The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 29]

Sam Hunt Destroying Country Music
When you hear a Sam Hunt song come on the radio and you accidentally burn the house down as you try to burn your radio…

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. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 1)
  2. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 (Up 2)
  3. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1
  4. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 2)
  5. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Down 4)
  6. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Down 1)
  7. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Up 3)
  8. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 4)
  9. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 2)
  10. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 3)
  11. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 3)
  12. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 3) [Worst Song]
  13. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 4)
  14. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 4)
  15. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Up 1)
  16. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 4)
  17. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 5)
  18. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  19. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 2)
  20. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 4)
  21. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 4)
  22. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 4)
  23. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 4)
  24. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 4)
  25. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” -3 (New to Top 30)
  26. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 3)
  27. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Up 3)
  28. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -3 (New to Top 30)
  29. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (New to Top 30)
  30. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -30

The pulse drops five spots this week. It’s going in the wrong direction!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Good bye and good riddance! May we never see another Chris Lane song in the top 30 ever again.)
  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2
  • Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All”
    • On the surface this song should be decent. After all Tim McGraw is all involved and he’s consistently been churning out the most quality country singles at country radio the past couple of years. Surely his quality could rub off and help Florida Georgia Line produce their third good song ever. If anything it should be better than the vanilla “H.O.L.Y.” Well after listening thoroughly to this track, I can say no to both of these. This song is a good reminder that Joey Moi is still the producer of this duo. There’s no other way to put it: the production on this song flat-out sucks. It’s obnoxiously loud and in your face while trying to be pop, country, rock and hip-hop all at once. Then you get to the lyrics, which look like leftovers from the bro country era. We also get a line throwing together Travis Tritt and Tupac, who are both fine artists but don’t really need to be name dropped together. Everything about this song is just so lazy and the only redeeming quality it has is Tim McGraw, who kind of mails in his performance. I don’t blame him and I imagine he had to do this song so he could release songs like “Humble and Kind” as singles. 2/10
  • Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled”
    • This is the newest On The Verge pick, in case you were wondering why Lauren Alaina went from irrelevant to rising at a meteoric pace on the airplay chart. This is the same feature that has brought us craptastic artists such as Sam Hunt, Chase Bryant, Canaan Smith and Tucker Beathard. Now let me state right up front that I think Alaina is a talented vocalist that is capable of producing great music. Alan Jackson picked her to open for him on tour this year for a reason. I would take her over Scotty boy any day and she should have won American Idol over him. But this song is just not good and quite frankly not country. It’s a catchy pop song with a generic message of never giving up. There’s not a lot of meat and whole a lot of fluff to this song. I wanted to like it, but I just can’t. More unfortunately is I don’t see this giving her career a big boost. Once this song gets its fake rise to the top of the chart I don’t see the follow-up doing much because this is still country radio where they don’t play women. Alaina and her fans need to enjoy the ride to the top now because the crash back to reality later isn’t going to feel too good. 2/10
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
    • Keith Urban is on a race to the bottom of the barrel! His single choices in the Ripcord era have been downright pathetic and reek of an older artist that is desperate to remain relevant and in the spotlight. With this single Urban releases the worst yet. This is a straight rip off of Sam Hunt’s mega hit “Take Your Time.” Just like that song it’s about a sleazy douche who acts all innocent and will fein genuine caring for a broken-hearted girl at the bar all in the hopes he can take her pants off later in the night. It’s disgusting, in bad taste and Urban will fool tons of people into believing his phoniness. The only thing that saves this from the very bottom and makes it slightly better than Hunt’s “Take Your Time” is the well composed instrumentation that is wasted on garbage lyrics. Congrats Keith Urban on losing any shred of respect I had left for you. 1/10
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute”
    • My God! Is it really a Stapleton song in the top 30? After the first three new arrivals this song is a huge breath of fresh air. While it’s not on the level of the previous single “Nobody To Blame,” this is a pretty damn good song. The catchy guitar riffs will instantly get stuck in your head and Stapleton absolutely belts the chorus of this song. There are better love songs on Traveller, but I found this to be one of the most enjoyable tracks on it. Hopefully this song has a long stay on the chart and ultimately has a good showing. I give it a solid shot at reaching the top ten, especially since I imagine Mercury will push this for a while being that it’s pretty much a lock that it’s the final single from Traveller. But once again we have Stapleton music in the top 30 and that’s something we should all be happy about. 8/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” – Up 29 from #57 to #28
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Up 19 from #48 to #29
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” – Up 5 from #22 to #17

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Chris Lane – “Fix” – Out of the Top 30 (& Finally Done)
  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)

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

  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” (It’s been struggling for weeks and a couple of songs seem to leap-frog it each week. At the very least it’s something to keep an eye on.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” (Why is Donkey guy coming back?)
  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry”
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word”
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her”

Note: Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation” appears to be on its last legs, as it lost over 400k in audience this week. So it looks like it won’t be reaching the top 30 and is hands down a major flop. And to think I had the rant of all rants lined up for this song. I guess I’ll have to save it for the end of the year where it’s almost a lock to win Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Song of the Year.

