The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 17]


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. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 5) [Worst Song]
  2. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 2)
  3. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2
  4. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Down 3)
  5. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 
  6. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Down 4)
  7. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime”
  8. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  9. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 1)
  10. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 3)
  11. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 
  12. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 3)
  13. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 1) 
  14. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 4)
  15. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  16. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 1)
  17. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (Up 3)
  18. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 1)
  19. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” 0 (New to Top 30)
  20. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 1)
  21. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 2) [Best Song]
  22. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 (Up 6)
  23. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Down 1)
  24. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2
  25. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 1)
  26. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Up 1)
  27. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 (New to Top 30)
  28. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Up 1)
  29. Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3 (Up 1)
  30. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -26

The pulse drops 14 spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2
  • Brad Paisley – “Today” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”
  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl”
    • So Blake’s last single “She’s Got A Way With Words” pissed a lot of people off. It was a deliberate jab at Miranda Lambert and came off at best as petty. It was so hated that it broke his #1 streak at country radio. So it’s not surprise at all that Blake would follow this up with something that’s generic, boring and safe in “A Guy With A Girl.” There’s nothing offensive nor anything that stands out about it. This is every generic country love song you’ve heard on country radio the last five years. And it’s probably one of his best singles lately. If the instrumentation wasn’t so all over the place and the lyrics were a little more focused this might have turned into something good. Instead we’re left with something that is almost good enough to be called average. 4/10
  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red”
    • Why does Dustin Lynch keep getting airplay? Why?! He’s one of the most transparent sell outs in Nashville pop. Lynch is essentially Gumby in a cowboy hat: he’ll bend and move wherever his label tells him to go. The guy isn’t an artist, he’s a brand for music executives who think they know what’s best for people. “Seein’ Red” is soulless, uncreative garbage that sees Lynch try to do his best Justin Timberlake impression (spoiler alert: it’s terrible). Even as a mindlessly fun pop song it fails all around, as it’s rigid and sterile production isn’t catchy in any way. There’s steel guitar buried deep in the mix because they think this low-effort pandering will win you over. The lyrics are vapid and shallow (“Ride this Chevy like a Cadillac” is a line in the song). This song accomplishes nothing except getting your arm some exercise: reaching to turn the dial so you never have to hear this crap again. 0/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” – Up 9 from #36 to #27
  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” – Up 6 from #28 to #22
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 5 from #6 to #1

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” – Out of the Top 30 & Done (“Missing” is the next single, which is an excellent choice)
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Brad Paisley – “Today” – Out of the Top 30 to #37

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

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” (This was never a hit and I doubt if we’ll ever see one from Beathard)
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” (A great rebound hit from Currington. Now let’s hope he remember this for his next album)
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” (Her label is pushing it and doing their best to keep it going it appears. I imagine they will at the very least get it in the top ten before giving up.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Little Big Town’s new single (It’s being released on Thursday and is expected to get hourly play on iHeart just like Paisley’s “Today” and Garth’s “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” got the last two weeks)
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”
  • Brad Paisley – “Today”


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 Radio [October 17]

  1. seak05 October 19, 2016 / 11:08 am

    How was it you described the Garth song? To generic to get worked up about? That’s my thought on the new Blake song, in a nutshell. The production in Garth’s song is better, I like the lyrics/topic better in Blake’s. At the end of the day though this song is totally bland.

    The ridiculous thing is that this song should be personal, since the idea of it in fact does describe his life (see last night) but it’s so bland and generic, (& written by other people) that it loses it.


  2. Amanda October 19, 2016 / 11:11 am

    Fake number one alert!! LoCash is a joke. And Seein’ Red is absolutely terrible. Why can’t Dustin go back to doing songs like Cowboys and Angels? That was a great song. And I’m super excited that William Michael Morgan has decided to release Missing as his next single. 🙂


    • seak05 October 19, 2016 / 11:16 am

      So their is a difference between fake #1 and bad #1. This is an example of the latter not the former. You look like I need a drink, despite being a decent song, was a fake #1. It didn’t have very good testing numbers & it’s sales were abysmal. It had no right to go #1. That’s fake.

      This Locash song is bad..but it’s radio testing #’s and sales are actually good. Based on the numbers it going #1 was reasonable. It’s not a fake #1, it’s just a bad song.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amanda October 19, 2016 / 7:19 pm

        It just seemed weird to me that it had moved up 6 places to number one. That’s just kinda strange to me, but i agree with what you are saying. And you’re right, it is a bad number one, and might I add, and undeserved number one.


        • Raymond October 19, 2016 / 7:47 pm

          It’s not undeserving however, your letting your personal opinion on a song cloud your judgement. The fact is the Top 6 were all very close in audience so they were easily flippable. Also LoCash song sold decently well and tested great for programmers.


