The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [February 16]

Granger Smith Backroad Song

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 a 5 or 6 receive a 0. Songs rated 4 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. Granger Smith – “Backroad Song” -1 (Up 1)
  2. Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight” -1 (Down 1)
  3. Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” -1 (Up 2)
  4. Carrie Underwood – “Heartbeat” (Up 2)
  5. Keith Urban – “Break On Me” -1 (Up 2)
  6. Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man” -1 (Down 3)
  7. Randy Houser – “We Went” -1 (Up 1)
  8. Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” -1 (Up 1)
  9. Sam Hunt – “Break Up In A Small Town” -1 (Down 5) [Worst Song]
  10. Cole Swindell – “You Should Be Here” -1 (Up 3)
  11. Florida Georgia Line – “Confession” 
  12. Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love” -1 (Up 2)
  13. Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You” -1 (Up 3)
  14. Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That” -1 (Up 1)
  15. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame” +1 (Up 2)
  16. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Up 2)
  17. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 (Up 2)
  18. Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You” -1 (Up 2)
  19. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Up 2)
  20. Michael Ray – “Real Men Love Jesus” -1 (Up 2)
  21. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” (Up 3)
  22. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Up 3)
  23. Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober” -1 
  24. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 (New to Top 30)
  25. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Up 4)
  26. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 (Up 2)
  27. Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” +1 [Best Song]
  28. Tyler Farr – “Better in Boots” -1 (Down 2)
  29. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
  30. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -15

The pulse improved three spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer”
  • Brad Paisley – “Country Nation”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Tim McGraw – “Humble And Kind”
  • Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Granger Smith – “Backroad Song”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Tim McGraw – “Humble And Kind” – Up 9 from #33 to #24
  • Chris Lane – “Fix” – Up 4 from #29 to #25
  • Four different songs moved up three spots on the chart

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Brothers Osborne – “Stay A Little Longer” – Out of the Top 30
  • Brad Paisley – “Country Nation” – Out of the Top 30
  • Sam Hunt – “Break Up In A Small Town” – Down 5 from #4 to #9

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

  • Sam Hunt – “Break Up In A Small Town”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”
  • Tyler Farr – “Better in Boots”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” (I think it could just as easily recover, but it needs to happen soon)
  • David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” (It has terrible call out scores and I’m surprised it even cracked the top 30)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt”
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You”
  • Eric Church – “Record Year”

Note: We’re finally starting to see a lot of the good songs lurking outside of the top 30 enter it, which bodes well for the pulse to continue to rise higher. At the same time some bad songs are finally running their course and dropping out. With more good songs entering the top 60 this week and with Zac Brown Band and Carrie Underwood’s next singles likely to be good, we could be looking at a positive country radio environment within the next month and a half. I’m cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless.

 

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

7 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [February 16]

  1. Raymond February 17, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    Eh I am still a little hesitant about whether or not mainstream country music is heading in the right direction. Sure we have Maddie & Tae, Jon Pardi, Maren Morris, Tim McGraw and Frankie Ballard doing well (Maddie & Tae just had a bad week they’ll be back on track soon enough) and the new songs from Cam, Eric Church also have great songs and Jennifer Nettles has her great song. Justin Moore he as well and Kip Moore but on the flipside Love & Theft and William Michael Morgan are about done so that won’t help. I do know that we have some good songs coming like Tara Thompson (a newcomer) her song “Someone To Take Your Place” but I’m struggling to find other newcomer who songs are good. Brooke Eden I guess, unsurprisingly Clare Dunn new song isn’t country at all. If there is a bright side Kelsea Ballerini will release “Peter Pan” or is that a -1 of a song Josh.

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    • Raymond February 17, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      Also Josh where are u seeing terrible callout scores for “Nights On Fire”, I’m not finding anything at all.

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  2. Amanda February 17, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    Thoughts on the new songs:

    24. Tim McGraw, “Humble and Kind” — +1 (Grade: B+) Another all-around great song from Tim McGraw. The song states a lot of true advice.

    30. Frankie Ballard, “It All Started With a Beer” — +1 (Grade: B) Great song.

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  3. Daniel February 17, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    It hurts me that “Fix” is doing so well. Guess “T-Shirt” will be right behind it. On the bright side, Jon Pardi is looking very solid and I do like Frankie Ballard’s new song. Also surprised at the move up the chart from William Michael Morgan, #35 now I think. That’s pretty good since about a month ago it looked like it wouldn’t get out of the 50’s and high 40’s.

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    • Amanda February 17, 2016 / 2:47 pm

      Glad to see Jon Pardi doing well. He is such an awesome talent, and underrated at that. He deserves more recognition. And you’re not the only one disgusted with how well “Fix” is doing, Daniel. I second that. And I’m also surprised and impressed by William Michael Morgan. His song is one of the best on the charts right now.

