The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 6]

Billy Currington Don't It

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 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. Billy Currington – “Don’t It” -1 (Up 1)
  2. A Thousand Horses – “Smoke” (Up 1)
  3. Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire”  -1 (Up 1)
  4. Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” +1 (Up 2)
  5. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns” +1 (Up 2)
  6. Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” -1 (Up 2)
  7. Blake Shelton – “Sangria” -1 (Up 3)
  8. Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -1 (Up 3)
  9. Tyler Farr – “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” +1 (Down 8)
  10. Tim McGraw & Catherine Dunn – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” +1 (Down 1)
  11. Keith Urban & Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up” (Down 6)
  12. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (Up 1)
  13. Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 (Down 1)
  14. Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 
  15. Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You” -1 
  16. Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” (Up 1)
  17. Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” (Down 1)
  18. Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” -1 (Up 1)
  19. Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” -1 (New to Top 30)
  20. Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” (Up 1)
  21. Luke Bryan – “Games” -1 (Down 1)
  22. Rascal Flatts – “Riot” (Up 4)
  23. Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” -1 (Down 1)
  24. Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” -1 (Down 1)
  25. Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -1 (Down 1)
  26. Gloriana – “Trouble” (Down 1)
  27. Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” -1 
  28. Maddie & Tae – “Fly” +1 
  29. Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame”
  30. Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -1 

Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You” went recurrent and fell from #18 to out of the top 30.

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -10

Double digits! The pulse drops to -10 this week, down from -8 last week. This is no surprise, as I predicted this to happen. One song fell out of the top 30 this week and it was a great one. Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You” put up a valiant effort to last in the top 30 as long as it did and this week it finally lost the fight it was destined to lose. I mean an actual country song stands no chance against the parade of crap floating around on country radio. Quality isn’t allowed on country radio today. The song that replaces it is what country radio is looking for and that song is Luke Bryan’s “Kick The Dust Up,” which debuts at #19. It was the most added song of the week and had the most increased audience of the week. I was close on my prediction last week, as I said it would debut around #25. This song is going to plague country radio all summer long.

Billy Currington’s “Don’t It” is this week’s new #1 song on the chart. It replaces last week’s top song, Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar.” This is now Currington’s tenth #1 song. It will only get a one week run at the top, as A Thousand Horses’ “Smoke” isn’t too far behind. It’s got a sizable enough lead on Florida Georgia Line’s “Sippin’ On Fire” that it could get a two-week run at the top. Once Florida Georgia Line and Kenny Chesney get their one week runs at the top, it gets interesting. The big question will be can Carrie Underwood finally get an airplay #1? Blake Shelton’s “Sangria” is moving up quick enough that it could block “Little Toy Guns” from the top spot. We’ll have to wait and see.

The biggest gainers this week were Rascal Flatts’ “Riot,” which moved up four spots from #26 to #22, Blake Shelton’s “Sangria” moved up three spots to #7 and Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It” moved up three spots to #8. The biggest losers this week were Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You,” which fell out of the top 30 completely, Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” fell eight spots to #9 and Keith Urban and Eric Church’s “Raise ‘Em Up” fell six spots to #11. As for songs I see leaving the top 30 soon, “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” and “Raise ‘Em Up” should both be gone next week. I also expect Luke Bryan’s “Games” to fall out now that “Kick The Dust Up” is here. Gloriana’s “Trouble” is hanging on by a thread and should be gone relatively soon. Another song I’m keeping an eye on is “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools,” which curiously lost airplay this week. It wasn’t much, but I’m a little concerned. It may have already peaked because its way “too country” for the radio.

