Great Music Currently at Country Radio [November 25]

The very best of country radio right here in a nice playlist. In order for a song to be added to the list, it must currently be in the top 60 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, so this will be updated weekly. Normally this feature is part of The Hodgepodge, but I’ve decided to make this a weekly standalone post. In recent weeks this playlist has nearly doubled in size, which is very encouraging to see. Hopefully this trend continues and all of these songs make the top 30. Here’s where all the songs currently stand on the chart:

1. Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over”

2. Carrie Underwood – “Smoke Break”

8. Cam – “Burning House” 

13. Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy” 

25. Eric Church – “Mr. Misunderstood”

27. Dierks Bentley – “Riser”

29. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame”

33. George Strait – “Cold Beer Conversation”

39. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”

43. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”

44. Kip Moore – “Running For You”

45. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer” [New]

47. Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” 

48. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

49. Mo Pitney – “Boy & A Girl Thing”

56. Ashley Campbell – “Remembering” [New]

59. Love & Theft – “Whiskey on My Breath” [New]

18 thoughts on “Great Music Currently at Country Radio [November 25]

  1. NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Here’s mine:

    *

    8: Cam: “Burning House”

    13: Jana Kramer: “I Got The Boy”

    25: Eric Church: “Mr. Misunderstood”

    27: Dierks Bentley: “Riser”

    29: Chris Stapleton: “Nobody To Blame”

    33: George Strait: “Cold Beer Conversation”

    39: Jon Pardi: “Head Over Boots”

    43: William Michael Morgan: “I Met A Girl”

    44: Kip Moore: “Running For You”

    45: Frankie Ballard: “It All Started With A Beer”

    47: Maddie & Tae: “Shut Up And Fish”

    49: Mo Pitney: “Boy And A Girl Thing”

    56: Ashley Campbell: “Remembering”

    59: Love & Theft: “Whiskey On My Breath” (FINALLY!)

    *

    Funny that two of our three disagreements happen to be the top two country hits this week! 😉 (the other being Justin Moore, whose song I like but not enough to give a +1)

    On a side note, I like Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession” quite a bit, but it falls short of +1 too (I expect you’ll give it a -1). What really wins me over about their newest single is the introspective lyricism and the spacey, atnospheric, semi-pensive production outside of the chorus. I think this sort of sound would suit them better down the line, with one exception that winds up reducing it to a 0: the typical, cluttered wall of sound chorus. Joey Moi still can’t get that monkey off his back and just let the choruses breathe. Still, it’s a high 0 and would be my “Honorable Mention” for this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott November 25, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      I’m surprised you like “Confession.” Joey Moi is why I can’t get behind this song or any other FGL song not named “Dirt.” He just absolutely butchers the production to the point that it’s unlistenable to my ears. He’s a big reason why Nickelback is so hated. FGL should dump him, but then again they don’t have the foresight to make a smart move like this. They just see the money still rolling in, so everything is fine to them. Really though I think this next album could be a turning point for them, either for the better or worse.

      There’s no song I’m pulling for harder than the ones I listed above than “Whiskey on My Breath.” Their new album was certainly not good, but the flashes of brilliance throughout it make me excited for future projects. With a big label no longer restricting their creativity I think they can flourish and produce great music. Hopefully in 2016 they’re able to give us a well thought out album that displays their full potential.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        I’ve stated since “Anything Goes” (the album) was reviewed that “Dirt” and “Confession” are the only thoroughly decent tracks on the album in my opinion, and then credited aspects of several other tracks that were nonetheless misfires as a whole.

        I generally like “Confession”. If it wasn’t for the noisy, cluttered chorus, it would squeak by with a low +1 to my ears. Even so, I like the spacey, atmospheric feel of the production outside the chorus, however.

        And I’d argue the lyrics are even slightly more mature than those of “Dirt”. There is some vivid imagery that sets the introspective mood here, and I especially love the poignant, open-ended line in the latter half of the chorus admitting: “There’s a guy in the windshield looking back, it looks just like me but there’s a crack in the reflection…” and that it sets up the cliffhanger: “Hope he’s moving in the right direction!” in the final chorus. It honestly kind of grabbed me in its potency.

