The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 15]

Luke Bryan Kick The Dust Up

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -11

The pulse improved two spots this week!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley’s “Crushin’ It” went recurrent and fell from #9 to out of the top 30.
  • Canaan Smith’s “Love You Like That” went recurrent and fell from #10 to out of the top 30.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Jana Kramer’s “I Got The Boy”
  • Hunter Hayes’ “21”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” – Up 5 from #25 to #20
  • Seven Different Songs moved up three spots on the chart

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley – “Crushin’ It” – Out of the Top 30
  • Canaan Smith – “Love You Like That” – Out of the Top 30
  • Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of An Amen” – Down 4 from #1 to #5
  • Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good on You” – Down 4 from #2 to #6

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good On You”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of An Amen”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town – “Smokin’ And Drinkin’”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs”
  • Darius Rucker – “Southern Style”
  • Blake Shelton – “Gonna”

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

28 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 15]

  1. Zack August 5, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Can’t believe that Michael Ray will be next week’s No.1

    That song is the definition of forgettable, bland and uneventful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nadia Lockheart August 5, 2015 / 9:41 pm

      In a time where country/country’s gatekeepers insist in relying on nothing BUT “forgettable”, “bland”, “uneventful” and “safe” fonder at the expénse of anything resembling à risk……………….SHOULD you consider this unbelievable? 😉


      • fromthewordsofbr August 7, 2015 / 4:07 pm

        This is the sad truth.


    • Brian Lautzenhiser August 7, 2015 / 2:11 pm

      agree, This song should have even hit the top 30. Supposedly he a talented artist but why would he release this song.


  2. Raymond August 5, 2015 / 2:19 pm

    Well I’m glad Jana got into the Tp 30 but she has ways to go before hitting the Top 20.

    I’m surprised you don’t have Kip Moore or Eric Church both songs aren’t gaining that much. Well there is soon gonna be announce ment on who’s gonna be the next On The Verge rumor has it it’s gonna be either Waterloo Revival Cassadee Pope Clare Dunn or William Michael Morgan I think that’s his name.

    I’d also add Tim McGraw’s new one Top Of The World to next songs along with Luke Bryan Strip It Down aka the inferior Come A Little Closer (wanna know your opinion on that) along with pretty soon Carrie Underwood music (Yes!) Also The Band Perry and judging by Scoty Borcheta he’s aiming for The Band Perry to try and make a full crossover for pop.

    It warms my heart to see Fly in the Top 15. I know this would be a huge risk but I’d love for Maddie & Tae to release once Fly’s done After The Storm Blows Thru.


    • Megan Conley August 5, 2015 / 7:12 pm

      Lol the inferior “Come a Little Closer.” That’s how I reviewed it, by comparing the two. Yeah glad to see Maddie & Tae getting this far.


      • Nadia Lockheart August 5, 2015 / 9:51 pm

        I don’t consider “Strip It Down” a spitting image of “Côme A Little Closer” AT ALL. =/

        To my ears, it’s an Adult Contemporary-esque spayed and neutered rétread of “Burnin’ It Down”: which was already a horrible song.


        It’s a shame that the continued push of “Fly” will all but certainly mean à soft opening for their début full-length “Start Here” late this month.

        There’s virtually no buzz surrounding “Fly” in spite of its resilience at radio. It has hardly once scraped the Top 100 of the iTunes composite chart its entire run and listener callout has indicated a take-it-or-leave-it shrug from the start as well. Indifférence almost always translates to weaker sales.


  3. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 5, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    I doubt it’ll get much better than this in the coming weeks. The only good song I can see entering the Top 30 in the near future is Dierks Bentley’s “Riser.” 😦


    • Josh Schott August 5, 2015 / 2:59 pm

      Yep! There’s only three other songs below it I would give a +1 (Jackson, Watson & Dunn’s singles). It’s pretty pathetic.


      • Raymond August 5, 2015 / 3:18 pm

        But they are some 0s. Like Miranda, Darus, Drake, Mo, A Thousand Horses, Toby, Steven,Craig, Jerrod, Lee, and Lucy Angel I’d imagine new Carrie Underwood music might help along with Reba’s newly announced song Until They Don’t Love You. Besides that Brad Paisley Country Nation a 0. If Love & Theft Whiskey On My Breath can sneak in to the Top 60 along with Rainey Qualley along with.Don Henley and Martina McBride getting into the chart. So there are some ok songs.

        Also so excited.for Carrie music she’s yet to dissapoint me.


      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 5, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        Yeah there’s plenty of okay stuff, I just meant there’s virtually no +1’s. Besides, 0’s won’t help to improve the pulse unless they’re replacing -1’s.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Raymond August 5, 2015 / 4:17 pm

        Well if you look at the Top 20 there’s only 6 songs with a 0 or above so things might slowly look up although we do have new The Band Perry music about to crash the party same thing with Luke, Jason and Tim. This last stretch is gonna be tough.


      • Lorenzo August 5, 2015 / 5:15 pm

        Raymond Brad Paisley is not releasing country nation. It would be the stupidest single choice he could do. That song did quite well when it was released and gained some attention among country fans, but it really does not have any crossover appeal. In today’s country scene, every song needs a crossover appeal to get to the top 20. I’m quite sure he will release moonshine in the trunk as the fourth single off of his new album, and that is definitely a +1


        • Josh Schott August 5, 2015 / 5:37 pm

          Paisley or his team has yet to confirm it, but within media circles we’re 99% sure that “Country Nation” will be his next single. All we’re waiting on is confirmation pretty much.


