The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 10]

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

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:

  • Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn” went recurrent and fell from #5 to out of the top 30.
  • Lady Antebellum’s “Long Stretch of Love” went recurrent and fell from #16 to out of the top 30.

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley’s “Country Nation”
  • Randy Houser’s “We Went”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

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

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley – “Country Nation” – Up 6 from #32 to #26
  • Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him” – Up 5 from #11 to #6
  • Jason Aldean – “Gonna Know We Were Here” – Up 5 from #20 to #15

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” – Out of the Top 30
  • Lady Antebellum – “Long Stretch of Love” – Out of the Top 30
  • Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat” – Down 6 from #3 to #9

Songs I See Going Recurrent & Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Jake Owen – “Real Life” (It should get the axe this week)
  • Maddie & Tae – “Fly” (It has officially peaked)
  • Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat”
  • Chase Rice – “Gonna Wanna Tonight”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Hunter Hayes – “21”
  • The Band Perry – “Live Forever”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Sam Hunt – “Break Up In A Small Town” (Most Added Song of the Week)
  • Dierks Bentley – “Riser”
  • George Strait – “Cold Beer Conversation” (Most Increased Audience of the Week)
  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man”

By the way I think Strait has a great chance of making the top 30 and having success. Why? Because 1) country radio is in the toilet with ratings 2) country radio is desperate for names that can move the dial 3) George Strait gets people’s attention, no matter how much country radio wants to get rid of the older artists 4) George doesn’t need country radio, but country radio really needs George

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

16 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 10]

  1. Rosalie September 30, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    Has Smokin and Drinkin gone recurrent? What was it’s peak?


    • Josh Schott September 30, 2015 / 1:28 pm

      Yes. It peaked at #33.


      • Raymond September 30, 2015 / 1:38 pm

        News around pulse is their planning on a 5th single apparently called Bathroom Sink.

        What did Another Sunday In The South do to not get released.


      • Nadia Lockheart September 30, 2015 / 3:19 pm

        “Bathroom Sink” is a solid song and, if released, would be the only single I like off of “Platinum”.

        That said, I don’t get the logic of releasing any more singles this era after “Smokin’ & Drinkin'” bombed below the Top Thirty. RCA Nashville has near completely botched this era, at least as far as shelf life is concerned. Apologists may argue “Platinum” has done great because it had the best opening week sales of any Miranda Lambert album to date…………………but here’s the thing: “Platinum” also has drastically weaker legs than any other era to date, and most of that can be attributed to misguided at best, terrible at worst single selections that don’t speak to Lambert’s broad appeal.

        “Platinum” is nowhere to be seen in the Top 25 of Billboard’s Top Country Albums presently, and has barely scraped that region of the chart at all since the early summer. There’s no incentive to continue to push a release that has such near non-existent buzz at this juncture. Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” may have been out longer than “Platinum”, but EMI Nashville has every reason to release a sixth single (“Roller Coaster Ride”) from his album because “The Outsiders” is STILL up there at #7, in contrast.

        No, what I would do is call it a day for this era, and have RCA Nashville focus their energies on a more immediate lead single from her eventual sixth album that can help her regain momentum due to the fanboy/fangirl effect surrounding lead singles by A-list artists, as well as many genuinely missing her for a while.


      • petemarshall724 September 30, 2015 / 10:52 pm

        It’s about time that song peaked I can’t stand this song one bit.


  2. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria September 30, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    I actually disagree about “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” hitting #1 next week. Its gains have slowed a lot over the past two days according to Mediabase, where it’s fallen out of the top spot as well. We’ll see for sure over the next few days, but I’m hopeful that it’s peaked.

    Glad to see “Cold Beer Conversation” with a big debut. Looks like we have some quality coming soon (“Cold Beer Conversation,” “Riser”) and also some absolute crap (“Break Up In A Small Town,” “Beautiful Drug”).


  3. Raymond September 30, 2015 / 1:35 pm

    It’s so frustrating watching Fly struggle as I’m afraid that Maddie & Tae will go the way of The Wreckers but I am about ready for Shut Up and Fish to be sent to radio since it appears to be their third song.

    At least Cam is nearing the Top 15 and Jana is about to hit the Top 20 within a few weeks. You guys are gonna review her album and Carrie Underwood’s album

    Hunter Hayes is sort of on the hot seat since he will only last til his EP will be released November 7th which is a collection of Accoustic Live and Studio songs all in 7 songs.

    The Band Perry are gaining fine there not in the hot seat yet but they need to hope those callout scores are good because if there not then Live Forever is in trouble.

    Surprised you didn’t mention Big & Rich I mean how much longer can they spend below Top 20.

    George will depend on how many adds he gets since this week he’s vying for adds along with Eric Paslay and Granger Smith aka go George Strait although the new Charles Kelley Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley song leaves me so conflicted on Eric I love the song and I can’t get a read on Eric Paslay at all.

    Finally since Jake Owen hasn’t spend 20 weeks he can’t go recurrent since this is his first bulletless week.


    • Scotty J September 30, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      Jake Owen didn’t go recurrent this week with his loss of audience because it was his first decline and he had less than 20 weeks but if you two consecutive weeks of decline it will go recurrent regardless of weeks charted. So it will drop off next week.


