The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 28]

Cole Swindell You Should Be Here

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. Cole Swindell – “You Should Be Here” -1 (Up 1)
  2. Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love” -1 (Up 1)
  3. Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That” -1 (Up 1)
  4. Florida Georgia Line – “Confession” (Up 1)
  5. Chase Bryant – “Irrelevant Song A Label is Pushing That Nobody Cares About”-1 (Up 2)
  6. Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” -1 (Down 5)
  7. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Up 1)
  8. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” (Up 1)
  9. Carrie Underwood – “Heartbeat” (Down 3) 
  10. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Up 3)
  11. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Up 1)
  12. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame” +1 (Down 2)
  13. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 (Down 2)
  14. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 
  15. Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You” -1 
  16. Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” -1
  17. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1
  18. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Ever Day” -1 (Up 3)
  19. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 
  20. Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober” -1 
  21. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0 (New to Top 30)
  22. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 [Worst Song]
  23. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  24. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 (Up 1)
  25. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
  26. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1 (Up 1)
  27. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 (Up 3)
  28. Canaan Smith – “Irrelevant Song A Label is Pushing That Nobody Cares About”-1
  29. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” 0
  30. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -9

The pulse improved by one this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Michael Ray – “Real Men Love Jesus” (And good riddance!)
  • Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up & Fish” (This is a pretty big disappointment, but Maddie & Tae do not need radio. Artists who actually have talent don’t need radio. But I’ll expand on this at another time)

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” – Up 3 from #13 to #10
  • Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” – Up 3 from #21 to #18
  • Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” – Up 3 from #30 to #27

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Michael Ray – “Real Men Love Jesus” – Out of the Top 30
  • Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up & Fish” – Out of the Top 30
  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” – Down 5 from #1 to #6

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

  • Florida Georgia Line – “Confession” (It just lost a lot of spins today and rumors are swirling on a new single dropping soon)
  • Carrie Underwood – “Heartbeat”
  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug”
  • Chase Bryant – “Irrelevant Song A Label is Pushing”
  • Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”
  • David Nail – “Night’s On Fire”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Chris Lane – “Fix”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me”
  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”
  • Keith Urban – “Wasted Time”


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

20 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 28]

  1. Amanda March 30, 2016 / 11:12 am

    So happy and so sad at the same time. The best and worst songs are out of the top 30. So glad to see Michael Ray out of the top 30, but so very sad and disappointed to see Maddie and Tae out of the top 30. Shut Up and Fish is such an awesome song.


  2. Lorenzo March 30, 2016 / 11:35 am

    Unless your sales are incredibly big, you do need radio. In my opinion Maddie & Tae need radio, and fucking country radio, whose only intent and purpose is to destroy country music, doesn’t want to promote them. Shame on every country radio programmer for dropping Shut Up and Fish. I hope this missed hit will not affect Maddie & Tae’s new album. They wanted to make a straight ahead country record, I seriously doubt their label will allow them to do that. Meanwhile, Shut Up and Fish is at #13 on our music video chart here in Italy.


    • Josh Schott March 30, 2016 / 12:03 pm

      That’s been the common understanding for years. But country radio is on the verge of collapse, as the two biggest corporations that run country radio have racked up a ton of debt. Those chickens will be coming home to roost soon. It’s not a matter of if, but when country radio collapses. I predicted it last year and they were able to stave it off for another year. But they won’t be able to put this inevitable off for forever.


      • FeedThemHogs March 30, 2016 / 2:11 pm

        Maddie & Tae DO need radio. If mainstream folks don’t hear M&T on radio, they will not find their music elsewhere. If their next single doesn’t light up the charts, it’s goodbye M&T. And that is such a disappointment. ‘Old Farts’ don’t identify with them, and outside of Girl In A Country Song, the youngsters haven’t identified with their singles. If I was M&T, Sierra would be the next single. Much more ear-wormy by my judging than either Fly or Shut Up and Fish, and by my estimation, their last hope at radio success. Their Girl In A Country Song moment only bought them so much time, and Shut Up wasted a good chunk of it. In my opinion


        • Amanda March 30, 2016 / 2:47 pm

          I’m 19, and along with Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe, I think Maddie and Tae had the best mainstream country album of 2015. I identify with quite a few of their songs, and I think they are fantastic. Here’s to hoping their next single has some chart success. I’m really hoping they stick around, because they are one of my favorite country acts, along with Kacey Musgraves, Gary Allan, Ashley Monroe, Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Jon Pardi.


        • FeedThemHogs March 30, 2016 / 4:19 pm

          I would also like to see M&T stick around, but I think their candle is burning, and if they don’t score with their next single, they’re doomed


      • lorenzofloris96 March 30, 2016 / 3:34 pm

        Interesting point Josh, I really hope this damn iHeart thing will collapse with all those bro country bastards as well.


