The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [February 6]


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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -25

The pulse drops six spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Runaway June – “Lipstick” +3
  • RaeLynn – “Love Triangle” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Body Like a Back Road”
  • Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man”
    • As you can see above I’ve decided to change my grade to a 9/10 for the song because I realized it’s just not quite a 10 and I let my first impressions get the best of me in grading. Still a damn fine song, an early favorite for one of the best mainstream country songs of 2017 and in my mind the best in the top 30 right now.

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:

  • Runaway June – “Lipstick” – Out of the Top 30 (#33)
  • RaeLynn – “Love Triangle” – Out of the Top 30 (#34)

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

  • Granger Smith – “If The Boot Fits” (Mercifully this one is done finally. A thank you ad was in Country Aircheck this week from Wheelhouse Records. Should be a big thank you considering radio is the only place Granger is relevant…)
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill a Word” (Radio just doesn’t want to go forward anymore with this and the long jam at the top hurt this song’s progression too)
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” (This one looks to finally be done I think, as it lost its bullet)
  • Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” (Now that his terrible album is out, this song should be on its last legs at minimum. Unfortunately I see “Bro Code” being the next single, as it’s selling well)
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine” (This just won’t go away. I refuse to remove it from this space!)
  • Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” (Somehow still here after 43 weeks)
  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To” (For some reason Warner has decided to pull this single and instead opting to push the duo’s new single in some new movie. It’s a shame, especially after that fantastic music video that was put out for this song)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” (The only reason I hesitate to say it’s going recurrent is Warner seems hell-bent on keeping this alive)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good”
  • Luke Combs – “Hurricane”
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Backstreet Boys) – “God, Your Mama and Me”
  • Cole Swindell – “Flatliner”


Thoughts: There’s good news and bad new for fans of “Lipstick” and “Love Triangle.” Good news is there are lots of songs due to go recurrent. Bad news is these are the type of songs radio will gladly leave in the dust. If I had to guess, I would say “Love Triangle” has the best shot of sticking around despite losing it’s bullet as it has 10 less weeks on the chart than “Lipstick.” Not to mention RaeLynn’s album release is relatively soon and the label could conceivably keep it alive. But they could just as easily put out another single and push it in enough time for the album. Some additional bad news also is two radio favorites Justin Moore and Brett Young are just as little as a couple of weeks away from passing them. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.


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

10 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [February 6]

  1. KQ February 8, 2017 / 11:14 am

    It was great seeing Sam Hunt absent from the chart for a while. Too bad it couldn’t stay that way.


  2. Amanda February 8, 2017 / 11:26 am

    I’m quite sad to see both Lipstick and Love Triangle out of the top 30, as they are both fantastic. As for best song and worst song, I could not agree more. Personally, I feel like best song would be a close race between Outskirts of Heaven and My Old Man, but I would give it to My Old Man because I am a sucker for personal songs. As for worst song, in my opinion, congratulations Brantley Gilbert, Sam Hunt has passed you in complete suckitude (is that even a word? Oh well.). Body Like a Back Road is the kind of song I absolutely loathe. It is not country in the slightest, it is extremely misogynistic (I dare someone to sing this to me, I will slap any guy that does into the next state), and has some of the laziest lyrics I have ever heard. Body Like a Back Road is for sure in my bottom-one percentile of songs that I’ve heard in my entire life, and I’ve heard a lot of songs. It’s right there with Thomas Rhett’s South Side (the worst song ever in the history of music) and Vacation, Brantley Gilbert’s Bro Code, Burnin’ It Down, Donkey, Sun Daze (aka the Pink Umbrella Song), Ridiculous, BYHB (the most unintentionally hilarious song ever), and the Bomshel Stomp (does anyone else remember this headache-inducing nugget of mid-2000s country awfulness?). Anyways, Sam Hunt should be ashamed of himself. And on another note, I am happy for Jon Pardi, as he scores another top 10 and can hopefully release another single soon (fingers crossed for Cowboy Hat!) and I’m really rooting for William Michael Morgan to crack the top 30 with Missing. It is a fantastic song that deserves to be a hit, and if I’m being quite honest, in my opinion, Missing is for sure the best song in the top 60 currently.


  3. Raymond February 8, 2017 / 11:38 am

    I think Runaway June could hang on longer if the label sets an album release date. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

    I’ll do my rankings of the songs in the Top 30.
    1. Star Of The Show +1 (the sincerity goes a long way)
    2. A Guy With A Girl 0 (meh)
    3. Seein Red -5
    4. Better Man +4
    5. Sober Saturday Night 0 (boring)
    6. If The Boot Fits -3
    7. Today +3
    8. Think A Little Less -5
    9. Dirt On My Boots +2
    10. Kill A Word +4
    11. Fast 0
    12. 80s Mercedes +3
    13. Road Less Traveled +5 (best song)
    14. Any Ole Barstool 0
    15. The Weekend 0 (catchy for me, sorry😅)
    16. Yeah Boy -5
    17. Baby Lets Lay Down And Dance -1
    18. Hometown Girl 0
    19. Bar At The End Of The World +1
    20. Make You Mine +2
    21. Body Like A Backroad -5 (worst song)
    22. Holdin Her +4
    23. Black 0
    24. There’s A Girl +2
    25. If I Told You +2
    26. My Old Man +4
    27. Outskirts Of Heaven +3
    28. We Should Be Friends +3
    29. How Not To +2
    30. Yours If You Want It 0

    Total Score +21

    Upcoming songs
    You Look Good +4
    Hurricane 0
    God Your Mama and Me +1 (another guilty pleasure)
    Flatliner +2 (guilty pleasure)

    One thing I never understood this week was, why did Lauren Alaina have a great week while Brantley Gilbert just fell flat. Both should have some momentum coming from the album drop. Maybe Country radio is acknowledging the more talented singer.


