The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 1]

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. Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You” -1 (Up 1)
  2. Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” (Up 3)
  3. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush” +1 (Up 1)
  4. Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” -1 (Up 2)
  5. Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” -1 (Down 4)
  6. Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  7. Blake Shelton – “Sangria” -1 (Down 4)
  8. Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” (Up 1)
  9. Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” +1 (Up 1)
  10. Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” -1 (Up 1)
  11. Sam Hunt – “House Party” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  12. Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” -1
  13. Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -1 (Up 1) [Tied for Worst Song]
  14. Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” 0 (Up 1)
  15. Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” -1 (Up 1)
  16. Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -1 (Up 1)
  17. Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″ -1 (Up 1)
  18. Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” -1 (Up 3)
  19. Maddie & Tae – “Fly” +1 
  20. Jake Owen – “Real Life” -1 
  21. Cole Swindell – “Let Me See Ya Girl” -1 (Up 1)
  22. Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame” (Up 1)
  23. Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day” 0 (Up 4)
  24. Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  25. Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” -1 (Down 1)
  26. Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love” (Down 1)
  27. Florida Georgia Line – “Anything Goes” -1 (Up 1) [Tied for Worst Song]
  28. Cam – “Burning House” +1 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  29. Big & Rich – “Run Away With You” +1 (Up 1)
  30. Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer” 0 (Re-Enters Top 30 This Week)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -13

The pulse improved one spot this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Easton Corbin’s “Baby Be My Love Song” went recurrent and fell from #7 to out of the top 30. Finally!

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brothers Osborne’s “Stay A Little Longer”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of An Amen”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day” – Up 4 from #27 to #23 (Most Added Song of the Week)
  • Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of An Amen” – Up 3 from #5 to #2
  • Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” – Up 3 from #21 to #18

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Easton Corbin – “Baby Be My Love Song” – Out of the Top 30
  • Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” – Down 4 from #1 to #6
  • Blake Shelton – “Sangria” – Down 4 from #3 to #7

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Blake Shelton – “Sangria”
  • Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That”
  • Maddie & Tae – “Fly”
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over”
  • Parmalee – “Already Callin’ You Mine”
  • Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy”
  • Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town – “Smokin’ And Drinkin'”

Notes:

  • Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” has appeared to peak at #3 and I am confident in saying it won’t reach #1 on the chart. There are too many fast rising songs behind it. Brantley Gilbert’s big push solidified this too.
  • I see “Crushin’ It” hanging on longer and will probably move up the chart once some of these heavy hitters’ singles get their run at the top.
  • I think Maddie & Tae’s “Fly” is completely screwed. Look at the songs above it and below it. They have no chance in hell of getting beyond the low teens. It was still a better run than many expected.
  • Reba’s “Going Out Like That” quietly went recurrent this week after falling out of the top 30 last week. It feels like it was on the chart forever. I guess a majority of the country music audience felt the same way I did about it, which is pretty meh and uncaring about it. The good news is she has a bevy of great songs to choose from off of her album as the next single.

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 [August 1]

  1. Raymond July 22, 2015 / 1:21 pm

    I think Fly is fine. The digital sales while not stellar are decent. Besides Kenny and FGL Maddie & Tae are fine. I think Kip Moore is the one to worry his sales are far worse.

    Like

  2. Derek Hudgin July 22, 2015 / 1:46 pm

    I hope Lady Antebellum wisens up for their next single. They have a couple good options on 747, but their follow ups to “Bartender” have flopped badly. “Lie With Me” or maybe even “747” might fare well, and it’s right in their wheelhouse.

    Then again, if they flop with 3 straight, maybe they’ll stop trying to be hip and aim for more of a sustainable pop country sound.

    Like

    • Raymond July 22, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      My advice take some time off like a year like Kenny Chesney. Then come back with a strong Hillary Scott led song since NYN Bartender and Downtown Just A Kiss not only their biggest hits. But features more Hillary. She’s the face. Also keep pop-country sound. I blame Freestyle for this.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Zack July 22, 2015 / 3:35 pm

    It’s a shame about “Girl Crush”. As a buddy of mine pointed out, it’s sad when the biggest hit of the year can’t get to #1, and yet a newcomer like Canaan Smith whose single has been out for over a year and whose album has had abysmal sales can still get #1.

