The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 6]

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. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 2)
  2. Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” -1 (Down 1)
  3. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 (Up 1)
  4. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 (Up 1)
  5. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Up 1)
  6. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -1 (Up 2)
  7. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Down 5)
  8. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -1 (Up 2)
  9. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 
  10. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +1 (Up 2)
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0
  12. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -1 (Up 2)
  13. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 
  14. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  15. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Up 1) [Worst Song]
  16. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 (Up 1)
  17. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
  18. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” (Up 4)
  19. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -1 (Up 2) 
  20. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 
  21. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1 (Down 2)
  22. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (Up 1)
  23. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 3)
  24. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” 0 (Up 3)
  25. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -1 
  26. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +1 (Up 3)
  27. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +1 (Up 1)
  28. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +1 (Up 2)
  29. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +1 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)
  30. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” 0 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -2

The pulse improved three spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader”
  • Canaan Smith – “Nobody Cares Nor Remembers The Song”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
    • I’ve always found Drake White to be likable and he seems like he wants to make actual country music. We haven’t gotten an album from him yet, so we’ve only had two singles to really judge him. The first one was decent, but nothing special. And I can pretty much say the same for this single too. It’s an inoffensive song about living the good life that I can take or leave. Good for him that he cracked the top 30 this time around for the first time in his career. 5/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Lovin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Up 3 from #26 to #23
  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” – Up 3 from #27 to #24
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” – Up 3 from #29 to #26

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” – Out of the Top 30
  • Canaan Smith – “Hole in a Bottle” – Out of the Top 30
  • Old Dominion – “Snapback” – Down 5 from #2 to #7

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

  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach”
  • Old Dominion – “Snapback”
  • Maren Morris – “My Church” (“80s Mercedes” has already been announced as the new single)
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” (I’m hearing from more and more people he’s eager to release new music. Radio is clearly done with this song too. Don’t be surprised if this is the last single from Wild Ones)
  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” (With a group of songs in front of it getting ready to exit, it looks like “Noise” will stick around. But it’s not concrete)
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody”
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory”
  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls”


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

6 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 6]

  1. Nadia Lockheart June 8, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    I think “Humble and Kind” will leapfrog Luke Bryan for #1 this coming week.

    Luke Bryan had the lead entering the week, but Big Machine stated they were going for maximum rotation this week and McGraw has picked up monstrous gains in both spins and audience so far this week. He already has nearly closed the gap with Luke on Mediabase.


    As I expected, “Record Year” has finally caught fire both in airplay and sales and is now enjoying its largest net gain in spins since its opening week.

    “Record Year” is that sort of song I think most laid-back listeners at first will struggle to get their heads around due to the left-of-field musical references and clever details but, once they sink in and many also realize it’s not all that melodically different from the cult Mark Wills classic “19 Somethin'”, it just clicks in many’s minds just like that. I’m just relieved mainstream country radio can appreciate something as witty as this where a titular pun can inspire an equally-as-compelling song, rather than the pun making for a gimmicky track.


    I have not the slightest idea why “Fix” is still here.

    Its sales are especially mediocre for something obviously tailored for the crossover market, and its streaming is pathetic. Just die already like your buddy Canaan Smith’s irrelevant follow-up single finally decided to do! -__-


    • Josh Schott June 8, 2016 / 1:29 pm

      I’ve been tracking the rise and push of “Humble and Kind” and almost changed my prediction. For some reason I’m just not convinced it will topple Luke. I hope I’m wrong because it’s one of the best singles at radio this year.

      “Fix” is probably going to benefit greatly from the purge of the charts coming along with Kenny Chesney’s boring “Noise.” There’s really nothing else to take the place of those songs, so they will be the placeholders. But neither will hit #1, with “Fix” probably having a top 10 peak and “Noise” top five. “Church Bells” will really benefit too of course and I expect “Castaway” and “Peter Pan” start making big gains now.


