The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [January 30]

Creepy Blake
Three weeks in a row of creepy eyes! Aren’t you going to miss this staring back at you next week?

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. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 
  2. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 
  3. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 (Up 1) 
  4. Little Big Town – “Better Man” +2 (Up 2)
  5. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 2) 
  6. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 2)
  7. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 (Up 2)
  8. Michael Ray – “Douchey Pickup Song” -5 (Up 2) [Worst Song]
  9. Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” +1 (Up 3)
  10. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 1) [Best Song] 
  11. Luke Bryan – “Fast” -1 (Up 2)
  12. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 2)
  13. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 2)
  14. Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” -5 (Up 2)
  15. Jason Aldean – “Any Ol’ Barstool” (Up 3)
  16. Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” -5 (Up 3)
  17. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” (Up 3)
  18. Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” (Up 4)
  19. Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” -3 (Up 4)
  20. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Up 1)
  21. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Up 3)
  22. Dierks Bentley – “Black” -2 (Up 4)
  23. Trent Harmon – “There’s A Girl” +1 (Up 2)
  24. Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” +3 (Up 4)
  25. Darius Rucker – “If I Told You” (Up 4)
  26. Miranda Lambert – “We Should Be Friends” +2 (Up 4)
  27. Dan + Shay – “How Not To” +1 (New to Top 30)
  28. Runaway June – “Lipstick” +3 (New to Top 30)
  29. RaeLynn – “Love Triangle” +2 (New to Top 30)
  30. Rascal Flatts – “Yours If You Want It” -2 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -19

The pulse improves nine spots this week!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Glad to see this one gone, but the next one isn’t much better)
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3
  • Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good” -4

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To”
  • Runaway June – “Lipstick”
    • Yes! So glad this one finally made the top 30. I don’t think it does any better than top 20, but still I’m pretty happy to see this just crack top 30.
  • RaeLynn – “Love Triangle”
    • Another one I’m glad to see make it. RaeLynn should be rewarded for her most mature single to date.
  • Rascal Flatts – “Yours If You Want It”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To” – Up 5 from #32 to #27
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” – Up 4 from #23 to #19

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” – Out of the Top 30 & Done

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

  • High Valley – “Make You Mine” (The song that just won’t go away. It’s been here forever and it’s well past due to go recurrent)
  • Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” (Loss of over 200k in audience and lost bullet. At 42 weeks it’s lucky to still be here)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” (Not in a great position and its close to hitting it’s wall. I still think it has enough left in it to maybe squeak out a top five, as Bryan will obviously pass him next week. But after that there’s three songs radio isn’t excited about and gives this song a cushion to stay afloat)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good”
  • Luke Combs – “Hurricane”
  • Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man” (Available Friday and impacting immediately, so expect hourly spins on iHeart)
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Backstreet Boys) – “God, Your Mama and Me”


Thoughts: Well we finally got a nice purge on the chart and yet it still wasn’t big enough. There’s still multiple songs that should have went recurrent by now. Looking at you Garth, High Valley and Dibbles. There are some others that are real iffy too. But at least we’re finally starting to see some new songs injected into the charts. Also just as I predicted, country radio is starting to really get behind Turner. That’s nice news for him, even if I don’t like the song. He’s an old reliable and while I don’t think this reaches the top, it should at least reach top ten. Finally Jon Pardi continues to demonstrate he has a real hit on his hands, as he moves into the top ten just under 20 weeks on the chart.


As always be sure to weigh-in with your thoughts in the comments below. 

13 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [January 30]

  1. Amanda February 1, 2017 / 11:04 am

    So glad to see Runaway June and RaeLynn in the top 30! This is awesome! 🙂 And yes, I’ll totally miss the creepy Blake eyes next week…not. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Raymond February 1, 2017 / 11:08 am

    Yeah this week is gonna be rough for songs from Raelynn, Runaway June and even Rascal Flatts to hang on to the Top 30. Why, you might ask?

    Lady Antebellum is going up very fast so far as they have constantly been in the Top 5 when it comes to daily gains.

    Both Sam Hunt and Zac Brown Band are getting iHeartMedia debuts. Sam Hunt is today while Zac Brown Band is Friday. Also “Body Like A Backroad” is garbage.

    Finally, Luke Combs just got announced as the new OTV artist. So he’s also looking to enter the Top 30 real soon.

    Sidenote: It makes me happy to see Lauren Alaina nearing her first Top 10. If she makes the Top 10, I’ll be ecstatic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott February 1, 2017 / 11:58 am

      No surprise to hear Combs is the new OTV artist. I had a hunch he would be chosen (my other guesses were either Seth Ennis or Ryan Hurd). Despite not being a fan of “Hurricane,” Combs is actually a good choice on paper. He’s selling pretty well, especially being a new artist. He’s also doing great numbers on YouTube. This all tells me has a good grassroots fan base built up and OTV should do as it was meant to do. I give “Hurricane” a solid shot of reaching the top five, maybe even #1 because this guy seems to have the earmarks of someone radio likes.


      • Raymond February 1, 2017 / 12:14 pm

        Shame Seth Ennis didn’t get it. I really like the song and he has a decent amount of star potential. Hopefully “Woke Up In Nashville” gets to be a hit.


