The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 24]


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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -28

The pulse drops two spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” – Up 8 from #27 to #19
  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” – Up 3 from #17 to #14
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” – Up 3 from #7 to #4

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” – Down 9 from #19 to #28
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Down 4 from #1 to #5

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

  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody”
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brad Paisley – “Today”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” (Oh joy to the world, I’m so excited about this)
  • Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” (This is well on it’s way to being a big hit for Pardi, as it’s having great sales)
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”


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

18 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 24]

  1. seak05 October 26, 2016 / 11:10 am

    The fact that dirt on my boots is going to be a huge hit for Pardi is everything wrong with the mainstream country music business. It’s easily the worst song on his album, and the least country. Pardi was talked into releasing it as a single by label execs, bc they said it would be a huge hit. And they’re going to be right, and then they’re going to try to keep Pardi going in this direction. If it had flopped, we’d probably get back to the more traditional stuff that Pardi actually wants to do.


    • JCE October 26, 2016 / 11:24 am

      Im glad you said this. I do not care for the song at all. In fact, the first few times that I heard it, I thought it was Thomas Rhett singing. Maybe that poisoned me against it.


  2. Josh Schott October 26, 2016 / 11:48 am

    Since I know a lot of people read this, I thought this would be a great place to put an update on The Hodgepodge:

    The Hodgepodge is on a break as I catch up on album releases to review. It’s probably going on break for the rest of the year because even if I didn’t have to catch up on reviews, I really don’t have anything to say right now. Not a lot happening in the industry at the moment, as this is sort of a dead period, other than the CMAs taking place next week (which I will have predictions and reactions for). Besides the Hodgepodge was going to end for the year anyway a week or two before Thanksgiving because there’s almost zero country news as the holidays approach (I refuse to cover the thousand Christmas albums being released).

    Also I know this will disappoint a lot of folks, but I might as well tell you now too that the Past Pulse is going back on hiatus. Zack is too busy with college and life stuff to do it. He’s also taking a break from blogging in general. So the Past Pulse on Friday will be the last one he’s written. Before you ask I will not take it over, as I stopped doing it in the first place because it takes too much time and I would rather focus on current music. In it’s place will be a new weekly feature that will begin next week. I think it will be a great feature that a lot of you will enjoy and hope to love as much as the Past Pulse.


    • Diego October 26, 2016 / 1:35 pm

      It’s sad. I’id like to have back at least the “new release list” part, it was very useful!


  3. Raymond October 26, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    I will say the only thing in “Yeah Boy” defense. The production is less over produced than like “Dibs”. Yeah that’s it.

    For “Today” I still like it, but I dont love it same thing with “Dirt On My Boots” nothing outstanding but nothing bad enough to hate.

    “Hometown Girl” I can take or leave. Nice vocals and production bland lyrics so a +1.

    The charts right now are intriguing and I definitely am excited to see what artists release in the Winter months.


  4. OlaR October 26, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    The next #1 will be “Move”, in two weeks Cole Swindell & in three weeks Jason Aldean. Will Brett Young reach the top spot or will FGL f. TMcG take over? A depressing line of songs anyway.

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – New – Blackberry Smoke – Like An Arrow
    As far as i know with only 19.000 sold units. Is Blackberry Smoke country? Or Southern Rock?
    #2 – Chris Stapleton – Traveller
    #3 – Jason Aldean – They Don’t Know
    #4 – New – Chris Young – It Must Be Christmas
    #14 – The Mavericks – All Night Live, Volume 1
    Bradley Walker (Call Me Old-Fashioned) moves back to #13 (last week: 31)
    Sturgill Simpson (A Sailor’s Guide To Earth) moves back to #18 (last week: 30)

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Luke Bryan – “Move”
    #2 – Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
    #3 – Kenny Chesney feat. P!nk – “Setting This World On Fire”
    Canadian Top Track: #5 – Dallas Smith – “Autograph”

    Country Music Services – Country Tracks Top 40 Australia:
    #1 – Justin Standley – “Beechworth Gold”
    #2 – Natalie Howard – “A Little Cold Right Now”
    #3 – Aly Cook – “Kimberley”
    American Top Track: #39 – Brad Paisley – “Today”

    New Album/First Impression: Dean Brody – Beautiful Freakshow – Open Road Music – 10 Tracks – Released
    Freakshow, for sure. Little Dean wants to be a big country music star. Forgettable. With the hit-single “Bush Party” (one of the worst canadian country songs of all times). 3/10.

    New Album/First Impression: Rebecca Lee Nye – Gypsy Heart – Maven Music – 10 Tracks – Released
    Great year for the australian artist. Three singles in the Top 10. The duet with Billy Bridge (“We Knew”) went to #1. She keeps it country with steel & fiddle. The production might be a little old-fashioned (for american tastes).8/10.


