The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Aug. 1]

Eric Church Mr. Misunderstood

Each week we 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 one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. 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 +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

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. Eric Church – “Record Year” +4 (Up 2) [Best Song]
  2. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Up 2) [Worst Song]
  3. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 (Down 2)
  4. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Up 2)
  5. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Up 2)
  6. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +2 (Down 4)
  7. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 2)
  8. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 
  9. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -2 (Down 4)
  10. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 
  11. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 
  12. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -2
  13. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3
  14. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2 
  15. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 2)
  16. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 
  17. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Down 2)
  18. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 3)
  19. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 1)
  20. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Down 1)
  21. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 4)
  22. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (New to Top 30)
  23. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Down 1)
  24. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2
  25. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 7)
  26. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 
  27. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 3)
  28. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3 (Down 1)
  29. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (New to Top 30)
  30. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”  +1 (Down 1)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -7

The pulse drops four spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chensey – “Noise” 0
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire”
    • After the disappointing performance of “Noise,” Kenny Chesney delayed his new album until the fall so he could rebound with a sophomore single from the album. The result is Chesney enlisting the help of pop artist Pink and releasing the single “Setting The World On Fire.” Now for those unfamiliar with Pink, I’m sure many feared the worst. I didn’t as I’m quite familiar with Pink and her music. She’s actually one of the better pop artists of the past decade, as I enjoy the fiery energy she can bring to her music. But you wouldn’t know that after listening to this nostalgia summer song. Both Pink and Chesney sound bored as hell singing this song. This song has no pulse, much like “Noise” before it. The inclusion of Pink will help this song perform better than “Noise,” but that’s pretty much all this song has going for it (and I guess its supposed to be country). This isn’t great nor bad. It’s just sort of there and certainly won’t be setting anybody’s world on fire. 3/10 (This originally said 5/10, but it meant to be 3/10 and I forgot to edit before posting)
  • Luke Bryan – “Move”
    • Uggggghhhhh. This damn song. Bryan actually earned some good will with “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” because it wasn’t terrible, it sounded country and Bryan seemed to genuinely care about the song. Now we’re back to the Bryan every suburban teen girl, bored housewife and drunken frat bro loves: the sexist party romper. Essentially this is “Country Girl Shake It For Me” with a new name and different coat of paint, but the same quality and value. It’s complete vapid bullshit. It’s also guaranteed to be a #1 hit. Run away as far as you can from this song. The only good thing I can say about it is that Bryan spells out the word “move” so nobody is confused about how that amazingly difficult word is to spell. 1/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Eric Church – “Record Year” (Church is going for a multi-week #1, which is good news for those who want to see “Fix” not hit the top spot. It’s kind of appropriate the best song is battling to keep the worst song from the top spot.)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Move” – Up 6 from #35 to #29
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” – Up 4 from #25 to #21
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 3 from #21 to #18
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” – Up 3 from #30 to #27

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” – Down 7 from #18 to #25

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

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”
  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” (At 41 weeks, I’m surprised it’s still here. If I’m Moore’s team I’m ecstatic just to see it hit top 15. At most I see them holding out to hit the top ten before dropping it.)
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be”
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”


  • Great to be back! Derek did an excellent job filling in last week.
  • Jason Aldean’s “A Little More Summertime” still can’t be properly graded and reviewed because I still don’t have full access to the song. Once I do get access it will.
  • I spent a lot of time mulling over the grade for “80s Mercedes” and ultimately decided to stick with Derek’s grade. While it’s not very country, it is still a good song. So I can’t really give a negative score to something I feel isn’t hurting quality. If you disagree I completely understand. It’s a tough song to grade when factoring in genre.
  • On the bottom half of the chart there’s some discouraging news. Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” had a bad week and could go recurrent soon, while Maddie & Tae’s “Sierra” has gone recurrent and is done. It’s not entirely surprising given that they’re two of the three songs with the highest negative call-out scores on Mediabase (the other ironically being Kelsea Ballerini’s “Peter Pan,” which just entered the top 10). For Stapleton, it’s not a big deal. He doesn’t care about radio and doesn’t need it when he’s selling more albums than everyone else in the genre. For Maddie & Tae, it casts doubt and uncertainty on their future. Their future radio prospects look bleak and I think decisions will have to be made by them and Big Machine.

