The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [March 2008]


This is the Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music. Each week, I take a look at the Billboard Country  Airplay Chart from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. 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 past top 30 songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. The grade 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 past pulse of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week I will take a look at the top 30 songs of the Billboard Country Airplay Chart from March 15th, 2008.

  1. Carrie Underwood – “All American Girl” +1 (Cliché, but the sound and vocals are good)
  2. Rodney Atkins – “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)” 0
  3. Alan Jackson – “Small Town Southern Man” +4 (One of his best in my opinion)
  4. Kenny Chesney & George Strait – “Shiftwork” 0
  5. Chuck Wicks – “Stealing Cinderella” +1 (cheesy as all hell, but it’s played with enough sincerity to work for me)
  6. Trace Adkins – “You’re Gonna Miss This” +4
  7. Gary Allan – “Watching Airplanes” +2
  8. George Strait – “I Saw God Today” +4
  9. Chris Cagle – “What Kinda Gone” +2
  10. Jason Aldean – “Laughed Until We Cried” +3 (Yeah, a positive Aldean score. I’m as shocked as you all are)
  11. Brooks & Dunn – “God Must be Busy” +2
  12. James Otto – “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” 0 (Eh…)
  13. Taylor Swift – “Picture To Burn” +1
  14. Phil Vassar – “Love Is A Beautiful Thing” +1 (Cheesy as all hell, but at least it sort of incorporates a story)
  15. Bucky Covington – “It’s Good To Be Us” -1
  16. Lady Antebellum – “Love Don’t Live Here” +3
  17. Kellie Pickler – “Things That Never Cross A Man’s Mind” +1
  18. Joe Nichols – “It Ain’t No Crime” +1
  19. Jewel – “Stronger Woman” -1 [Worst Song] (Man, never heard a song by here before. Don’t care for her voice at all. Plus the song is too preachy for me. Sorry)
  20. Jake Owen – “Somethin’ Bout A Woman” 0
  21. Dierks Bentley – “Trying To Stop Your Leaving” +3
  22. Josh Turner & Trisha Yearwood – “Another Try” +4 [Best Song]
  23. Garth Brooks & Huey Lewis – “Workin’ For A Livin'” +2 (Yes, I’ve heard this Garth song)
  24. Ashton Shepherd – “Takin’ Off This Pain” +2
  25. Jack Ingram – “Maybe She’ll Get Lonely” 0
  26. Rascal Flatts – “Every Day” -1
  27. Brad Paisley – “I’m Still A Guy” +2
  28. Montgomery Gentry – “Back When I Knew It All” +3
  29. Josh Gracin – “We Weren’t Crazy” +2 (Yes, people on country radio used to sing from the perspective of ONCE being young instead of pretending they’re still young…)
  30. The Eagles – “Busy Being Fabulous” 0

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: +45

So yeah this kind of a weird week. On one hand, there’s a plethora of great songs. Even compared to some charts in the 90’s I’d say there’s more good songs here. In other words, quantity versus quality. In fact, picking the best song was absolutely brutal.

The problem is that there’s also a lot of mediocrity here. Nothing inherently terrible or anything, but there are too many songs that play it safe here and don’t really stand out that much. Still this is a damn good week. I’m happy with the results.

As always, if you have any questions as to why I gave a song a certain grade feel free to ask me. Also, let me know what you guys think of the chart in the comments!

15 thoughts on “The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [March 2008]

  1. Stew October 14, 2016 / 11:19 am

    I’m pretty sure “Workin’ for a Livin” was an original Huey Lewis song. So still not technically a Garth song 😉


  2. Raymond October 14, 2016 / 11:22 am

    Wow, this puts me in an awkward position. I actually think “Stronger Woman” is the best song. I am a huge fan of Jewel’s vocals and I find the song very well written. I also find the songs from Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Chuck Wicks (honestly second best), Lady Antebellum (they would get Bronze), Jason Aldean, Josh Gracin and Ashton Shepherd. So many great songs. My negative songs would be Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and worst song wouldbe Taylor Swift. I hate the song for how immature and annoying Taylor’s vocals are. Yes she was a teen when the song was released, but this takes juvenile too a whole new level.

