The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 17]

lol

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. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 5) [Worst Song]
  2. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 2)
  3. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2
  4. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Down 3)
  5. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 
  6. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Down 4)
  7. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime”
  8. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  9. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 1)
  10. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 3)
  11. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 
  12. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 3)
  13. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 1) 
  14. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 4)
  15. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  16. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 1)
  17. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (Up 3)
  18. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 1)
  19. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” 0 (New to Top 30)
  20. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 1)
  21. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 2) [Best Song]
  22. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 (Up 6)
  23. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Down 1)
  24. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2
  25. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 1)
  26. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Up 1)
  27. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 (New to Top 30)
  28. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Up 1)
  29. Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3 (Up 1)
  30. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -26

The pulse drops 14 spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2
  • Brad Paisley – “Today” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”
  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl”
    • So Blake’s last single “She’s Got A Way With Words” pissed a lot of people off. It was a deliberate jab at Miranda Lambert and came off at best as petty. It was so hated that it broke his #1 streak at country radio. So it’s not surprise at all that Blake would follow this up with something that’s generic, boring and safe in “A Guy With A Girl.” There’s nothing offensive nor anything that stands out about it. This is every generic country love song you’ve heard on country radio the last five years. And it’s probably one of his best singles lately. If the instrumentation wasn’t so all over the place and the lyrics were a little more focused this might have turned into something good. Instead we’re left with something that is almost good enough to be called average. 4/10
  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red”
    • Why does Dustin Lynch keep getting airplay? Why?! He’s one of the most transparent sell outs in Nashville pop. Lynch is essentially Gumby in a cowboy hat: he’ll bend and move wherever his label tells him to go. The guy isn’t an artist, he’s a brand for music executives who think they know what’s best for people. “Seein’ Red” is soulless, uncreative garbage that sees Lynch try to do his best Justin Timberlake impression (spoiler alert: it’s terrible). Even as a mindlessly fun pop song it fails all around, as it’s rigid and sterile production isn’t catchy in any way. There’s steel guitar buried deep in the mix because they think this low-effort pandering will win you over. The lyrics are vapid and shallow (“Ride this Chevy like a Cadillac” is a line in the song). This song accomplishes nothing except getting your arm some exercise: reaching to turn the dial so you never have to hear this crap again. 0/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” – Up 9 from #36 to #27
  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” – Up 6 from #28 to #22
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Up 5 from #6 to #1

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” – Out of the Top 30 & Done (“Missing” is the next single, which is an excellent choice)
  • Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Brad Paisley – “Today” – Out of the Top 30 to #37

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

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” (This was never a hit and I doubt if we’ll ever see one from Beathard)
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” (A great rebound hit from Currington. Now let’s hope he remember this for his next album)
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” (Her label is pushing it and doing their best to keep it going it appears. I imagine they will at the very least get it in the top ten before giving up.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Little Big Town’s new single (It’s being released on Thursday and is expected to get hourly play on iHeart just like Paisley’s “Today” and Garth’s “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” got the last two weeks)
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”
  • Brad Paisley – “Today”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 10]

Billy Currington Summer Forever

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. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 
  2. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 2)
  3. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2
  4. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 1)
  5. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 2)
  6. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 [Worst Song]
  7. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 1)
  8. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Down 6)
  9. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  10. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 4)
  11. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 1)
  12. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 1) 
  13. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 
  14. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 1)
  15. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 1)
  16. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  17. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 1)
  18. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 2)
  19. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 
  20. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (Up 1)
  21. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 1)
  22. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Up 1)
  23. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 2) [Best Song]
  24. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2
  25. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 (New to Top 30)
  26. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 1)
  27. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Down 1)
  28. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 (New to Top 30)
  29. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4
  30. Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3 (Down 2)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -12

The pulse improves nine spots this week!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less” -5

