The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [September 26]

Thomas Rhett Crash and Burn

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -17

The pulse dropped two spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Eric Church’s “Like A Wrecking Ball” went recurrent and fell from #11 to out of the top 30.
  • Kip Moore’s “I’m To Blame” went recurrent and fell from #21 to out of the top 30.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Hunter Hayes’ “21”
  • The Band Perry’s “Live Forever”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Jason Aldean – “Gonna Know We Were Here” – Up 5 from #27 to #22
  • The Band Perry – “Live Forever” – Up 5 from #35 to #30
  • Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break” – Up 3 from #17 to #14
  • Cam – “Burning House” – Up 3 from #22 to #19

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Eric Church – “Like A Wrecking Ball” – Out of the Top 30
  • Kip Moore – “I’m To Blame” – Out of the Top 30
  • Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” – Down 5 from #1 to #6

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Life”
  • Jake Owen – “Real Life”
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You”
  • A Thousand Horses – “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”
  • Randy Houser – “We Went”
  • Dierks Bentley – “Riser”

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

7 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [September 26]

  1. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 16, 2015 / 4:21 pm

    I agree with your four picks to enter the Top 30 soon, even “Riser.” “Smokin’ And Drinkin'” and “Southern Style” have been floundering, and “Riser” should be able to pass “Blue Bandana” as well, thanks to Bentley being an A-list artist. The chart clog has basically gone away now, so “Riser” is finally making some headway.

    Also…I’m new to the whole callout scores thing, and correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I know, the callout scores for “Dibs” look abysmal. It’s last in the survey this week; it’s got the highest Negative rating of any of the songs listed, and the lowest Net Positive rating, as well. And it’s not even very high on the airplay chart yet. Hopefully this can spell danger for Ballerini.

    Are you guys planning to review “Live Forever?”


    • Megan Conley September 16, 2015 / 5:29 pm

      I can’t speak for them, but I may have to review “Live Forever” now that it has cracked the top 30…I was out of town when it came out and so kind of missed the opportunity then, but there’s a good opportunity now.


    • Josh Schott September 16, 2015 / 5:46 pm

      The scores are terrible for “Dibs.” But here’s what you need to remember with Ballerini: Politics. She has politicked her ass off and has schmoozed the radio stations hard. She’s basically in their back pocket. Pandering to bro themes helps too.

      I’m not sure yet. Trigger at SCM did a pretty good job destroying this song and I don’t have much to add. Plus I really don’t think it’s going to do that well at radio. There are no call-out scores to go off of yet, but it’s only #42 on the country chart on iTunes. “Top of the World” and the aforementioned “Dibs” are even outselling it and both those songs have horrible call out scores, so I don’t expect “Live Forever” to have great scores either.


      • Raymond September 16, 2015 / 5:59 pm

        Not to mention a rich label that supports her basically now as Craig Morgan and Kellie Pickler have been given the middle finger to radio. If the callout scores for

        The Band Perry Live Forever is just awful my biggest complaint about the song there’s no flow from the verses to the chorus. Not to mention The Band Perry is acting immature now. Apparently someone on Twitter tweeted to Kimberly that he thought it wasn’t country and while I can’t quote her she said what makes Live Forever country is family harmonies and there’s apparently a mandolin (I can’t hear it). That and they also say they’re dream collaboration would be with Kanye *facepalm* really like I just can’t believe it. How the heck do they go from a masterpiece in “If I Die Young” to this.


      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 16, 2015 / 6:22 pm

        “She has politicked her ass off”…LOL

        Yeah, I think “Dibs” is really a polarizing song. Most mature people hate it; but all the immature pop-culture teens love it, and that effect could help push it to the top of the charts, as well as the reasons you mentioned.

        I don’t imagine the callout for “Live Forever” can be good at all. I’m a teenager myself, so I like to think I can judge the average teen’s reaction to a song: and seriously, even the pop-country fanboy in me hates “Live Forever.” I feel like The Band Perry crossed some sort of line there, and I get the feeling that radio will be reluctant to play it.


  2. petemarshall724 September 16, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    I am hping “Smokin’ and Drinkin” don’t chart high because I can’t stand this song one bit and it is not country at all.


  3. Larry j. September 16, 2015 / 7:54 pm

    A lot of the mainstream, is not mainstream in our particular culture. One that we do find ourselves comfortable with is Riser. We are only playing about 10 of the current top 40. Not enough fiddle, and steel guitar for our format. GIve us more Aaron Watson, Joey and Rory, Mo Pitney, etc. And love the new Jon Pardi tune.


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