Josh’s Jukebox Journal — Country Hits: 2006

Once upon a time there was a popular feature on this blog called The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music and it’s sister feature The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music. It was an enjoyable feature for both you and I, before I decided to take a hiatus from blogging. My own enjoyment of the feature had waned, but I’ve wanted to return to a feature like this ever since.

Kyle over at Kyle’s Korner Blog took over the torch for The Current Pulse and is doing a fantastic job with it, so please go check it out if you haven’t done so. But I was wanting to do a Past Pulse. Unfortunately as I’ve discovered, Billboard has become greedy and decided to lock past charts behind a paywall. Quite an asinine decision in my view. So with this stupid decision by Billboard, I obviously can’t do The Past Pulse. But that sent me down the idea rabbit hole and I got to thinking how I could re-adapt the Past Pulse into something new. Combined with another feature idea I had been tinkering with, I’ve come up with Josh’s Jukebox Journal.

Josh’s Jukebox Journal is a brand new feature on the blog that will be similar to The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music, but with a twist. Rather than rely on past charts from Billboard instead I will look at playlists. This could be from any genre, from any year, past or present, various artists or just one artist. I will run through the playlist giving a thumbs up (let it play), shrug (essentially playlist filler) or a thumbs down (skip it). The best song will get two thumbs up and the worst will get two thumbs down. At the end I will give a grade for the quality of the playlist. These playlists can come from any of the streaming services (preferably Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube).

This feature won’t have a set day or time of when it releases. It will essentially be when I want to do one. And of course I want to hear playlist ideas for future versions of Josh’s Jukebox Journal in the comments! Today I will take a look at the Apple Music playlist Country Hits: 2006…

    • Rodney Atkins – “If You’re Going Through Hell” 👎
    • Rascal Flatts – “What Hurts the Most”🤷
    • Josh Turner – “Your Man” 👍
    • Carrie Underwood – “Jesus, Take the Wheel” 👍
    • Jennifer Nettles & Bon Jovi – “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”🤷
    • Brad Paisley – “When I Get Where I’m Going (feat. Dolly Parton)” 👍
    • Jason Aldean – “Why”🤷
    • Kenny Chesney – “Summertime”🤷
    • Phil Vassar – “Last Day of My Life” 👍
    • LeAnn Rimes – “Something’s Gotta Give”🤷
    • George Strait – “She Let Herself Go”🤷
    • Jack Ingram – “Wherever You Are” 👍
    • The Wreckers – “Leave the Pieces” 👍
    • Kenny Chesney – “Living In Fast Forward” 👍
    • Brad Paisley – “The World” 👍
    • Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” 👍
    • Trace Adkins – “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” 👎👎
    • Rascal Flatts – “My Wish (10th Anniversary)” 👎
    • Blake Shelton – “Nobody But Me” 👍
    • Dierks Bentley – “Settle for a Slowdown” 👍👍
    • Steve Holy – “Brand New Girlfriend” 👍
    • Josh Turner – “Would You Go With Me” 👍
    • Little Big Town – “Bring It On Home” 👍
    • Sugarland – “Want To” 👍
    • Toby Keith – “Get Drunk and Be Somebody” 👎

Thumbs up: 15
Shrugs: 6
Thumbs down: 4

Grade: 7/10

This is a pretty solid playlist (until you see a lot of the songs missing I list below that I would have added and then you’re going to get angry like me). I was actually a little surprised, but then as I listened to it more not so much because I remember every single one of these songs vividly. I was 14/15 years old when these songs were popular and this was when my brother and I would watch the CMT music video countdown show every week. So I definitely got some nostalgia running through this playlist. And I can’t get over how much mandolin was allowed on country radio back then!

So many great songs to choose from for the best. Josh Turner was absolutely on fire during this time. I really enjoyed Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s material at that time too. Underwood of course just released her debut album and it’s arguably still her best record. Paisley helped Dolly get another hit and that’s always great. But I had to go with Dierks Bentley’s “Settle For a Slowdown” from the excellent Modern Day Drifter album. The ominous and dark atmosphere created by the guitars and the descriptive lyricism that so perfectly lays out the longing heartbreak taking place in the song made me choose it as best.

Not a lot of bad songs to choose from on this playlist, which is nice of course. I enjoyed all of Rodney Atkins biggest hits at first, including the one above, but thank country radio and grocery stores for overplaying them to the point I cringe when I hear them. I don’t mind Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish,” but for some bizarre reason they put a flat and bad 10th anniversary version on this playlist. Long-time readers know how I feel about post-9/11 Toby Keith. But picking Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” as the worst was a slam dunk choice. This song was everywhere, well rather the remix version, which I’m surprised isn’t what was chosen for this playlist. It’s an annoying novelty song that will only age worse with time. (That I’ll also admit that teenager me loved at the time)

