but if it is it’s going to be one of these 30-35-40 week deals just like all of his past hits.

        Musgraves was struggling at radio before ‘Arrow’ so that is not the only reason for her radio issues. She has been a rarity in mainstream country music in recent years where a major label artist has received much hype but little radio success and that makes her a very interesting performer for me. Can or will she be both a media darling and a radio success?


  3. Pete Marshall April 8, 2015 / 8:59 pm

    Sam Hunt please go away and take Florida Georgia Line, Rhett, and Swindell with you too. I am glad “homegrown Honey, and that stupid Little Red Wagon going down the charts.


  4. Zack April 8, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    Here’s my rankings

    The +1’s

    Say You Do
    Drinking Class
    Raise Em’ Up
    A Guy Walks Into A Bar
    Wild Child
    Diamond Rings……Barstools
    She Don’t Love You
    Little Toy Guns
    Girl Crush
    Lay Low
    One Hell Of An Amen

    The 0’s:
    Lonely Eyes
    Ain’t Worth The Whiskey
    Don’t It
    Young & Crazy

    The -1’s
    Take Your Time
    Homegrown Honey
    Sippin’ On Fire
    Baby Be My Love Song
    Little Red Wagon
    Crushin’ It
    Love Me Like You Mean It
    Love You Like That
    Kiss You In The Morning
    Hard To Be Cool
    Like A Wrecking Ball
    Tonight Looks Good On You

    And I’ll be! That makes my score a 0! Haha I have no pulse!


  5. Pete Marshall April 8, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    By the way Florida Georgia Line are mentoring American Idol contestants tonight.


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