The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 24]

Brett Eldredge Lose My Mind

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

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:

  • Jake Owen’s “Real Life” went recurrent and fell from #29 to out of the top 30. (By the way Jake, if I recall your previous single “What We Ain’t Got” reached the top 15. But yeah it was totally right to put out a SugarRay ripoff as a single. Excellent choice!)

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man” – Up 4 from #30 to #26
  • Several songs moved up one spot on the chart

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Jake Owen – “Real Life” – Out of the Top 30
  • Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” – Down 9 from #4 to #13
  • Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day” – Down 2 from #1 to #3
  • Hunter Hayes – “21” – Down 2 from #23 to #25

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

  • Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
  • Hunter Hayes – “21”

On The Hot Seat:

  • The Band Perry – “Live Forever”
  • Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Dierks Bentley – “Riser”
  • Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You”
  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug”
  • Granger Smith – “Backroad Song”

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

23 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 24]

  1. Scotty J October 14, 2015 / 1:06 pm

    Looks like ‘Fly’ is finally coming to the end of it’s run as it’s down considerably now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond October 14, 2015 / 1:22 pm

      I know many will say it was a bad single choice but the fact that in 2015 an all female duo can take a ballad to the Top 10 of country radio is really impressive. Keep in mind this was their sophomore song which for basically every other female artist they basically all fizzled out.

      Like

      • Josh Schott October 14, 2015 / 1:39 pm

        I agree. What will be interesting to see is if Ballerini’s “Dibs” does better or worse than “Fly,” as that’s her sophomore single too. If it does worse, then it makes the run of “Fly” on the chart look more impressive.

        Like

      • Rosalie October 14, 2015 / 4:08 pm

        Everyone said “Sierra” should have been their second single and while I do agree, I can see why they picked “Fly.” Had they gone with “Sierra,” there probably would have been some that saw them as “just the girls that complain all the time.”

        Like

    • NoahHibiscusEaton October 14, 2015 / 2:56 pm

      Oh, it’s unquestionably over for “Fly”. Over the last two days, it has lost over 5.1 million in audience and 800 spins.

      “Fly” just wasn’t a smart selection to anchor their début album on. Chart peaks can often be misleading to overrated when you consider the broader details. It isn’t even halfway to Gold status yet, had indifferent callout from the onset, and needed almost 40 weeks to get to #9 (“Girl In A Country Song” only needed 23 to reach #1).

      Had “Shut Up And Fish” anchored the album instead, I’m most confident their album would have bowed stronger than about 20,000 units sold. Fortunately it was officially declared the third single yesterday, so hopefully it can restore hype for this talented duo.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Raymond October 14, 2015 / 1:14 pm

    Ok well it looks like Keith is for sure leaving and since they announced Shut Up & Fish as the next song (so excited) I’m expecting Fly to join Keith. Dan + Shay should be fine as their basically a lock for a Top 5 finish. Anyway Hunter Hayes has to re-bullet or he is automatically sent recurrent. Also I know music videos should not affect grading but due to how it was shown I officially can say I like Stay. A Little Longer as a +1.

    Anyways with The three stooges I mean The Band Perry announcing their album Live Forever won’t last long. I personally think they should do what Jake Owen is doing and hold off the album till later as 1. They are going against an Adele album the same week and 2. Live Forever shouldn’t anchor the album release.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lorenzo October 14, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    Fly has been pulled so that Shut Up and Fish could be released. Maddie & Tae’s record label is made of fuckheads. Fly was gaining almost 100 spins every day last week (with a total of + 654) and it could have easily reached the top 5, there was really no reason to withdraw the single. But those douches at Dot sent ‘Shut Up and Fish’ to radio on Monday and stopped pushing Fly, making it lose 97 spins on Monday, 316 spins yesterday and 558 spins today. I’m shocked. This might be one of the most stupid things I’ve seen a record label do (the other might be the release of Yup as Easton Corbin’s current single).
    Having said that, Shut Up and Fish is a great cool song and it should easily be another top 10 hit.

    Like

    • Raymond October 14, 2015 / 1:36 pm

      The problem is that Fly was running out of time it was starting to really burn out on listeners and like Nadia pointed out the sales and research were meh. Fly acted more like a Top 10 song than a Top 5 song.

      Like

      • Lorenzo October 14, 2015 / 1:46 pm

        This was Fly’s 35th week on charts. In two or three weeks it could have reached the top 5. Also the audience impressions were still very good. It was pointless to screw the single.

        Like

      • Lorenzo October 14, 2015 / 1:49 pm

        And sales were still good as well: 10.000 units sold every week is a good result.

