The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 11]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -12

The pulse dropped two spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” – Up 16 from #46 to #30 (If you’re wondering how this song moved up out of nowhere, it’s the latest On The Verge pick. On The Verge is pretty hit or miss…this one is a miss)
  • Canaan Smith – “Who Cares What The Name Is” – Up 3 from #28 to #25

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame” – Out of the Top 30
  • Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love” – Down 2 from #2 to #4

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

  • Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Maren Morris – “My Church”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me”
  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”
  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”
  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”

Note: So we had a pretty lively discussion in this space last week due to my little rant on country radio. I still stand by what I said. No rant from me this week, but I want to share a very thought-provoking piece and a specific excerpt from it regarding Stapleton and country radio. It’s pretty relevant with Stapleton falling off the chart this week and coming off the discussion last week. The wonderful Windmills Country brought this to my attention (you need to follow her if you don’t). R.J. Curtis of All Access wrote a review of the ACM Awards and how lackluster and “meh” it was. At end of it he comments on Stapleton. Here’s the excerpt (emphasis mine):

I know artists that win are excited, probably nervous, and there’s a red light blinking, telling them to wrap up. But it’s been commonplace for them to give radio props for supporting their music with airplay. Country radio, more than all other formats, plays such a vital role in artist development, and that relationship has been as close to symbiotic as possible over the years. In some ways, I don’t fault Stapleton for leaving out radio, because I doubt it was intentional. But as much as radio will always be in my DNA, I’m not sure radio deserved a thanks from Stapleton. Programmers have been ambivalent about his music since the first single, “Traveller.” Only after a breathtaking and press-generating performance on the CMAs did most get on board – somewhat begrudgingly – with “Nobody To Blame.” And even last night, in the minutes just after the ACMs, when Stapleton had just won a record-tying six awards in a single night, you had some radio people posting on social media questioning his worthiness of those awards, claiming they still don’t “get it,” and saying it’s an inside, industry thing.

Well, what it is, is low hanging fruit. He just won a shit-ton of awards and knocked it out of the park on national TV. So Country P-1s – and people who might be interested in Country – might still be expecting to hear Stapleton on a local Country station. You don’t have to love the taste of the fruit, but if you’re in the produce business, it’s probably smart to pick it and take credit for growing it.

Some food for thought to ponder and discuss.


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

11 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 11]

  1. Amanda April 13, 2016 / 11:55 am

    Really hoping William Michael Morgan can break through, I love that guy. He’s fantastic.

    Another thought regarding Tucker Beathard: I just heard Rock On for the first time. Dude can’t sing. He sounds like a cat with a cold. Holy freaking biscuits. Why can’t On the Verge get behind someone talented, such as Mickey Guyton, William Michael Morgan, or Mo Pitney?


    • Ron April 13, 2016 / 3:06 pm

      That’s the worst part. The song is bro country bad as it is but the guy’s voice is grating as hell


  2. Derek Hudgin April 13, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    That Chase Bryant song just won’t die.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amanda April 13, 2016 / 12:37 pm

      I know, right? It’s gotta be getting close to a year since that song first charted.


    • Raymond April 13, 2016 / 1:24 pm

      Good news Derek the label gave up on the song and it’s in freefall mode right now.


      • Austin April 13, 2016 / 11:37 pm

        How do you know when a label gives up on a song like that? Do you have inside info or how do you find that out? I’m new to analyzing and following Country music charts, and I’m just wondering. Thank you, sir!


        • Raymond April 14, 2016 / 3:32 am

          I follow the country music charts (with a passion). Now a website I follow helps out a lot and here’s a link for anybody interested, just click on the country button at the top and you get the MB Top 50. Check out spins and audience gained/loss and if you look at Chase Bryant he’s in freefall mode, along with Lauren (I ultimately sold out) Alaina and Cole Swindell. Now just because a song has a bad update a day doesn’t mean it’s done as it can easily recover. But no, the website below really helps.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Jill April 13, 2016 / 1:54 pm

      That’s how I feel about Moore’s “Need a Drink”. I feel like it’s been on the radio every time I’ve turned it on for the past 5 years. Although I did think it was Blake singing until about 3 months ago.


  3. Kevin Davis April 13, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    I see that Stapleton is back up the Billboard album chart, second only to Kanye West’s new album debut, and thanks presumably in large part to the ACM’s, and he’s still #1 on iTunes top albums. If making money is your end game, then Stapleton is doing a better job at it than anyone else in country music right now. It really is astonishing how reluctant country radio — presumably the bigwigs at Cumulus and iHeart — is at playing Stapleton. It’s like they’re stuck in denial and insistent that their formulas work best.

    On an unrelated note, I love the music video for “Head Over Boots” that Pardi released a few days ago. It’s a perfect complement to the song.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Zack April 13, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Damn, I don’t follow the charts much these days but seeing Stapleton gone is just nuts. Country radio, you’re irrelevant enough as it is, why screw it up anymore?


  5. OlaR April 13, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    52 weeks for Chase Bryant! David Nail is “celebrating” his 36th week, Canaan Smith his 34th week, Lee Brice (44 weeks) & Brantley Gilbert (32 weeks).

    Not playing Chris Stapleton, but pushing Tucker Beathard & Chris Lane!? Sooner or later the current country radio format will sink like the titanic. Only serving the 18-34 year old tailgate-dirt road-party-crowd can be dangerous. A new trend here, new stars there & the party crowd will switch the format, leaving country radio with the “old farts & jackasses”.

    Billboard Country National Airplay/New Entry:
    58 – Jana Kramer/”Said No One Ever” (Hot Shot Debut)
    59 – Old Dominion/”Beer Can In A Truck Bed”

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    1 – Chris Stapleton
    2 – Joey + Rory
    3 – Carrie Underwood
    New Entry: 10 – Joey + Rory/The Album Collection
    Down: Loretta Lynn, Margo Price & the “Southern Family” album is out of the Top 25.

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    1 – Old Dominion
    2 – Chris Young with Cassadee Pope (up 5 places)
    3 – Cole Swindell
    10 – Gord Bamford (Highest Canadian Artist)

    Check-out/New Artist – Lainey Wilson/”Tougher” (Lone Chief Records):
    Lainey Wilson (from Baskin, Louisiana) is a singer/songwriter & she is singing/writing country music!
    The album (10 tracks) is full of great songs: the title track “Life is tough, this girl’s tougher”, the rocking duet with Frank Foster “Where My House Stood”. My favourite songs are: “Tougher”, “Two Sides Of Bad”, “One Night Stand” & “I Make Myself”. 9/10!


Comments are closed.