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 Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [July 2011]

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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. This week I will take a look at the top 30 songs of the Billboard Hot Country Songs from July 18th, 2011.

  1. Jason Aldean – “Dirt Road Anthem” -5 [Worst Song]
  2. Chris Young – “Tomorrow” +2
  3. Blake Shelton – “Honey Bee” 0
  4. Zac Brown Band & Jimmy Buffett – “Knee Deep” +1
  5. Justin Moore – “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” +3
  6. Lady Antebellum – “Just A Kiss” -1
  7. Dierks Bentley – “Am I The Only One” -1
  8. Luke Bryan – “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” -5
  9. Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood – “Remind Me” -1
  10. Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter – “You & Tequila” +4
  11. Jake Owen – “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” +1 (I’ll explain why later on)
  12. Trace Adkins – “Just Fishin'” +2
  13. Eric Church – “Homeboy” +3
  14. George Strait – “Here For A Good Time” +2
  15. Billy Currington – “Love Done Gone” +2
  16. Toby Keith – “Made In America” 0
  17. Rodney Atkins – “Take A Back Road” -1
  18. Scotty McCreery – “I Love You This Big” -2
  19. Eli Young Band – “Crazy Girl” -1
  20. Keith Urban – “Long Hot Summer” -1 (I actually think this is a good pop song. But if we’re going by country standards…)
  21. Thompson Square – “I Got You” 0
  22. Brantley Gilbert – “Country Must Be Country Wide” -2
  23. Jerrod Niemann – “One More Drinkin’ Song” 0
  24. Steve Holy – “Love Don’t Run” 0
  25. Darius Rucker – “I Got Nothin'” +2
  26. Ronnie Dunn – “Cost Of Livin'” +5 [Best Song]
  27. Frankie Ballard – “A Buncha Girls” -2
  28. David Nail – “Let It Rain” +2
  29. Craig Campbell – “Fish” -3 (Yes Craig, we get it…)
  30. Joe Nichols – “Take It Off” -2

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: +2

Even with two outright atrocious songs we managed to net a positive score! Out of 150, a positive two isn’t really that impressive but hey, it’s better than the charts in 2016.

As for our best songs, Ronnie Dunn’s “Cost Of Livin'” takes it running away with what I consider to be one of the best songs mainstream or otherwise of the past couple years. Even though radio was a little different back then, I’m shocked a song like this cracked the top twenty. Today I doubt it would chart. And while Kenny Chesney has been the butt of many jokes throughout the years, I’ve always liked the guy, and “You and Tequila” may be his best song ever. Other than that, there were a couple other good ones like “Homeboy” (although, I’m curious to hear what you guys think of this one), and “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away”.

Now, you might be wondering why I gave Jake Owen a positive score. If there has ever been anyone who could pull off a “bro” sound and actually make it somewhat enjoyable, I think it’s Jake Owen. He’s just got a natural charisma that often at least adds some life to his songs. I don’t think “Barefoot…” is a great song, but I never quite understand the hate for it.

As for the bad songs, they’re pretty easy to spot. Jason Aldean takes the “worst song” award easily with the horrendous country-rap song that was “Dirt Road Anthem.” “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” was ironically the first time we had to really come down hard on Luke Bryan for cutting a bad song. Other than that, Craig Campbell’s “Fish” always annoyed the heck out of me, and there are some other stinkers here too. Overall though, not a horrendous chart.

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!

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [July 18]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -11

The pulse dropped six spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +2
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Old Dominion – “Song for Another Time”
    • After an enjoyable hiatus, Old Dominion unfortunately returns to the top 30. They do return however with what I would call their best single yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s good (the bar isn’t set very high). “Song for Another Time” aims to be a nostalgic summer tune that tries to connect with listeners by name-checking a bunch of songs way better than this one. This begs the question of why you would do this because as a listener this just reminds me I could be spending my time better by listening to those songs. The production of this song is very adult contemporary/pop rock and isn’t really that country. Still this is the first single I’ve heard from Old Dominion that doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out. It just kind of bores me. So I guess this is progress? 3/10
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime”
    • Since Jason Aldean and Broken Bow have a special deal with Apple Music, this song is currently not available to me to listen to unless I would buy it and there’s no way in hell I’m doing that. So this song will have to wait to be reviewed and rated. This is why I hate music exclusivity.

