The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 27]

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. Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” +1 (Up 1)
  2. Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -1 (Up 3)
  3. Blake Shelton – “Sangria” -1 (Up 1)
  4. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns” +1 (Down 1)
  5. Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” -1 (Up 1)
  6. Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire”  -1 (Down 5)
  7. Tim McGraw & Catherine Dunn – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” +1 (Up 2) [Best Song]
  8. Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You” -1 (Up 2)
  9. Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 (Up 2)
  10. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (Up 2)
  11. Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 (Up 2)
  12. Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” (Up 2)
  13. Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” -1 (Up 2)
  14. Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” (Up 2)
  15. Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  16. Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” (Up 2)
  17. Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” -1 (Up 2)
  18. Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” -1 (Up 2)
  19. Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  20. Rascal Flatts – “Riot” (Up 2)
  21. Sam Hunt – “House Party” -1 (Up 4) [Tied for Worst Song]
  22. Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” -1 (Up 1)
  23. Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -1 (Up 3)
  24. Maddie & Tae – “Fly” +1 
  25. Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame” (Up 2)
  26. Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” -1 (New to Top 30)
  27. Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” -1 (Up 1)
  28. Cole Swindell – “Let Me See Ya Girl” -1 (Up 2)
  29. Reba – “Going Out Like That” -1 
  30. Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” -1 (New to Top 30)

A Thousand Horses’ “Smoke” went recurrent and fell from #7 to out of the top 30.

Billy Currington’s “Don’t It” went recurrent and fell from #8 to out of the top 30.

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -15

The pulse falls one spot from -14 last week to -15 this week. There were two songs that went recurrent and fell out of the top 30 this week. The first was A Thousand Horses’ “Smoke,” which had already had a nice run on the chart and reached #1 two weeks ago. It was just an average song. The other song was Billy Currington’s “Don’t It,” which also reached #1 on the chart three weeks ago. Both singles were on the way out and it’s no surprise they fell out of the top 30 this week. The two new songs to enter the top 30 absolutely suck. The first is Keith Urban’s new monstrosity of a song, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” It’s one of the worst songs of the year and in my opinion the worst single of Urban’s career. The second new song is Dan + Shay’s “Nothin’ Like You.” If you don’t remember these two, they look like they were plucked out of a J Crew catalog and were handed guitars by country music executives. Don’t you appreciate how country music is offering not just one type of crap, but a variety of crap? Bro country, disco country, straight pop music, boy band music, loud noises and more only on country radio!

The new #1 song this week is Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter’s “Wild Child.” I’ll be honest this song hasn’t aged as well for me. It’s barely a +1 and the bar being lowered so much helps. Let’s just say this: I was very kind giving this song a +1. As for what song will be the next #1, I think the logjam behind it has sorted out and we now have a clear picture of what’s going to happen next. And I’m not happy with the order. Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It” is set to be the new #1 next week and to me this just feels like another low point for country music in 2015. This is a straight pop song. Don’t give me this crap about it’s just nice to see a female artist top the chart either. I want quality, male or female, topping the chart. This isn’t quality. “Sangria” will be the top song after that and then if we’re lucky Carrie gets to #1. But I just have a bad feeling in my gut that they screw her over yet again. I wouldn’t be surprised.

The biggest gainers this week were Sam Hunt’s “House Party,” which moved up four spots from #25 to #21, Kelsea Ballerini’s “Love Me Like You Mean It” moved up three spots to #2 and Brett Eldredge’s “Lose My Mind” moved up three spots to #23. The biggest losers this week were both songs that fell out of the top 30, along with Florida Georgia Line’s “Sippin’ On Fire,” which fell five spots to #6. As for the songs I see leaving the top 30 soon, “Sippin’ On Fire” should be gone next week. So make sure you enjoy a Florida Georgia Line-free week, one of the very little silver linings you’ll get from the chart. “Wild Child” will begin making its way out next week too. Easton Corbin’s “Baby Be My Love Song” is definitely peaking and is another song that should be on its way out soon also. Other than that I don’t see any other songs dropping out soon.

None 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 Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him,” Jake Owen’s “Real Life,” Lady Antebellum’s “Long Stretch of Love” and Parmalee’s “Already Callin’ You Mine.” I’m pretty shocked Dan + Shay hopped over Old Dominion and made the top 30 before them. “Break Up With Him” is just the type of trash country radio loves right now, so it should definitely be in the top 30 next week. Jake Owen’s “Real Life” made a small rebound this week and will be back in the top 30 within two weeks. Lady Antebellum’s “Long Stretch of Love” is just behind Old Dominion in airplay and should be in the top 30 within a few weeks. Finally the last song I see making it in the top 30 soon is Parmalee’s “Already Callin’ You Mine.” I have yet to review Parmalee on the site and I’ve been holding my thoughts in on them for a while. So you’ll hear how much I hate this group when I review this song. In the words of Bon Jovi, “ooooooooh we’re halfway there….” to the worst possible score the pulse can get (by the way I bet we’ll get a country album from them soon too).