    Overall great week however


  3. Justin W Adams October 14, 2016 / 12:08 pm

    I graduated high school a couple months after this. Laughed Until we Cried was our class song. But I would have to give George Strait the nod for best song. I Saw God Today was one of my favorites


  4. T-Dub October 14, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    This one is not strong for me at all. However, Rascal Flatts & Lady Antebellum could hold a free concert in my back yard and not only would I not attend that concert but I would call the police to enforce the local noise ordinance.

    Best songs for me would be Small Town Southern Man, Watching Airplanes (one of my favorites from him actually and I like him a lot), and Trying to stop your leaving. There are too many bad songs for me to list but the worst would probably be Rascal Flatts or the 108th super cheesy supposed to be funny Brad Paisley song.


    • Frank the Tank October 15, 2016 / 9:44 am

      I agree completely about Rascal Flatts. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this particular song of theirs, but I’m sure it’s awful. I feel the same way about Phil Vassar.

      Small Town Southern Man would be my choice for best song on this list.


  5. Kevin Davis October 14, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    Nice job, Zack. I agree that “Another Try” is the best song or tied with “I Saw God Today.” And Trace Adkins’s “You’re Gonna Miss This” is also a great song and probably Trace’s best single in his career.


  6. OlaR October 14, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Watching Airplanes!
    8 years ago…time flies.
    Tricky week. Very good songs against a stinker or two.

    +5: “Watching Airplanes”
    +4: “Small Town Southern Man”, “You’re Gonna Miss This”, “I Saw God Today”, “Another Try” & “We Weren’t Crazy”
    +3 – +1: the rest
    Stinker: “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)” & “Somethin’ Bout A Woman”

    My ReCurrent/Country Gold Playlist:
    Kaylens Rain – “Outta Here”
    Tania Kernaghan – “Leave Like A Man”
    Janie Fricke – “Your Heart’s Not In It”
    Jamie O’Neal – “Trying To Find Atlantis”
    Eddy Raven – “Shine, Shine, Shine”
    Tebey – “Till It’s Gone”
    Pinmonkey – “I Drove All Night”
    Ty Herndon feat. Jamie O’Neal – “I Can’t”
    David Slater – “I’m Still Your Fool”
    The Chance Anderson Band – “245 Miles”
    Mark Gray – “Left Side Of The Bed”
    Lane Caudell – “Souvenirs”
    Sarah Elizabeth – “Life Ain’t A Fairy Tale”

    Janie Fricke: Frickie for a period in the mid-80’s / CMA Female Vocalist Winner 82 & 83
    Lane Caudell: former soap actor / two charted singles in the mid-80’s
    David Slater: won “Star Search” in ’87 / two albums & a couple of charted singles in the late 80’s


  7. That Guy October 14, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    As usual, I’m going to be in the minority and say that I NEVER liked “I Saw God Today” or “You’re Gonna Miss This.” You call “Love is a Beautiful Thing” and “Stealing Cinderella” cheesy as hell, “I Saw God Today” is sappy to the point of nausea for me. Can’t stand that song. And don’t even get me started on how helpless and stupid the girl in “You’re Gonna Miss This” is portrayed. All the characters talk to her in this “I know you want bigger and better things, but, trust me, this is as good as it’s gonna get, so shut up and learn to live with it” way. Talk about condescension.

    If I was picking a best and worst, I might give best to Dierks Bentley. “Trying To Stop Your Leaving” has great imagery and works the loud-soft dynamic perfectly, especially on that crescendo. Might also consider “Cleaning This Gun” for best too, believe it or not; I always found that song a much more personality-rich and realistic take on “Stealing Cinderella”.

    As for worst, I’m with Raymond on giving it Taylor Swift for “Picture To Burn”. Yeah, sure, she was a teen when she wrote it, but it’s immature even by teenage standards. “Tell your friends I’m obsessive and crazy? I’ll tell mine your gay,” Really, Taylor?


    • Kevin Davis October 14, 2016 / 6:01 pm

      ““I know you want bigger and better things, but, trust me, this is as good as it’s gonna get, so shut up and learn to live with it” — Wow, that is completely missing the point, which is simply about how we look back fondly on those different life stages. We appreciate things in hindsight as we get older. I looked-up the lyrics because of your comment, and I still don’t see what you’re seeing. And as for “I Saw God Today,” it’s sentimental of course, but it connects well with people in its simplicity of finding God in the everyday beautiful moments of life, which even most nonreligious folks can appreciate.


