Breaking Down & Examining The Quality of #1 Country Songs: 2015

Homegrown

Last week in comments section of the The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music, reader Nadia brought up the great point of Eric Church’s “Record Year” being the first great song (+4 or better) to top the charts in a few years. It really highlighted the importance of Church landing the #1 spot at country radio with such a quality song. The last song to do this in my book was Zac Brown Band’s “Sweet Annie” in 2013 and before that in 2011 with Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather.” Only three songs were able to rate a 9 or better in the last five years and top the Billboard Country Airplay chart. That’s kind of crazy and really puts things into perspective. This sparked me to think further and made me want to look back at the quality of #1 country airplay songs throughout the years. So that brings us to this new semi-regular feature and that’s picking a year and taking a look how I would rate the #1 songs of that year. The rankings will work exactly like The Current Pulse does, so if you’re not familiar with that criteria just take a look at the most recent one linked above. Reaching #1 is a big deal for an artist, which is why I want to look at the strength and quality of songs that are supposed to be smash hits. When I think #1 song, I think it should be pretty important not just to the artist, but demonstrates the direction of the industry at the time as a whole. We’ll start off with last year’s #1 songs…

  • January 3-10: Tim McGraw – “Shotgun Rider” +2
    • McGraw has been in the midst of revival/comeback the last few years after drifting aimlessly with Curb for years and then going through that whole “Truck Yeah”/”Lookin’ For That Girl” phase. McGraw in other words rediscovered who he was and why people loved him in the first place. “Shotgun Rider” went a ways in helping fuel this comeback and at the time was refreshing to hear after the bro era. There’s nothing that significant about this love song, but it’s solid all around and decidedly country. 7/10
  • January 17-24: Brad Paisley – “Perfect Storm” +2
    • Paisley admittedly pissed me off with his 2014 album Moonshine in the Trunk because it felt like a pandering, low-grade effort from him in comparison to his full capabilities. The previous single before this was “River Bank,” which really caught my ire. This song kind of got back to what he does best and that’s heartfelt love ballads. In the last two years it’s safe to say this has been his best single. It’s also the last song he’s had reach #1 on the airplay chart (granted great timing helped aid it). 7/10
  • January 31: Kenny Chesney – “‘Til It’s Gone” 0 (Note: This was the last and only time the Pulse has ever been positive)
    • The story of Kenny Chesney’s career is beach music and playing it safe. In this case it’s the latter. This schmaltzy love song really does nothing to standout and it’s kind of telling I had to listen to it again because I really didn’t remember it. That’s how I feel about most Chesney songs though. 5/10
  • February 7: Eric Church – “Talladega” +3
    • This song has grown on me from when I originally heard it. It’s definitely one of the better ones from The Outsiders, an album I didn’t care for at all. Church really nails the nostalgic/reflective tone of this song and gets the listener to buy into what he’s singing. 8/10
  • February 14-21: Luke Bryan – “I See You” -2
    • The quality starts to take a big dip here, folks. “I See You” is an overproduced, pop rock mess of a breakup song. The point of a country breakup song is to express sorrow and sadness. Yet this song feels more happy and upbeat. Instead of trying to understand it I just tell myself its Luke Bryan and this par for the course for him. 3/10
  • February 28: Florida Georgia Line – “Sun Daze” -5
    • And here we have a 2014 finalist for Country Perspective’s Worst Song of the Year. Yet it didn’t win (you can thank Jerrod Niemann). This song not only has an annoying reggae beat and sound, but an annoying whistle too. Florida Georgia Line’s singing is at its most grating and by Florida Georgia Line of course I mean Tyler Hubbard because the other one never sings. Then you get to the lyrics, which are just a dumpster fire of quality. Two horrific lines stand out in particular:”Rock a little bit of hip-hop and Haggard and Jagger” and “I’ll sit you up on the kitchen sink
      And stick the pink umbrella in your drink.” These lines are disgusting and offensive in so many different ways. I never want to hear Hubbard sing about his dick again. 0/10
  • March 7: Thomas Rhett – “Make Me Wanna” -4
    • Overtly slick production and a blatant pop sound back this slow jam sex song. It’s easy to forget how bad this one was from Rhett because he still wasn’t that well-known and it proceeded a much clearer offensive song. There’s nothing country about “Make Me Wanna” and really nothing country about Rhett still. Just make sure you continue to forget this one. 1/10
  • March 14: Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe – “Lonely Tonight” +1
    • I remember being quite happy for Monroe to get this opportunity from Blake to be heard by more people. I was also happy to see her associated with a #1 song. But now looking back at this song, I’m not nearly as smitten to it as I was originally. It’s pretty dull by both artists standards and could have been so much more. Luckily Monroe’s vocals and Blake’s charisma elevate it just enough. Then again this sounds like a damn masterpiece after the last two songs, so that perhaps explains my higher enthusiasm originally. 6/10