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 Chase Rice’s “Gonna Wanna Tonight,” Hunter Hayes’ “21,” Reba’s “Going Out Like That” and Sam Hunt’s “House Party.” Chase Rice’s “Gonna Wanna Tonight” continues to hang around just outside the top 30, along with Reba’s “Going Out Like That.” You gotta think both will bust through to the top 30 sometime. Hunter Hayes just released “21” and it had a big debut at #32 on the chart. Just what we needed: more teeny pop music on country radio. Gah! And of course, right on cue, Sam Hunt’s new single is rising like a hot potato and is poised to dominate like all of his previous singles. I would love to know how much money gets exchanged under the table to get this shitty music on the radio and get it passed off as country music. Any human with working ears could figure out this shit isn’t country at all. For those who defend it, you can take your evolution argument and shove it up your ass. The race to the bottom continues on country radio for another week.

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

36 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 6]

  1. Raymond May 27, 2015 / 1:15 pm

    Oh Josh it’s only gonna get worse ring the housecleaning bell on the charts Tyler Keith are for sure leaving Gloriana basically has no shot and Tim McGraw is on his way out. Plus don’t expect Reba too ever get Top 30 she’s too old and too good for country radio. So the pulse with the barrage of new songs coming out and those leaving. It could be a -16. Ouch! But Congrats to Kelsea for having the first Top 10 for Black River and on her debut song nonetheless

    Ok so I’m assuming

    Little Toy Guns vs Sangria
    You’d take Little Toy Guns in heartbeat.


    • Josh Schott May 27, 2015 / 1:25 pm

      Yes, Little Toy Guns easily. I want it to reach #1.


      • Raymond May 27, 2015 / 1:27 pm

        Better hope for A MB only #1 Easton and Blake are closing in fast and I don’t know how much longer it can last.


  2. Zack May 27, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    Ha! You know Josh, the one thing I’ve learned from this site is to just simply ignore the radio, after all, in due time this shit will collapse. I’m honestly glad we got a double digit negative score this week. Perhaps the more this shit gets pushed, the sooner the bubble will burst. Seriously between Luke Bryan’s new song to Jake Owen’s new one I’m fed up with the crap that gets a free pass. I will say that I find it ironic that the most +1’s are in the top 10.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin Davis May 27, 2015 / 5:22 pm

      And not just Jake Owen’s new single — even Randy Houser’s new single, “We Went,” is following the same trends. Houser’s single is probably the worst of all, because it combines Thomas Rhett’s funk with the standard laundry list of bro-country cliches. And Owen’s new single is just playing straight out of the Sam Hunt playbook. It’s a repeat of “Leave the Night On.”

      And, yet, Owen and Houser both had two of my favorite singles this past year. It’s like a betrayal, albeit entirely predictable. I didn’t think it was possible, but it appears that 2015 will be even worse than 2014 for country radio. I was actually optimistic toward the beginning of the year, with Church’s “Talladega” and McGraw’s recent singles and Dierks riding high. But, now, this is just depressing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • theknightswhosayni4 May 27, 2015 / 5:40 pm

        Jake and Randy putting out crap kills me more than anything else on Country radio. Because these guys both have some of the most incredible voices in Country music and some of the most Country songs that have hit radio in recent years. Randy’s last CD was fantastic. Jake’s wasn’t as good as some of his older ones, but he’s got talent and there have been gems on every one of his CDs. I heard about 15 seconds of Jake’s new song today and just turned it off in disappointment. All I can say is that I am so glad I found this site when I did. I’m about done with Country Radio. It’s a shame.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pete Marshall May 28, 2015 / 12:53 am

        I just heard both Jake Owen’s and Randy Houser’s new song and they are both terrible. Jake Owen “Real Life” is crappy and Randy Houser ” we went” is so bro-country as I get out. I am going to listen to old country now after I puke after listening those 2 shitty songs.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Scotty J May 27, 2015 / 3:09 pm

    I see the Steven Tyler song completely dropped off the top 60 from #33 last week.

    This shady payola like system has totally corrupted the airplay charts. At this point anybody could get a high debut on the country airplay charts if they have a label with an ‘arrangement’ with iheart.

    And sadly nobody in power seems to care.