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

39 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Aug. 1]

  1. Amanda August 3, 2016 / 11:16 am

    Glad to see Record Year hit number one, as it is a great song. 80’s Mercedes, while not country, is a great song and a huge guilty pleasure for me. As for Move, ewwww. It is the second worst song in the top 60, right behind Thomas Rhett’s mound of dog shit that he calls “Vacation”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Raymond August 3, 2016 / 11:17 am

    I do think Maddie & Tae are obviously gonna keep their record deal with Big Machine, as the girls still have 2 top 10s to their names.

    Now for songs coming up I am happy to see Tim McGraw soon back in the Top 30 and before Thomas Rhett (“Vacation” is probably testing terribly locally).

    I’m not sure Brothers Osborne are be back in the Top 30. They are for sure struggling badly and are bleeding audience the past couple of days.

    Granger Smith “If The Boot Fits” is a massive guilty pleasure so I will probably give it a 0, for at least sounding decently country and being more bland than outright bad.

    I know it is nowhere near the Top 30 (actually hasn’t even charted yet), but what are your guys opinion on the new Lauren Alaina single “Road Less Traveled”. It is one of my favorite songs on the radio right now, it’s overproduced but it’s pretty well written.


  3. OlaR August 3, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Jon Pardi – 44 weeks, Justin Moore – 39 weeks, Kip Moore – 41 weeks, William Michael Morgan – 43 weeks, Drake White – 34 weeks…time for a change.

    Granger Dibbles Jr. & Brothers Osborne are fighting for a Top 30 place. Top 30…not Top 10. “If The Boots Fit” is #48 on “Hot Country Songs”. Impressive.

    Brett Eldredge is still #36 & Dustin Lynch (his label) are “seein’ red” because the song is #44 again. “Seein’ Red” is #46 on “Hot Country Songs”.

    Billboard Country Update about “Fix”: “Fix,” currently No. 2 on Country Airplay — is notably pushing the boundaries of the country format, employing a danceable backbeat underneath a pop-flavored melody, R&B guitar chording and a falsetto hook. It’s not a song that George Strait or Alan Jackson would have done in the 1990s.”
    Strait & Jackson are not recording dog-shit. Not in the 1990s or the 2000s or the 2010s.

    I don’t have a bullet for you: Brantley Gilbert (down to 49), The Last Bandoleros (52), Toby Keith (down to 56), Thompson Square (up to 57, down in audience & plays), Cassadee Pope (down to 59), Maddie & Tae (down to 60).

    Re-Entry: Darius Rucker – “If I Told You”.

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – Chris Stapleton – Traveller
    #2 – Blake Shelton – If I’m Honest
    #3 – Steven Tyler – Meh
    #13 – New – Big Smo – We The People

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Eric Church – “Record Year” (2nd week)
    #2 – FGL – “H.O.L.Y.”
    #3 – Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”
    #8 – Chad Brownlee – “I Hate You For It” (highest canadian track)

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia:
    #1 – Alice Benfer – “Amamoor Creek” (Ep: Cowgirl Rockin’ – 8/10)
    #2 – Drew McAlister – “Last Night On Earth” (Album: Black Sky – 8/10)
    #3 – Kaylens Rain – “Lost In The Moonshine” (Album: In Our Blood – 10/10)


  4. Raymond August 3, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Oh Josh. Btw there is one eay how you can listen too “A Little More Summertime”, all you have to do is go to (home of Bob Kingsley Country Top 40) and then press on the “listen to this week’s show” Jason Aldean is at #39 and they have the full audio on it.

    Here’s a link,


    • Josh Schott August 3, 2016 / 2:50 pm

      Thanks! I’ll check it out


  5. Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 4:32 pm

    Hope you’re right about ‘Fix’ getting boxed out of #1 but it seems that in this environment if a record label really, really wants a song to go #1 then it gets it’s wish and this label is seriously all in on this pathetic song.

