The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 23]

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. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Up 2)
  2. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Up 1)
  3. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Down 2)
  4. Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” -1 (Up 1)
  5. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 1)
  6. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 (Up 2)
  7. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 
  8. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” (Down 4)
  9. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -1 (Up 1)
  10. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 (Down 1)
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0
  12. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -1
  13. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 
  14. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +1
  15. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 [Best Song]
  16. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -1 (Up 3)
  17. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Down 1) [Worst Song]
  18. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 (Down 1)
  19. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Down 1)
  20. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 
  21. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1
  22. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”
  23. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -1 (Up 1)
  24. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (Up 1)
  25. Canaan Smith – “Meh” -1 (Down 2)
  26. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -1 
  27. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 3)
  28. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +1 (Up 1)
  29. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” 0 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)
  30. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +1 (Down 2)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -6

The pulse dropped one spot this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” – Up 3 from #19 to #16
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Up 3 from #30 to #27

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” – Out of the Top 30 (Down to #33)
  • Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” – Down 4 from #4 to #8

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

  • Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You”
  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Maren Morris – “My Church”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Canaan Smith – “Meh” (I would put this under recurrent soon, but I see the label trying to keep it alive)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”


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 [May 23]

  1. Ron May 25, 2016 / 11:46 am

    I think Snapback will actually get to #1 next week before Blake. Also Tucker Beathard is gaining in spins again so I’m guessing he’ll hang around a while. I swear Jennifer Nettles has been at #31 or 32 for like 8 weeks


    • Josh Schott May 25, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      Nettles should be in the top 30 next week. She’s soaring up the iTunes charts right now after her performance on The Voice, so that should create the momentum to get radio more behind her and in the top 30.


    • Nadia Lockheart May 26, 2016 / 3:35 am

      That isn’t going to happen, based on the update this past day.

      On Mediabase, it lost 155 spins and just over a million in audience. That’s a costly update during a week where another entertainer is undergoing one’s “push week”. And, seeing that Shelton had tied Sonny James for the longest streak of #1 hits on country radio in chart history at sixteen with “Gonna”, you can bet Warner Music Nashville isn’t going to be asleep at the wheel reaching for historic, record-breaking bragging rights.

      In this case, I don’t like either song, though “Snapback” is the more annoying one. So to see “Snapback” fated to a #2 on both charts is entirely fine by me.


  2. OlaR May 25, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    Not so much “Noise”: no bullet, not moving & not selling well (Billboard Hot Country Songs – #19). Is Kenny Chesney losing steam?

    “SnapBack” or “Came Here To Forget”: both songs are not worth to reach #1.

    Billboard Country National Airplay:
    Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” – #58 (Hot Shot Debut)
    Maddie & Tae – “Sierra” – #59 (New)

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    1 – Keith Urban – “Ripcord”
    2 – Jennifer Nettles – “Playing With Fire” (New)
    3 – Cole Swindell – “You Should Be Here”

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    1 – Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt”
    2 – Luke Bryan – “Huntin’…”
    3 – Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget”
    Highest canadian track: 7 – Jess Moskaluke – “Take Me Home”

    New music:
    David Nail – The Fighter (7/15 – Album – according to “Billboard Country Update”)
    John Berry – What I Love The Most (6/3 – Album – according to “Music Row”)
    Little Big Town – Wanderlust (6/10 – Album – according to “Music Row”)
    Drew Baldridge – Dirt On Us (6/10 – Album – according to “Music Row”)
    Tara Thompson – Someone To Take Your Place (6/10 – Ep – according to “Music Row”)
    The Henningsens – World’s On Fire (6/1 – Album – according to “Music Row”)
    The Cadillac Three – “Drunk Like You” (5/30 – Single -according to “Music Row”)
    Post Monroe – “Red Hot American Summer” (5/30 – Single – according to “Music Row”)
    Cody Johnson – “With You I Am” (6/13 – Single – according to “Billboard Country Update”)
    Thompson Square – “You Make It Look So Good” (6/13 – Single – according to “Billboard Country Update”)
    Gary Allan – “Do You Wish It Was Me?” (6/13 – Single – according to “Music Row”)
    Mickey Guyton – “Heartbreak Song” – (?)


  3. Raymond May 25, 2016 / 1:08 pm

    Since I haven’t done this in a long time I’ll grade the Top 60 (imo)