        Then again, this is coming from someone who has been less harsh on their output as a whole (though still thumbs-downing their albums as a whole)……….so I accept it just may be a case of differing preferences. =)

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  2. Zack November 25, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    Mine’s the exact same essentially. I’m still meh to “Cold Beer Conversation”, but having George Strait back on the radio is a huge victory, so for that I’ll give it a +1. Chris Young’s and Carrie’s are meh on their own merit, but in the context of this I definitely agree they’re on the good side of mainstream country music right now.

    Other than that I’d add “Stay A Little Longer” and “When I’m Gone”

    It’s funny you bring up “Confession” Noah. That’s one song that I truly can’t decide a grade for (basically, whether I like it or not). I think I would like it if it were in the hands of another vocalist besides Tyler Hubbard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 2:21 pm

      My issue with “I’m Comin’ Over” (and almost all of the album of the same name, for that matter, minus “I Know A Guy”) is that it sounds hurried and completely boring. Plus, he already covered this same thematic territory with “Tomorrow”, and did a comparatively better job with it.

      “Smoke Break” just isn’t interesting at all to my ears, either. It is NOT a change in her musical style as other critics exaggerated in that it’s straight in her arena-geared rocky lead single wheelhouse, and the lyrics are more vignettes that don’t reveal much than anything resembling a story. It’s just too paint-by-numbers to impress me.

      Both represent the in-between, to my ears. Neither among the best nor the worst.

      *

      I do like “Stay A Little Longer” because it reminds me of what I hear on Triple A radio growing up. The lyricism is uninteresting, but nothing that should be knocked either. It’s a high 0 to my ears.

      Yeah, come to think of it, I’m on the fence over including “When I’m Gone” as a +1 too. I guess the only thing keeping me from straight-up doing so is that the theme has been covered tirelessly. But I get that, at this point, that’s probably nitpicking and we should just be thankful more mature themes are surfacing again, regardless of how worn out they are.

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    • NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 2:37 pm

      And on “Confession”, while I do agree with you that the song would have been brought to life better in the hands of another vocalist (and another producer)………….I still genuinely believe they do a very respectable job interpreting this.

      There are dozens upon dozens upon dozens of vocalists I’m more drawn to than Tyler Hubbard any day, but in truth he doesn’t get on my nerves this time around. As painfully limited as his range is and unable to kick the Auto-Tune habit, I honestly think on occasion he can hold his own in making the most of his narrow range and squeeze some emotion out. That was true with “Dirt” (although I liked Brian Kelley’s verse best) and I also thought he did well on “Hell Raisin’ Heat of the Summer”. And he also does a respectable job with this one, even if he sounds more tired than usual.

      I guess what I’m saying is that, even if I find a particular vocalist annoying as a whole, I often find certain songs and styles suit them better to the point they’re at least somewhat listenable. Brantley Gilbert is another obvious example. I think his voice is even worse than Hubbard’s, but when he is handling more intimate material, he sounds better and doesn’t diminish the track’s quality.

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    • Josh Schott November 25, 2015 / 4:36 pm

      I can see why people are meh on “Cold Beer Conversation,” as it’s a little dry for some ears. Personally it reminds me of hanging out with my best friend, but not everyone can understandably make this connection. I think Strait’s team has done a horrible job promoting this song, as there’s not even a lyric video for it yet. But then again the King doesn’t need radio. I just hope “It Was Love” gets released as a single because I think it’s tailored made to be a hit.

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  3. Kevin Davis November 25, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    I’m surprised that Kip’s team chose “Running for You” as the next single. It seems like “Lipstick,” which already has a nice music video, would be a more logical choice — or “What Ya Got on Tonight.” Both are radio-ready. I really have a hard time understanding how/why singles are chosen, as with Miranda’s Platinum. It all makes very little sense.

    I’m very happy to see that “Whiskey on My Breath” may have another chance. I also like the music video a lot.

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    • NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 2:26 pm

      I actually think they made the perfect choice with “Running Over You”.

