The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [September 5]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -12

The pulse improved two spots this week!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Luke Bryan’s “Kick The Dust Up” went recurrent (finally) and fell from #11 to out of the top 30.
  • Hunter Hayes’ “21” fell from #29 to #33.
  • Kelsea Ballerini’s “Dibs” fell from #30 to #31.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood’s “Smoke Break” (Hot Shot Debut, Most Increased Audience & Most Added Song of the Week)
  • Tim McGraw’s “Top of the World”
  • Jason Aldean’s “Gonna Know We Were Here”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “House Party”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down” – Up 7 from #23 to #16
  • Blake Shelton – “Gonna” – Up 4 from #26 to #22
  • Tim McGraw – “Top of the World” – Up 4 from #33 to #29
  • Jason Aldean – “Gonna Know We Were Here” – Up 4 from #34 to #30

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” – Out of the Top 30
  • Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” – Down 6 from #1 to #7
  • Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning” – Down 5 from #5 to #10

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning”
  • Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy”
  • Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame”
  • Big & Rich – “Run Away With You”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs”
  • Hunter Hayes – “21”
  • Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy”
  • Darius Rucker – “Southern Style”

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

19 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [September 5]

  1. Raymond August 26, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    Wow I didn’t know you disliked that Jason Aldean song a lot of people have said it’s very similar Tattoos On This Town I haven’t heard it yet myself.

    Man we are overdue for a housecleaning. Michael Ray is leaving next week but it looks like Big & Rich is the only other one who could leave since Kip Moore and Lady A, Parmalee are all holding on and not giving in. Soon TBP are probably gonna be coming in. It also amazes me how much Jana Kramer and Hunter Hayes are gaining fine but it’s like they can’t stick into the Top 30. Also new ZBB and Sam Hunt music should be here within a couple months. I do hope Jana Kramer and Hunter Hayes can get the albums out because neither of them have much momentum and I like both their music.


    • Nadia Lockheart August 26, 2015 / 9:23 pm

      I fail to see the resemblance to “Tattoos On This Town” beyond the disgusting “Make a few marks, leave a few stains…” lyric I’d rather omit from my memory! =X

      “Tattoos On This Town” is one of my favorite Aldean singles to date because even though the lyrics aren’t particularly deep, they nonetheless convey rather believable imagery…………….and Aldean sells the semi-melancholy emotional gravity well much like he did with “Fly Over States” and “Night Train”. But with “Gonna Know We Were Here”, in contrast………….it doesn’t leave you feeling anything. It’s just a big, loud and dumb rocker about young lust.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Derek Hudgin August 26, 2015 / 2:34 pm

    2-6 just looks atrocious. We’re in for a long couple weeks. Not to mention the group from Rice to Old Dominion (13-17) who are all going up. The top half of this chart is ugly.

    Also, how is “Gonna Wanna Tonight” still on the chart? It feels like that song has been around forever

    Liked by 3 people

    • Raymond August 26, 2015 / 2:40 pm

      Keep in mind Derek Ready Set Roll spent around 50 weeks and the labels love to squeeze any life out of song. Just look at how long Easton Corbin lasted with Baby Be My Love Song


    • Josh Schott August 26, 2015 / 2:50 pm

      It is very ugly. A lot of crap that’s been plaguing the chart all summer long. Hopefully by the end of fall they’ll all be gone.

      It’s the song that just won’t die. Rice’s label is bound and determined to shove it down America’s throat. And radio will happily oblige.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Scotty J August 26, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    The chart is starting to look like the mid to late 1980s again with continuous streaks of one week number ones with the previous week’s top song immediately taking a huge drop off for no logical reason (other than the obvious one that some label guy calling some programming dude at iHeart and telling them to stop playing it).

    It really has become a rigged game with a handful of people basically deciding what gets played whether the songs are any good or are selling solidly or God forbid might be striking a chord with a particular market (which used to be staple of country radio). Now some sub regional programming director for SW region 4 just decides it all for us.

    Aren’t we lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 26, 2015 / 3:30 pm

    “Loving You Easy” won’t go recurrent next week, for the same reason that “Kick the Dust Up” didn’t go recurrent two weeks after it peaked at #1: it hasn’t charted for 20 weeks yet, so it has to decrease in both audience impressions and spins for three straight weeks before going recurrent. Therefore, it’ll probably end up around #11 on the chart next week, but it won’t go recurrent until the week after.

    I’d actually rate “Smoke Break” a 0. It just didn’t impress me enough lyrically or production-wise (although it’s nice to see her moving away from pop production); it’s a decent song, but it’s not enough for a +1 in my eyes.