    I fear you’re going soft Josh on songs that don’t sound country. I can easily see how it happens when we are fed a never ending supply of songs that don’t sound country but we are told they really are country so after a while it’s easy to give in.

    Be Strong 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott August 3, 2016 / 4:38 pm

      Ha! If it’s in reference to my Chesney grade, thank you for the catch. I was doing this late last night and it was supposed to say 3/10 and not 5/10. It’s now been corrected.


      • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 4:44 pm

        And ’80s Mercedes’.

        But seriously I see how it happens as I’ve done it a few times with a song that lyrically is pretty good but musically is just straight up rock or pop or whatever. The problem is when it’s a couple of songs it’s OK but when it’s 80% of the chart what are we supposed to do? The balance has gone from 80-20 country to 20-80 non country in a very short period of time.


        • Josh Schott August 3, 2016 / 4:48 pm

          Well as I said it’s so difficult to review this song. Removing the genre argument, this is a great summer song. Factoring in genre lines, this song obviously gets punished for not being country. Like always, I’m constantly evaluating my scores on the chart and it could very well change in the future upon further listens and thinking.


        • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 5:38 pm

          There is a theory in politics and public policy called the Overton Window and I think it fits with country music also as the powers that be like Borschetta and others have shifted what is acceptable to the point where it doesn’t even resemble what came before.

          The degrees of acceptance according to Overton are:


          Thinking of those in terms of mainstream country is kind of interesting as I would say we have gone through them all and are now between popular and policy hence the window has shifted. From ‘Dirt Road Anthem’ to FGL to Sam Hunt to Chase Rice to Kelsea Ballerini what was once unthinkable and radical is now popular and the standard (policy).


  6. Derek Hudgin August 3, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    “Granger Dibbles Jr.” Haha!

    Seriously, at this point the whole “parody singer bit” has turned into a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    Ummmmmmmmmmmm, “Record Year” DID hit #1 this week! =P

    My guess is Republic Nashville deliberately decided to settle for a sole week at #1 with “H.O.L.Y.” so they can use that money they would otherwise need to achieve multiple weeks at country radio to continuing their crossover operations. The police scandal may have cost them spins from a few stations too, but I think the crossover is the main reason.

    Anyway, when is the last time a +4 or higher song on your Pulse reached #1, Josh? It’s been a long time since I can recall a song this great going #1 on the airplay chart. If I had to guess, it would be “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band in April 2011. Am I right?


    • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 5:44 pm

      Oh, never mind! I saw you’re predicting a second week at #1 for Eric Church! =P

      I sure hope EMI succeed in blocking “Fix” from the #1 spot! Don’t do it for yourself, Eric: do it for your country! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 5:49 pm

      ‘so they can use that money they would otherwise need’

      Ha Ha!!

      ‘+4 song or better’

      Maybe ‘Humble And Kind’?


      • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 6:13 pm

        He gave “Humble and Kind” a +3 (as did I).


    • Josh Schott August 3, 2016 / 6:41 pm

      Great guess! That would be the last definitive one I would give 9/10 or more. In 2013 it’s debatable if I would give a 9/10 to another ZBB song, “Sweet Annie.” But yes Zac Brown Band would be the last act to hit #1 on the airplay to merit a +4 or better. A lot of +3s over the last five years, but none to get a 10/10 and only a possibility of three to get 9/10 since 2011. It really puts into perspective how important this accomplishment is for Church and how important ZBB was for years in maintaining a shred of integrity on the radio.


      • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 7:33 pm

        “Sweet Annie” was a good song, but it felt too much like a reprise of “Colder Weather” to warrant that high a score to me. I mean the way Zac Brown enunciates the vocal melody in the chorus is near-identical to that of “Colder Weather”. I’d probably give it a Strong 7 to Light 8 out of 10.