  3. seak05 February 1, 2017 / 11:10 am

    I’ve been waiting and waiting for Raelynn and Runaway June to hit the top 30, so I’m super excited to see it finally happen for them. Also 7! female vocals on the chart!

    Sadly this is probably the best the chart will look for a little while, as yes I will miss creepy eyes, since Thomas and then Dustin will be the next two at the top. And Sam Hunt’s incredibly douchey song is getting hourly airplay today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jmartin103 February 1, 2017 / 11:40 am

    I have to say it’s quite nice to see some females getting airplay this week, and it’s especially nice to see RaeLynn and Runaway June hit the top 30. I hope they’ll stick around. Unfortunately, though, this is likely the best chart we’ll see for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott February 1, 2017 / 12:05 pm

      Yeah this is probably the best the chart will look for a while. I expect the new Zac Brown Band song to be good, but the new Sam Hunt song will negate this. A lot of the songs lurking outside the top 30 are mediocre to bad. The next good song and the only good song I see reaching the top 30 fairly soon (not counting unannounced and unexpected songs of course) is Brothers Osborne’s “It Ain’t My Fault.” Ideally I would like to see the singles from Morgan, Johnson, Watson and White make strides and reach the top 30. But I’m not holding my breath. I just don’t see “Missing” taking off and country radio won’t embrace Texas artists not named Granger. White has the best chance, but it will be a long climber if it does reach the top 30.


      • seak05 February 1, 2017 / 12:31 pm

        Also likely to have Keith/Carrie’s “Fighter” and “EIHTS” from Blake in top 30 by end of the month (although neither has an official add date yet)


      • jmartin103 February 1, 2017 / 1:42 pm

        Another thing I should point out is that I read on CMT that Billboard was reconfiguring its Top Country Albums chart. It won’t be ranked on physical sales alone, but now it will reflect track equivalent albums (10 songs downloaded from a particular album) and streaming equivalent albums (1,500 songs streamed from a particular album). So basically, it will rank based on streaming, as well as CD sales. That’s how several older albums reemerged on the charts, such as Sam Hunt’s Montevallo, FGL’s ‘Here’s to the Good Times’ and ‘Anything Goes’, and Toby Keith’s 2008 compilation, ’35 Biggest Hits’. So, these albums have reemerged because of streaming. Check it out for yourself.


        • OlaR February 1, 2017 / 1:57 pm

          The Cosmic Hallelujah album (Kenny Chesney) went down to #25 (#10 last week).
          Mostly newer albums lost a lot of places (Miranda Lambert, Kane Brown…).


  5. OlaR February 1, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    After only 49 weeks High Valley reaches the Top 20 & Parmalee storms up to #35 after only 38 weeks. I love the Billboard Bad-Pop-Music-With-Banjo-Charts! Well…

    Hot Shot Debut: #56 – Easton Corbin – “A Girl Like You”
    Re-Entry: #57 – Love & Theft – “Candyland”
    New: #58 – Jackie Lee – “Getting Over You”
    New: #59 – Casey Donahew – “Kiss Me”
    New: #60 – Midland – “Drinkin’ Problem”

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – Chris Stapleton
    #2 – Keith Urban
    #3 – Thomas Rhett

    Billboard Americana/Folk Albums:
    #1 – John Mayer
    #2 – Chris Stapleton
    #3 – The Lumineers

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Thomas Rhett
    #2 – Blake Shelton
    #3 – Little Big Town
    Top Track Canada: #7 – James Barker Band – “Just Sayin'”

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia (Country Music Services):
    #1 – Tania Kernaghan – “That’s A Tradie”
    #2 – The Long & Short Of It – “Kangaroo Rodeo”
    #3 – Casey Barnes – “Just Like Magic”
    On The Rise: #5 (28) – Reg Poole – “Music’s Been Good To Me”
    Top New Track: #9 – Travis Collins – “Hometown Calling”

    Tania Kernaghan – “That’s A Tradie”: Tania is the sister of australian superstar Lee Kernaghan & an award winner artist with (so far i know) her 16th #1 hit down under. She released her first album in 1996. “That’s A Tradie” is a traditional radio-friendly uptempo tune. Her new album (All Australian Girl) will be released 02/17.

    Reg Poole – “Music’s Been Good To Me”: Reg Poole is the “gentle giant of australian country music” & active since the 60’s. Winner of three Golden Guitar Awards & mostly known for his bush-ballads. He is an inductee to the “Roll of Renown” (the highest honour an australian country artists can reach).
    His current single is a simple sing-a-long tune. A classic australian country song.

    The Long & Short Of It – “Kangaroo Rodeo”: an award winning male/female duo. Current album is The Night Of Our Life. “Kangaroo Rodeo” is an traditional uptempo fun song.


  6. Kevin Davis February 1, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    I’m very disappointed that William Michael Morgan’s “Missing” is apparently stalling in the upper 40’s. That’s such a shame for such a good song.

    “Outskirts of Heaven” has had a better run than I thought it would, so that’s a pleasant surprise. Too bad it probably won’t break into the top 20.


  7. Raymond February 3, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    Apparently Warner Bros is gonna drop not “Make You Mine” or “Holdin Her” but “How Not To” and instead send the soundtrack song from The Shack that Dan + Shay sang to radio instead.


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