    Anyway here’s my Top 60 Pulse:

    1. Tonight….. -1
    2. One Hell Of An Amen +1
    3. Girl Crush: +1
    4. Kiss You In The Morning: -1
    5. Love You Like That: -1
    6. Kick The Dust Up: -1
    7. Sangria: 0
    8. Young & Crazy: 0
    9. Loving You Easy: 0
    10. Crushing It: -1
    11. House Party: -1
    12. Hell Of a Night: -1
    13. Crash & Burn: -1
    14. Like A Wrecking Ball: -1
    15. Buy Me A Boat: -1
    16. Lose My Mind: -1
    17. John…. : -1
    18. Gonna Wanna Tonight: -1
    19. Fly: +1
    20. Real Life: -1
    21. Let Me See Ya Girl: -1
    22. I’m To Blame: +1
    23. Save It For A Rainy Day: 0
    24. Break Up With Him: -1
    25. Nothin’ Like You: -1
    26. Long Stretch Of Love: +1 (total guilty pleasure)
    27. Anything Goes: -1
    28. Burning House: +1
    29. Run Away With You: 0
    30. Stay A Little Longer: +1
    31. Already Callin’ You Mine: -1
    32. I’m Comin’ Over: +1 (but barely)
    33. I Got The Boy: +1
    34. Better Than You Left Me: +1
    35. Country: 0
    36. 21: -1
    37. It Feels Good: -1
    38. Smoking and Drinking: -1
    39. Southern Style: -1
    40. I Love This Life: -1
    41. Little Bit Of You: -1
    42. 35 MPH Town: -1
    43. This Ain’t No Drunk Dial: 0
    44. Trans Am: -1
    45. Drinking Town….. : 0
    46. We Went: -1
    47. Riser: +1
    48. Dibs: -1
    49. White Lightning: -1
    50. Tomorrow Tonight: 0
    51. Love Is Your Name: +1 (yeah….)
    52. Withdrawals: +1 (yeah…..)
    53. That Don’t Sound Like You: -1
    54. Jim & Jack & Hank: +1
    55. On To Something Good: 0
    56. Backroad Song: -1
    57. Crazy Too: ? (The only one I haven’t heard)
    58. Move On: -1
    59. That Look: +1
    60. Headphones: -1

    Overall Grade: -19

    If anone has questions as to why I graded what I did, fire away.

    Also, have you guys ever thought of grading a Texas chart and comparing to a mainstream one? Might be fun to do sometime!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott July 22, 2015 / 4:00 pm

      Yeah “Girl Crush” has been the hottest song of the year and the best selling, yet it won’t get an airplay #1. Pretty pathetic. Then again that’s country radio for you.

      I’ve actually thought about grading the Texas chart and something I’m still considering.

      Like

      • Nadia Lockheart July 22, 2015 / 7:51 pm

        As much of an unmistakable shame as that is, I’m choosing to take a more optimistic view here.

        As much as I have persisting criticism surrounding the mongrel Hot Country Songs chart in its current inception due to 1) its allowance of airplay and streaming that isn’t endemic to the country format and 2) not going by the same recurrent rules as the airplay charts………………..I have to say the chart has nonetheless taken on a growing importance in recent months in that, when we don’t have to put up with crossover airplay factoring into the equation and all…………………it actually serves as an effective tool of measurement as to any single’s broader cultural impact.

        It’s all but certain that “Girl Crush” is going to wind up the biggest hit country single of 2015 when all other factors beyond airplay are accounted for. It is easily the #1 country single of 2015 in terms of total sales, and although “Take Your Time” presently has the edge in streaming…………….that gap is only going to be narrowed throughout the remainder of 2015 in that you can bet, come award show season, that “Girl Crush” is going to clean up multiple single and/or song of the year categories. I also wouldn’t rule out a Grammy nomination beyond the Country categories.

        Beholding “Girl Crush” and its commercial run has been nothing short of astonishing. This is the kind of career hit over 90% of country entertainers would kill to have that not only captures the imagination of the general listening public, but doesn’t do so at the expense of artistic quality. And while it still doesn’t exactly diminish the shameless sting of not going #1 on either airplay chart, I’d take its overall degree of success over an airplay chart peak ANY day.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond July 22, 2015 / 4:30 pm

      Listen to Crazy Too its really good. Is Dibs at least not the worst of the worst please a 2/10.