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  4. Ryan February 17, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    As promised, my estimated maximum position and itunes ranks for this Wednesday:

    Pos Pos+ Artist Title MaxPos MaxItunes
    1 = GRANGER SMITH Backroad Song 1.036154454 37.86028368
    2 = LUKE BRYAN Home Alone Tonight 1 26.71946704
    3 = KELSEA BALLERINI Dibs 1.259356277 62.15776795
    4 = CARRIE UNDERWOOD Heartbeat 1.023936316 25.18812934
    5 = RANDY HOUSER We Went 1.439611012 82.00576372
    6 = KEITH URBAN Break On Me 1.116971314 50.43741075
    7 = ZAC BROWN BAND Beautiful Drug 1.395552582 50.56095769
    8 = SAM HUNT Break Up In A Small Town 1.188227192 33.97006526
    9 1 BRETT ELDREDGE Drunk On Your Love 2.108224377 51.5973143
    10 -1 FLORIDA-GEORGIA LINE Confession 3.060064401 64.61956868
    11 1 CHASE BRYANT Little Bit Of You 9.205179283 238.0739542
    12 -1 COLE SWINDELL You Should Be Here 1.287348522 33.46605065
    13 = RASCAL FLATTS I Like The Sound Of That 2.94683697 70.44266116
    14 = CHRIS STAPLETON Nobody To Blame 4.700934044 41.59287303
    15 = OLD DOMINION Snapback 3.538321796 52.45837979
    16 = MAREN MORRIS My Church 3.371119263 40.72835399
    17 = LEE BRICE That Don’t Sound Like You 10.94841233 118.7568934
    18 = DUSTIN LYNCH Mind Reader 3.672386692 70.48123749
    19 1 MICHAEL RAY Real Men Love Jesus 11.4407953 337.7987359
    20 -1 BRAD PAISLEY Country Nation 9.986327823 689.977958
    21 = DIERKS BENTLEY Somewhere On A Beach 1.87195987 37.70252361
    22 = CHRIS YOUNG & CASSADEE POPE Think Of You 5.947582715 65.06939021
    23 = BRANTLEY GILBERT Stone Cold Sober 6.147101526 79.92156017
    24 = JON PARDI Head Over Boots 14.46601732 125.6750667
    25 = MADDIE & TAE Shut Up And Fish 15.5140665 220.0162511
    26 1 CHRIS LANE Fix 9.176776602 112.0315279
    27 -1 TYLER FARR Better In Boots 21.52551551 109.4865372
    28 1 TIM MCGRAW Humble And Kind 1.583583112 33.19004307
    29 -1 DAVID NAIL Night’s On Fire 11.24215994 208.4574089
    30 = FRANKIE BALLARD It All Started With A Beer 15.07537467 130.3466886
    31 = CANAAN SMITH Hole In A Bottle 18.68260019 418.0036179
    32 = JUSTIN MOORE You Look Like I Need A Drink 11.70897833 117.3705495
    33 = KIP MOORE Running For You 20.23474206 724.9304668
    34 = THOMAS RHETT T-Shirt 12.95249009 103.0761634
    35 = EASTON CORBIN Yup 28.64722346 1052.049978
    36 = DYLAN SCOTT Crazy Over Me 8.213991822 119.2445757
    37 = ERIC PASLAY High Class 34.2849162 777.164289
    38 = BIG & RICH Lovin’ Lately f/Tim McGraw 16.77053834 448.4189293
    39 = JENNIFER NETTLES Unlove You 28.94967196 428.531981
    40 = CHRIS JANSON Power Of Positive Drinkin’ 29.22143671 973.4644118
    41 = WILLIAM MICHAEL MORGAN I Met A Girl 34.22349853 1134.056811
    42 = DRAKE WHITE Livin’ The Dream 27.2247458 856.664501
    43 = CHARLES KELLEY The Driver f/Bentley & Paslay 21.50736997 189.9146711
    44 = LAUREN ALAINA Next Boyfriend 35.34918446 522.5191686
    45 = LINDSAY ELL By The Way 33.07411906 1038.174476
    46 2 DAN + SHAY From The Ground Up 18.14161829 96.02489624
    47 -1 TRACE ADKINS Jesus And Jones 33.84552958 1048.491937
    48 -1 CRAIG MORGAN When I’m Gone 35.21561323 1089.815198
    49 = LOVE AND THEFT Whiskey On My Breath 22.87306198 265.8446734
    50 = STEVEN TYLER RED, WHITE & YOU 35.81983293 1131.388423

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  5. Kevin Davis February 17, 2016 / 4:40 pm

    I will have to say that Granger Smith has a likability factor that, well, makes it hard not to like him. I was rather harsh on “Backroad Song,” but the charm of it has worn me down over time, especially now that I have heard it dozens of time on the radio.

    It is still hopelessly cliché-ridden, but I have to admit some above-average lines, including the opening line: “Barbed wire fence carving out a hillside, cutting holes in the midday sun.” And, “The breeze smells like a summertime hay field’s just been cut.” Those are actually some very good lines, recalling our senses and transporting us to, you guessed it, driving out in the countryside. Five years ago — before the clichés became cliché — I might give this song a +1 or at least a 0.

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