  • March 21: Jason Aldean – “Just Gettin’ Started” -3
    • Tell me what’s more vanilla and uninspiring: this or Aldean’s most recent #1 “Lights Come On.” They’re essentially the same rocker-infused anthem that says nothing. 2/10
  • March 28: Brett Eldredge – “Mean To Me” -1
    • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….Oh I fell asleep. This song makes me sleepy with its uninspired production and cliché, banal lyrics. Eldredge is a fine vocalist, but this is generic at it’s finest. 4/10
  • April 4: Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey” -2
    • You’re not worth the whiskey, Swindell. You’re not worth giving a full review for this subtly vindictive song. 3/10
  • April 11-28: Zac Brown Band – “Homegrown” +3
    • Ah it feels so long since we’ve had this Zac Brown Band. This was the lead single for Jekyll + Hyde and you all know how I feel about that album now. When I reviewed “Homegrown,” I said it gave me high hopes for the album. This was the exact type of song not only to get people excited about that album, but what should be on country radio in this day and age. It deservedly got a three-week reign at the top and I remember it even hung on the chart for another month after falling from the top spot. It was a true hit in every sense of the word. 8/10
  • May 2: Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time” -5
    • This was the song that kickstarted the reign of terror of Sam Hunt. I loathe this song with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. To the naive and quite frankly clueless listener, this is a sincere and sensitive love song about a guy treating a girl right. In reality, this song is all about Sam Hunt perfectly playing to a girl’s emotions so he can get down her pants. It’s deceptively creepy, sleazy and in no way country. 0/10
  • May 9-16: Dierks Bentley – “Say You Do” +1
    • This another song I remember liking a lot more originally, but now not so much. It’s an above average love song at best, even by Dierks’ standards. There were better songs on Riser, but then again just like “Lonely Tonight” this song has the benefit of being propped up when put next to all of the other terrible songs around it. 6/10
  • May 23: Keith Urban & Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up” 0
  • May 30: Tyler Farr – “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” +2
  • June 6: Billy Currington – “Don’t It” -2
  • June 13: A Thousand Horses – “Smoke” -1
    • This one has definitely worn thin on me since I originally reviewed, some thanks in part to the absolute success it had getting hits. It’s one of the top five most popular posts ever in the history of this blog. And one of the reasons why is because people wanting to know the name and identity of the stripper in the music video for the song. I’m dead serious and there’s still to this day some stray hits based off this Google search. Why in the hell do you want to know the name of the damn stripper? A Thousand Horses has pretty much been irrelevant since this song had its run. And they even had Dave Cobb produce their debut album. But hey they’ll always have that stripper video.
  • June 20: Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire” -4
  • June 27: Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “Wild Child” 0
    • I remember being told by some readers I should be praising this song more and I just had a pretty lukewarm response to it. Over a year later it’s still pretty lukewarm. Go listen to “You & Tequila” instead.
  • July 4: Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It” -4
    • This is the best example of bro pandering.
  • July 11: Blake Shelton – “Sangria” -3
    • With time every Blake Shelton single now gets even more annoying and grating on the ears. He’s a wizard in churning out sterile production backed, annoying ear worm songs.
  • July 25: Canaan Smith – “Label Pushed Song You Don’t Remember the Name Of” -3
    • Seriously can you remember it without Googling?
  • August 1: Jason Aldean – “Tonight Looks Good on You” -3
  • August 8: Brantley Gilbert – “One Hell of an Amen” +1
  • August 15: Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up” -5
  • August 22: Michael Ray – “Kiss You in the Morning” -4
  • August 29: Zac Brown Band – “Loving You Easy” +2
  • September 5: Frankie Ballard – “Young & Crazy” +1
  • September 12: Sam Hunt – “House Party” -5
    • One of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard. It’s vapid and completely lacks in substance in all facets of music.
  • September 19: Dustin Lynch – “Hell of a Night” -4
  • September 26: Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn” -5
  • October 3-17: Kenny Chesney – “Save It For A Rainy Day” 0
  • October 24: Brett Eldredge – “Lose My Mind” -2
  • October 31-November 7: Luke Bryan – “Strip It Down” -4
  • November 14-21: Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him” -5
    • One of the douchiest songs I’ve ever heard and yet it didn’t win worst song of the year. Thanks, Sam Hunt.
  • November 28-December 12: Chris Young – “I’m Comin’ Over” +1
  • December 19: Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You” -2
  • December 26: Blake Shelton – “Gonna” -2

