The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [April 2014]

220px-doinwhatshelikes

This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Each week, I 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 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.

While I hate to do another recent chart after having just done 2011 last week, my schedule this week is admittedly pretty busy. Therefore, I wanted to showcase another chart of songs that I am familiar with. I picked April 19th, 2014 since that’s approximately a month before Country Perspective even came into existence, and I thought it would be fun to showcase what the charts were like just before Josh stepped onto the scene.

  1. Blake Shelton – “Doin’ What She Likes” -2
  2. Randy Houser – “Goodnight Kiss” -2
  3. Jerrod Niemann – “Drink To That All Night” -5
  4. Brantley Gilbert – “Bottoms Up” -5
  5. Eric Church – “Give Me Back My Hometown” +1
  6. Rascal Flatts – “Rewind” -2
  7. Thomas Rhett – “Get Me Some Of That” -5
  8. Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan – “This Is How We Roll” -5
  9. Brett Eldredge – “Beat Of The Music” 0
  10. Miranda Lambert – “Automatic” +3 [Best Song]
  11. Dan + Shay – “19 You + Me” -2
  12. Keith Urban – “Cop Car” -2 (I’m sorry, I don’t get the appeal in this song at all)
  13. Luke Bryan – “Play It Again” -3
  14. Justin Moore – “Lettin’ The Night Roll” -1
  15. Tim McGraw – “Lookin’ For That Girl” -5 [Worst Song]
  16. Craig Morgan – “Wake Up Lovin’ You” +2
  17. Sara Evans – “Slow Me Down” 0
  18. Tyler Farr – “Whiskey In My Water” -1
  19. Craig Campbell – “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” +1
  20. The Band Perry – “Chainsaw” -2
  21. Hunter Hayes – “Invisible” -2
  22. Billy Currington – “We Are Tonight” +1
  23. Jake Owen – “Beachin'” -4
  24. Chris Young – “Who I Am With You” +1
  25. Joe Nichols – “Yeah” -2
  26. Sheryl Crow – “Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely” +1
  27. Eric Paslay – “Song About A Girl” -1
  28. Eli Young Band – “Dust” +2
  29. Brad Paisley – “River Bank” -1
  30. Lee Brice – “I Don’t Dance” +2

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: -38

Wow, this is an absolutely terrible chart across the board. How many -5’s was that again?!? It’s hard to believe that a chart from the future could actually look better than this. Yikes.

Alright, so let’s start off with the few good songs here. Miranda Lambert is the only person with a song worthy of an 8/10 (IMO), so she runs away with best song for “Automatic”. The only other good songs come courtesy of Craig Morgan, Lee Brice, and Eli Young Band and I’m sure that even you guys will have something to say about one or more of those songs.

The terrible is easy to digest. It’s quite surreal looking back and seeing just how much bro-country really did plague the genre. There are five songs here that could compete for country music’s worst songs, and to pick the worst of all of them was tough. In the end, I picked Tim since not only does that song absolutely blow, Tim McGraw simply knows better dammit! Trust me folks, I really did consider just tying all five of these songs for worst song. I felt like Negan from the Walking Dead trying to pick a victim. Aside from that…yeah, things aren’t much better outside of those five. Just a sad chart to see.

As always, 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!

Predictions for the 2016 ACM Awards

51st ACM Awards

The 2016 ACM Awards will air live this Sunday at 8 PM ET on ABC. The 51st edition of the show will be hosted by Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley, the latter’s first time as a host for the show. Some will tune in to see how they do as hosts. Some will tune in for the performances set throughout the night. But most will tune in to see who takes home the awards. Country music loves to go all out for these shows and the results are usually somewhere in the middle. You definitely will be taking some bad with the good and vice versa. When it comes to predicting these awards shows, I rely heavily on the artists’ past performance at awards shows and the history of the award show at hand. Of course the artist’s success over the last year and the push their camps have made to win will weigh into my predictions too. Along with my predictions, I give you who I would pick myself too. Be sure to make your own predictions in the comments below. So without further ado my predictions for the 2016 ACM Awards:

Entertainer of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Eric Church – I hear nothing but rave reviews about his live shows and he’s near the top of my bucket list for artists to see live. Not to mention he put out the best record of his career last November in the form of Mr. Misunderstood and has release two great singles from it.

Who I Think Will Win: Luke Bryan – Because he always gets chosen for this award. This will continue to be the case until country music gets the shake up it deserves.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Chris Stapleton – Since I would pick Church for Entertainer of the Year, I would go with Stapleton here. Pretty self-explanatory.

Who I Think Will Win: Chris Stapleton – Do you really think the ACM Awards are going to miss out on StapletonMania? Picking someone outside of Stapleton or Church here will make the ACM look worse in comparison to the CMA. Plus unlike country radio, the country awards shows have been doing a fairly good job of keeping up with the trends and taking quality into consideration.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Kacey Musgraves – The more I listen to Pageant Material, the more I enjoy it. This album was easily one of the most underrated of 2015 and I’m disappointed how many have brushed Kacey aside.

