The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 3]

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. Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day” 0 (Up 3)
  2. Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″ -1
  3. Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” -1 
  4. Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -1 (Up 1)
  5. Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -1 (Down 4) [Tied for Worst Song]
  6. Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  7. Florida Georgia Line – “Anything Goes” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  8. Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight” -1 (Up 3) [Side Note: This song has been on the chart for 46 weeks!]
  9. Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break” +1 (Up 5)
  10. Maddie & Tae – “Fly” +1 
  11. Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him” -1 (Up 1) [Tied for Worst Song]
  12. Cole Swindell – “Let Me See Ya Girl” -1 (Up 1) [Tied for Worst Song]
  13. Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” -1 (Up 2)
  14. Blake Shelton – “Gonna” -1 (Up 2)
  15. Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over” +1 (Up 5)
  16. Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love” -1 (Up 1)
  17. Jake Owen – “Real Life” -1 (Up 1)
  18. Tim McGraw – “Top of the World” -1 (Up 3)
  19. Cam – “Burning House” +1 [Best Song] 
  20. Jason Aldean – “Gonna Know We Were Here” -1 (Up 2)
  21. Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer” (Up 3)
  22. Big & Rich – “Run Away With You” 0 (Up 1)
  23. Parmalee – “Already Callin’ You Mine” -1 (Up 2)
  24. Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  25. LoCash – “I Love This Life” -1 (Up 2)
  26. Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy” +1 (Up 2)
  27. Hunter Hayes – “21” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  28. The Band Perry – “Live Forever” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  29. A Thousand Horses – “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” -1 (New to Top 30)
  30. Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You” -1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -17

The pulse remains the same this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch’s “Hell of a Night” went recurrent and fell from #6 to out of the top 30.
  • Sam Hunt’s “House Party” went recurrent and fell from #7 to out of the top 30.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • A Thousand Horses’ “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial”
  • Chase Bryant’s “Little Bit of You”

New #1 Song This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

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

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break” – Up 5 from #14 to #9
  • Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over” – Up 5 from #20 to #15
  • Four different songs moved up five spots

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” – Out of the Top 30
  • Sam Hunt – “House Party” – Out of the Top 30
  • Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” – Down 4 from #1 to #5

Songs I See Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Jake Owen – “Real Life” (How the hell is this song still hanging on??)
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brad Paisley – “Country Nation”
  • Randy Houser – “We Went”
  • Dierks Bentley – “Riser”
  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug”

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

14 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 3]

  1. Zack September 23, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    “Live Forever” isn’t tied for worst song? Ha, I think you’re going soft on us Josh 😉

    I’d give “Drunk Dial” and “Little Bit Of You” 0’s but i can’t say i disagree with much else.


    • Josh Schott September 23, 2015 / 1:17 pm

      Haha! There are so many that I’m bound to overlook a time or two. Fixing that now.


  2. Raymond September 23, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    I have an honest question is every song that gets a zero out of 10 an automatic tied for worst. You might as well distinguish the trash that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy and the ones you would wish those upon. All the songs they are trash I mean occasional guilty pleasure (21 not proud of it whatsoever but oh well) then also how didn’t Buy Me A Boat and John Cougar John Deere John 3:16 get the tied for worst are they growing on you Josh or are you going soft again.

    I also really like Chase Bryant Little Bit Of You it reminds me of 2000s Rascal Flatts and I have always liked them minus that ugly stretch in the late 2000s but for the most part I like Rascal Flatts and Chase Bryant and Dan + Shay fit the mold nicely.

    Real Life is only holding on cause well RCA really has nothing to lose the sales are decent so while it’s not going to do much chart wise it’s still selling well. That and fellow label mate Miranda Lambert song is struggling and well chart runs usually go until the bitter end. P.s Miranda should’ve released Roots & Wings instead of LRW. Whose idea was it to release that dumpster fire.

    At least Save It For A Rainy Day is at the top and i think it could block Keith it looks like the new leadership at Sony might’ve caused the label to not play nice Buy Me A Boat isn’t hitting the top and Keith has to do some maneuvering just to hit the top.

    Yay to Jana Kramer LoCash and Cam for still hanging there. I hope that one of them can hit the top preferably Jana but she is on Week 30 and that’s gonna be hard but Chase Rice proves you can take forever so why not Jana. LoCash song is so just I just love it. Cam I hope gets to be a Top 10 given it’s impressive sales it should at least.


    • Josh Schott September 23, 2015 / 1:42 pm

      Not going soft at all. Just because it’s a zero out of ten doesn’t mean it is automatically tied for the worst. You’re looking too much into it. There are so many bad songs right now that I can’t keep up. The two you mention aren’t tied for the worst because I could actually get through them without having to cut off my ears. The Rice song is also tied for the worst, but I didn’t put it because I ran out of room and wanted to point out how long it has been on the chart.


      • Raymond September 23, 2015 / 2:40 pm

        Oh didn’t notice that. At least on the flip side if Chase Rice can spend 46 weeks than at least Cam and Jana Kramer can so there’s hope the ladies can get to the top. I had a feeling I was reading too much into it. Taste is subjective I mean. Also surprised you didn’t put Thomas Rhett Die A Happy Man or Sam Hunt Breakup In A Smalltown as Thomas I imagine is already getting airplay ( I actually really like the song) also Sam Hunt is well Sam Hunt.