Overall #1 Song Pulse for 2015: -61

 

Break Down of Number of Each Pulse Score

+5: None

+4: None

+3: 2 (Eric Church’s “Talladega” and Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown”)

+2: 4 (Brad Paisley’s “Perfect Storm,” Tim McGraw’s “Shotgun Rider,” Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” & Zac Brown Band’s “Loving You Easy”)

+1: 5

0: (Three of the four are Kenny Chesney songs)

-1: 2

-2: 6

-3: 4

-4: 6

-5: 6

 

So in 2015 there were 39 songs to reach #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Of those 39 songs, a whopping 24 of these 36 songs were in the negative. That’s 2/3 (or about 67%) of all #1 songs for the year! It gets even worse, as 1/3 of the #1 songs have a score of -4 or worse, indicating horrendous or of horrifically bad quality (33% of the #1 songs). On the flip side, there were zero songs that I considered great or excellent to reach the top of the airplay chart in 2015 and only two songs I would consider pretty good to reach #1. Needless to say I would have to evaluate the quality of #1 songs in 2015 to be quite shitty. The year actually got off to a great start, as three of the first four #1 songs were positive. Then you look at the end of the year, from September 12 onwards there was only one positive song to top the chart (ironically having the longest reign on top during this time). I would be willing to go out on a limb and say this was one of the worst stretches in the history of country radio. Also there was only one solo female artist to top the Billboard Country Airplay chart in 2015 and that was Kelsea Ballerini. Meanwhile Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney each had three #1 airplay songs in 2015. Of their nine songs to top the chart, five have negative scores, three have neutral scores and one has a positive score.

Let me know what you think in the comments below of the songs and this new feature. And feel free to ask me about my grades for the songs. 

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [June 6]

Each week I 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 either a +1, -1 or a 0. 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 +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated a 5 or 6 receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower receive a -1.

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 – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 2)
  2. Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” -1 (Down 1)
  3. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 (Up 1)
  4. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 (Up 1)
  5. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Up 1)
  6. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -1 (Up 2)
  7. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Down 5)
  8. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -1 (Up 2)
  9. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 
  10. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +1 (Up 2)
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0
  12. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -1 (Up 2)
  13. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 
  14. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  15. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Up 1) [Worst Song]
  16. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 (Up 1)
  17. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
  18. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” (Up 4)
  19. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -1 (Up 2) 
  20. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 
  21. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1 (Down 2)
  22. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (Up 1)
  23. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 3)
  24. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” 0 (Up 3)
  25. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -1 
  26. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +1 (Up 3)
  27. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +1 (Up 1)
  28. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +1 (Up 2)
  29. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +1 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)
  30. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” 0 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -2

The pulse improved three spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader”
  • Canaan Smith – “Nobody Cares Nor Remembers The Song”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
    • I’ve always found Drake White to be likable and he seems like he wants to make actual country music. We haven’t gotten an album from him yet, so we’ve only had two singles to really judge him. The first one was decent, but nothing special. And I can pretty much say the same for this single too. It’s an inoffensive song about living the good life that I can take or leave. Good for him that he cracked the top 30 this time around for the first time in his career. 5/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Lovin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Up 3 from #26 to #23
  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” – Up 3 from #27 to #24
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” – Up 3 from #29 to #26

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” – Out of the Top 30
  • Canaan Smith – “Hole in a Bottle” – Out of the Top 30
  • Old Dominion – “Snapback” – Down 5 from #2 to #7

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

  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach”
  • Old Dominion – “Snapback”
  • Maren Morris – “My Church” (“80s Mercedes” has already been announced as the new single)
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” (I’m hearing from more and more people he’s eager to release new music. Radio is clearly done with this song too. Don’t be surprised if this is the last single from Wild Ones)
  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” (With a group of songs in front of it getting ready to exit, it looks like “Noise” will stick around. But it’s not concrete)
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody”
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory”
  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 31]

Blake Shelton Came Here To Forget

Each week I 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 either a +1, -1 or a 0. 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 +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated a 5 or 6 receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower receive a -1.

