The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [February 22]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -15

The pulse stayed the same this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Break Up in a Small Town” (Finally Country Perspective’s 2015 Worst Song of the Year is gone!)

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Heartbeat”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” – Up 5 from #33 to #28
  • Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love” – Up 3 from #12 to #9
  • Multiple songs moved up two spots on the chart

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Break Up In A Small Town” – Out of the Top 30
  • Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight” – Down 2 from #2 to #4
  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man” – Down 2 from #6 to #8

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

  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”
  • Tyler Farr – “Better in Boots”

On The Hot Seat:

  • David Nail – “Night’s On Fire”
  • Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That” (With Dan + Shay entering the top 30, we can’t have two Rascal Flatts in the top 30 at the same time…. I’m kidding. Maybe)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”
  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”
  • Eric Church – “Record Year”


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 22]

  1. Raymond February 24, 2016 / 11:40 am

    Well I’m going to see what my score for the Top 60 and see what’s my final result. Oh but before I do, Josh why don’t you think that Canaan Smith “Hole In A Bottle” will make the Top 30.

    1. Dibs -1
    2. Backroad Song 0 (I know I know, I find it more boring than outright bad and Granger Smith is a good vocalist)
    3. Heartbeat +1. This song has strangely grown on me and I can’t explain it Carrie Underwood just sounds so comfortable singing this, I do hope though we get Choctaw County Affair as a single
    4. Home Alone Tonight -1. Petty selfish and childish what else is their to say,
    5. We Went 0. More boring than outright bad
    6. Break On Me 0. Read above
    7. Beautiful Drug 0. I know I am probably going to be bombarded with hate for this but as a pop song I really love this song now country it fails so for that I compromised for a 0.
    8. Die A Happy Man -1. I just want this song to go I was never impressed.
    9. Drunk On Your Love -1. So much talent wasted and Brett Eldredge doesn’t even come off as likable instead comes off as an idiot.
    10. You Should Be Here 0. Seriously Read We Went this applies again
    11. Confession +1. This song for me manages to be both catchy and just enjoyable listen to.
    12. Little Bit Of You -1. Looks like Red Bow wants a Top 5 out of this song, and yet no album. Seems weird.
    13. I Like The Sound Of That 0. Boring again.
    14. Nobody To Blame +1. Chris Stapleton rules and this song is great.
    15. Snapback -1. I don’t quite hate this song like you guys do but it still isn’t a good song whatsoever
    16. My Church +1. I officially checked out her EP and man can we just get an album already I want more and more music from her.
    17. Mind Reader -1. The bro country lyrics ruin this song way too much
    18. That Don’t Sound Like You 0. Once again another boring song in mainstream country music.
    19. Think Of You +1. This song has grown on me as I like the lyrics as Chris and Cassadee really try their hardest and I think the production works well with this song,
    20. Somewhere On A Beach -1. Well Dierks had to get a dud eventually. You guys are stil looking forward to his album right?
    21. Real Men Love Jesus -1. Cliche garbage and just downright offensive what makes Michael Ray determine who’s a real man and who’s not.
    22. Humble and Kin +1. Simple pure and effective. This song has me full on believing that Tim McGraw does care.
    23. Stone Cold Sober 0. Boring nothing more nothing less
    24. Head Over Boots +1. Simple pure and traditional and I am glad this song will be a hit.
    25. Fix -1. Bad pop song, and inexcusable country song
    26. Shut Up & Fish +1.
    27. Better In Boots -1
    28. T-Shirt -1. (Whats the appeal in this song.)
    29. Nights On Fire 0.
    30. It All Started With A Beer +1.
    31. You Look Like In Need A Drink +1
    32. Hole In A Bottle 0
    33. Running For You +1
    34. Unlove You +1.
    35. Loving Lately +1.
    36. From The Ground Up +1.
    37. Crazy Over Me 0.
    38. Power Of Positive Drinking 0.
    39. High Class -1.
    40. Record Year +1.
    41. I Met A Girl +1.
    42. Living The Dream 0.
    43. Southern Boy 0.
    44. Raised On It -1.
    45. The Driver +1.
    46. Next Boyfriend +1 (I love this song and it’s a huge guilty pleasure I know it’s not country but man Lauren Alaina has such an amazing singing voice)
    47. By The Way +1 (Read Above)
    48. Mayday +1.
    49. It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To +1.
    50. Jesus and Jones 0. Eh boring but not bad
    51. When I’m Gone +1.
    52. Beautiful Stranger +1
    53. Used To Love You Sober-1.
    54. Girl Next Door +1 (another guilty pleasure I just love the sass)
    55. I Know Somebody +1. (Another song that I can’t explain why I like it although it’s not very country but it’s so damn catchy)
    56. Dance With Ya -1. (I hate this song with a seething passion)
    57. 21 Summer +1.
    58. Sleep Without You 0.
    59. Tuxedo -1.
    60. Take Me Down +1.
    So a total score of +9 maybe mainstream country music is heading in the right direction,


    • Amanda February 24, 2016 / 12:13 pm

      Hi Raymond! Great assessment of the top 60. And I totally get where you’re coming from on reviewing “Dance With Ya”. Just out of curiosity, I searched the song on Spotify and damn, it was bad. Holy shit on a biscuit, it was really, really bad. So bad it makes Sam Hunt sound like George Strait. Yikes. 😦


  2. Amanda February 24, 2016 / 11:48 am

    Thoughts on the new songs:

    28. Thomas Rhett, “T-Shirt” — -1 (Grade: D-) Please, Thomas, just please stop it with the “funky” R&B shit. I’m so over it and I know for a fact I’m not the only one. Now we can just hope he doesn’t release the gosh-awful “South Side” as a single. I swear if he does, I will lose all hope for country music.


  3. OlaR February 24, 2016 / 2:28 pm

    On the “Country Indicator Chart” Kelsey Ballerini is on the 4. Without a bullet.
    I prefer the “Music Row” Charts. Some fine music in the lower part of the “Country Breakout Chart”: Shane Owens, Eric Chesser, Sammy Sadler, Chris Chitsey…

    David Nail still on 29 after 29 weeks.
    Canaan Smith down to 32 after 27 weeks.
    Lauren Alaina is on the 46 after 20 weeks.
    The future looks good for the artists. Well…
    The three new entries (Brothers Osborne, Brett Young & Clare Dunn) are all a -1. Not my cup of tea.

    Next big thing: Arista will terrorize the charts with a band called “LANco”. “Long Live Tonight” is the song.
    From “Music Row”: “With enough on-stage energy to fill a stadium,…..surfaced a style that seemed to combine the moves of Luke Bryan with the cadence of Sam Hunt or Old Dominion, melded with the musical framework of Coldplay or Imagine Dragons.”
    The future of Kuntry Muzik, folks.

    Checkout – Music 1: David Nail fans should listen to “Some Hearts” by David James.
    Checkout – Music 2: Margo Price. The album “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” will be released at the end of march.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin February 24, 2016 / 7:47 pm

      Margo Price has been on my radar for a while; I’m really looking forward to that release.


  4. Danik Gillespie February 24, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I really enjoy “Some Hearts” by David James


  5. Amanda February 24, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    So excited about Jon Pardi’s upcoming album. I cannot wait!!


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