      • Nadia Lockheart June 8, 2016 / 5:54 pm

        I won’t mind all that much if Luke Bryan wins the duel; seeing that his current hit is easily his best single in a LONG time.

        However, “Humble & Kind” is easily the better song of the two and, seeing it has become a career hit for McGraw that is among the best-selling country singles this year while Bryan’s is only a decent-selling song that quite likely won’t be remembered as a career hit, McGraw clearly deserves this more, hands down.


  2. OlaR June 8, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    Movement: a handful of singles is up 2 (two !) or 3 (three !) places & the Dan + Shay sleeping pill is up 4 (four !) places. For me “From The Ground Up” is a -1.

    Billboard Country Airplay:
    #54 – Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” (Hot Shot Debut)
    #58 – Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” (New)
    Up – Easton Corbin – “Are You With Me” (55-46)
    Up – Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” (45-40)
    Not Up – Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King – “Different For Girls” (32-38)
    Not Up – Maddie & Tae – “Sierra” (51-53)

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – Dierks Bentley – Black (New)
    #2 – Blake Shelton – If I’m Honest
    #3 – Chris Stapleton – Traveller

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Luke Bryan (2nd week)
    #2 – Keith Urban
    #3 – Blake Shelton
    #6 – Aaron Pritchett – “Dirt Road In ‘Em” (highest canadian single)

    Music Row: “RaeLynn is the latest signing to Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville.”
    John Esposito, Chairman & CEO of Warner Music Nashville: “RaeLynn is a special artist who has been sprinkled with fairy dust..She has the kind of music that will change people’s lives and we couldn’t be one iota happier to have her join the Warner Music Nashville family.” (Source: Music Row)

    Eli Young Band – “Salt Water Gospel” – Single – 6/10 (Produced & co-written by Ross Copperman) (Source: Band Twitter)
    Martina McBride – “Just Around The Corner” – Single – tba (Source: McBride Twitter)
    Billy Ray Cyrus feat. Bryan Adams & Glenn Hughes – “Hey Elvis” – Single – ? (Source: Play MPe)
    Michael Tyler – “Crazy Last Night” – Single – 6/27 (Source: Music Row)
    LoCash – “The Fighters” – Album – 6/17 (Source: Music Row)
    Kris Kristofferson – “The Cedar Creek Sessions – Album – 17/6 (Source: Music Row)


    • Nadia Lockheart June 8, 2016 / 5:40 pm

      The notably solid start for Easton Corbin’s “Are You With Me” is interesting.

      I’m still convinced he’s on his way out from mainstream playlists along with Billy Currington and Joe Nichols. His fanbase was quite tentative to begin with due to all the George Strait comparisons, but he has lost a lot of good will from his neo-traditional fans by pandering to shallow trends as of late and he just isn’t a fresh face on the scene anymore that draws much passion among radio listeners either.

      But I wonder if the fact the EDM artist Lost Frequencies made a major international hit out of aggressively tinkering with this track is giving this a jolt of publicity that will help it become a sleeper hit stateside in result? We’ll have to see how this fares digitally in the coming weeks, but it’s unmistakably off to a very strong start at radio.


      • OlaR June 9, 2016 / 5:09 am

        “Passion”: now i know what’s wrong with Easton Corbin. There is no passion in his music (& in the music of 90% of Music Row artists).

        There was an award show last night? The “CMT Awards”? Danica Patrick, Erin Andrews, Pharrell, Pitbull, Fifth Harmony, Leona Lewis, Cheap Trick, Vince Vaughn, Chad Michael Murray…well-known names in “Country Music”, but who are the Oak Ridge Boys?

        Glad the new Thomas Rhett single will be the ultra-traditional “Vacation”. 14 writers…the song must be good.

        New singles:
        Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” – tba (Source: Tim McGraw/Bobby Bones show)
        Mark Chesnutt – “Oughta Miss Me By Now” – ? (Source: Play MPe)


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