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 22]

Dan + Shay From the Ground Up

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. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Up 1)
  2. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 1)
  3. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 2)
  4. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 
  5. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 5)
  6. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 3)
  7. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Down 1) [Worst Song]
  8. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 
  9. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Down 8) 
  10. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Up 1)
  11. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 1)
  12. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 5)
  13. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 3)
  14. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 4)
  15. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Down 2)
  16. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Down 2)
  17. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 4)
  18. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 2)
  19. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 3) [Best Song]
  20. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 3)
  21. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 3)
  22. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 3)
  23. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 (Down 4)
  24. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 3)
  25. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  26. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 2)
  27. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 3)
  28. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (New to Top 30)
  29. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (New to Top 30)
  30. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -25

The pulse drops 11 spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week (Radio’s Purge of Quality Week):

  • Eric Church – “Record Year” +4
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”
    • Oh great, Granger is back. Yipee. I was kind of hoping he would just be a one-hit wonder and would go back to Texas. But we’re not that lucky. He follows up the irritating “Backroad Song” with a song that is slightly less annoying in the form of “If The Boot Fits.” This is straight up bro country with an embarrassing amount of auto-tune used on Granger’s voice. Then you have the half-assed modern country production and lyrics that center around a redneck Cinderella. It blows my mind a sub par, mediocre vocalist such as Dibbles is getting all of this airplay. But then again that’s right in country radio’s wheelhouse. Anyway it’s all very annoying and the song gets worse with each play. You can keep ignoring Mr. Dibbles. 1/10
  • Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song”
    • It feels like it’s been a while since Eldredge has been in the top 30. While he’s been going in the more trend chasing direction, I’ve found him to be one of the more palatable Nashville pop artists because of his strong vocals. Right up front I will say this song is an improvement over his previous two singles, although those weren’t going to be tough to top. “Wanna Be That Song” is a love song about a guy expressing his love towards his woman with various comparisons and analogies. It’s a tad on the sleepy side, but for a pop country song it isn’t half bad. If you listen closely you can hear actual acoustic guitars and dare I say some steel guitar too. You could do a lot worse, but this could have been better too if it didn’t rely so much on clichés. 5/10
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need a Drink” – Up 5 from #10 to #5
  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World on Fire” – Up 5 from #17 to #12
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” – Up 4 from #18 to #14

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Eric Church – “Record Year” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)

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

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without a Fight”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” (It rebounded this week, but it could easily slip)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Florida Georgia Line & Tim McGraw – “May We All”
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Vacation” (Country radio does not want to play this. Nobody with a sane mind wants to hear it. Just end it already!)

Note: As you can see we have a new best song this week. Ultimately I was deciding between Tim McGraw’s “How I’ll Always Be” and Miranda Lambert’s “Vice.” I ended up going with “Vice” because of the stronger lyrics and having such a vulnerable song at country radio is a pretty rare site. The way it’s going it should have a shot at top ten, which is cool to see.

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 15]

Jon Pardi Head Over Boots

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. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Up 2) {Woohooo!}
  2. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Up 3)
  3. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 1)
  4. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 (Up 2)
  5. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 3)
  6. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Down 5) [Worst Song]
  7. Eric Church – “Record Year” +4 (Down 5) [Best Song]
  8. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 (Down 1)
  9. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 2)
  10. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 
  11. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Up 1)
  12. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 2)
  13. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 4)
  14. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Up 1)
  15. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2 (Down 2)
  16. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 2)
  17. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 6)
  18. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 2)
  19. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 (Down 3)
  20. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Down 1)
  21. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 4)
  22. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 1)
  23. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  24. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Down 2)
  25. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 1)
  26. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  27. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 3)
  28. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 1)
  29. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3 (Down 1)
  30. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -14