      Like

      • Zack July 22, 2015 / 5:28 pm

        In a perfect world, it would be the worst. But unfortunately it’s got a ton of stiff competition. It’s like a 1.5 to my ears. Sorry Raymond, I’m just not a Kelsea fan. If it makes you feel better though, there’s a ton of songs on here that I like a lot less.

        Like

      • Raymond July 22, 2015 / 5:44 pm

        Hey a 1.5 I’ll take it. Listen too Crazy Too it is pretty good. I do hope after Dibs she could release Peter Pan as she has said that’s her favorite song on the album. I understand though mire pop flavored country isn’t your thing but hey she’s no Olivia Lane Hayley Georgia or Raelynn.

        What would you give Jana Kramer’s song.

        Like

    • Kuzco July 22, 2015 / 6:05 pm

      There’s only one grade on here that really sticks out to me – Lee Brice’s ‘That Don’t Sound Like You’. It’s a clear +1 for me. Maybe one of my favorite songs on the whole chart! I’m curious why you don’t like it?

      There’s others which I disagree with you on, for instance it looks like I like Sangria, Buy Me a Boat, It Feels Good, and 35 mph Town more than you, and One Hell of an Amen, Fly, and Long Stretch of Love less, but I can understand the differing viewpoints on those.

      Like

      • Zack July 23, 2015 / 10:58 am

        “That Don’t Sound Like You”, much like Old Dominion’s “Break Up With Him”, portrays men who aren’t happy with the way their old flames have moved on in life. Granted, Lee doesn’t come across as a d-bag like the guy in Old Dominion, but I still just don’t like it that the male narrator thinks that something is wrong just because the girl has changed and doesn’t act the way that she did with him. I like Lee, and this song MAY grow on me. Hey though, I can certainly see why people enjoy it, he kills it vocally speaking.

        Like

    • Nadia Lockheart July 22, 2015 / 10:47 pm

      Alright, you twisted my arm! 😉

      I’ll add comments alongside tracks I didn’t talk about before.