Who I Think Will Win: Carrie Underwood – Here’s my bold prediction for you. It shouldn’t be that bold, but it is when this award has basically went to Miranda Lambert by default in recent years and Carrie being shunned by country award shows every year. Kramer and Musgraves have no shot at winning. Ballerini can’t buy this award like her label buys her airplay. I say Carrie winning should be a slam dunk, but I wouldn’t bat an eye if Lambert won again because reasons.

Vocal Group of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Turnpike Troubadours – None of the nominees deserve to win. I would write-in the Turnpike Troubadours, who didn’t get enough love for their new album last year.

Who I Think Will Win: Little Big Town – They’re not quite done yet dominating awards show based off the success of “Girl Crush.” Once it ends though they will go back to where they were before it. In fact just look at Lady Antebellum’s career post-success of “Need You Now” and you get a pretty good idea of what’s ahead for Little Big Town. I give Zac Brown Band an outside shot since they now have the backing of Borchetta and Big Machine.

Vocal Duo of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Maddie & Tae – Country radio doesn’t appreciate them. Close-minded bros don’t appreciate them. But I appreciate them.

Who I Think Will Win: Florida Georgia Line – They’re still winning this category by default. Their next album will determine if this continues because their relevance and stature has slipped recently.

Album of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Chris Stapleton – Traveller or Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood – These are the only logical choices.

Who I Think Will Win: Chris Stapleton – Traveller – My reasoning for this is the same as picking Stapleton for Male Vocalist of the Year. Church and Hunt are other possible winners here, but I think Stapleton is the overwhelming favorite. You know what I want to talk about though? Chris Young and Thomas Rhett’s albums being nominees. They have no business whatsoever here. Young’s I’m Comin’ Over is one of the most boring albums I’ve ever heard and Rhett’s Tangled Up is just straight garbage that rips off multiple artists from Bruno Mars to Ed Sheeran. It’s an absolute joke these albums are even nominees.

Single Record of the Year (award goes to artist, producers & label)

Who I Would Pick: Cam’s “Burning House” – A pretty easy pick for me, as this song was one of the big surprise hits of 2015 and dominated sales.

Who I Think Will Win: Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” – This is by far the hardest category to predict. All of these songs had great sales in 2015 and spent their fair share of time atop the charts. But in the end I think Hunt wins because they don’t want him walking away empty-handed and I have to think Hunt’s label is tired of him not winning enough awards. Young is the only one I see not winning for sure, while the rest I could see pulling it off.

Song of the Year (award goes to songwriters, publishers & artist)

Who I Would Pick: Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody To Blame”

Who I Think Will Win: Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody To Blame” – All of the candidates here are good/decent, so I wouldn’t be angry if any of these won. I get a laugh though when I see Eric Paslay’s “She Don’t L0ve You” as a nominee. The country music industry has pretty much ignored this great song up to this point and just now getting around to it after Paslay sold out with “High Class.”

Vocal Event of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Sturgill Simpson & Jason Isbell – “Amarillo Highway” 

Who I Think Will Win: Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight”

Video of the Year

Who I Would Pick: Eric Church – “Mr. Misunderstood”

Who I Think Will Win: Eric Church – “Mr. Misunderstood”

The Best Music Currently at Country Radio [March 16]

The best of country radio right here in a nice playlist. In order for a song to be added to the list, it must currently be in the top 60 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, so this will be updated weekly. Here’s where all the songs currently stand on the chart:

10. Maren Morris – “My Church”

11. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame”

16. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”

21. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”

23. Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” 

24. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer”

27. Eric Church – “Record Year”

29. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

31. Kip Moore – “Running For You”

32. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”

34. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

37. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” 

44. Cam – “Mayday”

49. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”

50. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

54. Charles Kelley (feat. Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay) – “The Driver”

58. Toby Keith – “Beautiful Stranger”

 

The Best Music Currently at Country Radio [March 9]

The best of country radio right here in a nice playlist. In order for a song to be added to the list, it must currently be in the top 60 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, so this will be updated weekly. Here’s where all the songs currently stand on the chart:

12. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame”

13. Maren Morris – “My Church”

18. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”

20. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”

24. Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” 

27. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer”

28. Eric Church – “Record Year”

30. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

32. Kip Moore – “Running For You”

34. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”

36. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

39. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” 

43. Cam – “Mayday” 

44. Charles Kelley (feat. Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay) – “The Driver”

45. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

49. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”

55. Toby Keith – “Beautiful Stranger”

 

The Best Music Currently at Country Radio [March 2]

The best of country radio right here in a nice playlist. In order for a song to be added to the list, it must currently be in the top 60 of the Billboard Country Airplay chart, so this will be updated weekly. Here’s where all the songs currently stand on the chart:

14. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame”

16. Maren Morris – “My Church”

22. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind”

24. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots”

25. Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” 

30. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With A Beer”

31. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

33. Kip Moore – “Running For You”

34. Eric Church – “Record Year”

38. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”

39. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” 

41. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately”

45. Cam – “Mayday” 

48. Charles Kelley (feat. Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay) – “The Driver”

51. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”

52. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

55. Toby Keith – “Beautiful Stranger”