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…
- A Thousand Horses – “Smoke” 0 (Up 1)
- Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
- Billy Currington – “Don’t It” -1 (Down 2)
- Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” +1
- Blake Shelton – “Sangria” -1 (Up 2)
- Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” -1
- Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns” +1 (Down 2)
- Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -1
- Tim McGraw & Catherine Dunn – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” +1 (Up 1) [Best Song]
- Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (Up 2)
- Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You” -1 (Up 4)
- Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 (Up 1)
- Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 (Up 1)
- Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” 0 (Up 2)
- Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” 0 (Up 2)
- Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” -1 (Up 2)
- Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” 0 (Up 3)
- Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” -1 (Up 1) [Tied for Worst Song]
- Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” -1 (Up 5)
- Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -1 (Up 5) [Tied for Worst Song]
- Rascal Flatts – “Riot” 0 (Up 1)
- Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” -1 (Up 1)
- Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” -1 (Up 4)
- Maddie & Tae – “Fly” +1 (Up 4)
- Luke Bryan – “Games” -1 (Down 4)
- Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -1 (Up 4)
- Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame” 0 (Up 2)
- Sam Hunt – “House Party” -1 (New to Top 30) [Tied for Worst Song]
- Jake Owen – “Real Life” -1 (New to Top 30)
- Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” -1 (New to Top 30)
Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” went recurrent and fell from #9 to out of the top 30.
Keith Urban and Eric Church’s “Raise ‘Em Up” went recurrent and fell from #11 to out of the top 30.
Gloriana’s “Trouble” fell from #26 to out of the top 30.
The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -14
The pulse continues to plunge! The pulse drops to -14 this week, down from -10 last week. I’m pretty sure this four point drop is the largest ever in the history of the Pulse. The cause of this was three songs dropping out of the top 30 this week. First was Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar,” which was easily the best single Farr has ever put out. It had a good run at the top and was expected to fall out, especially since Farr is pushing his new single “Withdrawals” (spoiler alert: I don’t like it). Keith Urban and Eric Church’s “Raise ‘Em Up” was the second song to fall out and like Farr’s aforementioned single, it had a run at #1 and is now gracefully bowing out. The final song to fall out of the top 30 was Gloriana’s “Trouble,” which never escaped the twenties and really never had a shot of moving up. It was a decent song that was better than most songs on the chart (not saying much now).
The three new songs to join the top 30 are all atrocious in their own special way. First is the return of Sam Hunt and his new single “House Party.” I think you pretty much know by now how his music sounds. It will inevitably reach #1 and Hank turns over in his grave one more time. Jake Owen’s new
Sugar Ray ripoff single “Real Life” gets a hot-shot debut at #29. It was the most added song at radio this week and also had the most increased audience. What was that about making better music, Jake? Oh yeah, you completely forgot. The last new song is Chase Rice’s “Gonna Wanna Tonight.” Just what we needed: Chase Rice returning to the top 30. It was so nice that he avoided the top 30 for the last several months. I’m starting to think country radio is playing a cruel, sick joke on everyone.
The new #1 on this week’s chart is A Thousand Horses’ “Smoke.” Not a big surprise, as I called this last week. It replaces Billy Currington’s “Don’t It,” a completely forgettable and bad song. “Smoke” may get a two-week run at the top, but no more as Florida Georgia Line’s “Sippin’ On Fire” is guaranteed to get a #1 spot because country radio is always making sure they’re kissing Florida Georgia Line’s feet. Once these two songs get their #1 achievement, “Wild Child” should be #1. After that is an endless parade of bad songs taking their turn at #1. What? You think “Little Toy Guns,” “Love Me Like You Mean It,” “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” and “Girl Crush” are going to reach #1? Don’t be silly. They’re either too female or too country to reach that spot. Remember to reach #1 you must have a penis, sing terrible music, can’t sound country and have to have many stupid clichés in your songs. This is based on Keith Hill logic.
The biggest gainers this week were Sam Hunt’s “House Party,” which moved up six spots from #4 to #28, Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night” moved up five spots to #19 and Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn” moved up five spots to #20. Just like clockwork, more shit rises to the top. The biggest losers this week were all three songs that fell out of the top 30. As for songs I see leaving the top 30 soon, Billy Currington’s “Don’t It” will probably get another week on the chart before going recurrent. Luke Bryan’s “Games” will fall off the chart next week, as his new single will now be getting all of the attention. Other than that, I don’t see a huge shakeup like this for a while.
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 Reba’s “Going Out Like That,” Cole Swindell’s “Let Me See Ya Girl,” Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him” and Hunter Hayes’ “21.” I think Reba caught what Rascal Flatts had when they were frozen at #31 with “Riot.” One of these weeks she’ll break through. “Let Me See Ya Girl” kind of got off to a slow start, but it’s picking up steam now and will join the rest of the trash in the top 30 before you know it. Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him” has slowly been rising and I haven’t heard this song yet. I just know they have the dumbest album cover of the year. Hunter Hayes’ “21” had a big drop this week, but that was expected after a hot debut. It hasn’t even went for adds yet, so it’ll rebound quickly I’m sure. His brand of pop music is exactly what country radio wants. I’m really not sure what to say anymore about country radio. I’ve run out of things to describe its awfulness. So I’ll use this gif to sum up my thoughts:
As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s chart in the comments below.