The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 29]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -14

The pulse dropped one spot this week.

New Record! Luke Bryan is the first artist ever to have two negative songs in the top 30 at once in the The Pulse AND the first to have two songs tied for the worst song. Congratulations Luke!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Brantley Gilbert’s “One Hell of An Amen” went recurrent and fell from #8 to out of the top 30.
  • Jason Aldean’s “Tonight Looks Good on You” went recurrent and fell from #9 to out of the top 30.
  • Tim McGraw’s “Top of the World” fell from #30 to #33.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down”
  • Hunter Hayes’ “21”
  • Kelsea Ballerini’s “Dibs”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down” – Up 8 from #31 to #23
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” – Up 4 from #34 to #30
  • Six Different Artists Moved Up Three Spots on the Chart

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Brantley Gilbert & Jason Aldean’s recurrent singles
  • Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” – Down 5 from #6 to #11
  • Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” – Down 4 from #1 to #5
  • Tim McGraw – “Top of the World” – Down 3 from #30 to #33

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up”
  • Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning”
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love”
  • Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him”

(Note: Keep an eye on the songs around #17 to #21. They’re in a precarious position and seem to be losing steam. It’ll be interesting to see which get pushed and which get dropped.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy”
  • Tim McGraw – “Top of the World”
  • Jason Aldean – “Gonna Know We Were Here”
  • Darius Rucker – “Southern Style”

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

8 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 29]

  1. Nadia Lockheart August 19, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    It’s not just the songs between #17 and #21 I see having a tough time in these next several weeks.

    Positions #12 through #14 have also been tenuous. “Like A Wrecking Ball” has been quixotically limping for over a month now despite excellent sales. “Fly” is unsurprisingly treading water at #13 having started with terrible sales that have now graduated to merely middling, and “Gonna Wanna Tonight” has been much the same way at #14.

    Of those three, “Fly” is the one I most likely see making the Top Ten because they have the advantage of an album rollout a week from Friday. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Florida Georgia Line, Chase Rice AND Cole Swindell ALL leapfrog Maddie & Tae before that happens.


    As far as #17 through #21 is concerned, I’m predicting “Beak Up With Him” (tragically) will be the one that survives. Its sales are respectable right now, and that should be more than enough to keep it afloat.

    “Real Life” is going to start plunging any day now because, despite some decent sales, its callout scores are absolutely DREADFUL. I’m talking “Truck Yeah” and “1994” dreadful here.

    “I’m To Blame”, in contrast, is testing well enough, but there’s a lot of indifference to the song just as there has been for “Fly” from the very beginning. MCA Nashville will give this one last hurrah as “Wild Ones” is dropped this Friday, but beyond that I don’t expect to see this stick around through the autumn months.

    And “Long Stretch Of Love” is only going to be around through the beginning of October at the latest. Its sales are awful and they’ll ultimately catch up with its inflated airplay run.


    On a side note, it’s interesting to see “Gonna” struggling quite badly with digital sales out of the gate.

    That surprises me. As much as I dislike the song, “Gonna” is nonetheless straight-up radio bait and I thought its appeal would be reflected on the digital chart by now. Yet, it is still at #74 on the iTunes Country chart: a pitiful sales-to-airplay result.

    We’ll have to see if this indicative of genuine Blake Shelton burnout following his overexposure in the tabloids, or whether “Gonna” is still fresh on most listeners’ minds. Still, both his prior singles performed strongly out of the gate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott August 19, 2015 / 2:37 pm

      Good point about songs #12-#14. They’re hardly better off. I didn’t know “Real Life” was having such terrible callout scores. No wonder it’s been stalled out for weeks. To be on the same level as those other two, that’s pretty bad. I can’t help it though to feel some schadenfreude about this. Owen hasn’t been shy about bashing traditional fans lately and this is good karma for those comments. Maybe this will be the wake up call to stay away from 90s pop music.

      I agree on “I’m To Blame.” I see it sticking around just for another week or so with the album release in a few days. Then it’s promptly go recurrent.

