The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [November 21]

Old Dominion

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. Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him” -1 [Tied for Worst Song]
  2. Cole Swindell – “Let Me See Ya Girl” -1 [Tied for Worst Song]
  3. Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over” +1 (Up 2)
  4. Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break” +1 (Up 1)
  5. Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” -1 
  6. Blake Shelton – “Gonna” -1 (Up 1)
  7. Florida Georgia Line – “Anything Goes” -1 (Down 4) [Tied for Worst Song]
  8. Jason Aldean – “Gonna Know We Were Here” -1 (Up 1)
  9. Tim McGraw – “Top of the World” (Up 3)
  10. Cam – “Burning House” +1 (Up 1) 
  11. Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer” (Up 2)
  12. Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man” -1 (Up 6)
  13. Parmalee – “Already Callin’ You Mine” -1 (Up 1)
  14. LoCash – “I Love This Life” -1 (Up 1)
  15. Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy” +1 (Up 2)
  16. Big & Rich – “Run Away With You” 0 
  17. Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  18. Randy Houser – “We Went” -1 (Up 2)
  19. Sam Hunt – “Break Up In A Small Town” -1 (Up 3) [Tied for Worst Song]
  20. Granger Smith – “Backroad Song” -1 (Up 3)
  21. Brad Paisley – “Country Nation” -1 
  22. Hunter Hayes – “21” -1 (Up 2) [Tied for Worst Song]
  23. A Thousand Horses – “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” -1 (Up 2)
  24. Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” -1 (Up 5) [Tied for Worst Song]
  25. Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You” -1 (Up 1)
  26. Dierks Bentley – “Riser” +1 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  27. Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You” -1 (Up 1)
  28. Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That” -1 (Up 2)
  29. Keith Urban – “Break On Me” -1 (New to Top 30)
  30. Billy Currington – “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem” -1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -17

The pulse stayed the same this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down” went recurrent and fell from #8 to out of the top 30
  • Kenny Chesney’s “Save It For A Rainy Day” went recurrent and fell from #10 to out of the top 30

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Keith Urban – “Break On Me”
  • Billy Currington – “Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem”

Song I Predict Will Reach #1 Next Week:

  • Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man” – Up 6 from #18 to #12
  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” – Up 5 from #29 to #24
  • Multiple Songs Moved Up Three Spots

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down” – Out of the Top 30
  • Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day” – Out of the Top 30
  • Florida Georgia Line – “Anything Goes” – Down 4 from #3 to #7

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

  • Florida Georgia Line – “Anything Goes”
  • Hunter Hayes – “21”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You”
  • Big & Rich – “Run Away With You”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight”
  • Michael Ray – “Real Men Love Jesus”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”
  • Eric Church – “Mr. Misunderstood”

Note: Chris Stapleton debuted at #46 with “Nobody To Blame”

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

8 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [November 21]

  1. krysmile November 11, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    High guys. I just wanted to tell you that I heard that worst song last night. It was about a man and a lady, they were at a bar drinking, and then they took a selfie and sent it to their exes.

    I then realized it was Luke Bryans “Home Alone Tonight”

    You are 40 and married, Luke Bryan. Please, just stop.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Raymond November 11, 2015 / 2:34 pm

    Well I have to say I am happy that Chris Stapleton debuted. Also given how fast he’s going I won’t be surprised to see him in the Top 30 soon enough. Maybe this years CMA award signified a change in mainstream country music. Anyway a lot of the Top 60 debuts I have to say I really like. Chris Stapleton, Eric Church’s new one and honestly one of my favorite songs of the year and I even like FGL’s new one (guilty pleasure) and Dylan Scotts new one is also decent. Unfortunately Brett Eldredge new garbage came in as well.

    I would rank the 2 new songs in the Top 30 0s more myself. Both are just more boring than getting mad about so 0s I guess. If there is more good news Michael Ray new song is having terrible callout scores. What else in the country music charts is there good news Maddie & Tae should soon debut next week as they were just short and even though it won’t be a hit Love & Theft Whiskey On My Breath should sneak a week inside the chart since I counted 4 recurrent songs ( FGL, Clare Dunn, Ronnie Dunn, Eric Church Roller Coaster Ride,) so that’s good to see some of the good songs starting to make headway into the charts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria November 11, 2015 / 2:35 pm

    I’m actually feeling optimistic about the chart right now. There’s a lot of quality music that could enter the Top 30 soon—“Mr. Misunderstood” obviously will enter within the next couple weeks, and “Head Over Boots” and “I Met A Girl” are doing solidly as well. “Nobody To Blame” is definitely something to watch; it feels like Stapleton can do anything right now, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it become a hit. “Shut Up And Fish” should debut next week, as well.

