The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 20]

Luke Bryan Kill The Lights

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -1

The pulse remained the same this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” (Finally!)
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody”
  • Brett Young – “Sleep Without You”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls”
    • The song looks at a breakup from the perspective of a girl and how they handle them. It says that girls don’t react in the same way guys do and that they don’t resort to hookups and drinking excessively like guys do. The song also says guys can act all tough after a breakup and forget about the relationship, while a girl can’t. Well this is all well and good if we all still looked at society through the lens of social consciousness of the 1950s. I really wanted to like this song, but the way it stereotypes all girls and guys is just too ridiculous to overlook. It paints guys to look like drunken, uncaring pigs while girls are emotional train wrecks who never resort to drinking or hookups to cope with breakups. It’s a shame this is a single and everyone will praise it for it’s “thoughtful” look through the eyes of a girl in a breakup. This song is nothing but a mess. 3/10
  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words”
    • This is the song about Miranda Lambert on Blake’s album with at first what was reported to contain offensive lyrics. Well there’s nothing offensive unless you’re offended by whiny bullshit because that sums up the song. It heavily relies on what the writers think is “clever word play,” but really it’s just a contrived, boring song. Blake sings the same trite, vanilla lines over and over without really delivering any commentary on his failed relationship and not really showing any feelings about it. This one just puts me to sleep and it’s another song you can throw onto the big pile of mediocre singles churned out by country music in 2016. 4/10
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Keith Urban – “Wasted Time”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” – Up 7 from #32 to #25
  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” – Up 7 from #35 to #28
  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” – Up 4 from #6 to #2

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” – Out of the Top 30
  • Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” – Out of the Top 30 (#31)
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Out of the Top 30 (#32)

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

  • Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget”
  • Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brett Young – “Sleep Without You”
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody”
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

Note: After further listens, Brett Young’s “Sleep Without You” will be downgraded to a -1 upon entry back into the top 30. It’s not terrible as I said before, but after multiple listens it’s too sleepy of a song to merit a 0.


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

4 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 20]

  1. OlaR June 22, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    46: David Nail on #15 (with a bullet) & up in spins/audience (after 46 weeks).

    Frankie Ballard: “It All Started With A Beer” is not the big hit. The album “El Rio” is new on #9 (behind Brandy Clark). He is not the big-seller, more a radio-powered artist. Without radio support his career might go down the drain. A new member in the Corbin-Currington-Ray-Houser-club.

    Randy Houser: “Song No.7” is down to #53 after 15 weeks. The song is done.

    Parmalee: “Roots” down to #59 after 7 weeks. Houser & Parmalee are on Stoney Creek Records.

    Cassadee Pope: “Summer” is over. Gone after one week.

    Missing persons: Gary Allan, Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols. New singles? Who cares? Not country radio.

    Billboard Country Airplay:
    #45 – Thomas Rhett – “Vacation” – Hot Shot Debut
    #55 – Runaway June – “Lipstick” – Re-Entry

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – Blake Shelton – “If I’m Honest”
    #2 – Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”
    #3 – Various Artists – “Now That’s What I Call Country, Vol.9” – New

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget”
    #2 – Keith Urban – “Wasted Time”
    #3 – Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”
    #10 – Dallas Smith – “One Little Kiss” – highest canadian track

    Country Tracks Top 40/Australia:
    #1 – Connie Kis Andersen – “Gone Wishin'” – 2nd week
    #2 – Allan Caswell – “Until The Hurtin’ Starts”
    #3 – Aly Cook – “Message In A Cloud”

    New releases:
    Lori McKenna – “The Bird & The Riffle” – Album – 6/29 – Source: Music Row
    The O’Connor Band – “Coming Home – Album – 8/5 – Source: Music Row
    Diamond Rio – “The Definitive Collection” – Double-Album – 8/5 – Source: Amazon
    Billy Ray Cyrus – “Thin Line” – Album – tba – Soure: Play MPe
    Dolly Parton – “Pure & Simple” – Album – 8/19 – Source: Dolly Records
    Hillary Scott & The Scott Family – “Love Remains” – Album – 7/29 – Source: Capitol Nashville
    Chase Rice – “Everybody We Know Does” – Single – 6/24 – Source: Ad for single
    Chase Bryant – “Room To Breathe” – Single – 7/5 – Source: Music Row


    • Raymond June 22, 2016 / 6:33 pm

      Um, “Summer” isn’t done, it just got pushed out of the chart, quick to jump the gun there, and Parmalee’s song is just getting lost in the shuffle but the label is still promoting it.


      • OlaR June 22, 2016 / 7:42 pm

        “Cassadee Pope: “Summer” is over. Gone after one week.” I have not used the word “done”.
        “Summer” is not the song to push Cassadee Pope to the next level (format star). I think “Summer” will reach the top 50 & will be gone (& forgotten) after 12-15 weeks. But the fact is: “Summer” is not listed inside of the Billboard top 60. CP needs a hit or her label will find a new “next big thing”.

        Yes. The label is still promoting “Roots”. By far the best Parmalee track. But the fact is: “Roots” is down in audience & is not gaining much in plays. It’s not a good start for the first single of a new album era.
        After seven weeks “Roots” is on #59. Chris Janson (“Holdin’ Her”) is on #48 after seven weeks. “Sierra” is on #47 after five weeks. “Are You With Me” is on #46 after seven weeks…all with a bullet, up in audience (Chris Janson is down 0,003) & all are up in spins.
        A label can promote a “dead horse”. But country radio must not play a “dead horse”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. seak05 June 22, 2016 / 11:54 pm

    How are the -1,0,1 grades determined? I would’ve though 0-3 =-1, 4-6 = 0, 7-10, =+1 (or something like that)


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