        Like

    • Josh Schott October 14, 2015 / 1:43 pm

      Sure it could have reached top five, maybe. But in today’s world of country music you want to hit #1 and this song was never going to do it. “Sierra” really should have been the second single, despite “Fly” outperforming all expectations and having a really good run. I guarantee “Shut Up and Fish” will be a huge hit and I don’t blame Dot for wanting to get this out quick. This song could be more beneficial that “Girl In A Country Song” was for M&T, so if I were you I would focus more on getting excited about “Shut Up and Fish.” Getting a second #1 song will do a lot for the duo in making them an established act on radio that fans will be familiar with and connect with too. “Fly” was good, but not good enough to take Maddie & Tae to another level, which is what their goal should be in the early stages of their career.

      Like

      • Lorenzo October 14, 2015 / 1:57 pm

        I’m super excited about Shut Up and Fish. What makes me sad is that I really wanted Fly to reach #1. I don’t think Sierra would have been a good choice because musically it’s too traditional for country radio (yeah, even Shut Up and Fish is but it’s way more catchy). However I agree with you: this will help their career 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton October 14, 2015 / 3:15 pm

        Both “Sierra” and “Shut Up And Fish” would have been fat more effective singles to anchor an album on.

        The last thing you want in the lead-up to an album’s release is a track that isn’t generating hype and, thus, excitement. “Girl In A Country Song” was easily one of the most talked-about singles of 2014, yet they didn’t have their album ready in time. Still, even if “Shut Up And Fish” hadn’t been properly recorded by the time that lead single peaked, I would have released “Sierra” hands-down.

        I disagree with Raymond that it would have sounded too country for supposed “country radio”. If Jana Kramer can score what is now becoming a breakout hit with “I Got The Boy” dripping with dobro, “Shut Up And Fish” is an even more natural fit for the format.

        Some have been quick to compare the chart performances of their first two singles with those from the long-idle female duo The Wreckers. “Leave The Pieces” went to #1, while “My Oh My” followed up to scrape the Top Ten. This had raised great concern for Maddie & Tae because the third single from The Wreckers, “Tennessee”, missed the Top Thirty entirel…………….and they fear a similar fate for Maddie and Tae in terms of diminished returns.

        Fortunately, I doubt this will happen as long as “Shut Up And Fish” is their new single. In fact, I’ll boldly predict it will have a faster chart rise than “Fly” and restore hype for this duo. Depending on how the single sales digitally (I predict decent to strong sales), it also has a sure shot at #1 but I’m holding off on a prediction until I see it chart at airplay after three weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. NoahHibiscusEaton October 14, 2015 / 5:31 pm

    Some other thoughts besides “Fly” this week.

    *

    1) “I Got The Boy” is really starting to hits its stride. The nationally televised performance of it for the first time definitely helps Kramer further. It’s by no means a new song, but as long as sales have been consistently solid relative to airplay throughout its run and Kramer is enjoying downtime being pregnant as “Thirty-One” prepares to bow, there’s no reason NOT to keep pushing this.

    On the flip side of this…

    2) WHY THE FRICK has “Gonna Wanna Tonight” gotten as far as it has? If there’s one current chart run that makes even less sense in terms of duration than “Fly”, it’s EASILY Chase Rice’s current cliched borefest. It has sold even worse than “Fly” and yet, here we are, nearly an entire calendar year since its official date of release. My only theory as to why it ever got this far is because sales for his album “Ignite The Night” have been impressive considering the lack of a memorable, impactful hit single. Fortunately, it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at overtaking #1 seeing that it’s in its final push week as we speak.

    3) If The Band Perry are insistent on maintaining the November release date for “Heart + Beat”, then they will suffer inevitable major disappointment. It is the WORST possible time of year to peddle an album when your lead single (“Live Forever”) may be lucky to even dent the Top Twenty. Sales are weak as well, proving pop listeners couldn’t care less about their “experimentation”. Add to that high-profile releases from Adele (rumor has it), Justin Bieber, One Direction and possibly Drake’s “View From the 6”, and it’s all but certainly going to be buried in the shuffle. If I were them, I would pull the plug on “Live Forever”, get a new single out at the beginning of next year that is a more natural fit for them, and have a tentative release date set for April/May 2016.

    4) “Southern Style” has just gotten the plug pulled on as well, so don’t expect it to reach the Top Thirty. Can’t day I’m all that surprised by it underperforming. I do genuinely like this song well enough, but it sounded a bit dated all the same. I think “Perfect” would have been a much better bet at maintaining hit airplay.

    *

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond October 14, 2015 / 5:51 pm

      I agree with all pf this but given the way The Band Perry has been acting I would expect an equally as bad pop song. I honestly just cringe at what The Band Perry has become.