    Also, where the heck did “You Look Like I Need A Drink” go? It debuted at #41 last week and now it’s not even on the chart. Talk about a huge second-week slump.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond November 11, 2015 / 5:17 pm

      iHeartMedia debut. That means some stations played it every hour for one day when it was available and now that those plays are out it fell out. Don’t worry Justin Moore and Frankie Ballard (his new one is really great) are going for adds this week and should see plenty of adds and get on the chart easily.


      • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria November 11, 2015 / 6:22 pm

        Oh, okay.


  4. NoahHibiscusEaton November 11, 2015 / 9:48 pm

    The chart remains rather grim on the surface, but I’m prédicting the Pulse will improve by the third week of January (because the holiday chart freeze tends to dissuade radio programmers from adding or removing songs as well as the prevalence of holiday music and year-end countdowns)


    Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how the Cole Swindell-Chris Young dual pans out this week.

    On the surface, “I’m Comin’ Over” seems like the obvious victor. It gained over FIVE million in audience this past week, while Cole Swindell gained only about half a million, and Young was only about a million behind Swindell at the time this week’s chart was published.

    However, Swindell’s camp deliberately put the brakes on their song so that they could make a go for this week instead of this past one. Whether it was smart is anyone’s guess, but we clearly have a battle brewing and between the two of them, Swindell is more vulnerable. I favor Young to win.

    I don’t care for either song. Swindell’s is laughably bad, but also not among the worst songs I’ve heard this year. Young’s is obviously better, but it has actually grown off of me the more I’ve listened to it. The more I’ve listened, the more I’ve felt the song comes and goes way too rapidly as though Young and his fellow producer are treating this song like a chore. It reminds me way too much of “Who I Am With You”, which also wasn’t bad but sounded way too médiocre and Daughtry-esque. I also felt it was like a solo rip-off of “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” (which, itself, was a Bryan Adams rip-off). Young settles for too little as a vocalist with these sort of songs, and that’s why I can’t justify giving it a grade any higher than a flat 0.


    Outside of that, well, not a lot to say actually in the meantime.

    Brantley Gilbert had his first solid week with his current single “Stone Cold Sober”. It gained over a million in audience this week. I’m not crazy about that song, but it’s definitely better than his lead two singles this era.

    Tyler Farr’s current era has been an absolute mess since after “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” became his first #1, but it looks like he’ll more than likely get another hit with “Better In Boots” at this point. Sales have picked up notably, and it has had a decent week at airplay too.

    And look at Jon Pardi. He picked up neatly 700,000 in audience this week. I’m happy to see his single is hanging in there.


    • Josh Schott November 11, 2015 / 9:54 pm

      I agree. I see improvement on the horizon once these really bad songs go recurrent. Pardi and Church will be in the top 30 relatively soon (Church within a couple of weeks at max). “I Met A Girl” is quietly making strides and “Shut Up and Fish” should be on the chart within a couple of weeks. And then of course there’s the hottest artist in country music right now in Chris Stapleton at #46. I’m telling myself it isn’t going to rise up into the top 30, but then again Stapleton continues to defy the odds. The only case in recent memory that comes close to his is Sturgill Simpson’s 2014 meteoric rise, who defied odds himself. I guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks.


      • NoahHibiscusEaton November 12, 2015 / 2:27 am

        I have to say I feel very optimistic about Pardi’s release.

        It’s also presently #56 on the iTunes Country chart. On the surface, that may not seem impressive at all, but when you take into consideration the CMA bump, a few high-profile mainstream country album releases from Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Chris Young, “The Voice” performances and Stapleton-Mania…………it could easily be at #36 instead right now. And that’s very impressive for this kind of song and more than likely to convince his label to keep promoting it at radio.

        Liked by 1 person

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