      *

      1. Jason Aldean: “Tonight Looks Good On You”: -1
      2. Brantley Gilbert: “One Hell Of An Amen” 0
      3. Little Big Town: “Girl Crush”: +1
      4. Michael Ray: “Kiss You In The Morning”: -1
      5. Canaan Smith: “Love You Like That”: -1
      6. Luke Bryan: “Kick The Dust Up”: -1
      7. Blake Shelton: “Sangria”: 0
      8. Frankie Ballard: “Young & Crazy”: 0
      9. Zac Brown Band: “Loving You Easy”: 0
      10. Brad Paisley: “Crushin’ It”: -1
      11. Sam Hunt: “House Party”: -1
      12. Dustin Lynch: “Hell Of a Night”: -1
      13. Thomas Rhett: “Crash & Burn”: -1 (WORST SONG)
      14. Eric Church: “Like A Wrecking Ball”: 0
      15. Chris Janson: “Buy Me A Boat”: -1
      16. Brett Eldredge: “Lose My Mind”: -1
      17. Keith Urban: “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”: -1
      18. Chase Rice: “Gonna Wanna Tonight”: -1
      19. Maddie & Tae: “Fly”: 0
      20. Jake Owen: “Real Life”: -1
      21. Cole Swindell: “Let Me See Ya Girl”: -1
      22. Kip Moore: “I’m To Blame”: 0
      23. Kenny Chesney: “Save It For A Rainy Day”: 0 (It works for what it is, although it’s ultimately forgettable. The sound actually fits the time of year it’s aiming to peak in remarkably well. It has some of that carefree summer vibe mixed with the breezy autumnal as reflected in the blending of the crunchy guitars with rolling organ pipe. The production sounds spot-on, even if not groundbreaking by any stretch. And that helps in terms of fleshing out the lyrics as well. If this sounded just like another “Til It’s Gone”, it wouldn’t come across as convincing because it would sound way too happy and lack the underlying tenseness and what-could-have-beens that are obviously still somewhere in the corner of the protagonist’s mind. But if the production sounded too dour or minor-key, it also wouldn’t work because then you wouldn’t believe Chesney and come across as completely unconvincing he’s making the most of these moments. It fits just right to my ears. In six months time, I doubt this will stick well in the memory at all. But eh, I’ll take this.)
      24. Old Dominion: “Break Up With Him”: -1 (WORST RUNNER-UP)
      25. Dan + Shay: “Nothin’ Like You”: -1
      26. Lady Antebellum: “Long Stretch Of Love”: 0
      27. Florida Georgia Line: “Anything Goes”: -1 (I certainly can’t say I’m surprised by this choice seeing that it is mid-summer and they’re giving the red meat to their fanbase. Even still, with this sounding nearly identical to its predecessor “Sippin’ On Fire” and also resembling a watered-down “Round Here”, I still think this isn’t a wise long-term strategic choice anyway. And don’t get me started on the crimes against grammatical humanity and shameless corporate shrilling in the name of Victoria’s Secret and Dos Equis this has the nerve to commit. Surely, even they have to know the writing is on the wall in relying too heavily on bro-country fodder……………….and if they have any hope of mainstream career longevity, they need to constantly remind themselves that “Dirt” is by and large their most successful hit this era and tap substantially more into that vein.)
      28. Cam: “Burning House”: +1 (BEST RUNNER-UP)
      29. Big & Rich: “Run Away With You”: 0
      30. Brothers Osbourne: “Stay A Little Longer”: 0
      31. Parmalee: “Already Callin’ You Mine”: -1
      32. Chris Young: “I’m Comin’ Over”: 0
      33. Jana Kramer: “I Got The Boy”: +1 (BEST SONG)
      34. Mickey Guyton: “Better Than You Left Me”: +1
      35. Mo Pitney: “Country”: +1
      36. Hunter Hayes: “21”: -1 (Is Hayes REALLY this desperate? Come on, Hunter, you’re not fooling anyone here! Your debut effort was marked with numerous moments of surprising maturity beyond your years and impressive musicianship. Why would you want to throw it all away on something as faceless and paint-by-numbers as this with lyrics that are wrought with every Max Martin-assisted pop song cliche imaginable? YOU’RE. BETTER. THAN. THIS.)
      37. Drake White: “It Feels Good”: 0 (There’s something about this messy cluster-F of a track that I can’t help but respect. It sounds quite unlike anything else out there on the format right now, and I also can’t help but admire Drake White’s deadpan, left-of-field brand of delivery. It’s a shame, then, the songwriting doesn’t come remotely close in sizing up to some ambitious ideas in the off-kilter arrangement and caterwauling vocals. Still, the ideas intact here impressed me enough to listen and leave me curious as to where he may go from here.)
      38. Miranda Lambert: “Smokin’ and Drinkin’ (Featuring Little Big Town)”: 0
      39. Darius Rucker: “Southern Style”: 0 (There’s something about this song that is quite a relief, especially after a terrible flaming dud of a lead single. The instrumentation of this song is actually quite solid, especially the intro courtesy of Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes. From then on, the production is admittedly a bit too polished for my tastes, but this is that kind of song you can hear while scanning the radio dial and you can instantly identify as country through its instrumentation. Where this song stumbles somewhat is the cliched lyrics: including an unfortunate Lil Wayne name-drop in the second verse. But we also get some nice flashes of imagery in there as well and where the lyrics falter, Rucker does his level best in making up for them with one of his strongest vocal performances in a while. For lyrics this basic, Rucker sounds surprisingly emotionally affecting and sentimentally charged here. You don’t doubt one second his sincerity. In the end, this falls short of +1 status, but this is a high 0 and this serves as a solid example as in how to produce some solid contemporary country without sacrificing its instrumentation.)