    • Josh Schott February 8, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Well the other thing you need to keep in mind with Runaway June I realized I didn’t mention above is BBR Music Group getting bought out by BMG. I expect some label restructuring and while I don’t think they would get rid of the trio, it’s a possibility that can’t be ignored because they are new and not highly prioritized like the label’s top artists Aldean and Lynch. At the very least when a label goes under restructuring new releases get put on the back burner until things are settled. But on the other hand this could mean they will stick with “Lipstick” longer. We’ll have to wait and see.


      • Raymond February 8, 2017 / 1:09 pm

        That’s a shame. The callout scores continue to hold tgis back and I can only hope “Lipstick” can hold on long enough for them to drop an album because it’ll be a long time before Runaway June is back in the Top 40


  4. Kevin Davis February 8, 2017 / 12:05 pm

    Oh, crap, Miranda dropped two spots, seemingly pushed down by the two new additions. And WMM’s “Missing” dropped two to 49. Oh, I hate you country radio!


    • Josh Schott February 8, 2017 / 12:15 pm

      I wouldn’t fret about Miranda. As you said two new additions caused it. I see “We Should Be Friends” doing much better than “Vice,” as it’s more suited for radio audiences. At the very least it should go top ten I think and with several recurrents coming it should be top 15 in no time. Morgan is worth worrying about though. It took over 50 weeks to work “I Met A Girl” to the top of the charts and radio doesn’t seem keen at all on “Missing,” which is a shame. However as much of a fan as I am of “Missing” I don’t think it was the right time to release it as a single. Warner should have went with something more radio friendly like “Cheap Cologne” or “Vinyl,” the latter even getting heavy airplay on The Highway on Sirius XM. Take the time to get another hit under Morgan’s belt to establish him with audiences and then release “Missing.” It’s working out for Pardi with “Dirt on My Boots,” which should land him a #1 hit and give him the comfort room newer artists like him desperately need to release better singles later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • countryopinionblog February 8, 2017 / 1:31 pm

        I’ve mostly given up on radio, other than the local classic country stations (or a couple of independent stations I like when I visit TX). Country radio rarely plays the ones I like, and Americana radio rarely does, either. Spotify and Pandora and so forth allow me to pull in some music I like. I’m pleasantly surprised the Craig Campbell song stuck around this long, but I really wanted to see WMMorgan do well. “Missing” and “Lonesomeville” were my two favorites of his. The lack of radio traction for Mo Pitney’s album ticks me off. He has a lot of credibility with the older country and bluegrass people I know.


  5. OlaR February 8, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    High Valley: week 50 & already a top 20 hit.

    “When I Pray For You” (The Shack soundtrack) is a great ballad. The first Dan + Shay song i like. But what will happen with the album after only 1,5 singles? A “deluxe” version or a new album? Time will tell.

    No other new entries on Billboards Bad-Pop-Music-With-Banjo-Charts.
    No bullet: LoCash (##44), Morgan Wallen (#48), WMM (#49), Cody Johnson (#51), Aaron Watson (#54) & RaeLynn (#34).

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – New – Brantley Gilbert
    #2 – Chris Stapleton
    #3 – New – Lauren Alaina

    Billboard Americana/Folk Albums:
    #1 – Chris Stapleton

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay (Canadian artists only):
    #1 – Dean Brody – “Time”
    #2 – James Barker Band – “Just Sayin'”
    #3 – Tim Hicks – “Slow Burn”
    #4 – Meghan Patrick – “Still Loving You”
    #5 – Lindsay Ell – “All Alright”

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia (Country Music Services):
    #1 – Justin Standley – “Sweet Ophelia” (3rd week)
    #2 – Casey Barnes – “Just Like Magic”
    #3 – Travis Collins – “Hometown Calling”
    On The Rise: #9 (23) – The Wolfe Brothers – “Throw ‘Em Back”
    Top New Track: #10 – Rhiannon Cooke feat. Judah Kelly – “Gone”
    Top Track America: #14 – Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good”

    Single – Travis Collins – “Hometown Calling” – Album: Hard Light
    3rd single “Hometown Calling” is like so many other Travis Collins tunes catchy & perfect for australian country radio without losing touch for traditional country themes & sounds. No wonder he won a couple of Golden Guitar awards a couple of weeks ago.

    Single – The Wolfe Brothers – “Thow ‘Em Back” – Album: This Crazy Life
    Mainstream country-rock. Nothing new.

    Single – Rhiannon Cooke feat. Judah Kelly – “Gone” – EP: Rhiannon Cooke
    Follow-up to the successful Top 10 single “Don’t Call Me A City Girl” is a radio-friendly uptempo-tune. Modern-country.


  6. wvcountry24733 February 9, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    I hope it’s ok for me to plug my blog here…I need some more readers and if anybody commenting would like to contribute I need more writers…I’ve been a reader of country perspective for a long time and yall inspired me to create my own blog…


Comments are closed.