      • That Guy October 15, 2016 / 5:37 pm

        Oh, I know what the songwriters were TRYING to say on “You’re Gonna Miss This”, I just think they botched the execution. Maybe it really is just me, but if I were the girl in question during that last verse, I would want to hit that plumber over the head with his own wrench. This woman’s trying to juggle two kids, her own life (the ringing phone), an obnoxious dog, AND a broken water heater, and then this complete stranger says to her, “Hey, I know it’s hard to believe, but one day you’re gonna miss these days,” which implies that it’s all downhill from here. It’s about the single most unhelpful and un-constructive thing you could say in that situation.


      • That Guy October 15, 2016 / 5:39 pm

        It would’ve been far better for the guy to just say, “Wow. This really sucks.” because that at least validates her problems, and doesn’t just shove them under the rug or make her believe that there’re even worse things to come.


  8. Amanda October 14, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    My chart:

    1. All-American Girl: +2
    2. Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy): +2
    3. Small Town Southern Man: +4
    4. Shiftwork: 0
    5. Stealing Cinderella: +1
    6. You’re Gonna Miss This: +2
    7. Watching Airplanes: +4
    8. I Saw God Today: +3
    9. What Kinda Gone: +1
    10. Laughed Until We Cried: +3
    11. God Must Be Busy: +1
    12. Just Got Started Loving You: -1
    13. Picture to Burn: +2
    14. Love Is A Beautiful Thing: 0
    15. It’s Good to Be Us: -3 (worst song)
    16. Love Don’t Live Here: +2
    17. Things That Never Cross A Man’s Mind: +2
    18. It Ain’t No Crime: +1
    19. Stronger Woman: 0
    20. Somethin’ Bout a Woman: 0
    21. Trying To Stop Your Leavin’: +2
    22. Another Try: +4 (best song)
    23. Workin’ for A Living: 0
    24. Takin’ off This Pain: +3
    25. Maybe She’ll Get Lonely: 0
    26. Every Day: 0
    27. I’m Still a Guy: +2
    28. Back When I Knew It All: +2
    29. We Weren’t Crazy: +2
    30. Busy Being Fabulous: -1


  9. Amanda October 14, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    My thoughts: it was a pretty good week. I had a hard time awarding best song between Gary Allan and Josh Turner. I ultimately went with Josh Turner. Another Try is a fantastic and very relatable song. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard it about a year and a half ago, when I was going through a similar situation. Watching Airplanes is a fantastic song too. I know I’m a little biased when it comes to Gary Allan, but this is one of my favorite songs of his. And the video for Watching Airplanes…..holy shit. That video definitely makes a case for Gary Allan as the sexiest man in country music. Watch and learn, Luke Bryan, watch and learn. He definitely shows there is a way to be sexy without being creepy. And he looks sexy as hell in that video. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm. 😉 Anyway, back to the chart (sorry for the tangent on Gary Allan, I believe that was my fangirl ADHD kicking in 😉 ). There were a lot of good songs here. A couple of misfires here with the few boring songs and the bad Bucky Covington song. Other than that song, no major complaints here. 🙂


  10. petemarshall724 October 17, 2016 / 12:55 pm

    the (worst) is Jewel “Stronger Women” -4 and the best is George Strait “I saw god today” +5 and Josh Turner +5. Jason Aldean earlier times was good until he released My kind of party.


  11. Bee October 18, 2016 / 6:56 pm

    “Laughed Until We Cried”, for all it has great storytelling, always bothered me because the last verse doesn’t fit the rest of the song. The first two verses fit the theme spelled out in the bridge: bittersweet times, when people are “kinda happy, kinda sad”. Then the last verse is just about being happy.

    I like “Love is a Beautiful Thing”. I feel like a song about a wedding can’t help being cheesy to some. I guess the implication that kids in attendance will get married is a little over the top. Other than that I find the lyrics realistic and very straightforward, which to me is the opposite of cheesy.

    I find it funny that Josh Gracin’s song here is an example of singing about once being young. He was 28 at the time. Tim McGraw was 43 for “Felt Good on My Lips”, which is the best example I can think of for a pretending-to-be-young song.


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