    • Josh Schott May 27, 2015 / 3:31 pm

      Yes I noticed that too. He had a ton of hype and promotion behind it, so the high debut wasn’t a big surprise. I knew it would drop because songs with this much hype always drop the week after debuting so hotly. But out of the top 60? That threw me off. I’m not so sure we’ll see him in the top 60 again either. Steven Tyler may be a line that many listeners feel country radio shouldn’t pass, despite the fact that there are even worse songs on the chart right now.


      • Scotty J May 27, 2015 / 11:37 pm

        One of the interesting things is that for all the attention that these country enterlopers from other genres get very few of them have had any success. I would say that Darius Rucker is the only one in the last fifteen years or so that has actually built a career with sales and airplay at country after crossing over. Most of the rest have found no traction (Bob Seger) to mild success (Sheryl Crow) and more often they just become punch lines.

        Also, as you mentioned some of these received great hype but in the end even the idiot gatekeepers of mainstream radio haven’t bought in. An example would be the Motley Crue tribute thing and the Justin Moore version of ‘Home Sweet Home’ which debuted high and then hung around the thirties for months before disappearing for all times.

        So in this particular case the hype has far exceeded the actual impact.


      • darkhornetlsu May 28, 2015 / 3:02 pm

        Steven Tyler is a line they don’t want to cross, but playing Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran is fine? Ironic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scotty J May 28, 2015 / 3:14 pm

        Age probably has something to do with it also. The young demo they crave likes Swift and Sheeran while Tyler looks like that creepy guy down the block.


  4. NoahHibiscusEaton May 27, 2015 / 5:43 pm

    There’s no way A Thousand Horses is going to block Florida Georgia Line from the top for one specific reason: they share the same label group.

    “Smoke” will get to the top first, but you can bet they’ll see to it “Sippin’ On Fire” takes command the following week. If anything, I’m more curious to see how “Wild Child” moves in the coming week; considering the ridiculous gains it has picked up this past week.

    “Diamond Rings & Old Barstools” is less easy to predict. It’s clear the Sandy Hook Promise scrutiny hasn’t hurt McGraw’s career at all, and as of late radio has a tendency to push almost ANYTHING that makes the Top Ten to the Top Three. But this could prove a rare exception like “Cop Car” was.

    It’s depressing seeing “She Don’t Love You” go. But, the writing was on the wall for a month now and it was just needlessly taking up chart space without any determination for greater gains. Still, it doesn’t diminish how successful this release has been, and managed to both outsell as well as outperform “Song About A Girl” in terms of chart longevity.

    To quote Maroon 5’s embarrassing new pop single in the context of what to expect from country radio in terms of quality this summer: “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf*****”.


  5. Pete Marshall May 27, 2015 / 8:49 pm

    Why you guys don’t like “baby be my love song” and “Sangria” so much. What’s wrong with those songs I know guys have your opinions but I like those songs.


    • Josh Schott May 27, 2015 / 9:22 pm

      “Baby Be My Love Song” is a bro country song. “Sangria” is cheesy and underwhelming.


      • Pete Marshall May 27, 2015 / 9:42 pm

        Thank you very much Josh I need to listen those two songs carefully to change my mind.


      • Raymond May 27, 2015 / 10:12 pm

        Really minus the Dixie cup line Baby Be My Love Song works for a decent love song. Sangria to me works bee cause of the emotion Blake puts into it.


    • NoahHibiscusEaton May 28, 2015 / 2:40 am

      “Baby Be My Love Song” is a blatant, formulaic and outright embarrassing capitulation to dying radio trends that is bereft of any authenticity whatsoever. And coming from the mouth of someone who was hyped as the George Strait of this generation upon his arrival, there’s absolutely no defending that song.