        “I Hold On” is another good example. It’s as solid as lyrics get on country radio, but it wouldn’t get a +4 or higher mainly because it doesn’t really sound country at all. It’s more a solid modern heartland rock anthem.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 7:46 pm

          So I just went back and looked at the past five years and ‘I Hold On’ was one I thought of but I think for me the last +4 would be ‘Tomorrow’ which was just few months after ‘Colder Weather’. This was one of the last really great singles Young had before he started going downhill.

          ‘Colder Weather’ would be +5 for me as I think it is a truly great song and by far the best ZBB single. Great ambiguous lyrics make this one a winner. ‘Sweet Annie’ has virtually the same open as ‘Colder Weather’ as you mentioned. I remember being fooled more than once thinking it was going to be ‘Colder Weather’.


          • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 7:51 pm

            Eh, “Tomorrow”, for me, was one of those type of songs I did genuinely like but never loved either.

            And part of me says this admitting that, with Young since rehashing a formula in the form of “I’m Comin’ Over”, that it can cloud my perception in hindsight. But I recall even then not feeling all that passionate about “Tomorrow”. I think, even then, it just felt a little too safe to my ears even if the whole of it was solid.

            It would rate as a +2 to my ears. The title track, however, was a +4 to my ears and I’m still angered it fared poorly on the radio.


          • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 8:01 pm

            ‘Neon’ stalling out at #23 was in retrospect a canary in the coalmine moment for country radio. That song was stone cold country and it flopping was not a good sign and it led Young (and or his label) to adjust and soon we got ‘Aw Naw’ and the like.


          • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 8:05 pm

            I really try to not let what comes after effect how I think of a song or performer if at all possible. I think these things must be judged on there own merits. That goes for good and bad too. It’s why I don’t hate ‘Dirt Road Anthem’ as much as some.


          • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 8:17 pm

            As you recall, I gave “Dirt Road Anthem” a -3 myself. The production is what rescues it from the worst.

            I haven’t been able to get into Chris Young’s music since he decided to rechristen himself as the Daughtry of country radio. He definitely continues to cut serviceable, likeable, pleasant songs like “Lonely Eyes” and “Think of You”, but they fail to leave a lasting or deeper impression because of how sterile and lightweight they are. I frankly don’t get why many are heralding “Sober Saturday Night” as a career song in that, even if the lyrics are personal, it sounds just like every other song he has been putting out there since the beginning of the “Aw Naw” era.

            Again, Young is just like Daughtry now. He has an amazing, versatile voice, but insists on settling with the most interchangeable, generic songs imaginable. It is beneath someone of his potential to be cutting songs like “Sunshine Overtime”, “Nothin’ But the Cooler Left” and “The Underdog”.


          • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 8:23 pm

            Young is the prime example of a performer doing what he has to do stay on the radio. And succeeding unlike other like Joe Nichols who trying the same thing will less success.


    • Raymond August 3, 2016 / 6:57 pm

      For me songs like “Springsteen”, “Blown Away”, “Ours”, “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain” “I Drive Your Truck”, and in my opinion “Good Girl” (massive guilty pleasure but I am not ashamed for liking this).


      • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 7:38 pm

        Here’s how I’d rate those:


        “Springsteen”: +3
        “Blown Away”: +1
        “Ours”: +1
        “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain”: +1
        “I Drive Your Truck”: +2
        “Good Girl”: -3



      • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 7:50 pm

        For me of these six I would give ‘I Drive Your Truck’ a +3 and ‘Every Storm’ a +2 and ‘Springsteen’ about a+1 and the others not so good the Underwood songs are too loud and bombastic for my tastes and not country at all. Probably both -2.


        • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 8:10 pm

          I really enjoy the descriptive quality of the writing in “I Drive Your Truck”. I think what kept it from a higher ranking to my ears is how sterile the production is. Similar with “Springsteen”, though I felt it squeaked to a +3 due to how effectively the writing appeals to both the personal and universal realm in its execution.

          I was never impressed with “Every Storm Runs Out Of Rain” outside of the fact Allan got a comeback smash off of it. I actually considered the lyrics mediocre and cliched from day one. I remember when I first heard the announcement of Gary Allan’s forthcoming single before its debut, and upon seeing the title thought: “Hmmmmm, is this going to be his version of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”? And, sure enough, it turned out it wasn’t far off thematically. Also, the song just sounded a bit too drowsy.