      It’s among the few tracks that show more of Moore’s tender side, but without diminishing his distinctively muscular vocal. It’s easily more melodic and radio-friendly than his three previous singles, and I also love how nuanced the songwriting is: where the song’s narrator and subject have clearly broken up and accepted they shouldn’t try to go back to where they were, but that doesn’t mean they can’t run to each other for a shoulder when they need it for support. I just think the shimmering melancholic vibe of this will leave many finding it easy to relate to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin Davis November 25, 2015 / 4:17 pm

        That’s a great analysis, Noah. I would love to see “Running For You” do well on the radio, but I am skeptical. I am not sure that the audience will pick-up on the thematic substance. The musical component is nothing special, with the obvious exception of Kip’s incredible vocals.

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    • Josh Schott November 25, 2015 / 4:34 pm

      I think the biggest mistake Kip’s team made was putting “Backseat” on the deluxe version of the album, as I think it’s the best song on it. I think “Running For You” will have a similar run to “I’m To Blame,” which in this radio environment and Kip’s style isn’t bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisandro Berry-Gaviria November 25, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    My list would be:

    #8: Cam – “Burning House” (9/10)
    #13: Jana Kramer – “I Got The Boy” (9/10)
    #25: Eric Church – “Mr. Misunderstood” (8/10)
    #27: Dierks Bentley – “Riser” (9/10)
    #29: Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame” (9/10)
    #33: George Strait – “Cold Beer Conversation” (8/10)
    #39: Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” (8/10)
    #43: William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” (7.5/10)
    #45: Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer” (7.5/10)
    #47: Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up And Fish” (8.5/10)
    #49: Mo Pitney – “Boy & A Girl Thing” (7.5/10)
    #56: Ashley Campbell – “Remembering”(9/10)
    #59: Love And Theft – “Whiskey On My Breath” (9/10)
    #60: Craig Morgan – “When I’m Gone” (7/10)

    “Remembering” is probably my favorite song here, though it’s just a hair’s breadth ahead of “Whiskey On My Breath.” “Burning House,” “Nobody To Blame,” “Riser,” and “I Got The Boy” would then follow in that order.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Zack November 25, 2015 / 7:08 pm

    Ok, I’ll play the ranking game 🙂

    10/10
    Ashley Campbell- “Remembering”

    9/10
    Cam- “Burning House”
    Jana Kramer- “I Got The Boy”
    Dierks Bentley- “Riser”
    Chris Stapleton- “Nobody To Blame”
    Love and Theft- “Whiskey On My Breath”

    8.5/10
    Eric Church- “Mr. Misunderstood”
    Kip Moore- “Running For You”
    Maddie and Tae- “Shut Up and Fish”

    8/10
    Brothers Osborne- “Stay A Little Longer”
    Jon Pardi- “Head Over Boots”
    William Michael Morgan- “I Met A Girl”
    Craig Morgan- “When I’m Gone”

    7.5/10
    Frankie Ballard- “It All Started With A Beer”

    7/10
    Justin Moore- “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

    The “Oh So Close” Honorable Mentions:
    Hank Williams Jr./Eric Church- “Are You Ready For The Country” (6.5/10)
    Dylan Scott- “Crazy Over Me” (6.5/10)
    George Strait- “Cold Beer Conversation” (6/10)
    Chris Young- “I’m Comin’ Over” (6/10)
    Carrie Underwood- “Smoke Break” (6/10)
    Mo Pitney- “Boy and A Girl Thing” (6/10)

    And….The favorites that haven’t charted yet!

    Don Henley/Trisha Yearwood- “Words Can Break Your Heart” (9/10)
    Charles Kelley & Co. – “The Driver” (8.5/10)
    Kacey Musgraves- “Dime Store Cowgirl” (8/10)

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  6. NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    Here’s my ratings:

    *

    ***** 10/10 *****

    Love & Theft: “Whiskey On My Breath” (I’m dead serious. If any single out there epitomizes a modern take on traditional country music done hand in glove, it’s this song.)