    My pulse is now at an atrocious -17. -__-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scotty J August 26, 2015 / 4:05 pm

      I think we are going to see more of what has happened with Bryan and ZBB as songs by the top tier are racing to the top and then immediately tumbling down the next week to the 6-7-8 range. ‘Kick The Dust Up’ only spent 13 weeks on the chart and still went to number one. Until very recently most songs would hit #1 then fall to 2-3-4 then down to 7-8-9 then out but now the churn is really getting out of control.


      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria August 26, 2015 / 4:12 pm

        Yeah I was noticing that too. And I’ll bet that the same will apply to “Save It For A Rainy Day” and “Strip It Down” when they reach the top…though in a perfect world, both those songs would spend multiple weeks at #1. (Well, actually in a perfect world, “Strip It Down” would never have been released to country radio…but you get what I mean. 😉 )

        Such a corrupt system.


      • Martha September 1, 2015 / 10:47 pm

        Haven’t seen you on SCM website lately. Miss reading your comments.


  5. Megan Conley August 26, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    Looking at 13-17 next to each other puts “Gonna Wanna Tonight,” “Anything Goes,” “Break Up With Him,” and “Let Me See Ya Girl” in a whole new light. Seeing them lumped in with “Strip It Down” makes them look like hidden gems. “Strip It Down” is on a whole new level and should take the pulse down by more than one spot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NoahHibiscusEaton August 26, 2015 / 7:51 pm


      However, I still consider Thomas Rhett’s “Crash & Burn” the single worst song on the chart presently because of its shameless plagiarism on top of being bereft of soul in thé vocals and production. “Break Up With Him” would get the Most Dishonorable Mention due to the douchey lyrics.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Lorenzo August 26, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    I thought aldean’s new horrid song would’ve got a ‘worst song’ tier. it’s way worse than strip it down and anything goes (I can’t believe I’m saying it)!


  7. NoahHibiscusEaton August 26, 2015 / 7:46 pm

    I would add “Fly” and “Réal Life” to the list of songs we can expect to bow out in thé next several weeks at most.

    Maddie & Tae’s “Start Here” will bow this Friday (I have already streamed the album and love it overall) and Dot will have absolutely no incentive to keep pushing the song once it dents the Top Ten (or barely fall short). And “Réal Life”, as has already been discussed, is suffering TERRIBLE radio callout in leagues with “1994” and “Truck Yeah”.


    I already offered my dissenting take on Carrie Underwood’s latest release. It is a 0 to my ears, while both “Top of the World” and “Gonna Know We Were Here” both receive à -1 (though the latter is obviously worse than the former).

    My pulse is significantly more bitter than yours at the moment. Mine is a -17 this week (due to disagreements on Underwood, Zac Brown Band, Maddie & Tae, Chris Young and Big & Rich, which all score 0 to my ears instead of +1) I’m so evil! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. NoahHibiscusEaton August 27, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    One more point.

    I’m predicting The Band Perry’s “Live Forever” will have an abbreviated chart life much like Jake Owen’s “Réal Life”.

    The fangirl effect helped it scrape the Top 50 of the iTunes composite chart upon it’s debut. But since then, it has tumbled out of the Top 200 and the Top 40 of the digital country chart.

    Plus, when sizing up the first few weeks of the chart runs for “Live Forever” and their preceding lead single “Better Dig Two”, “Better Dig Two” is blowing “Live Forever” out of the water. The former reached #28 at the same point of the chart run “Live Forever” reached #43.

    And I know I’ve said that it isn’t about how you start, but how you finish, that’s most important. But the critical consensus of “Live Forever” is much worse than “Better Dig Two” as well. With me personally, I didn’t particularly like the lyrically puerile gist of “Better Dig Two”, and its reference to meth sounded forced………….but at least it sounded genuinely country in plenty of its instrumentation even while the production was Huff rock histrionics per usual. “Live Forever” couldn’t feel further out of place on country radio.

    I haven’t seen radio callout yet on “Live Forever”, but gauging by its abysmal-to-poor showing on iTunes presently, I expect it won’t be pretty. Might be talking “Réal Life” bad.


    • Raymond August 27, 2015 / 3:25 pm

      Live Forever when I heard it on the radio it sounds so different and I honestly.think Live Forever is way too much of a sonic departure from them that I don’t see fans being very happy.


  9. Charlie August 28, 2015 / 8:55 am

    Are we trending up, down, static? Is there a line chart of the scores somewhere?

    My guess? Trending down with no bottom in sight.


    • Josh Schott August 28, 2015 / 11:44 am

      Mostly trending down, with an occasional one week bump up after a couple of terrible songs go recurrent. But I like that idea of a line chart and might look into doing one.


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