    • Lorenzo September 30, 2015 / 3:15 pm

      Fly is not struggling, it has gained quite well but the other songs that surpassed it gained so much more (obviously pushed by their labels). but it’s not going down in terms of audience nor radio plays. as long as they keep on climbing, the song will have its chances to reach the top 5.


      • Nadia Lockheart September 30, 2015 / 4:50 pm

        “Fly” could be in the midst of its “final push” before bowing out at the beginning of next week, much like “Like A Wrecking Ball” did a few weeks ago after lingering on the cusp of the Top Ten for so long.

        At any rate, it only took 23 weeks for “Girl In A Country Song” to reach #1. “Fly” is in the midst of its 35th week on the Billboard chart and, much like “Gonna Wanna Tonight” (which has lingered on the chart even longer), has quite likely burned out a considerable share of listeners to the degree that they would be reluctant at least to maximize it into power rotation.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if #8 proves to be the peak for “Fly” on Billboard, with “Gonna Wanna Tonight” also settling for a Top Ten peak.


  4. Lorenzo September 30, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    Keith Urban’s song has lost 400 spins today, it’s critically falling down the charts. also, the fact that fly is being surpassed doesn’t mean that it will fall down. In fact it gained 98 spins today, which is a great gain. Unfortunately garbage like let me see ya girl gains a lot more.


  5. Nadia Lockheart September 30, 2015 / 3:31 pm

    Kenny Chesney will EASILY get a third week at #1, I can promise you that.

    I think both “Gonna Wanna Tonight” and “Fly” are at about the end of the line. I know I’ve been predicting that for the latter for a while now, and it hasn’t exactly happened yet………………..but with it having been leapfrogged by multiple tracks these past several weeks, you have to wonder what incentive Dot Records would have to keep pushing this song when it has generated little buzz? I would have pulled the plug on it a while ago and bank on “Shut Up And Fish” being the new release that reignites hype in this promising duo. As for Chase Rice…………………………..I’ve got nothing. Your guess is as good as mine as to how his poor-selling single has lasted this long. I suppose surprisingly strong sales and longevity for “Ignite The Night” help matters, but you’d figure they would have tried their hand at something that generates more buzz by now (like the cult digital hit “Ride”, as much as I loathe that track).

    I have to say I’m feeling greatly optimistic about Jana Kramer’s single accelerating from here on out. FINALLY, it’s starting to pick up steam, and I think the stars are lining up for her at an opportune time as well since she is pregnant and, with single sales being consistently solid relative to its airplay, that will give Elektra Nashville great reason to keep forging ahead with this while she’s taking much-needed downtime in-between promotional gigs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin Davis September 30, 2015 / 4:44 pm

      I think (and hope) you are right about Jana Kramer’s single. The stations in Charlotte have been playing the hell out of it, and the DJ’s obviously love it (though, of course, they have zero control over the playlist). I am still pleasantly surprised at how Jana has adopted a mature approach to her musical career, so far. Let’s hope for a bright future.


      • Nadia Lockheart September 30, 2015 / 5:02 pm

        I definitely LOVE her current single, but I will admit I am a bit nervous about “Thirty-One” as a whole based on the track listing.

        I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but some of the titles do have me worried. “Said No One Ever” hopefully won’t be a bratty kiss-off song in the vein of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together”. “Pop That Bottle” is hopefully neither a generic party song, nor an interchangeable carpe diem song. And “Don’t Touch My Radio” hopefully doesn’t name-drop slews of other artists in the vein of, say, Lady Antebellum’s “And The Radio Played” or Jake Owen’s “1972”.

        Between the other tracks previewed so far, I was indifferent on “Love”. It definitely wasn’t the right choice for a lead single and the Auto-Tune was needless and gratuitous, though I understood the sentiment of the song and her vocals were nice if you can get around the distortions. “Circles” is my personal favorite among the other instant gratification releases between its driving urgency and songwriting, though it is definitely more pop-rock than country. It sounds reminiscent of late 90’s/early 00’s efforts from Martina McBride or Dixie Chicks. “Bullet” was easily my least favorite. The vocal production is pretty bad between the splicing of the titular hook and Steven Tyler hardly being distinguished here. And the production is generic regurgitating of the Rolling Stones.

        “I Got The Boy” is the perfect single to anchor this album, and also almost evenly tied with Cam’s “Burning House” as the chart’s best song presently.


      • Nadia Lockheart September 30, 2015 / 5:06 pm

        Oh, I forgot to mention “Dance In The Rain”. =P

        What am I saying? I actually like that the most among the instant grat tracks. It’s true that there are EDM-esque digital effects scattered across the verses in particular, but they aren’t so glaring in the point they are intrusive or distract from the intimacy of Kramer’s vocals and defiant lyrics. It still works very well, even if this is musically a pop-rock power ballad without question.


      • Kevin Davis September 30, 2015 / 5:15 pm

        Thanks, Nadia, I had not seen the track list, and I share your concerns and optimism! I agree that “Love” was overproduced, which is a shame. It’s a solid song, with (obviously) a great message. I’m now listening to “Dance in the Rain.” I love her voice — not a powerhouse but “intimate” as you say, and I prefer vulnerable vocals anyway.


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