      I’m not as optimistic about Lady A. I see it going recurrent by the middle of September. And if the rumor I saw today comes to pass, then it could go recurrent even sooner. Now keep in mind this is just a rumor and there hasn’t been any kind of announcement, but I heard that Lady A is getting ready to break up. If it’s true I wouldn’t be surprised as they had a good run, but they’re star has been consistently waning for a while. They can’t cut it in this current country radio environment. Hilary Scott could easily go solo in country or pop and be a success I think. Again this is just a rumor, but something to look out for in coming weeks.


      • Raymond August 19, 2015 / 3:13 pm

        That would be awful for Lady A to break up. While 747 wasn’t a good album it was decent. I always liked Lady A cause they for the most part do country-pop and it works real well like on Need You Now and American Honey. I truly hope Lady A can comeback strong.

        Anyways Kip it stinks cause I’ve always kinda liked him. If you subtract that dumb truck song Kip’s album is really great. Kip did say in an interview he was pressured into trends but decided to give what the fans wanted.

        I’m hoping Fly can eek in a Top 10 I mean it already passed the.#14 ballad killer spot that Jake Owen and Eric Paslay felt victim too.

        I’m most curious about is how do Cam and Jana face down the road. Both are selling rather well but Cam only has a bullet today of +10 while Jana is like +50. Not good.

        Right now we are due for a housecleaning and it looks like Eric, Jake Lady A, Parmalee and Big & Rich are frontrunners.


      • Nadia Lockheart August 19, 2015 / 11:15 pm

        I haven’t heard anything whatsoever regarding à Lady Antebellum breakup rumor until you brought it up here.

        This has been a brutal month for divorces in mainstream country music, though, that’s for sure! =/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. jb August 19, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    I think you need something more than “worst song” to apply to “Dibs.” I would sooner listen to any of the other worst songs half a dozen times in a row than that thing once. It’s the single most abominable performance I have heard from anybody in the last several years. A stupid lyric sung in the most chirpy, brainless fashion possible. It makes “Break Up With Him” sound like Faulkner.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 19, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    There’s definitely a big log jam in the 31-34 spot area. It’ll be interesting to see who gets in next week, although I’m only expecting one spot to be open (obviously, the spot left when “Kick the Dust Up” goes recurrent). “Kiss You In The Morning” unfortunately probably won’t go recurrent because unless it has an absolutely huge drop in audience numbers next week (like, -15000) it’ll end up at #10 and therefore won’t be sent recurrent. 😦 I don’t expect any of the other songs to go recurrent quite yet, either.

    Anyway, you have Kramer at #31 and LoCash at #32, neither of whom are going to have an increase of over 1000 in audience next week, and then McGraw at #33. He didn’t have a huge second-week drop, so “Top of the World” will probably be back on its feet soon enough, but I don’t think it’ll get in next week. “Gonna Know We Were Here,” on the other hand, will definitely have a much larger jump in audience next week than any of the aforementioned songs…but it’ll remain to be seen if it’ll be enough to beat Kramer in. I doubt LoCash will make it because they’re still a fair bit behind Kramer.

    However, we can’t expect either “I Got The Boy” or “I Love This Life” to make it very far into the Top 30. Both have been on the chart for 25 weeks and they’re both C-list artists anyway. (Not that I’m saying it’d be good for “I Love This Life” to make it very far. I thought it was a Florida Georgia Line song the first time I heard it.)

    I’m also worried about “Riser.” I love that song, but it wasn’t exactly the smartest single choice…it’s been on the chart for eight weeks now and it’s still stuck around #40. Now that a lot of the huge artists have taken their turns with their singles, it might move up the chart faster, but Bentley’s team will really have to push hard if they want to get this to #1.


    • Raymond August 19, 2015 / 6:23 pm

      The good news for Dierks and I’d argue for Jana is that they both can have lengthy chart runs. Dierks took a while for Say You Do to truly catch on. As for Jana her song is still selling well given limited airplay and she has a really strong promotion team backing her up

      Not gonna lie LoCash I Love This Life I actually like it’s not country but man it’s catchy. Do I want every country song too sound like it. Hell No! But it certainly catchy and it accomplishes what it sets out to do be a mindless fun radio sing along song.


  4. RG August 21, 2015 / 11:45 am

    “Dibs” is one of the worst songs I’ve think I’ve ever heard. Regardless of genre.

    Liked by 1 person

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