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 – “Came Here To Forget” -1 (Up 3)
  2. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 
  3. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 2)
  4. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 (Up 2)
  5. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 (Up 2)
  6. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Down 3)
  7. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Down 6)
  8. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -1 (Up 1)
  9. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 (Up 1)
  10. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -1 (Up 2)
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0
  12. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +1 (Up 2)
  13. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 
  14. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -1 (Up 2)
  15. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 [Best Song]
  16. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Up 1) [Worst Song]
  17. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 (Up 1)
  18. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
  19. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1 (Up 2)
  20. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 
  21. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -1 (Up 2)
  22. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”
  23. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (Up 1)
  24. Canaan Smith – “Meh” -1 (Up 1)
  25. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -1 (Up 1)
  26. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 1)
  27. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” 0 (Up 2)
  28. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +1 
  29. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +1 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)
  30. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -5

The pulse improved one spot this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You”
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” – Up 4 from #33 to #29
  • Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” – Up 3 from #4 to #1

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” – Out of the Top 30
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” – Out of the Top 30 (Down to #31)
  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” – Down 6 from #1 to #7

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

  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader”
  • Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach”
  • Old Dominion – “Snapback”
  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”
  • Side Note: We’re way overdue for a little purge on the chart after weeks of having a glut of songs playing chess at the top of the chart.

On The Hot Seat:

  • Maren Morris – “My Church”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer”
  • Canaan Smith – “Meh”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls”
  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words”
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 23]

Each week I 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 either a +1, -1 or a 0. 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 +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated a 5 or 6 receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower receive a -1.

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. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Up 2)
  2. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Up 1)
  3. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Down 2)
  4. Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” -1 (Up 1)
  5. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 1)
  6. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 (Up 2)
  7. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 
  8. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” (Down 4)
  9. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -1 (Up 1)
  10. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 (Down 1)
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0
  12. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -1
  13. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 
  14. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +1
  15. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 [Best Song]
  16. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -1 (Up 3)
  17. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Down 1) [Worst Song]
  18. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 (Down 1)
  19. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Down 1)
  20. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 
  21. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1
  22. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”
  23. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -1 (Up 1)
  24. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (Up 1)
  25. Canaan Smith – “Meh” -1 (Down 2)
  26. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -1 
  27. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 3)
  28. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +1 (Up 1)
  29. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” 0 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)
  30. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +1 (Down 2)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -6

The pulse dropped one spot this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” – Up 3 from #19 to #16
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Up 3 from #30 to #27

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” – Out of the Top 30 (Down to #33)
  • Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” – Down 4 from #4 to #8

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

  • Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You”
  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Maren Morris – “My Church”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Canaan Smith – “Meh” (I would put this under recurrent soon, but I see the label trying to keep it alive)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 16]

Dierks Bentley Somewhere On A Beach

Each week I 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 either a +1, -1 or a 0. 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 +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated a 5 or 6 receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower receive a -1.

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. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 
  2. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Up 2)
  3. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 
  4. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” (Down 2)
  5. Blake Shelton – “Came Here To Forget” -1 
  6. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 1)
  7. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 (Down 1)
  8. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 
  9. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 
  10. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -1 (Up 1)
  11. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” 0 (Down 1)
  12. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -1 (Up 1)
  13. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 (Down 1)
  14. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +1 (Up 1)
  15. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 (Down 1) [Best Song]
  16. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 [Worst Song]
  17. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -1 
  18. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 1)
  19. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -1 (Up 6)
  20. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 (Down 2)
  21. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1 (Down 1)
  22. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” (Down 1)
  23. Canaan Smith – “Meh” -1 
  24. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -1 
  25. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +1 (Down 3)
  26. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -1 
  27. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +1 (New to Top 30)
  28. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +1 (Down 1)
  29. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +1 (Down 1)
  30. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Down 1)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -5

The pulse improved one spot this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”
    • This may not go down as one of Paisley’s best singles, but to my ears it’s a step back in the right direction. At worst this song is an upgraded version of Chris Young and Cassadee Pope’s “Think of You.” At best it’s a solid, yet unspectacular love song. I think it does a nice job of striking a balance by keeping a country influence and pop sensibilities. 7/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” – Up 6 from #25 to #19
  • Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” – Up 2 from #4 to #2

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” – Out of the Top 30 (Down to #31)
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” – Down 3 from #22 to #25
  • Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer” – Down 2 from #18 to #20

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

  • None for at least the next week again, which is going to further create a cluster at the top

On The Hot Seat:

  • Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway”
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”

 

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