The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [July 11]

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. Blake Shelton – “Sangria” -1 (Up 1)
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns” +1 (Up 1)
  3. Tim McGraw & Catherine Dunn – “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” +1 (Up 2) [Best Song]
  4. Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You” -1 (Up 2)
  5. Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” -1 (Down 1)
  6. Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -1 (Down 5)
  7. Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 
  8. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (Up 1)
  9. Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” (Up 1)
  10. Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” -1 (Up 2)
  11. Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  12. Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 (Down 1)
  13. Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” +1 (Up 2)
  14. Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” 
  15. Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” -1 (Up 1)
  16. Sam Hunt – “House Party” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  17. Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” 0 
  18. Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -1 (Up 1) [Tied for Worst Song]
  19. Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” -1 (Up 1)
  20. Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -1 (Up 1)
  21. Maddie & Tae – “Fly” +1 (Up 1)
  22. Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″ -1 (Up 7)
  23. Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” -1 
  24. Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame”
  25. Jake Owen – “Real Life” -1
  26. Cole Swindell – “Let Me See Ya Girl” -1 (Up 1)
  27. Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love” 0 (New to Top 30)
  28. Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  29. Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” -1 (Down 3)
  30. Reba – “Going Out Like That” -1 (Down 2)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -15

The pulse improved one spot this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney & Grace Potters’ “Wild Child” went recurrent and fell out of the top 30 from #8.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Lady Antebellum’s “Long Stretch of Love”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Blake Shelton’s “Sangria”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” – Up 7 from #29 to #22
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love” – Up 4 from #31 to #27
  • Seven Songs Gained Two Spots

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” – Out of the Top 30
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” – Down 5 from #1 to #6
  • Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” – Down 3 from #26 to #29

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It”
  • Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song”
  • Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “Anything Goes”
  • Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day”
  • Parmalee – “Already Callin’ You Mine”
  • Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer”

Note – I decided to change the format to something more readable and manageable. Also I changed my mind on two songs, which explains the one point improvement. Zac Brown Band’s “Loving You Easy” was changed to a +1 and Eric Church’s “Like A Wrecking Ball” was changed to a 0. I gave both songs further listens and I’ve warmed up on them.

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

23 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [July 11]

  1. ron12274 July 1, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    Carrie’s unfortunately way down in mediabase spins now so I don’t think #1 is a possibility anymore. This week would’ve been her chance. I think Sangria gets a second week and then probably Jason Aldean leapfrogs Tim Mcgraw

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Raymond July 1, 2015 / 1:18 pm

    Surprised on a lot of this. First off Carrie has a number 1 on MB but it’s dropping she already sent out a thank you add. Also Tim song is also falling. Easton’s going for #1. Fail miserably. Cam should enter next week. Suprised you didn’t include Big & Rich’s latest for new entries. Happy to see Lady A in a 0. I thought u said it wasn’t good hence I thought a -1. It is sad to see Fly as the inly positive outside the Top 20. Jana Kramer should get in the Top 30 soon. Along,with Kenny’s new one. What do you think of Save It For A Rainy Day.

    Like

  3. Noah Eaton July 1, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Yeah, I don’t think “Like A Wrecking Ball” ever deserved the -1 allotment to begin with.

    “Lovin’ You Easy” is kind of a high 0 to my ears, much like “Wild Child” is. Where it’s highly unlikely I’ll change the station whenever it comes on, but it falls short of leaving a lasting impression on me with it being lyrically lightweight and short in runtime.

    *

    We are in DIRE need of a chart cleanup at this point.

    Remember all that talk about virtually anything that makes the Top Ten having a guaranteed Top Two finish? Well, I’ve seen so many struggling singles just stick it out as of late despite lowly digital sales and going unbulleted here and there.

    Why is “Baby Be My Love Song” still on the chart when it has no realistic shot at #1? “Love You Like That” has been around for over forty weeks now. “Crushin’ It” has long surpassed its natural peak. “Hell Of A Night” is one of the worst-selling songs in terms of sales-to-airplay ratios (even though it has finally picked up over the past couple of weeks), and somehow that’s STILL climbing too. It is beyond me why Maddie & Tae continue to push “Fly” as the release that will anchor the release of their delayed album when it has been limping all along and is hardly moving the needle at all in sales. And “Gonna Wanna Tonight” has done virtually nothing with sales, especially when you consider the fact the non-single “Ride” has outsold it.