The pulse drops four spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”
  • Note: Blake Shelton’s “She’s Got a Way With Words” has been moved down to a -3 because I listened to it again and it has somehow gotten even more annoying and obnoxious. I’ll have more on Blake tomorrow…)

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” (Sam Hunt and MCA Nashville are holding back for the #1 push until next week)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World on Fire” – Up 6 from #23 to #17
  • Luke Bryan – “Move” – Up 4 from #25 to #21
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 4 from #17 to #13

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Chris Lane – “Fix” – Down 5 from #1 to #6
  • Eric Church – “Record Year” – Down 5 from #2 to #7

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

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Chris Lane – “Fix”
  • Eric Church – “Record Year”
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You”
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without a Fight” (Arista Nashville pulled from promoting it earlier this week)
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”

On The Hot Seat:

  • None

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”
  • Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song”
  • Florida Georgia Line & Tim McGraw – “May We All”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [August 8]

Nope
When you look at the #1 spot on the country chart…

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. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (I hate country radio) [Worst Song]
  2. Eric Church – “Record Year” +4 (Down 1) [Best Song]
  3. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Up 1)
  4. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 3)
  5. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 
  6. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 (Up 2)
  7. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 (Down 4)
  8. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 2)
  9. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +2 (Down 3)
  10. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 1)
  11. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 2)
  12. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -2
  13. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2 (Up 2)
  14. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 1)
  15. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Up 2)
  16. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 
  17. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 1)
  18. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 1)
  19. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 2)
  20. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 
  21. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 4)
  22. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 1)
  23. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Down 1)
  24. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2
  25. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 4)
  26. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 1)
  27. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Down 1)
  28. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3 
  29. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Re-Entered Top 30 This Week)
  30. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -10

The pulse drops three spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -2
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (As much as I enjoy this as a pop song, I realized I have to be fair and judge this just as I would any other pop song going through country radio. So I’m docking it down and will be sticking to this score. For the record, it would get a +3 on pop radio.)

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be”
    • Can I just take a second and applaud Tim McGraw? It can’t be understated how great McGraw’s single choices have been the past few years. He’s one of the constant shining beacons of light on country radio in the midst of a lot of bad music. He returns to the top 30 with yet another good single in “How I’ll Always Be.” This is basically a life anthem from McGraw, as he touts living the simple life and sticking to country music. That’s most apparent on the line when he sings, “I’m a little more old Hank Williams than that trendy crap.” Just getting this lyric alone on country radio is satisfying because you just know this song is going to follow-up so much “trendy crap.” Some might call this hypocritical of McGraw after he released some trendy crap, but I read this more as I said in my original review of the song: this is McGraw stating that he’s never going back to that and this is how he will be from here on out. In other words he learned his lesson. It’s not as good as “Humble and Kind,” but it’s damn solid nonetheless. 8/10
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime”
    • I’ve finally found a good way to listen to this song in full (thanks to Zack for the suggestion). First off it’s definitely a step up from “Lights Come On,” as this song actually has something to say. The song itself is a summer love nostalgia tune that immediately put me in mind of Luke Bryan’s single from a few years, “Roller Coaster.” The difference to me between that song and this one is the production and instrumentation is an improvement here. It actually has good energy and surprisingly doesn’t chase trends. I mean it’s not full-blown country, but it’s more rock with a tinge of country influence. It’s certainly not the best single we’ve ever gotten from Aldean, but it’s probably the best single he’s had in a few years. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. 5/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” (It’s going to be close. I could see “Fix” getting a second week, but I’m leaning more towards doubtful. The bigger problem is Sam Hunt’s promotion team going into full push mode with “Make You Miss Me,” as it’s nipping at Pardi’s heels. So it looks we have a battle between Hunt and Pardi for #1 next week.)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” – Up 4 from #25 to #21
  • Luke Bryan – “Move” – Up 4 from #29 to #25
  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” – Up 3 from #7 to #4

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” – Down 4 from #3 to #7

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

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You”
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” (It lost a ton in audience and will need a big rebound to retain its spot in the top 30. I just don’t see this hanging on until the album release.)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” (Somehow this song continues to hang. Not that I’m complaining, but I’m just surprised.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”
  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”
  • Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song”
  • Florida Georgia Line & Tim McGraw – “May We All” (In a few weeks there could be three McGraw songs in the top 30)

 

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

The Hodgepodge: Pop Duets Ignore Country’s Rich Talent Pool of Female Artists

Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King – “Different for Girls”

Brad Paisley feat. Demi Lovato – “Without a Fight”

Kenny Chesney feat. P!nk – “Setting the World on Fire”

One of the most recent musical trends out of Nashville, as you can tell by the above pairings, is partnering a male country singer with a female non-country singer to record a non-country song, probably in hopes for a crossover hit. Three big, veteran names in country music are using the big names from female pop acts to gain even more exposure and revenue.