  5. Amanda October 26, 2016 / 2:47 pm

    My two cents:

    1. Setting the World on Fire: -2 (it’s just so sleepy and boring. There is nothing eventful, exciting, or interesting at all about it. On a side note, Kenny Chesney, is, in my opinion, the blandest artist in mainstream country. Nothing he does seems to make me really excited to hear more from him,and nothing he does makes me seem to outright hate him and his music. He’s just kinda there.)
    2. Move: -5 [worst song] (P-U-K-E! That’s what I want to do when Luke sings to me! Luke makes me want to puke. But seriously, this song is terrible. It is misogynistic and immature. It sounds like a group of kindergartners wrote it. Really, Luke erased any sort of clout he gained with me through “Huntin’, Fishin’, and Lovin’ Every Day” (which is a song I liked and gave a solid +2 to) when he released this dumpster fire as a single. Bad move, Luke. Very, very bad move.)
    3. Middle of a Memory: -4 (at this point, why doesn’t Cole Swindell just go back to being a march guy? He is genuinely one of the two country singers that have absolutely no songs that I enjoy (the other being Chase Rice; yes, even Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt have songs I enjoy: Sam’s Montevallo [aside from the horribly boring Break Up in a Small Town and the outright weird Speakers] was a solid pop [yes, you read me right, pop] album, and I thoroughly enjoyed Thomas Rhett’s Beer With Jesus. But Cole Swindell is quite possibly the worst artist in mainstream country today. His songs all pander to the lowest common denominator, he has no charisma, and is ugly as sin. I just don’t understand his appeal at all.)
    4. A Little More Summertime: 0 (well, this is a hell of a lot better than his horrendous singles of his last album era. Not great, but not a station changer either.)
    5. I Know Somebody: -4 (pretensious bullshit. You a jacked up truck waiting right outside, who the fuck cares. Next…)
    6. It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To: 0 (unpopular opinion: meh. Not great, but definitely not horrible.)
    7. Sleep Without You: -2 (Boring, Disney-esque teeny bopper country. The song actually makes me want to go to sleep.)
    8. May We All: 0 (Meh. It’s better than a lot of the singles they have released over the years. And the inclusion of Tim McGraw helps a bit, almost enough to raise the song to a positive. Almost.)
    9. Song for Another Time: -2 (Old Dominion has graduated from bottom-of-the-barrel horseshit to extremely boring.)
    10. How I’ll Always Be: +3 [best song] (is it just me, or has Tim been on a roll lately with his great singles? This is a great song, an accurate representation of the narrator staying true to himself and his roots. Now if only Tim McGraw would release the excellent “Damn Country Music” as his next single…)
    11. Blue Ain’t Your Color: -3 (an extremely sleaze-tacular and boring hookup song. At least Keith puts in a good vocal performance here.)
    12. Vice: +2 (personally, it’s not Miranda’s best, but it’s still solid and very good. As a Miranda fan, I’m interested to hear how her upcoming album will be.)
    13. Wanna Be That Song: 0 (a definite improvement over Drunk on Your Love and Lose My Mind, but I feel as if Brett is capable of more. He’s got a fantastic voice. I wonder how he’d sound singing neo-traditional country, a la William Michael Morgan, Mo Pitney, and Jon Pardi? He’d probably sound awesome. Just a thought.)
    14. Dirty Laundry: +2 (another good, solid song from Carrie Underwood.)
    15. Livin’ the Dream: 0 (a tad on the boring side, but not bad at all. I kinda hope he releases Story as his next single, as I really like that song.)
    16. 80’s Mercedes: +2 (it’s not country at all, but I love this song. It puts me in a great mood and I can’t help but sing along every time I hear it. It’s my definite guilty pleasure.)
    17. If the Boot Fits: -4 (at this point, Granger should really just relegate to his Earl Dibbles gig. I just can’t take Granger seriously at all. His mainstream career has kinda been a joke.)
    18. Star of the Show: -3 (rehash of Die a Happy Man. Next…)
    19. A Guy With a Girl: -1 (meh, meh, yawn, yawn. Still better than She’s Got a Way With Words.)
    20. Kill A Word: +3 (awesome song with a great message. Eric and Rhiannon sound great together!)
    21. Road Less Traveled: 0 (I don’t hate it. It sounds very much like something Kelly Clarkson would record. However, Lauren can do better, as evidenced by The Locket, Eighteen Inches, and Dirt Road Prayer on her debut album.)
    22. Parachute: +2 (not my favorite Stapleton song, but it’s still very good. Dude’s got an incredible voice.)
    23. Sober Saturday Night: +3 (love the sound of the steel guitars, Vince’s awesome guitar work, and Chris’s awesome voice. Seriously, this is one of Chris’s strongest vocal performances in a while. Good stuff.)
    24. 21 Summer: +2 (another solid song from the Brothers Osborne. They are very talented. John is a very talented musician, and TJ has an awesome voice. This is a reminiscing song done right.)
    25. Seein’ Red: -5 (This is flat-out terrible. I wish Dustin would take his talents [yes, he actually has talent and is capable of very good songs] and record more songs in the vein of Cowboys and Angels, Your Daddy’s Boots, and She Wants a Cowboy, [Hurricane is not bad either] instead of this bro-country funky pop bullshit.
    26. Make You Mine: -1 (boring Mumford and Sons/The Lumineers rip-off.)
    27. Holdin’ Her: +3 (now this is a damn good country song. Chris has really improved over the course of his career. He should be very proud of himself.)
    28. Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance: -2 (Yawn. Not Garth’s best. Probably his worst, honestly. Still, not horribly awful though. Just boring as hell.)
    29. Think a Little Less: -5 (another vapid, awful, misogynistic, and outright terrible single from Michael Ray.)
    30. A Little More Love: -3 (Oh, look guys! The Donkey guy is back in the top 30! In all sincerity and honesty, I feel sorry for Jerrod Niemann. It must be awful to be known for a pile of horseshit so horrible and awful as Donkey. This song is better than Donkey, but is still bad. He is joined by his friend Lee Brice here and they are pretending to be 90’s-esque reggae rappers. They don’t do a very good job either. Maybe Jerrod and Lee should co-headline a tour called “Touring With the Has-Beens”.)