    It is beyond me what’s going on here.

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    • Josh Schott July 1, 2015 / 2:11 pm

      It is beyond me what’s going on here.

      This perfectly sums up my thoughts on mainstream country music in 2015. It’s a cluster-f*ck that I don’t think anyone understands, including the people at country radio. They’re simply throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond July 1, 2015 / 2:27 pm

      Fly is doing fine. Why release a new song 8 weeks from the album release. Fly should get Top 20 soon and should get a Top 15 when all is said and done. I don’t see why they don’t push it. Dot Records only has Drake White (Steven Tyler is promotional). Maddie & Tae song is doing fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Noah Eaton July 1, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        It’s too late now, but they should have pulled the plug on “Fly” at the beginning of June.

        A three-month window would have been enough to trot out a more energetic offering for this time of year and re-ignite interest and hype in the duo. Instead, “Fly” remains among the weaker sales-to-airplay ratio releases to date and has been limping for weeks on end now at airplay.

        Of course, their opening sales frame would have been better if they released the album around the time “Girl In A Country Song” peaked. Now, that feels like a distant memory. I haven’t even heard the song on either of Portland’s two stations since early May.

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      • Raymond July 1, 2015 / 4:09 pm

        Sure Fly isn’t quite the strongest of sellers but look at weak sale songs like Easton’s. Given the chart clog below. I think it was best to stick with Fly even then. I feel like once Fly hits the Top 20 the sales will pick up.

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    • Lorenzo July 1, 2015 / 4:47 pm

      I don’t think Fly is performing all that bad on sales. it’s not good but it’s not bad either. it’s at #21 on Mediabase and #178 on iTunes. meanwhile Frankie Ballard with Young and Crazy is #14 on Mediabase and #158 on iTunes. also, compare Fly to the following songs on Mediabase: “I’m to Blame” (#284 on iTunes), “Wild Child” (#218), “Gonna Wanna Tonight” (#275) and “Long Stretch of Love” (#615).
      also, it’s performing quite well on youtube. remember that the Hot Country Songs Chart is calculated weekly by collecting airplay data from Nielsen BDS along with digital sales and streaming (which is defined by Youtube and Spotify). the official video for “Fly” has 3.304.119 views. compare this to most of country music videos and this is quite good for a top 30 song. just look at this:
      #5 Baby Be My Love Song 2.390.111 views
      #10 Kiss You In The Morning 316.655 views
      #12 Crushin It 1.145.907 + 582.364 views (yeah, Brad has uploaded two identical videos)
      #13 Lovin You Easy 954.084
      #14 Young and Crazy 1.225.973
      #15 Hell of a Night 799.900
      #18 Crash and Burn 1.332.241
      #19 Buy Me a Boat 113.021
      #20 Lose My Mind 1.963.892

      Fly is performing better than what I expected and I really hope it will reach the top 10

      Like

      • Noah Eaton July 1, 2015 / 8:24 pm

        Oh, don’t get me wrong. Frankie Ballard, Lady Antebellum and Chase Rice’s singles have sold quite pitifully.

        But here’s where I don’t think that necessary makes where “Fly” is at any better.

        Firstly, “Fly” is the direct follow-up to their big event, history-making single. No matter what, it doesn’t look good for any respective artist when a follow-up to a buzzworthy song is snail-pacing along. Country radio is all about relationships, and after initially forging some connections with many radio programmers and all, their confidence is going to be shaken somewhat if this doesn’t perform as well. That will only ensure an even slower run for whatever they choose to release next, unless it has explosive digital sales out of the gate.

        Secondly, you ultimately make more money off of sales than streaming. I completely get why streaming plays a large part in chart methodology because it’s a true metric of a song’s popularity. But labels also know that streaming isn’t a sustainable money-maker. They know streaming is mostly effective as a means of making the general listening public more aware of an artist, and hoping the means result in an end that is purchasing the single.