      However, I don’t mind “Sangria” at all. I actually prefer it slightly over “Lonely Tonight” because of the ambiguity in the watery production. I personally give it a moderate 0-range score; held from a +1 only because it’s still very much in Shelton’s “safe” wheelhouse even if it’s one of his more competent performances.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ron May 28, 2015 / 10:01 am

      I actually really like Sangria. The video and the chorus are cheesy for sure but I like the arrangement and the almost dark qualities it has


  6. Pete Marshall May 28, 2015 / 12:31 am

    That’s why I like those 2 songs because Easton’s “Baby be my love song” is a very good love song and I don’t think it’s bro-country and I don’t like Dixie cup line and I like Blake’s song “Sangria” is a very good song. I like the melody of the song that’s my opinion and I would give both songs 10/10 +1.


  7. Pete Marshall May 28, 2015 / 12:38 am

    On your comment about Sam Hunt being country I know few people I know thinks that Sam is country. My opinion just like you guys that Sam Hunt is pop.


  8. bob May 28, 2015 / 9:00 am

    Wish Eric Paslay had been replaced by Striking Matches but I guess there was no chance of that ever happening. Looking at the chart is not encouraging. Even the songs given a +1 that remain on the chart do not impress me much. I wouldn’t call any of them a great song.


    • Raymond May 28, 2015 / 9:14 am

      Dude striking matches won’t chart don’t expect them to. Also why would you expect their album to be in the Top 25 for the albums. Sales drop once an album is out they’re not popular because they don’t have a good label. Ok honestly I get so tired of every one of your comments being about Striking Matches or the songs from the 60s or 70s some of these songs are actually good if you give it a try. Just stop repeating the same type of artists again and again. Ok!


      • bob May 28, 2015 / 10:49 am

        It’s very simple Raymond. If you don’t like my comments don’t read them.


      • Raymond May 28, 2015 / 10:58 am

        It’s also simple Bob quit repeating yourself it gets annoying after a while trust me I’m trying to change it.


      • Scotty J May 28, 2015 / 11:04 am

        Says the person who mentions Gloriana and Kelsea Ballerina in 95% of their comments even in totally unrelated posts.


      • Raymond May 28, 2015 / 11:19 am

        Hey I’m working on that I’ll only post if neccessarily Deal?


      • Scotty J May 28, 2015 / 11:22 am

        Do whatever you want I don’t care I just found it odd for you to criticize someone else for doing something that you do far more often.


      • Raymond May 28, 2015 / 11:27 am

        Look I’m criticizing the fact that bob just seems to never give songs many listens to songs like he only has a select group of,songs and only listening to once he passes judgement that’s what bugs me is he only listens to it once. Plus at times his comments come off a little mean look at Frankie Ballard Young & Crazy review and what he says there that comes off pretty mean.


      • Josh Schott May 28, 2015 / 11:43 am

        Raymond, please be civil and not act so petulant please. If Bob is only interested in certain artists, that is his prerogative. I’m pretty sure you’re the only one on here who likes Kelsea Ballerini and nobody is giving you shit about it. You prefer pop country more, whereas Bob prefers something more traditional. If you can’t be civil and respectful towards others when having a difference opinion, I will take action. This is a warning.


      • Raymond May 28, 2015 / 11:50 am

        I’m sorry Josh about this I promise it won’t happen again. Sorry crabby day today.


    • Josh Schott May 28, 2015 / 11:39 am

      Yes the +1s remaining aren’t great, just barely +1s. I would pick Carrie’s as the best, just because of the deeper theme. Even it has a pop production.


      • Raymond May 28, 2015 / 11:40 am

        Tim McGraw’s even I thought you loved that song.


      • Scotty J May 28, 2015 / 11:48 am

        Maybe you should designate every week what you think is the best song and the worst in the top 30. You could come up with some clever titles for the best and worst songs from that particular chart week.

        For example this week I think the Tim McGraw song is the best and in my opinion the Thomas Rhett song is the worst. Of course the competition for the worst song would be fierce.


        • Josh Schott May 28, 2015 / 11:50 am

          That’s a good idea. I might consider doing it. Picking the worst will be hard though. Haha!


      • Ron May 28, 2015 / 12:32 pm

        I nominate Crushin’ It or Buy Me A Boat

        Liked by 1 person

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