The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [February 2002]

Hello everyone! You didn’t read that headline wrong. The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music is indeed back! I am not a full-time writer at Country Perspective but I have come back to do this piece every week. I missed it and I know people were disappointed to see it go again. With the recent revamping of the current pulse, it’s a fitting time to come back. Thanks to Josh for letting me come back!

Anyway, this is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Every week, I will take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay Chart (or, “Hot Country Songs” as it used to be called) from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. The grading format I will 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 past top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. The grade 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 past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week I will take a look at the top 30 songs of the Billboard Hot Country Songs from February 9th, 2002.

  1. Steve Holy – “Good Morning Beautiful” 0
  2. George Strait – “Run” +3
  3. Brad Paisley – “Wrapped Around” +2
  4. Alan Jackson – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” +4
  5. Brooks & Dunn – “The Long Goodbye” +2 
  6. Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw – “Bring On The Rain” +2
  7. Tim McGraw – “The Cowboy In Me” +2
  8. Garth Brooks – “Wrapped Up In You” -2
  9. Aaron Tippin – “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” +2
  10. Martina McBride – “Blessed” -1
  11. The Dixie Chicks – “Some Days You Gotta Dance” +2
  12. Tracy Byrd – “Just Let Me Be In Love” +1
  13. Joe Diffie – “In Another World” +2
  14. Toby Keith – “I Wanna Talk About Me” -5 [Worst Song]
  15. Rascal Flatts – “I’m Movin’ On” +4
  16. Sara Evans – “Saints and Angels” +2
  17. Chris Cagle – “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out” +3
  18. Kenny Chesney – “Young” 0
  19. Trace Adkins – “I’m Tryin'” +3
  20. Phil Vassar – “That’s When I Love You” +1
  21. Blake Shelton – “All Over Me” +1
  22. Tommy Shane Steiner – “What If She’s An Angel” +1
  23. Toby Keith – “My List” +3
  24. Cyndi Thomson – “I Always Liked That Best” +1
  25. Lee Ann Womack – “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger” +4 [Best Song]
  26. Emerson Drive – “I Should Be Sleeping” +1
  27. Steve Azar – “I Don’t Have To Be Me (‘Til Monday)” +2
  28. Carolyn Dawn Johnson – “I Don’t Want You To Go” +2
  29. Kevin Denney – “That’s Just Jessie” +3
  30. Travis Tritt – “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” +4

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: +48

So as you can see, the music in mainstream country from the past definitely defeats the charts of today. It’s interesting to see how trends can affect certain songs in mainstream country music though. There was definitely an influx of pop sounds in country during this time, only back then they didn’t hit you over the head with it.  The country was actually more prominent than the pop sound! Unbelievable, I know.

Anyway, the more pop leaning production on some tracks is what really holds them back from higher scores. Either way however, there’s only one outright terrible song here with Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me.” You thought “Dirt Road Anthem” introduced rap into country? Think again. The only other bad songs here come from Garth Brooks and Martina McBride. The former is annoying as all heck and the latter is just too overproduced for my tastes. Still, not terrible.

The best songs here are pretty easy to pick out as well. I know it’s been polarizing for some but I always was moved by Alan Jackson’s song. The always excellent Travis Tritt and Lee Ann Womack of course delivered quality songs as well. Hell, even Rascal Flatts had a great song with “I’m Movin’ On,” and it’s surprisingly one of the most outright country ones here.

If you have any questions as to why I gave a song a certain grade feel free to ask me. Also, let me know what you guys think of the chart in the comments!

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2004]

Every week I take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. It could be 10 years ago, 20 years ago or even further back. 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 past 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 by either Derek 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 between 5 and 6.5 receive a 0. Songs rated 4.5 or lower receive a -1.

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. This week I take a look at the top 30 on the Country Airplay Chart from March 27, 2004.

  1. Tim McGraw – “Watch The Wind Blow By” +1
  2. Toby Keith – “American Soldier” -1
  3. Brad Paisley – “Little Moments” +1
  4. Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker – “When The Sun Goes Down” -1
  5. Sara Evans – “Perfect” 0
  6. Trace Adkins – “Hot Mama” 0
  7. Buddy Jewell – “Sweet Southern Comfort” 0
  8. Alan Jackson – “Remember When” +1
  9. Keith Urban – “You’ll Think Of Me” +1
  10. Martina McBride – “In My Daughter’s Eyes” +1
  11. Jimmy Wayne – “I Love You This Much” +1
  12. Rascal Flatts – “Mayberry” +1
  13. John Michael Montgomery – “Letters From Home” +1 (Hey Toby, this is how you do a song about soldiers)
  14. Gary Allan – “Songs About Rain” +1
  15. Josh Turner – “Long Black Train” +1
  16. George Strait – “Desperately” +1
  17. Clint Black – “Spend My Time” 0
  18. Blue County – “Good Little Girls” -1
  19. Carolyn Dawn Johnson – “Simple Life” +1
  20. Tracy Lawrence – “Paint Me Birmingham” +1
  21. Dierks Bentley – “My Last Name” +1
  22. Montgomery Gentry – “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” +1
  23. Brooks & Dunn – “That’s What She Gets For Loving Me” +1
  24. Big & Rich – “Wild West Show” +1
  25. SheDaisy – “Passenger Seat” 0
  26. Brian McComas – “You’re In My Head” +1
  27. Lonestar – “Let’s Be Us Again” 0
  28. Reba McEntire – “Somebody” +1
  29. Clay Walker – “I Can’t Sleep” 0
  30. David Lee Murphy – “Loco” -1

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: +15

Last week we look at the chart in March 2000 and had a very healthy score of +22. This week we go four years ahead of that to the year 2004, where the pulse is slightly lower at +15. You can tell a lot of the old guard of the 90s is fading out at this time and giving way to new artists such as Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts. Garth Brooks and Shania Twain are nowhere to be found. It’s interesting that the 2005 score we looked at weeks ago was closer to 2000 in terms of the pulse than 2004. The 2000 pulse at this time was 18 points better than the current pulse.

As is now customary, fire away with your comments and questions about this week’s past pulse. Recognize some old favorites? Maybe a few you would like to not be reminded about?