The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [September 19]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -15

The pulse dropped three spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Frankie Ballard’s “Young & Crazy” went recurrent and fell from #6 to out of the top 30.
  • Zac Brown Band’s “Loving You Easy” went recurrent and fell from #15 to out of the top 30.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • LoCash’s “I Love This Life”
  • Jana Kramer’s “I Got The Boy”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down” – Up 5 from #13 to #8 (This song has only been on the chart for five weeks and it’s in the top ten. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more blatant example of payola)
  • Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break” – Up 5 from #22 to #17
  • Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over” – Up 4 from #24 to #20
  • Tim McGraw – “Top of the World” – Up 4 from #27 to #23

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” – Out of the Top 30
  • Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” – Out of the Top 30
  • Sam Hunt – “House Party” – Down 4 from #1 to #5

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Sam Hunt – “House Party”
  • Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame”
  • Jake Owen – “Real Life”
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Hunter Hayes – “21”
  • Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You”
  • Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town – “Smokin’ and Drinkin'”
  • The Band Perry – “Live Forever”

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

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

  1. NoahHibiscusEaton September 9, 2015 / 1:35 pm

    “Like A Wrecking Ball” has been hemorrhaging spins these past two days, so that single is obviously on its way out as well. EMI is apparently content with a Mediabase-only Top Ten result.

    The gap between #7 and #8 is frickin’ enormous right now. I can’t remember the last time there was THIS sharp a divide between Top Ten placements. That amounts to an audience divide of nearly fourteen million! O__O

    That said, “Fly” is languishing, as is “Gonna Wanna Tonight”. “Anything Goes” has had a curiously slow week but (unfortunately) I don’t see that indicative of an early exit. Its callout is reasonably healthy, its sales are moderate, and is still fairly young in chart weeks. Same with “Lemme See Ya Girl” (it is, quixotically, Top Five in Mediabase callout! -__- )

    Yay for Jana Kramer (finally!) resurfacing in the Top Thirty, though! =D

    Liked by 2 people

    • Scotty J September 9, 2015 / 3:23 pm

      That gap is amazing and it’s just a sign that the extreme top heaviness of the airplay chart is only increasing. There is almost becoming a sort of caste system with country radio where a few acts can race up the charts in 12-18 weeks and the rest are left to slog it out for 7-8-9 months. This is really changing how labels have to work that lower class act’s albums also because when it takes 18 months just to work two singles while in the same time Luke Bryan, Zac Brown and Blake Shelton have cycled through 4 or 5 singles.

      It really is becoming harder for a new act to develop a portfolio of recognizable hits for the casual fan to identify with.

      It’s almost become like that unhappily married couple of 20 years that won’t divorce because of all the time and effort put into the marriage. The labels just can’t seem to pull the rip cord on some of these middling songs so they linger and linger.


    • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 9, 2015 / 5:43 pm

      Where do you find the callout scores for the songs?

      Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 9, 2015 / 7:48 pm

        I’ll provide the link here when I return home! I have it bookmarked! =)


      • Nadia Lockheart September 10, 2015 / 12:36 am

        Here it is! =)

        I always select “All” for the Gender and Demo categories, and pick Currents Only.


        The newest report (September 4th) is available now, and there are some notable differences since the previous report.

        Cole Swindell has receded since formerly being in the Top Five, although he still has a quite strong 73.5% Positive rating: the second-highest Net Positive ranking of any song among currents. What keeps this down at #13 this week, however, is inferior Familiarity scores.

        Florida Georgia Line’s latest is at #17 this week. It has higher Negative and Heavy Burn scores than “Let Me See Ya Girl”, but also has a Net Positive score of 52.5%. That doesn’t suggest listeners are turning against this song considerably. And Chase Rice’s “Gonna Wanna Tonight” performs remarkably similar to “Anything Goes”.

        Of the singles in gridlock on the cusp of the Top Ten, “Fly” fares the poorest this week.


        Also, look at Eric Church’s now-declining “Like A Wrecking Ball”.

        Despite ranking higher than “Fly” overall, what’s notable is that it has a high Negative score of 24.5%. Granted it has burned through many weeks for a Eric Church single, and it is natural for Negatives to increase incrementally over time. But what I think kept this single alive for so long was its outstanding sales, along with a low Heavy Burn score.


        Finally, bad news for Miranda Lambert.