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

10 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 27]

  1. Raymond June 17, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    Well I am happy that Kelsea Ballerini is getting a #1. She will be the first since Carrie un October 2012 Josh I still think it is pop country. To me she is pop-country. But I will say this it is not a fact that she is just pop. To others she is country. But I will save that for later. Can you at least admit what Kelsea Ballerini is about to achieve is at least impressive even if you do not like the song.
    Also Josh did you see who is gonna be the Next On The Verge.


    • Josh Schott June 17, 2015 / 3:30 pm

      I’ll give you that it is impressive for a debut single from a small label from a female artist to land the #1 spot on the airplay chart. That in itself is an accomplishment that Ballerini, her label and her fans can be proud of and tout. What I’m curious to see how well the followup single performs. It will determine whether or not this is a fluke or the start of bigger things to come for Ballerini.

      Yes I saw Cam’s “Burning House” is the next On The Verge song. Pretty happy about hearing this. A good song and a talented artist. Cam definitely brings some needed quality to country radio.


    • ron12274 June 18, 2015 / 10:21 am

      The first solo woman to hit #1 with her debut single in 10 years since Carrie/Jesus take the wheel.
      I also agree about Wild Child, Its just not a good enough single to listen to over and over again. It’s certainly better than 75% of the remainder of the top 30 but mostly forgettable.

      I just noticed that Anything Goes is the next single from FGL and getting airplay already so should debut soon. Haven’t heard the song but checked out the lyrics and I think reading them made my eyes bleed. I shudder to think how bad the song must be with lyrics like these:

      Lime on the rim of that dixie silver
      Smokin up a faded out 4×4
      Girls headin off to the river, yeah
      Victoria’s Secret aint a secret no more


  2. John in Georgia June 17, 2015 / 2:13 pm

    Only disagree with you on two songs. I’d give “Like a Wrecking Ball” a 0 (borderline +1), even though the song isn’t country in the least bit. I’d also drop “Riot” to a -1. Maybe I’m showing my decade-old Rascal Flatts bias, but it’s still a struggle for me to listen to thirty seconds of Gary LeVox’s vocals.

    I also originally graded “Sangria” as a 0, but it loses any charm it had after repeated listens. The song has an “Achy Breaky Heart” quality to it, an annoying earworm that just won’t go away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. petemarshall724 June 17, 2015 / 10:43 pm

    Wow country music is getting worse every week now by releasing bad or so called country songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cobra June 18, 2015 / 10:35 am

    Actually Josh, we were already given a “country” album by Bon Jovi a few years back. It was called “Lost Highway.”
    And no, there was nothing particularly country about it, though I will admit to liking a few songs on the album.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria June 18, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    I thought it might be an interesting thing to do to get a pop country fan’s current pulse, just to see how different it would be. So I asked a pop country fan that I know to rate the songs and here’s their pulse:
    Wild Child -1 “Too boring,” apparently
    Love Me Like You Mean It +1
    Sangria +1
    Little Toy Guns 0 “Not country enough.” Hahahaha! Compared to the rest of the chart…
    Baby Be My Love Song 0
    Sippin’ On Fire +1
    Diamond Rings and Old Barstools 0 Also “boring”
    Tonight Looks Good On You 0
    Love You Like That +1
    Girl Crush -1 I guess people still think this is a “lesbian” song…sigh
    Crushin’ It -1
    One Hell of an Amen 0
    Kiss You In the Morning +1
    Young & Crazy +1
    Kick the Dust Up +1
    Loving You Easy +1
    Hell of a Night 0
    Like a Wrecking Ball +1 They think this is a sexy, romantic song. Shoot me.
    Crash & Burn 0
    Riot -1
    House Party +1 Rabid Sam Hunt fan…
    Buy Me a Boat 0
    Lose My Mind +1
    Fly +1 Decent judgement there at least
    I’m To Blame 0
    John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 0
    Gonna Wanna Tonight -1 They actually admitted that Chase Rice sucks. Yes!
    Let Me See Ya Girl +1
    Going Out Like That -1 I quote: “Old people shouldn’t sing.”
    Nothin’ Like You +1
    Total pulse: +8 I’m honestly kind of shocked. I thought it would be a higher score than that. But for the most part they were critical of the actually GOOD songs: Wild Child, Little Toy Guns, Diamond Rings and Old Barstools, Girl Crush…they even hated Riot. And of course they loved all the pop songs apart from Carrie’s (naw, nobody likes those stupid deep-themed songs).
    It’s really just laughable that people like this.


    • Josh Schott June 18, 2015 / 5:59 pm

      Wow! That’s just…something. Thanks for sharing this!


    • Derek Hudgin June 19, 2015 / 8:59 am

      Holy cow! That’s interesting to say the least. I guess the saving grace is at least that fan recognizes how awful Chase Rice is….

      “Not Country enough” for Little Toy Guns…but Sam Hunt gets a +1? That’s beyond my comprehension skills.


      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria June 19, 2015 / 11:50 am

        I know, right? Hypocritical.


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