The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Sept. 26]

Justin Moore You Look Like I Need A Drink

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. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 3)
  2. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 1)
  3. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 4)
  4. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Down 3)
  5. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 1)
  6. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Down 1)
  7. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 2)
  8. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 [Worst Song]
  9. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Down 7)
  10. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2
  11. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 2)
  12. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  13. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 1) 
  14. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 1)
  15. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 1)
  16. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  17. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 1)
  18. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 1)
  19. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 1)
  20. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 1)
  21. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Down 10)
  22. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 
  23. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” 
  24. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (Up 1)
  25. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -3 (Down 1)
  26. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 
  27. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Re-Enters Top 30)
  28. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 [Best Song] (New to Top 30)
  29. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Down 2)
  30. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -19

The pulse improves six spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4
  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
    • Apparently Billboard screwed up last week and mistakenly took it off the chart. So now it’s back. I had thought EMI Nashville gave up and decided to just put more push behind David Nail’s new single with the Brothers Osborne, “Good at Tonight.” I’m not complaining, as this song deserves to fight for another day. I previously covered this song both hear and in the album review, so check those out if you want to see my thoughts on it.
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word”
    • Rhiannon Giddens is in the top 30 airplay chart for country radio! What a world. Nobody has been churning out better singles in 2016 than Eric Church and it continues once again with “Kill A Word.” As Church said in recent interviews, releasing this as a single at this time was just too perfect. With the amount of racial and sex-based tension and incidents that have happened in the United States over the past year combined with the always contentious Presidential election taking place, this country needs this song more than ever. It’s a reminder in this crazy world we currently live in that we need to put our hate aside and strive for something we all want and that’s peace. And unlike Garth Brook’s cheesy single he released last year, “People Loving People,” this song has a lot of heart and clever songwriting. In the radio edit of this song, Giddens also gets to sing a line solo and of course sounds fantastic. This is not only one of the best singles of 2016, but one of the best songs you’ll hear. 9/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” (Warner has officially announced they’re going for max spins this week and Currington’s label Mercury appears willing to play nice and wait to push for #1 next week)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” – Up 4 from #7 to #3
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need a Drink” – Up 3 from #4 to #1
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” – Up 3 from #31 to #28

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” – Down 10 from #11 to #21
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Down 7 from #2 to #9
  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” – Out of the Top 30 (to #32)

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

  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got a Way With Words”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan”

On The Hot Seat:

  • None

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love”
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her”
  • Artists of Then, Now & Forever – “Forever Country”
  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red”


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

15 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Sept. 26]

  1. Scotty J September 28, 2016 / 11:10 am

    ’21 Summer’ lost some audience last week so it got dropped to recurrent status and then bounced back this week so they brought it back to the chart. This seems to happen a couple of times a year with songs that have been on the charts for months and months and so they get bumped and then return. Usually they only return for a week or two and then are gone for good.

    Another reason for your limit on chart weeks proposal as these songs just drift aimlessly between 25 and 40 on the charts for what seems like forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jmartin103 September 28, 2016 / 12:07 pm

      That was also the case with Gloriana’s “Wild at Heart” from 2009. It was on the chart for several months, eventually peaking in the Top 20, then when it hit #16, it fell off for one week. Then, it returned at #16 and stayed on the chart for a week or two before disappearing again.


      • Raymond September 28, 2016 / 12:40 pm

        Not to get too off topic, but I love “Wild At Heart”, such a shame Gloriana didn’t catch on as their first two albums were really solid as a eholr (had some obvious flaws, but is alright as a whole).


        • FeedThemHogs September 28, 2016 / 3:39 pm

          I’ll second that. Wild At Heart is awesome.


          • Amanda September 28, 2016 / 5:51 pm

            I love Wild at Heart. 🙂


      • Scotty J September 28, 2016 / 2:23 pm

        Think it happened with that horrible ‘God Wants Girls’ song by Raylinne also.


        • Josh Schott September 28, 2016 / 2:54 pm

          It did. I remember because that was right around when I expanded the Current Pulse to the top 30.


  2. Ron September 28, 2016 / 11:10 am

    So happy that Blake’s song ‘bombed’. Yeah it made the top 10 but relatively speaking its a wonderful thing it didn’t go any higher

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amanda September 28, 2016 / 12:06 pm

    I really do hope that William Michael Morgan goes #1 next week. If so, it will be a victory for country music. I know I advocate for him and his music a lot on this site, but I truly believe that he is an incredible talent.


    • seak05 September 28, 2016 / 2:54 pm

      It might be a close thing 😦 Billy isn’t pushing for #1, but his song is still picking up a lot of spins. Radio loves that song. It’ll probably be a multi-week #1 if his label pushes for it. Honestly it’s a good song, but I really want WMM to go #1 first.


  4. OlaR September 28, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    47 weeks & Justin Moore is the new #1.
    51 weeks & WMM is moving in the right direction.
    Bentley & King only one week on #1 (six weeks in Canada).

    No bullet: LANco (down to #38), Eli Young Band (still #41), Mickey Guyton (down to #47) & RaeLynn (down to # 54). Oh…no bullet for Thomas Rhett.
    Hot Shot Debut: Jon Pardi – “Dirt On My Boots” – #49

    Billboard Hot Country Songs: New – #1 – Artists Of Then, Now & Forever – “Forever Country”

    Billboard Top Country Albums: New – #1 – Aaron Lewis – Sinner
    Jason Aldean down to #2 – FGL down to #3 & New on #5 Willie Nelson with For The Good Times – A Tribute To Ray Price

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Justin Moore
    #2 – Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King
    #3 – Kenny Chesney feat. P!ink
    #5 – Washboard Union – “Shot Of Glory” (highest canadian track)

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia:
    #1 – Doug Bruce – “Bad Weather”
    #2 – Aly Cook – “Kimberley”
    #3 – Kasey Chambers – “Ain’t No Little Girl”
    #19 – Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” (highest american track)

    New Single: Hunter Hayes – “Yesterday’s Song” – 10/24 – Source: Country Aircheck
    New Single: Thomas Rhett – “Star Of The Show” – 09/30 – Source: Music Row
    New Single: Ryan Follese – “Put A Label On It” – 10/10 – Source: Country Aircheck
    New Single: Aubrey Sellers – “Sit Here & Cry” – 10/17 – Source: Country Aircheck
    New Single: Josh Abbott Band – “Amnesia” – 10/17 – Source: Country Aircheck
    New Ep: Brooke Eden – Welcome To The Weekend – released – Source: Country Aircheck


    • seak05 September 28, 2016 / 2:55 pm

      Do we know when Blake’s new single officially impacts? They announced when it would be serviced, but haven’t seen an impact date?


    • Kevin Davis September 28, 2016 / 8:02 pm

      Out of curiosity, I listened to the Washboard Union song, “Shot Of Glory,” on YouTube. Wow, that is terrible!!! I know that Canada is capable of much better, thanks to Whitney Rose and Lindi Ortega. But that is one of the most generic and most pathetic excuses for country music that I have ever heard. It doesn’t help that they have “washboard” in their name. So lame.

      As for WMM on the cusp of #1, praise the Lord! We need these victories to keep our sanity.


      • Danik September 28, 2016 / 10:14 pm

        I have to disagree with you on that one. I’m in Canada so I hear it all the time. I like it, it’s quite unique and compelling. It really grows on you. Not really country, more like some Canadian east coast stuff.


  5. Amanda September 28, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    It feels as if it has been forever since the top 3 songs were all positive.


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