      40. LoCash: “I Love This Life”: -1
      41. Chase Bryant: “Little Bit Of You”: -1 (I wouldn’t mind hearing this on Adult Top 40 radio. As a pop-rock song, this is actually fairly enjoyable in that the technical songwriting is solid and the sum of its parts flows remarkably well similar to the way David Nail’s last two singles did. Nevertheless, this is being marketed as a country song, and I’m not going to radically revise my grading curve just because the average song on the country station right now sounds anything but country. For the sake of contrast, I have to call this as it is: a decent Adult Top 40 pop-rock song that fails as a country song.)
      42. Toby Keith: “35 MPH Town”: 0
      43. A Thousand Horses: “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”: -1 (“Smoke” had to have been the most boring song about feelings of infatuation for a stripper of all-time, and this is equally as dull and faceless. Michael Hobby’s vocals strain to peek out above the overcompressed wall of sound, and you have to wince uncomfortably to detect any signs of fiddle on the track. Add the fact the theme has already been covered hundreds of times before in song in superior ways and some obligatory “whoa oh ohs” and it all amounts to another instantly forgettable product.)
      44. Thompson Square: “Trans Am”: -1 (Hahaha, I see what you did there in the verses! There yo went making me think you were talking about an attractive female but were actually talking about a vehicle, hahaha! Very clever! It’s admittedly kind of a relief to hear some aggressive power chords in a country radio landscape increasingly being flooded by electronic elements, but it all amounts to nothing when any attempts at energetic swell are undercut by cheesy gang chants in the chorus and a complete waste of Shawna’s talents relegating her to the reverb-drenched “Everybody wants to ride…” It’s just a total waste all around.)
      45. Billy Currington: “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem”: 0
      46. Randy Houser: “We Went”: -1
      47. Dierks Bentley: “Riser”: +1 (This is just a beautiful song all-around. Admittedly, it’s more mid-to-late 90s Adult Alternative rock than it is country musically, but who am I to complain when the songwriting is this heartfelt? And sure, some of the chorus rhymes are a little cheesy, but hey: Dierks has earned this. This is most easy to relate to, and is sung with heart.)
      48. Kelsea Ballerini: “Dibs”: -1 (As a pop song, this is actually decent. The technical songwriting is admittedly strong, and Ballerini clearly has an instinctual knack at crafting melody lines and hooks. But as a country song? The production is absolutely toothless, the instrumentation is relegated to barely noticeable token banjo and bleached-out guitar, and Ballerini tries her hardest to quixotically emulate Ke$ha or Karmin’s Amy Renee Heidemann when tinkering with rap in the tail end of the song’s long chorus, beginning at :56 in the song…………………which is of course absolutely embarrassing and a desperate attempt at making the song sound remotely distinctive in a way its production and instrumentation fails miserably. Um, yeah…………..you’ve got all the dibs you can handle here, Kelsea! I don’t want this anyway!)
      49. The Cadillac Three: “White Lightning”: -1 (I get that, after a pair of gritty Southern rockers underperforming on the singles charts, The Cadillac Three are going to have to soften their sound around the edges if they’re going to have any hope of breaking out at last. Unfortunately, “White Lightning” fails at encapsulating what makes the trio so distinctive and dynamic. Aside from Johnston’s distinctive vocals, their eccentricities are stripped entirely in favor of MOR blandness. Granted it’s still a step-up from the metro-bro zeitgeist punctuated by drum loops and fading guitar solos, but they are clearly a lot better than this.)
      50. Craig Campbell: “Tomorrow Tonight”: 0 (Eh, it very barely squeaks by as a 0. That said, it’s a qualifying 0 because Chris Young has already tackled this exact same topic multiple times through multiple singles (“Tomorrow”, “I’m Coming Over”) and had both the superior vocal range and instrumentation to boot. Campbell is going to have to do significantly better than this boilerplate fodder if he’s going to have any hope at breaking through the crowded solo male pack.)
      51. Steven Tyler: “Love Is Your Name”: 0
      52. Tyler Farr: “Withdrawals”: -1 (I have to say this is one of those rare cases where the music video for a single made me like it less. The video is absolutely embarrassing. That said, this song on its own doesn’t commit any real red flags on any front and is essentially just another run-of-the-mill post-grunge song masquerading as “country” about heartbreak. But it’s just not enough to warrant a 0.)