Songs I Would Have Added to the Playlist

  • Billy Currington – “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” (Currington was so good during this time and his omission is bad)
  • Dierks Bentley – “Every Mile a Memory”
  • Brooks & Dunn – “Believe”
  • Little Big Town – “Boondocks” (A cult classic!)
  • George Strait – “Give It Away” (How in the hell was this not on the playlist, yet the sleepy Strait hit was chosen?!?)
  • Emerson Drive – “A Good Man”
  • Eric Church – “How ‘Bout You” (Not a single Church song on the playlist is criminal!)
  • Kenny Rogers – “I Can’t Unlove You” (Rest in peace Mr. Rogers. Also people forget this was a top 20 song for him in 2006 and definitely worthy of this playlist)
  • Gary Allan – “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” (Why was this not on the playlist either?!)
  • Alan Jackson – “Like Red on a Rose” (I’m just getting more angry at what was not on this playlist)
  • Jack Ingram – “Love You”
  • Van Zant – “Nobody Gonna Tell Me What to Do”
  • Eric Church – “Two Pink Lines” (Incredible song!)
  • Keith Urban – “Once in a Lifetime”
  • George Strait – “The Seashores of Old Mexico”
  • Joe Nichols – “Size Matters (Someday)”
  • Tim McGraw – “When the Stars Go Blue” (Not a single McGraw song on the playlist, especially not this one?! Come on)
  • Billy Currington – “Why, Why, Why”
  • Jake Owen – “Yee Haw”
  • Kenny Chesney – “You Save Me” (Take the two songs he has on the playlist and replace them with just this one, his best hit of the year)

Be sure to weigh-in with your thoughts on the playlist and what you would have added to the playlist too 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 Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Aug. 1]

Eric Church Mr. Misunderstood

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -7

The pulse drops four spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chensey – “Noise” 0
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire”
    • After the disappointing performance of “Noise,” Kenny Chesney delayed his new album until the fall so he could rebound with a sophomore single from the album. The result is Chesney enlisting the help of pop artist Pink and releasing the single “Setting The World On Fire.” Now for those unfamiliar with Pink, I’m sure many feared the worst. I didn’t as I’m quite familiar with Pink and her music. She’s actually one of the better pop artists of the past decade, as I enjoy the fiery energy she can bring to her music. But you wouldn’t know that after listening to this nostalgia summer song. Both Pink and Chesney sound bored as hell singing this song. This song has no pulse, much like “Noise” before it. The inclusion of Pink will help this song perform better than “Noise,” but that’s pretty much all this song has going for it (and I guess its supposed to be country). This isn’t great nor bad. It’s just sort of there and certainly won’t be setting anybody’s world on fire. 3/10 (This originally said 5/10, but it meant to be 3/10 and I forgot to edit before posting)
  • Luke Bryan – “Move”
    • Uggggghhhhh. This damn song. Bryan actually earned some good will with “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” because it wasn’t terrible, it sounded country and Bryan seemed to genuinely care about the song. Now we’re back to the Bryan every suburban teen girl, bored housewife and drunken frat bro loves: the sexist party romper. Essentially this is “Country Girl Shake It For Me” with a new name and different coat of paint, but the same quality and value. It’s complete vapid bullshit. It’s also guaranteed to be a #1 hit. Run away as far as you can from this song. The only good thing I can say about it is that Bryan spells out the word “move” so nobody is confused about how that amazingly difficult word is to spell. 1/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Eric Church – “Record Year” (Church is going for a multi-week #1, which is good news for those who want to see “Fix” not hit the top spot. It’s kind of appropriate the best song is battling to keep the worst song from the top spot.)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Luke Bryan – “Move” – Up 6 from #35 to #29
  • Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” – Up 4 from #25 to #21
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 3 from #21 to #18
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” – Up 3 from #30 to #27

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” – Down 7 from #18 to #25

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

  • Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”
  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Kip Moore – “Running For You” (At 41 weeks, I’m surprised it’s still here. If I’m Moore’s team I’m ecstatic just to see it hit top 15. At most I see them holding out to hit the top ten before dropping it.)
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be”
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boot Fits”

Notes:

  • Great to be back! Derek did an excellent job filling in last week.
  • Jason Aldean’s “A Little More Summertime” still can’t be properly graded and reviewed because I still don’t have full access to the song. Once I do get access it will.
  • I spent a lot of time mulling over the grade for “80s Mercedes” and ultimately decided to stick with Derek’s grade. While it’s not very country, it is still a good song. So I can’t really give a negative score to something I feel isn’t hurting quality. If you disagree I completely understand. It’s a tough song to grade when factoring in genre.
  • On the bottom half of the chart there’s some discouraging news. Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” had a bad week and could go recurrent soon, while Maddie & Tae’s “Sierra” has gone recurrent and is done. It’s not entirely surprising given that they’re two of the three songs with the highest negative call-out scores on Mediabase (the other ironically being Kelsea Ballerini’s “Peter Pan,” which just entered the top 10). For Stapleton, it’s not a big deal. He doesn’t care about radio and doesn’t need it when he’s selling more albums than everyone else in the genre. For Maddie & Tae, it casts doubt and uncertainty on their future. Their future radio prospects look bleak and I think decisions will have to be made by them and Big Machine.

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