    Ashley Campbell: “Remembering”

    *

    ***** 9/10 *****

    Chris Stapleton: “Nobody To Blame” (Sure, the subject matter is familiar and over-the-top. But then again, I get that’s actually the point. It’s a fun twist on acrimonious break-ups and heartbreak and just sounds damn good on the radio too, Stapleton’s hickory-smoked wailing, instrumentals and all (the first time this came on the radio, I thought it was Shelton’s famed cover of “Ol’ Red” at first, so it isn’t a stretch to be hearing this catch on too.)

    Cam: “Burning House”

    Jana Kramer: “I Got The Boy” (I initially gave this a 8/10, but it has actually gotten even better over repeated listen because it is a masterful smart take on a classic country songwriting twist.)

    Dierks Bentley: “Riser” (I’ve heard some argue the rhymes in the chorus are corny and move the song down a couple of pegs to their ears. And while I get where that’s coming from, I don’t think it weakens the song at all. It’s as damn intimate and cathartic as anthems get.)

    *

    ***** 8/10 *****

    Eric Church: “Mr. Misunderstood”

    William Michael Morgan: “I Met A Girl” (True, the lyricism could easily have been better. But everything about this just feels sincere and authentic in making for an excellent debut.)

    Maddie & Tae: “Shut Up And Fish”

    Jon Pardi: “Head Over Boots”

    Kip Moore: “Running For You”

    *

    ***** 7/10 *****

    George Strait: “Cold Beer Conversation”

    Craig Morgan: “When I’m Gone”

    Frankie Ballard: “It All Started With A Beer”

    *

    *****6/10 (Ohhhhhhh, So Close!) *****

    Florida Georgia Line: “Confession”

    Mo Pitney: “Boy And A Girl Thing”

    Joe Nichols: “Freaks Like Me”

    Brothers Osbourne: “Stay A Little Longer”

    *

    *

    (Note: I’d rate both “Smoke Break”, “Are You Ready For The Country” and “I’m Comin’ Over” 5.5/10. “Crazy Over Me” rates as a 5/10 to my ears upon first listen.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisandro Berry-Gaviria November 26, 2015 / 9:22 am

      “Whiskey On My Breath” and “Remembering” both barely miss a 10/10 for me, though they’re probably my favorite mainstream country singles of 2015. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with either of them, but I thought both of them could’ve been even better. With “Whiskey On My Breath,” the instrumentation was very good and solidly country, but I think some organ or pedal steel could’ve definitely added to the dark, despairing tone of the song; while with “Remembering,” I feel like the tempo’s too fast for the lyrics to sink in as much as possible. I know I’m really nitpicking here, but I do believe that neither of those songs reached their full potential quality-wise, so I’d hold back from grading them 10/10.

      However, I honestly don’t get the love towards “Running For You.” Sure, the lyrics and vocals are outstanding, but it’s not country at all, which is ultimately the bottom line. As a pop rock song, it’s excellent, but as a country song I’d grade it 6/10. I do think that it was a good single choice, since the lyrics and theme are highly relatable as you said…yet even so, it’s been slow to get off the ground on country radio.

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  7. Zack November 25, 2015 / 9:12 pm

    You know, this would be a fun thing to do with the Texas chart too. I mean let’s not act like that chart is extremely different from the mainstream. You have the good the bad and the ugly with both charts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NoahHibiscusEaton November 25, 2015 / 9:42 pm

      The Texas country chart would routinely produce a better net score than the mainstream country/”country” one on a weekly basis.

      But you’re right. Texas country, as a whole, is splintered in the meantime. Roughly half of it is playing to modern sonic tweaking and 80s arena rock, while the other half is playing a more streamlined form of Red Dirt. It can be a real discombobulated listening experience.

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      • Zack November 25, 2015 / 11:19 pm

        Oh yeah I definitely know it will produce a higher score, I was just saying that it could still be a fun thing since we’re not just going to list everything in the top 50. There will at least be some things that get left out.

        Might actually listen to every song on the chart tomorrow and see what the results are. Could be fun! I’ll come back with my analysis.

        Btw, Happy Thanksgiving to all of the commenters here, and especially Josh and Derek for their hard work here! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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