    Thoughts on the next four songs entering the top 30:

    -Today: +2 (Solid song by Brad. It’s a simple country love song. I might have to check out his upcoming album.)
    -Yeah Boy: -5 (No, girl. Terrible Disney channel music that should be nowhere near actual country music.)
    -Dirt on My Boots: +1 (Probably Jon’s worst song. However, it’s not bad. And I’m all for it if it opens the door for him to release incredible songs such as Cowboy Hat and She Ain’t In It.)
    -Hometown Girl: +1 (Not Josh’s best, but it’s not bad at all. Although the lyrics are a tad on the generic side, Josh’s great vocal performance makes up for that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott October 26, 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Great commentary as always Amanda. I especially agree with you on Chesney. He’s just so boring and lastly he’s really been mailing it in more than usual. I’ll be shocked if his new album isn’t a snooze fest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amanda October 26, 2016 / 4:24 pm

        Thanks Josh!! I think I’ll skip the Chesney album and wait until Miranda Lambert’s new album comes out November 18. That one should be interesting.


        • seak05 October 26, 2016 / 7:02 pm

          So, listen to the songs million reasons and especially sinner’s prayer on Lady Gaga’s new album, I almost wonder if that’s the sound we’re going to hear on Miranda’s new album. It reminds me of Vice. I could also be totally crazy, I’m more of a lyrics than production person anyways.


      • Raymond October 26, 2016 / 5:53 pm

        I guess now is a good time to admit it.

        I outright love “Setting The World On Fire” Pink sounds fantastic and I love the production and lyrics. A huge fan of it.


        • seak05 October 26, 2016 / 6:59 pm

          Kenny is a total snooze, I would love for Pink to make a country record. She made a serious folk one a little while back.


    • Megan Conley October 26, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      Thoroughly entertained by this! Agree with all of your eloquent opinions. I especially like the repeated reference to horseshit lol. If you want to write with me at Country Exclusive, I’d be totally supportive. 🙂


      • Amanda October 27, 2016 / 1:27 pm

        Thanks Megan!! Your blog is awesome. If it comes to a time when I’m not so busy with classes and college (I’m an English major with a minor in education), I would totally consider. I absolutely love to write. Classes and college are the reason I actually haven’t started my own country music blog yet, lol. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Megan Conley October 27, 2016 / 2:28 pm

          I understand, I’ve been there. But I hope that you will consider; you wouldn’t have to write a lot. Email me at and we can discuss it more. 🙂


    • Jordan October 28, 2016 / 2:36 am

      Pretty good list. I can’t say I agree with you about Jon Pardi though. I like the majority of his stuff but Dirt on My Boots is not good. -1 or -2 for sure. I actually turned the station the first time I heard it, which definitely is not a good sign.


      • Amanda October 28, 2016 / 10:53 am

        The reason that I gave Jon Pardi a +1 though may be the fact that I am a bit partial to him as well. I just couldn’t bring myself to give him a negative score. The way I see it, Dirt on My Boots is not a great somg, but it’s better than whatever the hell Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett are doing. Dirt on My Boots is just kinda there. I can’t complain though if it opens the door for him to release songs like Cowboy Hat and She Ain’t In It, two +5 songs in my opinion.


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