      53. Lee Brice: “That Don’t Sound Like You”: 0 (I honestly can’t say I’m surprised this is struggling. This is his third consecutive slower song he has released to radio, and considering “Drinking Class” had a ridiculously long chart run with a natural peak that was much lower than #1, he and Curb really shot themselves in the foot here. As for the song itself, I get the sentiment for sure……………but it’s undermined greatly by heavy-handed lyrical cliches including Southern drawls, trucks and gravel roads. And uggghhh……………..the production is soooooooooooooooo boring yet again.)
      54. Alan Jackson: “Jim & Jack & Hank”: 0 (This is on the borderline of a low +1, but knowing Alan has released a LOT of superior work, I felt the need to call this out as a high 0. The production and vocals are great, but lyrically he can clearly do a lot better than this. I’m not going to rehash my argument as to why I feel the framing of the song comes across as a little sexist here, but that aside, the songwriting is rather paint-by-numbers. He’s got better tracks on this album, let alone any album.)
      55. Ashley Monroe: “On To Something Good”: 0
      56. Granger Smith: “Backroad Song”: -1 (Earl Dibbles Jr, is that you? Seriously, I don’t get the point of having an alter-ego at this point if he is basically trying to cut his teeth with interchangeable, cliched-to-death bait like this. Eh, at least the production is better than all his metro-bro peers…………….I guess.)
      57. Lucy Angel: “Crazy Too”: -1 (Their vocals sound pretty good, and if not for being marred by the clunky production scourge that is Audio Wars, this sounds like a palatable country-rock arrangement. But all in all, this is a fitting case-in-point of when an entertainer relies too heavily on style and little on substance. Stylistically, the technical songwriting is decent. But why should that matter when the song offers the bare minimal in having anything to say? WHY is it so important to know she looks like 40 when she’s only 29? WHY is it important to know the subject’s best friend and mother has lost a couple screws? WHAT justifies keying the person’s car? We aren’t provided any details as to HOW the narrator and her friend has been wronged. That’s why I strongly disliked “Before He Cheats” as well. The narrator in that song vandalizes the subject’s personal property because she ASSUMES he is cheating on her but provides NOTHING to prove it. That’s wrong, regardless of sex or gender. The lack of substance sinks what is otherwise a track with signs of true potential in their harmonies and production choices.)
      58. Clare Dunn: “Move On”: -1 (This is one of those kind of tracks where you can sense some potentially good ideas at the surface, but everything about the track is executed rather poorly. For starters, Dunn could potentially emerge as a distinctive vocalist, but you don’t know for sure here because she so poorly enunciates her words. If not for the lyric video, I would have absolutely no idea what the heck she’s singing. Secondly, the production flirts with these smoky, moody, mesquite flavors that I can see potentially really working in their favor……………….but are undercut by synths and robotic drum machines. And lyrically this could have been more punchy if it had anything decidedly personal or distinctive in the way of imagery, but instead comes across as another break-up song bound by template.)
      59. Aaron Watson: “That Look”: +1 (This barely squeaks by to +1 status. Yes, the lyricism is quite cliched and I was mulling giving this a high 0 instead. But when you refrain from sexually objectifying strains of current lyrical cliches, as well as walk a fine line between traditional and modern country well in the instrumentation and production with a rich vocal to complement it………………..you know, I’m willing and happy to honor that. Here’s hoping from here on out he stretches himself in the songwriting though.)
      60. Jackie Lee: “Headphones”: -1 (I rated his debut offering “She Does” a -1 in that he resorts to borderline-parody Gary LeVox/Dan Huff-esque histrionics by the latter half of the track that render an otherwise vanilla song absolutely “WTF?!!!” That said, I still perceived signs of potential and improvement at that time. Alas, we get absolutely none of that here. He does dial back on those vocal histrionics, but unfortunately between a boilerplate overly-processed production and mindlessly dumb-as-sand lyricism like: “She may never win American Idol, or never dance in a Broadway show, Short shorts, t-shirt, I just watch her go…”…………………..our wait for respectable Jackie Lee material continues! (le sigh) )

      *

      FINAL SCORE: -24

      *

      Yup………………..not a pretty sight! =P

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John in Georgia July 22, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    I haven’t heard my local pop country radio station play “Love You Like That” once. While I don’t sit around listening to that station 24/7, I usually listen 2-3 hours during the week.

    The guitar solo at the end of “Stay A Little Longer” cements the song as a low +1 in my book. However, radio generally plays a shortened version of the song.

    The Chris Young and Jana Kramer songs are both +1 IMO and the Miranda song is decent. Haven’t heard the Parmalee song, but I’m guessing it’s boring radio filler.

    Liked by 1 person

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