    1. Mind Reader -1 (forgetful bro country, steel guitar is nice though)
    2. Snapback 0 (bland nothing offensive or bad)
    3. Somewhere On A Beach 0 (Dierks sounds like even he can’t believe the lyrics and wel ok guilty pleasure)
    4. Came Here To Forget -1 (that one line “getting even with her” ruins this bore fest)
    5. T-Shirt -1
    6. Hunting Fishing Loving Every Day -1 (this plods along way too long)
    7. Humble and Kind +1 (this song brings a smile on my face)
    8. Think Of You +1 (barely a +1 mainly both vocalists sound fine enough)
    9. Wasted Time -1
    10. My Church +1
    11. Noise 0
    12. Lights Come On-1
    13. Head Over Boots +1
    14. Church Bells +1
    15. Record Year +1
    16. H.O.L.Y -1
    17. Fix 0 (guilty pleasure the hook or melody grabs me in)
    18. American Country Love Song 0 (if a song commits no red flags it gets a 0)
    19. Nights On Fire 0 (catchy but insubstantial)
    20. It All Started With A Beer +1
    21. You Look Like I Need A Drink +1
    22. From The Ground Up 0
    23. Make You Miss Me 0
    24. Running For You +1
    25. Hole In A Bottle 0
    26. Rock On -1
    27. Peter Pan +1
    28. I Met A Girl +1
    29. Castaway 0
    30. Loving Lately +1
    31. Unlove You +1
    32. Living The Dream 0
    33. Without A Fight +1
    34. It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To +1
    35. I Know Somebody-1 (personally a 0 but I’ll draw the line here)
    36. Sleep Without You +1
    37. Used To Love You Sober -1
    38. Mayday +1
    39. Girl Next Door 0
    40. 21 Summer +1
    41. Middle Of A Memory +1 (massive guilty pleasure, sorry!)
    42. Southern Boy 0
    43. Make You Mine +1
    44. Jesus and Jones 0
    45. If The Boot Fits -1
    46. A Little More Love -1
    47. Parachute +1
    48. Song Number 7 -1
    49. Wasn’t That Drunk +1
    50. Outskirts Of Heaven +1
    51. Holding Her +1
    52. Reckless -1
    53. Dance With Ya -1
    54. Think A Little Less -1
    55. Beer Can In A Truck Bed -1
    56. Tuxedo -1
    57. Lonely Girl -1
    58. Wanna Be That Song 0
    59. Sierra +1 (favorite song here, please be a hit)
    60. Roots +1 (are you going to review this song it’s actually really good)

    Final Score +7. Maybe I’m going to soft, eh probably not!


  4. petemarshall724 May 25, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    I have a soft heart on Keith Urban “Wasted Time” is a +1 (10/10) great song!! my pleasure is guilty as charged. I don’t think that Kenny Chesney “Noise” is not on the hot seat yet this song will be a #1 hit.


  5. petemarshall724 May 25, 2016 / 11:38 pm

    Are you going to review Blake Shelton’s “If I’m Honest”?


    • Josh Schott May 26, 2016 / 12:42 pm

      Highly doubtful


  6. Nadia Lockheart May 26, 2016 / 3:55 am

    “Noise” is definitely done, like I had signaled last week.

    It just isn’t connecting to, well, almost anyone. Listener callout scores are below average. Single sales are weak for a lead single. Its official video has yet to break a million in YouTube hits (for comparison, the video for “H.O.L.Y.” was released a mere week before “Noise” and it has already garnered 14,75 million hits).

    I get that Chesney genuinely wanted to try offering something with some commentary, some weight behind it, as the lead single. But no matter which way you slice it, it was a mistake going with this. Now Kenny will be left scrambling to get a second single rush-delivered to radio and given a payola push out of the gate before the album lands in late July.


    Again, Sam Hunt’s current single certainly is shaping to be an underachiever.

    I mean, relative to most of his chart competition, “Make You Miss Me” is still pretty young in that it only went for adds the second week of March. But when you compare where each of his singles were at during the tenth week of their respective runs, “Make You Miss Me” is faring not much better than his breakout hit “Leave The Light On” (which started out slow, but then stormed up the chart once word-of-mouth reached critical mass).

    This can still show some legs and eventually go Top Three. But this comparatively weaker chart climb is instantly glaring, and while I think he should be just fine with whatever he releases as the lead single to his sophomore album, it is clear we’re witnessing the first signs of Sam Hunt fatigue among listeners outside of communities like ours and Saving Country Music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond May 26, 2016 / 1:36 pm

      I think Sam Hunt song is going slower more or less cause of the fact it’s a fifth single, and it’s a ballad in the summer. So I don’t think it’s fair to say that each one of Sam Hunt songs should storm up the chart at the same pace, add in the fact that we had all these A-list single releases (Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and FGL) some artists who were really deep in the album cycles like Sam Hunt and Big & Rich were bound to go slower.
      I doubt there’s much fatigue when Sam Hunt is still one of the top selling artists especially given how much weight Montevallo has had on the album. Personal opinion on Sam Hunt’s music aside there is no denying he is still connecting really well given his sales.


  7. Adam McGurk May 31, 2016 / 12:59 am

    I just don’t understand how you can grade Peter Pan a -1 and Castaway a 0…Peter Pan is SO much a better song……I could make that comparison with about 10 other songs on this pulse too…


    • Zackary Kephart May 31, 2016 / 9:40 am

      It’s just ultimately Josh’s opinion. He’s not saying that everyone should think of “Song X” as inferior to “Song Y”, he’s just stating that HE thinks “Song X” is inferior to “Song Y”.

      It should go without saying but everything that a critic writes is just their opinion. They’re not trying to state what the consensus opinion should be on a certain matter.

      Liked by 1 person

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