The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 25]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -6

The pulse improved four spots this week!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Cole Swindell – “You Should Be Here”
  • Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You” (Nananana, nananana, hey, hey, hey…goodbye!)
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

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

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” – Up 7 from #30 to #23
  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” – Up 4 from #21 to #17
  • Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” – Up 4 from #23 to #19
  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” – Up 4 from #14 to #10

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Cole Swindell – “You Should Be Here” – Out of the Top 30
  • Chase Bryant – “Little Bit of You” – Out of the Top 30
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober” – Out of the Top 30

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

  • Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That” (A top 30 without Rascal Flatts…I like the sound of that!)
  • Lee Brice – “That Don’t Like Sound Like You”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Chris Lane – “Fix”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan”
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Florida Georgia Line’s new single being released soon


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

12 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 25]

  1. Raymond April 27, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    There’s a lot of good to ok songs getting ready to hit the Top 30, songs like “Peter Pan” “Unlove You” “Living The Dream” “Castaway” (guilty pleasure), “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”, “Mayday” and some good songs in the late 30s to 40s like “Girl Next Door” “21 Summer” “Make You Mine” “Sleep Without You”. Really besides Jordan Rager and Kane Brown the bottom half of the Top 60 isn’t bad at all (hopefully gems like “Wasn’t That Drunk” and “Outskirts Of Heaven” manage to do well). I’m a little more optimistic about the future, and I imagine that since Chris Young’s album is chock full of boring songs aka 0s that might help, and I think Dierks Bentley will probably release a new song that I imagine will be good.


  2. Amanda April 27, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Thoughts on the new songs in the top 30:

    29. William Michael Morgan, “I Met a Girl” — +1 In my honest opinion, this song is fantastic, traditional, well-written, and well performed. William Michael Morgan is amazing, no doubt about it. Having said this, “I Met a Girl” is tied with Jon Pardi’s “Head Over Boots” as my personal best song in the top 30.

    30. Big and Rich, “Lovin’ Lately” — +1 I was generous with this song. It’s a +1, but barely a +1. It’s a decent song, slightly above average. Definitely not best song material, But still better than nearly half of the top 30.


  3. Amanda April 27, 2016 / 12:45 pm

    I forgot one:

    28. Sam Hunt, “Make You Miss Me”– 0 It’s decent. Certainly not country, but definitely well written, and Sam sounds great here, not bored out of his damn mind as he sounded in “Break Up in a Small Town”. Sam Hunt has really, really got something, folks. It’s just a shame he’s in the wrong genre. He’d make a damn fine pop artist.


  4. OlaR April 27, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    One +1 song in the top 10 (“Humble & Kind”). “My Church” back to the 12. I’m still not impressed with the top 30 or the lower part of the charts. A handful of good tracks against Aldean, Lane, Smith (who?…Canaan!…oh well), Hunt, Beathard, Brown, Dibbles Jr., Houser, Baldridge, Dunn, Ray, Old Dominion & Kramer.

    Billboard Country National Airplay 31-60:
    Hot Shot Debut – 53: Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”
    New – 60: Tara Thompson – “Someone To Take Your Place”
    Re-Entry – 57: Jana Kramer – “Said No One Ever”
    Re-Entry – 59: Josh Abbott Band feat. Carly Pearce – “Wasn’t That Drunk”
    Up – 53-47: Randy Houser – “Song Number 7”
    Up – 48-40: High Valley – “Make You Mine”
    Up – 49-38: Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”
    Up – 40-34: Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”

    Sturgill Simpson: “In Bloom” New Entry Billboard Hot Country Songs (48).

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    New – 1: Sturgill Simpson – Sailor’s Guide To Earth
    2 – Chris Stapleton – Traveller
    3 – Joey+Rory – Hymns
    New – 10: Marie Osmond – Music Is Medicine

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    1 – Chris Young Duett With Cassadee Pope (2nd Week)
    2 – Rascal Flatts (Up)
    3 – Dierks Bentley (Up)
    10 – Madeline Merlo – “Whatcha Wanna Do About It” (Highest Canadian Song)

    New Singles (According to “Music Row” & “Mediabase”:
    Alan Jackson – “The One You’re Wating On” (05/09)
    Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” (04/29 – download)
    Craig Morgan – “I’ll Be Home Soon” (05/16)
    Maddie & Tae – “Sierra” (05/16)
    Thompson Square – “You Make It Look So Good” (06/13)
    & Dallas Davidson with a rap/country/whatever track.