      • jess March 30, 2016 / 8:23 pm

        I hope to see an expansion on this idea sometime soon maybe. I had not heard of their debt problems, but I do believe 150% that people like iheartradio are a big reason there are so many problems. just think if local stations had the freedom/authority to play whatever they choose…


  3. Jill March 30, 2016 / 11:38 am

    Brett makes me sad. He is so talented, but instead of showcasing his voice, he’s dumbing it down with generic pop crap. He puts so many good things on YouTube (his recent Sinatra cover and his couch sessions), I just wish he would head that direction on his albums.

    Rhett’s “T-shirt” is pure garbage. It needs to drop off of radio immediately. Ditto on OD’s “Snapback”. 👎


    • Amanda March 30, 2016 / 11:50 am

      Couldn’t agree more, Jill. On Brett Eldredge and those two garbage songs. I would add Chris Lane’s “Fix” to the list of songs that need to drop off radio immediately.


      • Jill March 30, 2016 / 12:14 pm

        I would probably agree with you on “Fix” Amanda, but for the life of me I can’t even recall ever hearing the song. I’m sure that I have, but it obviously didn’t leave much of an impression.


        • Amanda March 30, 2016 / 12:18 pm

          Jill, consider yourself lucky if you’ve never heard “Fix”. You’re not missing anything.


        • Ron March 30, 2016 / 12:40 pm

          Lol some deep lyrics there


          Hey girl, you know what you’ve been missing?
          Me, me, yeah
          Hey girl, whoever you’ve been kissing
          It ain’t me, me
          I got that love medicinal
          I’ll make you feel invincible
          I’m more than recreational
          I’m what you need


  4. Josh Schott March 30, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    Just added Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession” to the songs dropping out. See my reasoning for it in the post.


  5. Nadia Lockheart March 30, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    “Confession” just got pulled of promotion yesterday, so expect that to be declining this week indeed.

    It’s a shame that didn’t have enough time to make it to #1, but it falling short can be attributed to the rollout of their new lead single. It’s not among the best singles out in the meantime, but I still like “Confession” a fair bit and its decent sales for a fifth single as well as strong callout scores deemed it deserving of #1.


    I’d probably put Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody To Blame” on the Watch List too.

    It made the Top Ten last week, but it just keeps getting leapfrogged by other acts and so I can see a scenario where Mercury Nashville is content with settling on a Top Ten peak and subsequently releasing something like “Parachute” or a re-release of “Traveler” in hopes of keeping the momentum going at radio.


    • FeedThemHogs March 30, 2016 / 2:16 pm

      I’d love to see a re-release of Traveller. Also, this may not make sense at all, but what are the odds of a re-release of What Are You Listening To? Because to me, that would be a song that even country radio could play, and if Nobody to Blame can make top 10, I think it could to. I know it wasn’t on Traveller, or any other album, (or was it and am I missing something) so it may not be feasible. It was just a thought I had last night


      • Nadia Lockheart March 30, 2016 / 2:26 pm

        Re-releases are sometimes successful. The re-release of Chris Young’s “Voices” comes to mind as one successful example: making marginal impact the first time around but going to #1 the second time.

        I think a re-release of “Traveler” makes perfect sense. It’s still fresh to most, and it has been selling impressively on its own without present airplay. Plus it is easily one of the most accessible tracks on the album (certainly catchier than “Nobody To Blame”).


        I’m not convinced “What Are You Listening To?” being re-released would work unless it was actually tied to a specific album or project.


        • Josh Schott March 30, 2016 / 2:33 pm

          There’s another re-release taking place right now too, with Love & Theft’s “Whiskey on My Breath.” Albeit it’s a radio mix, as they shortened the length plus they now have Curb’s backing. But yes I think they should release “Traveller” as a single again. “Tennessee Whiskey” would work too, considering how great it did in sales and it’s unsolicited airplay it merited.


  6. OlaR March 30, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    The first +1 song on the 12 (“Nobody To Blame”). Scary.
    The next -1 song will see a big debut next week (Keith Urban with “Wasted Time”). Country radio plays a big part in destroying country music. Artists, producers, songwriters & labels are not better. It’s not enough to put a banjo in the mix & call it country music. Listen to “Wasted Time”.

    Re-Entry: 43 – Lauren Alaina – “Next Boyfriend”
    New Entry: 58 – Chase Rice – “Whisper”
    New Entry: 60 – Bobby Bones
    No Bullet for LoCash (46), Brothers Osborne (45), Kane Brown (40), Jennifer Nettles (37), Big & Rich feat. Tim McGraw (33) & Martina McBride (48).

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    1 – FGL
    3 – Old Dominion
    4 – Cole Swindell
    5 – Maren Morris
    8 – Gord Bamford – “Heard You In A Song” (Highest Canadian Track)

    Checkout/New Group: Hunter Brothers – “Eldorado” (Open Road)
    Five brothers from Saskatchewan. “Eldorado” is the first single and 37 after four weeks in Canada. The track is driven by strong harmony vocals & co-produced by Brad Rempel (one of the High Valley brothers).


    • Amanda March 30, 2016 / 2:42 pm

      Oh heavens, Bobby Bones is in the top 60 country airplay charts? Please tell me this is an early April Fools joke. A cruel prank. Please tell me this is not real.


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