      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 5, 2015 / 5:20 pm

        “Fly” is at #15 and it’s a pretty traditional country song.


      • Lorenzo August 6, 2015 / 8:44 am

        I don’t think so Josh, he’s not even singing it at his live shows. and also, considering he will appear on the voice, it would be very stupid to release a song like country nation, which only resonates among country listeners.


      • Lorenzo August 6, 2015 / 9:29 am

        ok i just checked out that country nation has officially been confirmed as brad’s new single. what an idiotic choice. The song is great but MITT had a way bigger appeal.
        It seems like labels don’t know what the hell to do with single selections: last year David nail released Kiss you tonight instead of broke my heart and it bombed on charts. Easton corbin is releasing that stupid and vapid yup to radio while he could have released kiss me one more time or are you with me. dierks Bentley released riser instead of sounds of summer. Billy currington released the checklisty DTWAFP while he could have choosen the amazing ‘it don’t hurt like it used to’. I don’t know what the hell is happening.


  4. Derek Hudgin August 5, 2015 / 4:36 pm

    Luke Bryan AND Michael Ray have the #1 and #2 song the week where their albums are to be released. Shocking.


    • Josh Schott August 5, 2015 / 5:31 pm

      I know, right? That’s some great timing! I wonder how this happened so perfectly…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Megan Conley August 5, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    It seems there is a requirement that for every good song that enters the top 30, a horrible one must accompany it…Florida Georgia Line and Cam, Parmalee and Chris Young, and now Jana Kramer and Hunter Hayes.


  6. Nadia Lockheart August 5, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    I remain decidedly pessimistic of where mainstream country/”country” radio is trending through these next three months! =/

    Nowhere is this more pronounced than 1) Tim McGraw’s newest single reverting back to synthetic electronic éléments and all-around forgettable lyricism: abruptly ending à three-single winning streak………………and 2) an iHeart Radio représentative suggesting today that the Zac Brown Band’s next single will be “Beautiful Drug” and will be serviced BOTH to Country and Mainstream Top 40/Adult Top 40 radio! =X =X =X

    If there’s à silver lining in thé meantime, it’s with Jana Kramer’s exquisite release picking up the pace this past week and entering the Top 30, and Cam’s “Burning House” showing no signs of wear as it is exploding on BOTH the airplay and digital charts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jason August 5, 2015 / 10:04 pm

      I’m not really too concerned about McGraw. We saw him try to completely push his music towards pop with the lead off singles from his last two albums. “Top Of The World” just seems more like dancing along the line of pop and country and not doing either particularly well. Either way, his recent lead off singles haven’t been indicative of his last two albums as a whole, so hopefully that’s the case here.

      Also, if Beautiful Drug becomes a single…
      I said this on SCM, experimenting is fine, but keep it to an EP. There’s no reason that the hastily thrown together thing they want to make should be a single, much less on country radio.

      Hopefully some good singles are announced, because the only good single I see having any chance of getting popular in the near future is “Riser”.


    • Josh Schott August 5, 2015 / 10:28 pm

      Don’t blame you for this attitude at all. The ZBB news is really disheartening to hear. Brown is clearly thinking more with his wallet than his heart nowadays. The Zac Brown that called out Like Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” seems to be dead and has been replaced by this top hat wearing egomaniac who’s trying to cash in on country, rock and top 40 radio.

      Cam and Jana Kramer two little beacons of light in a dark country world. “Burning House” is really exploding right now. Not only is it doing great on the charts, but we get tons of hits on our review of it here on the site. So interest in it is sky high and shows no signs of slowing. It could end up being one of the biggest songs of the year in country music.


      • Nadia Lockheart August 5, 2015 / 11:58 pm

        I just hope Cam’s label don’t make the same mistake Dot Records have with Maddie & Tae, and not have a full-length prepared by the time “Burning House” peaks around Thanksgiving.

        They need to strike when the iron is hot with a single listeners are passionate about.


      • Raymond August 6, 2015 / 5:40 am

        See I just believe with Maddie & Tae the girls took their time and weren’t ready yet when Girl In A Country Song peaked. Do I think their sales are gonna be Sam Hunt level no not at all. I’m expecting them to sell 25K to 30K.


      • Derek Hudgin August 6, 2015 / 8:52 am

        The point being, Raymond, is that there’s no general excitement around “Fly.” Most common mainstream fans are buying into it as they were “Girl in a Country Song.” However contrived and pulled by the labels, “Kiss You in the Morning” and “Kick The Dust Up” have pretty much peaked at the time of the album release. Mass interest in those singles are high.

        Maddie & Tae would have been better off dropping “Fly” and doing a 3rd single earlier this summer immediately ahead of Start Here.


      • Nadia Lockheart August 6, 2015 / 12:29 pm

        “Fly” should have been dropped by the second week of June, with a more up-tempo third single pushed for immediate adds in the hope of reviving buzz for the duo.

        It’s a sign of great weakness when you go virtually your entire chart run to date and not impact the Top 100 of the iTunes composite chart. That spells disconnect with listeners. As “Fly” enters the Top Ten, it will predictably finally settle into the Top 100 just as hit radio songs tend to do, but sales and interest are WAY OFF from “Girl In A Country Song”. “Fly” won’t even go Gold until well, well after its chart run is complete.

        As brutal as it is promoting females to begin with, I’m sure “Sierra” would have generated a lot more passion among listeners. Sure, it would have had its share of detractors for the sounds-like-swearing-but-not-really, but it is better to have equal measures positive/negative passion callout than leave most everyone saying “Meh!”.


  7. mccart August 6, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    love to post here


Comments are closed.