The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [January 2009]


This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Every week, I take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay Chart (or, “Hot Country Songs” as it used to be called) from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. Each song on the chart will receive either a +1, 0, or -1. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the top 30 songs with the highest score being a +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. Songs rated between a 7 and 10 will receive a +1. Songs rated either 5 or 6 will receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower will receive a -1.

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week I will take a look at the top 30 songs of the Billboard Hot Country Songs from January 31, 2009.

Note: In the wake of the news of Joey Feek’s death, I switched my original plan of doing a chart from 1986, and instead picked the chart which carries their first hit, “Cheater, Cheater.” Rest in peace Joey, and thank you for reminding us all of what strength truly is.

  1. Alan Jackson – “Country Boy” -1 (probably the only one of his songs that I’d give this designation to)
  2. Brad Paisley & Keith Urban – “Start A Band” +1
  3. Blake Shelton – “She Wouldn’t Be Gone” +1 (Probably the last song of his that I would give this distinction to)
  4. Billy Currington – “Don’t” 0 (I actually really like this song, but it isn’t country)
  5. Dierks Bentley – “Feel That Fire” 0
  6. Toby Keith – “God Love Her” +1
  7. Kenny Chesney & Mac McAnally – “Down The Road” +1
  8. Keith Urban – “Sweet Thing” -1 (Guilty pleasure division, but I can acknowledge that this is a lightweight, fluffy pop song)
  9. Brooks & Dunn & Reba McEntire – “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” +1
  10. Sugarland – “Already Gone” +1
  11. Rascal Flatts – “Here” 0
  12. George Strait – “River Of Love” +1
  13. Taylor Swift – “White Horse” +1
  14. Darius Rucker – “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” +1
  15. Pat Green – “Let Me” +1
  16. Lee Ann Womack – “Last Call” +1
  17. Jake Owen – “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” +1
  18. Rodney Atkins – “It’s America” 0
  19. Jack Ingram – “That’s A Man” +1
  20. Miranda Lambert – “More Like Her” +1
  21. Martina McBride – “Ride” 0
  22. Josh Turner – “Everything Is Fine” +1 [Best Song]
  23. Jimmy Wayne – “I Will” 0
  24. Tim McGraw – “Nothin’ To Die For” +1
  25. Jason Aldean – “She’s Country” -1 [Worst Song]
  26. Eli Young Band – “Always The Love Songs” +1
  27. Gary Allan – “She’s So California” 0
  28. Lost Trailers – “How ‘Bout You Don’t” +1
  29. Trace Adkins – “Marry For Money” +1 (It’s so corny that it’s kind of good….)
  30. Joey + Rory – “Cheater, Cheater” +1

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: +17

Wow! Our best score yet of doing this! 2009 is a year that brings some nostalgia for me, so there may or may not be a bit of bias playing into here. Anyway, plenty of good songs from the likes of George Strait, Miranda Lambert and heck even Taylor Swift had a pretty good song out during this time. My favorite one here is probably Josh Turner’s “Everything Is Fine,” mainly because I really like the message of enjoying the little things in life and taking moments to enjoy what you have. Plus, Lee Ann Womack was also on the charts during this time too! And of course, Joey + Rory had their highest charting single during this time with “Cheater, Cheater,” a song which is also one of the best ones on here.

And really there isn’t a lot of bad songs here either. Unfortunately, Alan Jackson had probably the worst song of his entire career during this time with “Country Boy,” and trust me it really pained me to give him the -1. But even at Alan’s worst, he’s still better than a lot of other people out there. Case in point, Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country,” the tune which started the nosedive of Jason’s career. It was an overproduced rock mess that had embarrassing lyrics. Far and away the worst thing offered here.

If you have any questions as to why I gave a certain song the score I did, or perhaps just want to make your own Pulse, sound off in the comments!


[Editor’s Note from Josh] I felt this was the appropriate place to let everyone know that Zack informed us this past week that due to some unforeseen personal issues that he is stepping away from writing at Country Perspective indefinitely. Derek and myself thank him for all of the work he has done in the short time he’s wrote for Country Perspective and that he has an open invitation to come back and write anytime. We wish him the absolute best! Zack most definitely appreciates all of the love you have given him too with his reviews and bringing this feature back to life. We hope he is able to come back and write again soon.

7 thoughts on “The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [January 2009]

  1. Ron March 11, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Down the road is probably my favorite song on this chart. It’s also one of Kenny’s best. I also like More Like Her. I think that was Miranda’s last non top 10 before she started to really blow up


  2. Raymond March 11, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    For me my favorite songs are “White Horse”, fairytale meets reality like a ton of bricks also Taylor Swift much like artists like Kelsea Ballerini now or Jana Kramer, can just completely own a ballad and should stick to those more than pointless uptempo rockers. “More Like Her”, where Miranda Lambert shows her most vulnerable side of her and owns it completely. “Cheater, Cheater”, with the amount of sass how could I not include it. “Ride” Martina McBride doesn’t go all belty, but instead delivers an upbeat positive message with great control. “Sweet Thing”, man I know that it’s pop but I don’t care it still has this charm that makes me love it so much. “Last Call”, one line in particular “Call me crazy but I think maybe we’ve had our Last Call” country music poetry right there and why Lee Ann Womack is one of the best

    Now for me some of my least favorites are “She’s Country”. Also “Country Boy” as I found both to be nauseating cliché. Besides that though nothing else gets me that riled up. I think 2009 will go down as the last truly great year of country music.

    I’d like to thank Zack for bringing this feature back, as it’s pure nostalgia for me.

    Josh, I have a question would you have given “White Horse” a +1, I know you’re not a big Taylor Swift fan.


  3. lorenzofloris96 March 11, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    hey Zack, I wish the best as well! I really appreciate your reviews and the hard work you put in everything you’ve done for this site!


  4. Kevin Davis March 11, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Wow, I completely forgot about Billy Currington’s “Don’t.” That song was r&b country before r&b country became a trend last year. It definitely deserves a -1.

    I’m glad that you gave Toby Keith’s “God Lover Her” a +1. I always thought it was a good song and one of Keith’s better singles. And “More Like Her” is one of my favorite Miranda Lambert songs. As for Alan Jackson’s “Country Boy,” I agree that it is not a good song. Even though the instrumentation is solid, as we expect from every Jackson song, it is rather lazy and predictable, with even lazier lyrics.


  5. OlaR March 12, 2016 / 7:07 am

    2009-2016 & Jason Aldean is still terrorizing the charts with his songs. Thank you country radio.
    Chesney & McAnally with “Down The Road”. I prefer the version Mac McAnally recorded for his 1990 album “Simple Life” (Warner Nashville). “Back Where I Come From” was the only hit single. “Back Where I Come From” was covered by Kenny Chesney (the “Me & You” album).
    Other artists covered songs from the album too: Linda Davis “Company Time” & Sammy Kershaw “Southbound”. “Simple Life” was a small hit for Andy Childs.
    Sounds like i should listen to the album again,lol.

    A couple of +1 songs: “Cheater, Cheater”, “How ’bout You Don’t”, “She’s So California”, “Always The Love Songs”, “I Will”, “Last Call”, “More Like Her”, “Ride”, “Already Gone”, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” & the Blake Shelton song.

    Checkout – New EP:
    Waterloo Revival – “Front Row”: six songs, safe & unspectacular. “Hit The Road” (not part of the EP) is a guilty pleasure-song.


  6. SRM March 12, 2016 / 9:04 am

    You cannot give “Sweet Thing” a -1 and call it a “lightweight, fluffy pop song,” while giving “River Of Love” a +1. It’s just not possible.


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