        “Fly”, in spite of its heavier YouTube streaming, isn’t leaving many listeners interested enough to purchase the single as well. That doesn’t bode well for their forthcoming album if they’re banking on a robust opening week.

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  4. Zack July 1, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    I still don’t understand the appeal of “Like A Wrecking Ball”. It’s the same damn thing as “Burnin’ It Down” to me. I know we all have our opinions and all, but I just don’t see how people think a slow song about vigorous sex is any way, shape, or for redeemable.

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    • Noah Eaton July 1, 2015 / 3:44 pm

      Well, you basically answered your own question seeing that “Burnin’ It Down” has been one of the biggest digital hits of this past year, for better or worse (in our ears, obviously worse) ! 😉

      Like

      • Zack July 1, 2015 / 5:43 pm

        Well I meant more for critical acclaim. While everyone (rightly) attacked “Burnin’ It Down”, it seems that a lot of people are on board with this one, and I just fail to see why is all.

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  5. Lorenzo July 1, 2015 / 3:09 pm

    Josh, Carrie is never ever going to hit #1 since she is solidly losing spins on mediabase (today it fell from 7733 to 7396). also, Crushin it is being pushed up and it’s gaining spins on mediabase. This week it got +241 spins which is a good gain.
    I’m really sad to tell you that Tim McGraw has peaked at #3 with Diamond Rings and Old Barstools. today it fell from 7731 to 7428 spins, and this is a very big loss so it will never ever reach #1.
    meanwhile the official country music disgrace is going to get a multi week #1 with is stupid and atrocious tonight looks good on you.I need Maddie & Tae to reach the top 10 soon, I’m so tired of fucking country radio. fly is amazing and it should move up faster.

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    • Josh Schott July 1, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      Yeah I’ve been looking at the numbers this afternoon and I saw the bad news for Carrie and Tim. I write this on Monday nights, so that will explain why I thought Carrie still had a shot at #1.

      I’m not sure though if “Fly” has what it takes to reach the top ten sadly. I see it peaking in the teens similar to Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got.”

      Like

      • Noah Eaton July 1, 2015 / 3:46 pm

        “Fly” just isn’t moving the needle with sales, and has been limping for weeks on end on the airplay chart.

        I’m absolutely suspecting a Top 15 peak as well. They should have pulled the plug on this at the beginning of June and release a more up-tempo song in the vein of “Sierra”.

        Like

      • Raymond July 1, 2015 / 4:05 pm

        Josh don’t feel down. Carrie got the MB #1. So it counts for something.

        Like

      • Lorenzo July 1, 2015 / 4:21 pm

        I know “Fly” will unlikely reach the top 10, but I still hope country radio will give that song a chance. I think it’s the best Top 30 hit after Diamond Rings and Old Barstools and I incredibly miss the fiddle in country music, so I want that song to be very succesfull.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Noah Eaton July 1, 2015 / 8:15 pm

        I’ve said this before, but “Fly” is just passable to my ears. Vocally they’re great and the instrumentation is pleasant, but lyrically it’s heavy-handed on platitudes and cliches and just sounds too boring altogether.

        I’d say the best Top Thirty hit below Tim McGraw at the moment is “Girl Crush”. “Fly”, “Lovin’ You Easy” and “Young & Crazy” are all kind of lumped together in the mid-range below that.

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    • ron12274 July 1, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      Weird, when I look at mediabase it still has Tim up 299 spins. Is there another airplay monitor chart? I look at the 7 day rolling chart

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      • Raymond July 1, 2015 / 4:20 pm

        No thats based on how many spins he has gained since 1 week ago today. Go to kworb radio go to the country section. You can see Tim is losing spins quickly. They did a Big Machine push to solidfy a Top 3 peak. With Big Machine now only having The Cadilac Three song out you’d figure Danielle Bradberry should have a new song out soon.

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      • ron12274 July 1, 2015 / 4:25 pm

        Ahh, thank you. Never knew this

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  6. Derek Hudgin July 1, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    If I were to judge the charts based on the little time I spend listening to country radio in the car, Id assume Frankie Ballard had the number one song with “Young and Crazy.” I must turn on the radio every time that song is next on the line-up. I hear it all the time

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