This isn’t a terrible trend, and Paisley and Chesney’s songs aren’t terrible. “Different for Girls” has some backwards lyrics, but Dierks and Elle sing the song well, and I like the production to the tune. My only gripe with this trend is that it blatantly ignores a large, talented pool of female singers in country music. Females who already struggle to get songs on the radio by themselves. To be fair, Dierks Bentley also recorded “I’ll Be The Moon” on Black with newcomer Maren Morris, a song which received quite a bit of album promotional play and press before the album’s release. However, the label decided to move forward with the Elle King duet as the single, not the Morris duet.

I know the answer to this question is money and marketability, but why not record these same songs with country newcomers? Mickey Guyton has a vocal power similar to Demi Lovato, and could easily fit into “Without a Fight.” In Fact, on several occasions while on tour with Paisley, Mickey Guyton sang Allison Krauss’ role in “Whiskey Lullaby.” I think Mickey Guyton could have sung Lovato’s parts and “Without a Fight” could still be just as good.

Like I said, I know that there’s a certain marketability that comes with having Demi Lovato’s or P!nk’s name attached to a song as opposed to Mickey Guyton or Cam. Outside of the obvious pop demographic (which the songs are clearly catered toward), those two names are just simply more well-known. But even some singers like Kellie Pickler and Lauren Alaina are good singers themselves and have the American Idol notoriety surrounding their name.

Obviously the larger purpose of songs like the ones mentioned above is the fact that these females attract a non-country audience to song and probably double the listening potential. But coming off a year in which the problem of females on country radio, or lack thereof, was headlining everywhere, it’s odd to me that producers would gloss over that potential talent pool.

Chris Young recently had a number one song on the Airplay Charts that he recorded with Cassadee Pope. “Think of You” is just as Adult Contemporary sounding as the three aforementioned songs. So don’t try to argue that “country females won’t sell” because clearly a duet between male and female COUNTRY singers sold and succeeded.

I’m probably just beating a dead horse and screaming at a brick wall because complaint’s like this haven’t helped. Even with Tomato Gate on everyone’s mind last year, Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini are still the only females getting consistent radio airplay. Yet women like Lori McKenna, Brandy Clark, Aubrie Sellers, and Margo Price have all released great albums this year. Why don’t we hear them on the charts? Why aren’t labels pursuing duets with these talented singers? Yes, Aubrie Sellers has recently signed a deal with Warner, and Lori McKenna has seen excellent success as a songwriter from “Girl Crush” and “Humble and Kind.” However, it’s still a shame that several of country’s talented female singers are overlooked for a cash-grab pop duet.

Upcoming/Recent Country and Americana Releases

  • Mo Pitney has announced his debut LP through Curb Records. Behind This Guitar will be released October 7.
  • William Michael Morgan announced his debut album, Vinyl, will be released on September 30.
  • Reckless Kelly will release Sunset Motel on September 23.
  • Also on September 23 Dwight Yoakam is releasing a bluegrass album titled Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…
  • Jack Ingram will release Midnight Motel on August 26. Hear the new single, “I’m Drinking Through It.”
  • The Cadillac Three will release Bury Me in Boots tomorrow.
  • Cody Johnson will release Gotta Be Me tomorrow.
  • Next Friday, both Cody Jinks (I’m Not The Devil) and Kelsey Waldon (I’ve Got a Way) will release albums. A day which is sure to be a good day for new country music.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn With all the talk of country duets today, what could be better than a duet from two of country’s best singers? Sit back and enjoy this 1973 hit from their duet album of the same name.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

Foo Fighters “Everlong” The only non-country music I’ve listened to this week is the Foo Fighters Greatest Hits album, so I recommend what is probably my favorite Foo Fighters song.

Tweet of the Week

I told myself not to mention a certain country group that I wrote about in last week’s Hodgepodge, but this tweet pretty much sums up my opinions on “Comeback Kid.”

iTunes Review for Big Smo

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.50.44 PM

This guy hates the fact that country fans call Big Smo not country. Especially when later on in this review, he clearly states how Big Smo raps. Sure we don’t technically own the word “country” but we know which music is actually country music and which is actually rap or hick hop.