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” – Up 3 from #18 to #15

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” – Out of the Top 30
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” – Out of the Top 30 (#32)
  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” – Down 6 from #7 to #13

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

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • David Nail – “Night’s On Fire”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need a Drink”
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” (I’m surprised after 10 weeks this is already struggling to make headway. This has been kind of the theme with Paisley singles lately, as they always stall in the teens now. This is not a good sign for him when it’s rumored that his new album is coming in October.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • Luke Bryan – “Move”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [July 11]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -5

The pulse improves five spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -4
  • Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory”
    • He’s back and he’s still whiny as ever. This time we have Swindell dancing with some girl on the dance floor when her friends show up and take her away. This leaves Swindell alone on the dance floor. He then proceeds to whine for the rest of the song about unfair this was and basically without saying it explicitly, felt like the girl’s friends took away a night of sex from him. He says memory, but anyone who has heard a Swindell song knows what his whole goal always seems to get laid. Does he think dancing with a woman entitles him to sex? Throw in some cheap production and this song is same shit, different title from him (although it’s not one of his worst singles). 3/10
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
    • It’s about time this song made the top 30! This was a perfect single choice for this time of the year and not just because summer is in the title. This is one of the best songs off their debut album Pawn Shop. “21 Summer” is a nostalgic song about a man recalling the summer he lost his virginity and how that woman made a man of him. He still thinks about her now and then, wondering where she’s been and how she’s doing. What I like about the songwriting is the mature and thoughtful approach taken, although I could do without the cutoff jeans line (it’s not necessarily bad, it’s just not necessary). The instrumentation and production have a breezy feel about it. It’s such a perfect fit for a summer tune and demonstrates once again the knack the duo has when it comes to the sound of their music. 7/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Up 4 from #16 to #12
  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” – Up 3 from #21 to #18
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 3 from #28 to #25

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” – Out of the Top 30
  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” – Out of the Top 30
  • Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” – Down 3 from #1 to #4

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

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” (Losing tons of spins and label is ready to begin the push for a new single)
  • David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” (Ad in Aircheck says it going for max spins this week, so it looks like the label is pushing it until the album drops on Friday and then it’ll be gone within two weeks)

On The Hot Seat:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” (I put it here tentatively because Warner seems willing to continue to push this song, yet it’s now been on the chart for 40 weeks and only makes minimal gains)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time”
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Vacation”
  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [July 5]

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 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. Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -3
  2. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -2 
  3. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +2 
  4. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 (Up 1)
  5. Eric Church – “Record Year” +4 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  6. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” (Up 2)
  7. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Up 3) [Worst Song]
  8. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Up 1)
  9. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -4 (Down 2)
  10. Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” -1 (Down 6)
  11. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1
  12. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 
  13. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 
  14. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 2)
  15. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Down 1)
  16. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 1)
  17. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +2 (Down 2)
  18. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2 
  19. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2
  20. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 
  21. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -2 (Up 1)
  22. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 1)
  23. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Down 2)
  24. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 
  25. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 2)
  26. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Down 1)
  27. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  28. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 2)
  29. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3 (Down 3)
  30. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Down 1)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -10

New format! (see details above)

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • None

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • None (Because country radio doesn’t seem too anxious to stop playing Thomas Rhett’s “T-Shirt” and start playing “Vacation.” For once I kind of agree with something they’re doing.)

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Chris Lane – “Fix” – Up 3 from #10 to #7
  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” – Up 2 from #8 to #6
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” – Up 2 from #16 to #14

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” – Down 6 from #4 to #10
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” – Down 3 from #26 to #29
  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” – Down 2 from #7 to #9

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

  • Luke Bryan – “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day”
  • Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” (Because if you’re a female artist whose name isn’t Kelsea or Carrie, you don’t get played on the radio)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song”
  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be”

 

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