The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [February 29]

Keith Urban Break On Me

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

  • None

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • None

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Randy Houser – “We Went”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Keith Urban – “Break On Me” – Up 5 from #6 to #1
  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” – Up 3 from #7 to #4
  • Multiple songs moved up two spots on the chart

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” – Down 9 from #1 to #10
  • Granger Smith – “Backroad Song” – Down 3 from #2 to #5
  • Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight” – Down 2 from #4 to #6
  • Tyler Farr – “Better In Boots” – Down 2 from #27 to #29

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”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs”
  • Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Chris Lane – “Fix”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Eric Church – “Record Year”
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”
  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”
  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”


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 29]

  1. Scotty J March 2, 2016 / 11:12 am

    Others may be better at figuring these things out but it looks to me like Carrie Underwood will be #1 next week after Urban bought his number one this week. Interesting to see ‘Fix’ struggle makes me wonder if maybe radio does have some sense. Looks like the Maddie & Tae song is going to have a tough road as it has been pretty weak lately.


  2. Amanda March 2, 2016 / 11:48 am

    Hate to say it, but glad to see both Michael Ray and Chris Lane struggling. 😉 and also, how the HELL is Chase Bryant still climbing the charts?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Raymond March 2, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    Well, that’s rare. To have all 30 songs stay in the Top 30. I’m still surprised Josh why you think “Fix” is on the hot seat. Also why “Stone Cold Sober” is looking ready to leave as I can see the label being behind both songs for a little while longer.

    Anyway I am definitely looking forward to seeing how the pulse improves, Justin Moore, Kip Moore (why you don’t think he will enter the Top 30 is beyond me), Eric Church, will all be +1s I presume. Then you have the rather bland 0 songs of Dan + Shay, Canaan Smith, and Dylan Scott, then I hope to not get blasted for saying this but Sam Hunt’s new song “Make You Miss Me” isn’t that bad along with Kelsea Ballerini newly announced single “Peter Pan”. Also with a but load of -1 songs in the Top 10 the pulse should be headed for a positive as there is a lot of 0s and +1 littered around the lower half while the -1s are more likely to leave beforehand.

    Too bad some artists are releasing some rather awful stuff, *cough* Jana Kramer is releasing “Said No One Ever” so yeah, all that maturity shown in “I Got The Boy” is all but gone, and so is her career.


  4. Tom March 2, 2016 / 12:28 pm

    Don’t think Keith Urban should be a -1. The song is harmless, if not good. And the contempary/pop country production is what Urbans been doing his whole career, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OlaR March 2, 2016 / 3:59 pm

    “Break On Me” is a good sleeping pill. Keith Urban is hit or miss.
    The charts are slowing down with each week. Time for some spring cleaning. Glad to see “Fix” dropping 2 places. Hope it will be gone soon.

    Below Top 30:
    Jennifer Nettles lost 5 places (but kept the bullet). Billy Currington down to 51 (no bullet). Brooke Eden (60) & High Valley (59) new & Sam Hunt with the highest debut on 58. Brandy Clark & Brothers Osborne up 5 places.
    Eric Church & Dan + Shay might reach the top 30 next week.

    +1: “Shut Up & Fish”, “Record Year”, “My Church” & “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”

    Checkout/New Album: Granger Smith/Remington (-1)
    This is the same guy who did “Saturday Night Meets Sunday Morning” or “Sleeping On The Interstate”?!
    Smith wants to be a star. He might become a star. He will be back in Texas after 2-3 Nashville albums. Nashville will find the next guy who wants to be a star…..


  6. Will March 2, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    Anyone else feel like there is a conspiracy against Carrie Underwood? Her last four tracks have looked like they were going to be number ones only to see a surge from something below her, “Break On Me” being the latest culprit. I hope she hits #1 next me, but I fear Josh is right in his prediction.


    • Ron March 8, 2016 / 1:53 pm

      I kinda do or its just very bad timing. She was next in line twice now with Heartbeat and got jumped. Now it looks like her chance has passed as spins are starting to stall. The same thing has happened for Smoke Break, Something and Little toy guns


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