        I still won’t classify Long Stretch Of Love or I Love This Life as bad songs and 21 is a guilty pleasure. However the rest are trash I actually have grown to hate Kelsea Ballerini’s music as it is dumb pop and trashy like she is trying to be a wannabe Taylor Swift.

        Also here is some cringe inducing news. Apparently The Band Perry said that they are one going to have Neil and Reid on lead vocals more often (cringes) and their lyrics are gonna be really childish and play with stuff like Peter Pan (gags).


  3. SRM September 23, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    Hey, Josh and Derek, “Smoke Break” has only been on the charts for five weeks, and it’s in the top 10, just like “Strip It Down” by Luke Bryan did. Is this another “blatant example of payola”???



    • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 23, 2015 / 7:28 pm

      Not to disagree with you, SRM, as I also think there’s payola involved with “Smoke Break”‘s chart run…but you have to take into consideration that it’s the lead single to a new album from the biggest female artist in mainstream country music (let’s face it, Underwood has been WAY more successful than Miranda Lambert as of late), who hasn’t put out a full album of new music for over three years. That would tend to generate a lot more buzz than a normal single, even one from Luke Bryan, and therefore would move up the charts faster; at least that’s what I’d think. (On the bright side, this is shaping up to be a #1 hit. I see absolutely no way that radio is going to screw Underwood over this time.)

      Not speaking for Josh and Derek here, of course. Just my opinion.


    • Josh Schott September 23, 2015 / 7:49 pm

      Hahaha! Good point. Payola is the easy reason to assign to these singles’ meteoric rise on the charts. But the more reasoned approach I would take with this rise is the fact that country radio is desperate for songs that listeners can connect with and get their attention. Luke and Carrie are big names that do this. The Carrie rise is kind of surprising considering she hasn’t had a #1 on Billboard Country Airplay in three years.


      • SRM September 23, 2015 / 8:39 pm

        I understand. I was just joking. I wanted to see how you’d react to a decent song climbing the charts rapidly when the bad ones get blasted for doing so, or blamed on behind-the-scenes deals.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. NoahHibiscusEaton September 23, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    It will sure be an interesting week ahead between Kenny Chesney (who snatched #1 on Billboard but #3 on Mediabase this week) and Keith Urban (#2 on both charts this week).

    It’s quite clear Chesney is determined to also get his week at #1 on Mediabase. But does that mean his label will slacken enough Sunday to let Urban pick up the Billboard #1 by default? Or will they screw him over on both charts?

    I have to say I like that we’re getting this respite from the revolving door of #1 hits at the moment.


    “Fly” is getting leapfrogged by multiple songs, so I have no idea why Dot Records is continuing to push this. They should let this go and restore buzz with “Shut Up And Fish” or “Sierra” immediately.


    I’m still expecting an abbreviated chart run for “Live Forever”. I also think “21” is near the end of the line.


    • Josh Schott September 23, 2015 / 8:43 pm

      The juxtaposing at the top right now is interesting. I wonder if “Buy Me A Boat” gets screwed. We’ll have to wait and see.

      I think they’re hell bent on getting “Fly” to #1 if you want my opinion and they have no problem taking their time to do so.

      I agree on both of those and it would be great to see too. I want to know how “Real Life” and “Long Stretch of Love” are still hanging on. Both of those should have been pulled weeks ago, especially “Real Life” with it’s terrible call out numbers. Really the chart still needs a good wiping of the slate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raymond September 23, 2015 / 8:52 pm

        While I can’t explain Real Life. I think Long Stretch Of Love is trying to sneak in a Top 15 peak.

        Oh Buy Me A Boat is done it’s Keith vs Kenny this week Chris respectively dropped out of the race.

        Fly I think would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that FGL Luke Chase and Carrie as well Old Dominion are trying to bridges that huge gap between Brett and Luke. So Luke Bryan is ready to sit at the top. The thing is Fly’s gains just are unspectacular they scream the gains Big & Rich Look At You had so I think Fly might be hanging around for a minor Top 5 peak.


      • Scotty J September 23, 2015 / 8:56 pm

        ‘Buy Me A Boat’ is losing audience already so it looks like it’s going to have to settle for a #3 peak on the Billboard chart.

        To the above mentioned point counting the Chesney song this week 18 out of the last 19 weeks has seen a one week number one (‘Sangria’ got two weeks). This revolving door is not good for the genre as the songs aren’t naturally rising and falling they are being pushed and manipulated to the top and then immediately jettisoned to the scrap heap and forgotten.

        This really is a failure of radio which doesn’t really care about anything but a short term buzz at the expense of establishing strong recurrents that people like hearing months and years later.

        Just like pop radio…


      • NoahHibiscusEaton September 23, 2015 / 10:24 pm

        I’m pretty sure “Buy Me A Boat” has already peaked, and will go down as a Mediabase-only #1 and a #3 Billboard hit (I know, crazy huh!)

        It’ll be a duel between Chesney (incumbent) and Urban (challenger) this week.


        “Fly” is just about to peter out, I think

        Its gains have slowed to a crawl, and it even posted a net decline in audience today. These next three days will determine if it’s indeed done or not. I say the sooner, the better.


        “Réal Life” has continued to post net declines in spins and audience, so I am confident it’s on its way out. “Long Stretch Of Love” has overstayed its welcome, I agree, and will plunge by early October I’m sure. I also predict the same for “Run Away With You” once it scrapes the Top Twenty.

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.