  5. petemarshall724 April 27, 2016 / 7:52 pm

    I hope Maddie & Tae “Sierra” do better on the charts than he last single. Jerrod Neimann and Lee Brice will collaberate together wow! Chase Bryant and Brantley Gilbert finally left the charts yes!!! thank goodness!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nadia Lockheart April 27, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    It’s interesting to see Sam Hunt’s current single struggling.

    Granted it’s the fifth single (“Raised On It” wasn’t an official lead single regardless of what Wikipedia says, as it was only exclusively broadcasted on satellite radio) from “Montevallo”, and it has been competing with the aforementioned album track (it has been getting unsolicited spins) for radio spins.

    Still, those excuses don’t exactly hold up when we’ve seen other format superstars like Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton recently show the ability to chart five singles at or barely below the top of the singles chart. Also, “Make You Miss Me” has been having mediocre sales thus far. Not bad necessarily, but an immediately notable slowing from what we’ve been used to seeing from him.

    Honestly, there’s no telling if this is being promoted like a serious single, or if it was merely intended as a doormat of sorts while he’s trying to ready something for his sophomore album (kind of like “Games” with Luke Bryan). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turns out to be the latter.


    Good to see “I See A Girl” hang in there and make the Top 30.

    It has already burned through a lot of weeks, and so I’m not optimistic this will climb much higher. But this single can still be considered mildly successful in that it’s authentically country and managed to get an EP released.


    I’m optimistic that “Fix” is at about the end of the line! Yay! ^__^ ^__^ ^__^

    Granted it has still committed the felony of charting 43 positions too high (i.e. charting at all). But its sales have been mediocre at best and below-average at worst throughout its entire chart run, and his YouTube streams have also been low (its official video was released in January and it has only reached 1.6 million views to date): indicating Lane just isn’t connecting passionately to listeners on all fronts.

    It stands to reason the only reason Chris Lane has gotten any attention whatsoever to date is 1) he’s friends with Florida Georgia Line and, in relation to #1, 2) he has worked with Joey Moi. That’s it. But this single run proves that not even knowing the right people in the industry guarantees you anything.


    • Josh Schott April 27, 2016 / 11:19 pm

      I honestly have no idea what Hunt is going to do next. The genre is clearly trying to in many circles move back to it’s roots. He’s made his money on being unabashedly not country. I’ve also heard that he doesn’t plan to release his sophomore album until early 2017, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes dark for a few months before returning with it’s lead single sometime in the fall. I think it was a mistake though to release “Make You Miss Me” as a single when “Raised On It” was gaining airplay unsolicited. Both are two of the better songs on Montevallo (using the word better loosely) at least.

      I think Chris Lane will go away once this single goes recurrent. He happened to get really luck that his single was in the right place and time at the end of disco/Ed Sheeran country caught on and now that this phase is done, so is his career. Lane could always go back to a more country sound, but it won’t matter ultimately. He’s one of those I consider a dime-a-dozen. But I’m sure he’ll stick around as a writer.


  7. petemarshall724 April 27, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    Hey Josh I have a question for you. Do you like any Rascal Flatts songs and if so what are your favorite songs and least favorite?


    • Derek Hudgin April 28, 2016 / 9:06 am

      I’m not Josh, but I’ll give you some insight to this.
      Some of my Rascal Flatts favorites are: “Bless the Broken Road”, “Take Me There”, “What Hurts the Most.” (I’ve seen YouTube videos of Aaron Lewis covering this song and it sounds excellent. It’s a well written song, IMO).
      Least favorite: “Me and My Gang”, “Bob That Head”, “I Like The Sound of That”, “Payback”, “Kickstart My Heart” (from that awful Motley Crue tribute),


      • Raymond April 28, 2016 / 9:09 am

        Hey Derek if there is a couple of Rascal Flatts singles I’d suggest that you didn’t list, would probably be “This Everyday Love” and one of my favorites “Why” both highly underrated.


      • petemarshall724 April 28, 2016 / 1:54 pm

        My favorite is “God Bless the Broken Road”, “Take Me there,” “Sarabeth”, “These Days”, “Here comes Goodbye”, “Mayberry”, and “I’m Movin’ on” My Least is “Bob that Head”, “Me and my Gang” and “Life is a Highway” reason why is I like Chris LeDoux version better.


      • Scotty J April 28, 2016 / 2:28 pm

        Their only two singles that I would say I actually liked were ‘I’m Movin’ On’ which I would dare say is a great song. The other one that I liked was ‘Winner At A Losing Game’.

        Gary LeVox is just a terrible lead vocalist in my opinion, maybe the worst I can think of for a successful act.


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