          I absolutely couldn’t stand “Good Girl” then and still instantly change the station when it comes on now. Aside from how gratingly loud it is and Underwood yells most of the lyrics, I’m sick of all these man and woman-bashing songs without any context or purpose. Enough already! With “Blown Away”, it lost points to my ears due to the overproduction and absolutely unnecessary vocal effects, but it still got a net positive from me due to the descriptive quality in the lyrics.

          That’s the thing that’s frustrating about Carrie Underwood. She is very good at selecting and often co-writing songs with very descriptive and interesting lyrics. I feel as though as much as Underwood deservedly gets a lot of praise for her vocals, many overlook how solid a songwriter she can be too. The problem is, she just can’t resist settling with producers who try their level best at limiting the appeal of her songs. “Church Bells” was a perfect example. The lyrics to that song are very solid in that they actually tell a story and are rich in imagery. I didn’t even have a problem with that particular murder song because it is clear based on the lyrics in the second verse that she was a victim of domestic assault, and did what she did out of self-defense (as opposed to, say, “Two Black Cadillacs” where all the subject did was have an affair). But then Mark Bright, Zack Crowell and Jay Joyce just can’t resist trying to make every song a reach-for-the-rafters, rock-edged arena power ballad or Shania Twain On Steroids fight song and it just results in less enjoyable music.


          • Raymond August 3, 2016 / 8:27 pm

            Like I said “Good Girl” is a guilty pleasure. I know the whole boy or girl bashing thing. But I always found Country Universe review perfect on it.

            I’m not ashamed of liking “Good Girl” and I’ll defend it til the day I die for a rocking production that is unpredictable and a commanding hook and performace that for me lulls me in.

            I’m not ashamed and I still consider it one of Carrie Underwood’s best.


          • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 8:48 pm

            No reason to be ashamed we like what we like and it’s not for anyone else to judge.


        • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 8:46 pm

          Which is absolutely fine! =)

          From what I recall, most everyone was praising “Good Girl” when it was first released, so you’re far from alone in praise of that song.

          I’ve always been one of the dissenting outliers. It didn’t even sound fresh the first time I heard it because I was accustomed to hearing arena rocking lead singles from her beforehand with “Cowboy Casanova” (which I also didn’t like). It sounded like a reprise of the 80s hair-metal chick approach and I wasn’t surprised or astonished through my first listen-through.

          I used to write for Country Universe. I remember that review all too well. Then again, the Country Universe review didn’t mention anything about the song’s lyrics or theme, so it may just be the reviewer having more of an ear for musical arrangement and the way a song sounds than the songwriting and themes. With me, it’s mostly the opposite. Lyrics come first to me followed by everything else, and that may explain why I passionately disagreed with Kevin’s review then. But that’s fine, because we’re all drawn to different elements and ingredients.


  8. Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    Read an interview with Connie Harrington one of the writers of ‘I Drive You Truck’ on how she heard an interview with a father telling the story of his late son’s truck and that was the basis for the song and that always sticks with me. It’s a song about something which really stands out but I agree the production is rather bland.

    Carrie Underwood is in need of a career makeover big time. New producers would be a good first step as she has really fallen into a tiresome rut. With her great vocal ability her career is reminding me of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston who both seemed unwilling to dial it down and bring more subtly to their songs. Just because you have a big voice doesn’t mean you have to show it off on every song.


    • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      The production reminded me of Steve Holy’s “Love Don’t Run”. And the way the latter song sounded always irritated me, for some reason. It probably explains why I don’t rate it as highly as others.

      Either way, the lyrics are not the weak link.


      Carrie Underwood needs a producer or production team that allows her songs room to breathe, first and foremost.

      I think it’s too easy to look at her track record and think nothing is broken, so nothing needs fixing. But Underwood’s recent co-writing credits suggests she wants to be taken seriously as an artist as much as an entertainer in that she does think like a storyteller.