      Like

      • Patrick October 15, 2015 / 2:10 pm

        They played a couple new songs recently and they sound even worse than Live Forever. One is on youtube, I think. Sounds like reggae pop.

        Like

  5. NoahHibiscusEaton October 14, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Some thoughts further down the chart:

    *

    6) Granger Smith appears to have found his breakout taste of mainstream success with “Backroad Song”. It’s more than likely looking like a future #1 contender having gained nearly 1.3 million in audience this past week.

    7) Once again, we’re seeing a Brantley Gilbert single mightily struggling in the lower reaches of the chart. “Stone Cold Sober” is #47 this week after six charting weeks with miniscule gains. It just comes to show how far the Big Machine Music Group has regressed in terms of radio promotion when you have an A-lister being treated like a Michael Ray or an Austin Webb.

    8) “Pain Killer” may already be done for. It lost nearly half a million in audience this past week. Could it be the long chart run for “Girl Crush” produced a backlash of sorts toward the group, considering how rapidly radio dropped the song after its final push? =P

    9) It is beyond bizarre seeing James Otto’s “Somewhere Tonight” re-charting at #59 eleven months after I first heard it on The Bull. What’s the point by now in continuing to push this? Otto would be much better served by a new single that plays much better to his proven vocal strengths instead of this overproduced, banal mess.

    Like

    • Raymond October 14, 2015 / 6:09 pm

      Granger has his breakout hit and it’ll probably be a huge hit.

      Brantley honestly I think this will honestly just barely hit the Top 20. To be honest though I am curious about Big Machine Records. I mean ZBB Beautiful Drug is going a little slower than I thought it would be. Rascal Flatts are seeing just dying momentum as I think “I Like The Sound Of That” might scrap the Top 20 like Riot. Danielle Bradbery well she should just drop Friend Zone cause the moment that hits radio her career is done. Eli Young Band they’re really falling close to getting dropped. A Thousand Horses new song isn’t selling worth a lick at all. Cassadee Pope well I think it’s a little too soon to judge on her success. FGL despite the fact Anything Goes looks to be another mindless #1 it just feels like there momentum slowed down a little. Maddie & Tae have to get a hit with Shut Up & Fish I’m a little nervous on how that does. Waterloo Revival looks to flop as Bad For You continues to do nothing.

      Truly the only country acts that seem to be doing well for Big Machine are Tim McGraw Thomas Rhett and really that’s it.

      I doubt Little Big Town is done keep in mind these guys have had so many songs that couldn’t be hits (Fine Line, Kiss Goodbye, Sober) but they always come back around one way or another and I find theor chart runs fascinating.

      Like

    • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria October 14, 2015 / 7:02 pm

      Wow, definitely a lot of badly performing singles lately, even from A-list stars, including singles from the reigning ACM and CMA Vocal Group of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the Year. Not to mention singles like “Long Stretch Of Love,” “Real Life,” “21,” “Live Forever,” “Southern Style,” “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem,” “Yup,” “Night’s On Fire,” and “Until They Don’t Love You.” I think it’s a little early to judge the chart runs of “Real Men Love Jesus,” “Stone Cold Sober,” “Better In Boots,” and “Roller Coaster Ride” yet, but none of them have started off that hot.

      I blame this on the trend-chasing in mainstream country music. I guess not all mainstream fans want to hear the same rehashed pop crap after all…(yeah, only half the time—the rest of time they might actually tolerate some variety.)

      Like

  6. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria October 14, 2015 / 6:39 pm

    I’m interested to see who makes the Top 30 next week. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” is done (so glad to see that miss #1), hopefully “21” as well, and quite possibly “Fly.” “That Don’t Sound Like You” and “Riser” had virtually the same number of audience impressions this week, so it’ll be a battle between those two to get in; but “Beautiful Drug” is rising quickly behind them and I wouldn’t be surprised if it overtakes both songs next week. The next three songs to enter the Top 30 after that will probably be “I Like The Sound Of That,” “Backroad Song,” and “Cold Beer Conversation” (not in that specific order, though). It was nice to see the latter have a solid bounce-back week from the normal sophomore-week slump.

    Like

  7. petemarshall724 October 14, 2015 / 7:58 pm

    I wish you guys quit complaining about Maddie and Tae “Fly” it’s a very good song and it’s in the top 10; so get over it. I will Carry on about the other song on the chart. 21, Real Life, Stone cold sober, smoking and drinking, drinking with a football problems, long stretch of love, I like the sound of that, and yup are struggling and gave up.

    Like

  8. theknightswhosayni4 October 16, 2015 / 11:45 am

    Good! Backroad Song deserves to reach number 1. YEE YEE!!

    Like

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