        • seak05 October 19, 2016 / 8:01 pm

          yeah, based on the numbers this Locash song was always likely going to go #1 it was just a question of which week. Ultimately the label was willing to take a bit of a risk & push this week. Kenny & Luke didn’t want to push yet (Kenny is pushing this week), Tucker had pushed last week & radio wasn’t willing to give him 2 weeks, & Billy had already been #1 for 2 weeks and programmers were ready to move on (Locash was already ahead of Cole on mediabase & had better #’s). So the gamble paid off, but otherwise they just would’ve waited and been #1 another week.


  3. Raymond October 19, 2016 / 11:35 am

    Josh, I read somewhere Billy Currington plans on releasing one final single from Summer Forever so the album era isn’t done.

    I have always had “I Know Somebody” as a guilty pleasure (I love the melody) so I don’t mind seeing it hit #1.

    Little Big Town new single is titled “Better Man”, I think it’ll be a somg saying the narrator wants to find a better man.

    The charts could use a housecleaning, just a shame it’s with songs from Brothers Osborne and Drake White instead of songs from High Valley and Granger Smith.

    I am definitely curious to see if Lauren Alaina and Maren Morris can make their current single hits. Both songs are young enough and selling but the research is discouraging since their female songs.

    Also shocked you don’t have Kelsea Ballerini “Yeah Boy (a bro country song from a female perspective)” since it’s going up at a decent pace (too bad the song sucks and Kelsea Ballerini remains unimpressive as a whole).


  4. OlaR October 19, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    Crap. Crap all over the place. It’s not getting better. One WMM song is not enough for a turn around.

    Brad Paisley (“Today”) lost tons of plays & audience but is a “Breaker”. Looks a bit odd.
    Joe Nichols (“Undone” – #57) is a Re-Entry again (no bullet, down in audience & plays).
    Chris Lane (“For Her” – #56) is a Re-Entry.
    Dancing Queen Jana Kramer (“Circles” – #58) is a Re-Entry.
    More dead horses to beat.

    The Weekly Lottery (no bullet): Ballard, Allan, Dunn with Brooks, Nail feat. Brothers O, Dan + Shay, Rice, Thompson Square, Keith, Brown, Scott, Parmalee & “Forever Country”.

    Billboard Top Country Albums: #1 – Jason Aldean / #2 – Chris Stapleton / #3 – FGL (New: #10 – Mo Pitney / #14 – Tucker Beathard / #17 – Brent Cobb & #22 – Buddy Brown).

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Billy Currington
    #2 – Luke Bryan
    #3 – Chesney feat. P!nk
    #5 – Dallas Smith – “Autograph” (highest canadian track)

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia:
    #1 – Troy Kemp – “A Little More Country” (up 10 places)
    #2 – Doug Bruce – “Bad Weather”
    #3 – Amber Lawrence – “Happy Ever After”
    #9 – Justin Standley – “Beechworth Gold” (highest new entry)

    The new #1 in Australia “A Little More Country” is all about “Backwood”, “Dirt Roads” & “Front Porch”. Australian laundry list country.


  5. KQ October 19, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    I thought “move” was going to beat out “I know somebody” this week. Both songs are shit so I guess it didn’t matter too much.


  6. lorenzofloris96 October 19, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    Dustin Lynch’s song sounds like recycled cheap rock garbage. Such a shame, because he’s capable of recording great music such as Your Daddy’s Boots.


  7. Jordan October 19, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    Dustin Lynch is such a disappointment. He’s proven he’s capable of making good music, yet the stuff he’s putting on the radio is pure garbage. Like Lorenzo said, Your Daddy’s Boots is actually a pretty decent song, but it will never see the light of day on radio.

    I’m curious to see how Sober Saturday Night does in the next few weeks. It seems to me it’s picking up with radio listeners, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit the top 15 sometime soon.


    • WV country October 20, 2016 / 11:21 am

      Ik Lynch is capable of more…we can thank him and his label for alot of the lack of traditional because he had the chance to have kept it on the radio. Look at cowboys and angels. This is what makes me afraid wmm will turn on us next album


  8. WV country October 20, 2016 / 11:05 am

    Off subject but does anybody know about the new Tracy Byrd album?


  9. WV country October 20, 2016 / 11:13 am

    Big bright spot is that Eric Church is going up the chart with Kill a Word…I honestly thought it would die before it got this far but I also thought that with Record Year…too heavy subject material and not enough hip hop for country radio


  10. Ron October 20, 2016 / 4:09 pm

    Just heard new LBT. Excellent song IMO


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