      The problem is, she’s also in a thematic rut. It has gotten old hearing murder songs from her, for instance. And when she does tackle vulnerability, the end results are usually bogged down in cliches. She needs co-writers who inspire more subtlety in her songwriting as well as production that is more organic and avoids the business of the vast majority of her catalog.


      • Scotty J August 3, 2016 / 8:45 pm

        Part of the problem is her apparent aversion to love songs which greatly limits the subject matter for her to cover. Just look back at her singles and they almost all come off as cold and impersonal. I’m not sure she has had a single I truly loved since ‘Wasted’ which I think is her best single by far.

        She’s just not someone who likes to venture outside of their comfort zone I guess. Too bad.


        • Nadia Lockheart August 3, 2016 / 8:52 pm

          Precisely my point about when she tries to get vulnerable.

          “Heartbeat” was her first attempt at a love song. And it was riddled with cliches (it didn’t help the production was such a sterile mess) that were like bra-country.

          Or take “See You Again”. She clearly tries to go for vulnerability there, but the end result is a generic power ballad that is wrought with Adult Contemporary cliches.

          I definitely think Carrie Underwood has a great personality in real life, and she doesn’t strike me the least bit cold. But I do agree her songwriting has long been built more on characters and general themes as opposed to offering an actual intimate look into who SHE is.


          • Raymond August 3, 2016 / 9:20 pm

            That is precisely why I want “The Girl You Think I Am” to be released but instead we get “Dirty Laundry” which while not bad, doesn’t bring anything new to the table for Carrie Underwood.


          • Nadia Lockheart August 4, 2016 / 2:47 am

            “Dirty Laundry” is a poor choice if the goal is giving her current era legs and showing what more she is capable of.

            Completely agree it’s a mistake not going with “The Girl You Think I Am”. “Storyteller” didn’t impress me at all as an album, but that was a standout moment. Her other two attempts at vulnerability (“What I Never Knew I Always Wanted”, “Like I’ll Never Love You Again”) didn’t work nearly as well to me.


        • Ron August 4, 2016 / 10:43 am

          I said this when smoke break came out but most of her songs are 3rd person. She rarely does songs that are from her perspective. Its about the young mom or the girl getting abused/ cheated on. I think that’s something she could change


  9. Nadia Lockheart August 4, 2016 / 4:27 am

    Come to think of it, when was the last time the Best AND Worst Song on the Pulse occupied the #1 and #2 spots, out of curiosity?

    (God I hope EMI Nashville is presently saying: “Clay Hunnicutt, you know we all love and respect you, but……………..UP YOURS, ‘FIX’!” and goes all out blocking Big Loud Mountain’s first effort from #1! 😉 😉 😉 )

    “Fix” never deserved to rise as far as it has to begin with. In a considerable sense, it’s admirable that Clay Hunnicutt and Craig Wiseman have succeeded in their tireless efforts to convince radio programmers to keep promoting “Fix”. I will honesty admit that the way they’ve done so is pretty legit.

    Still, I think this will prove to be a misguided move in the long run for Big Loud Mountain. Chris Lane just isn’t the type of artist that’s going to rise to the A-list ranks and will be lucky to even secure more than one album’s worth of measurable hit singles. Lane isn’t going to be the effective flagship artist for a label like Jason Aldean is for Broken Bow, Taylor Swift is for Big Machine, and Chris Stapleton is for Columbia Nashville. Kelsea Ballerini may also get lucky and emerge as a reliable flagship artist for Black River Entertainment if she is able to avoid the sophomore slump (she does seem to have a lot of promotional muscle at her back, though her sales are still weak and aren’t indicative of long-term staying power). But unlike Chris Lane, Kelsea Ballerini has an advantage being one of only several females enjoying country radio success beyond one single. Chris Lane is in a ridiculously crowded field of male chart rivals; many of which have more personality and charisma than he does and, thus, I just don’t see him having any staying power.

    You’ve got to have something besides just a falsetto (which is a pretty bad falsetto, in truth) to prove you’re not a fluke, just saying…


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