        Her scores are barely any better than “Real Life” this week. A concerning 26% already react negatively toward “Smokin’ & Drinkin'”, and her Heavy Burn score is ALREADY 7.6% (more than Thomas Rhett’s current #3 hit “Crash & Burn”) =X

        Tough luck for Billy Currington fans, too, if they’re hoping his latest single will finally take off thanks to football season. “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem” ranks dead last in this week’s survey, with 22.7% already disliking the song despite its lowly position on the chart. That does not bode well at all for Currington.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 10, 2015 / 7:44 am

        Thanks 🙂


  2. Megan Conley September 9, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    My God, how long can Chase Rice keep hanging on? Also, with the exception of “Fly,” this is quite possibly the worst top ten I have ever seen. Glad to see Jana Kramer back in the top 30 finally.


  3. ron12274 September 9, 2015 / 3:41 pm

    How did the pulse drop 3 if a +1 replaced a +1 and a -1 replaced a 0?


    • ron12274 September 9, 2015 / 3:48 pm

      oh I see you lowered B&R and I guess one other song…


      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 9, 2015 / 3:58 pm

        He changed his mind on “Run Away With You” (+1 last week) and “Long Stretch Of Love” (0 last week)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Josh Schott September 9, 2015 / 4:45 pm

          Correct. I realized I was too easy on these songs and therefore I needed to lower them.

          Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 9, 2015 / 6:43 pm

        I agree with your revised scores more! 😉

        “Long Stretch of Love” would be a 0 song if it weren’t being marketed as a country song. As an Adult Top 40 song, it’s definitely a 0 in that it actually has some energy that’s sorely lacking in most radio formats right now. But between the lack of country instrumentation and bombast, it’s -1 for country radio.

        “Run Away With You”…………….is just far off from what we know Big & Rich have already proven capable of. It’s not a bad song by any stretch, but sounds completely by the book.


  4. ron12274 September 9, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    By the way I just saw the cma nominations. I’m in shock seeing Chris Stapleton up for male vocalist


  5. Clovis Mello September 10, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    Where is “Riser” at right now? Is it just outside the Top 30, or is it dead? I’m really pulling for that song.


    • Josh Schott September 10, 2015 / 2:21 pm

      It’s at #39 and moved up two spots this week. It’s moving slowly up the chart. I think by the end of October it can crack the top 30. At best I see it reaching the top 15, but I hope it does much better. It’s a great song and it deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.


      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 10, 2015 / 7:16 pm

        Here’s why I can’t help but feel optimistic about “Riser” and it’s chances.

        Obviously, Dierks Bentley himself is the one most passionate about making sure “Riser” is heard loud and clear. But even though Bentley has acknowledged his label did not want him to release it as a single, it seems pretty clear his label is being genuinely supportive now that all is said and done.

        Why else would they green-light an official video? Why else would they allow him to perform “Riser” instead of “Say You Do” at the ACMs despite the latter being the current single at the time? They may not agree with his decision, but it is clear they still have his back here and won’t simply obstruct it.

        If it ultimately stalls and never recovers, I concede it’ll simply be because it never caught on in this listening climate like Bentley hoped.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scotty J September 10, 2015 / 8:33 pm

        I really think songs like ‘Riser’, ‘What We Ain’t Got’, ‘She Don’t Love You’ and ‘Diamond Rings And Old Barstools’ are important and positive even if they don’t become big hits because how else is the mainstream environment going to get better than if some brave acts and their labels take the plunge and release these songs to radio. And I think it’s also OK that in Bentley and McGraw’s case they were the last singles in an album cycle which generally are less buzzy singles which don’t sell as well as the earlier singles so it really is a radio targeted strategy.

        Sometimes sales numbers can be over used as determining factors because there are other factors at work.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. NoahHibiscusEaton September 11, 2015 / 1:53 am

    Oh, definitely! =)

    “Smoke A Little Smoke” is a perfect example. It had limited radio success, but it has turned out to be Eric Church’s most impactful pre-Chief single by far, and eventually his best-selling as well. Most importantly, it helped him get away with releasing more interesting music.

    Same story with “Merry Go ‘Round”. Or “What I Can’t Put Down”. Or “From A Table Away”. It is hard to say what long-term impact (if any) these songs will inspire, but I’m just relieved they’re out there.

    I miss gut-punching storyteller songs on the radio. Songs that thrash your heart with a javelin without any guarantee there will be aftercare or resolution, but you feel comfort anyway knowing someone out there had words to describe something you’ve felt, experienced or at least observed. How I’d love to see something like “Speed Trap Town” or “Someday Soon” or even an album cut from an A-lister album like “Don’t Change Gone”, “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” or “Bittersweet” become a big hit. It would be a damn good start.


Comments are closed.