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley – “Today”
    • So the lead single off Paisley’s upcoming album is currently unannounced, “Without A Fight,” didn’t exactly live up to his expectations at radio. Paisley was clearly gunning for something big with it, as it feature pop star Demi Lovato. But ultimately it didn’t reach the top ten and forced Paisley to further push his album back in favor of releasing a second single. That new single is “Today” and this is exactly what I’ve been wanting Paisley to return to for quite some time. This is the Paisley from years ago that made him a star and a favorite of country fans. “Today” fits him like a glove! It’s a love ballad, what Paisley excels at, about a couple cherishing what they have right in front of them today and the memories they’re making right now. It’s these memories that will carry with them for the rest of their lives. There’s also noticeable steel guitar throughout, which is just a cherry on top. It’s an all-around feel good song. This isn’t amongst his best love ballads, but it makes me pretty anxious to hear what he has in-store for his new album. 7/10
  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” – Up 10 from #38 to #28
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” – Up 4 from #14 to #10

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” – Down 6 from #2 to #8

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

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” (It might have just been a down week for spins, or it could be the start of the song’s decline. *insert shrugging emoji*)
  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream”
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl”
  • Garth Brooks – “Lay Down and Dance” (This is supposed to be going to country radio tomorrow and I’ll be curious to see if it reaches top 30 next week. I’m guessing it does.)
  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red”
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [October 3]

Billy Currington Summer Forever
Nice to see Billy get rewarded for releasing a good single.

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. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 1)
  2. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 1)
  3. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 3)
  4. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 1)
  5. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 2)
  6. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 2) [Worst Song]
  7. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 3)
  8. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 3)
  9. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Down 5)
  10. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 2)
  11. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 2) 
  12. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 2)
  13. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 4)
  14. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 4)
  15. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 
  16. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 4)
  17. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Down 1)
  18. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 1)
  19. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 3)
  20. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 3)
  21. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (Up 3)
  22. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -3 (Up 3)
  23. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Up 3)
  24. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Up 3)
  25. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 3) [Best Song]
  26. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Up 3)
  27. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 3)
  28. Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3 (Re-Enters Top 30)
  29. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Re-Enters Top 30)
  30. Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less” -5 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -21

The pulse drops two spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (You know you have a fake #1 song when it goes from #1 to recurrent in a one week)
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1
  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got a Way With Words” -3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love”
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her”
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”
    • Michael Ray hasn’t exactly made a good impression on me since his arrival. His lead single “Kiss You in the Morning” got a thorough rant from yours truly, as I derided it for its moronic lyrics and bro country pandering. This was also an On The Verge pick mind you. Ray followed this up with a single that was somehow even worse, “Real Men Love Jesus.” I don’t even want to get started on that misogynistic farce of a song. So with his third single “Think A Little Less,” I was hoping for something that wouldn’t piss me off. Well so much for hoping because it’s yet another dumb song. The entire message of this song is a guy meeting a girl at the bar, telling her to turn her brain off and then convincing her to go home so he could have sex with her. Even more ridiculous is how he tells her that she should tell her friends the next day that nothing happened and they’re just friends. Why? Are you hiding something here? This totally doesn’t give off creepy vibes. You know Sam Hunt and Keith Urban are at least clever enough to be subtle in their creepy hookup songs. Ray just comes out and admits it. How else am I supposed to interpret, “get you out of this bar, out of this dress”? This song just has a downright horrible message and is one of the worst singles I’ve heard in 2016. 0/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” (Well I thought it would reach #1 this week, but it just missed out. Looks like Warner though is going to push one more week to get it after getting #1 on Mediabase this week.)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” – Up 4 from #17 to #13
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” – Up 4 from #18 to #14
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Country” – Up 4 from #20 to #16

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” – Out of the Top 30
  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” – Out of the Top 30
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Out of the Top 30

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

  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” (Surprised this is still even on the chart)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red”
  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show”
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”
  • “Forever Country”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Sept. 26]

Justin Moore You Look Like I Need A Drink

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. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 3)
  2. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 1)
  3. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 4)
  4. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Down 3)
  5. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 1)
  6. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Down 1)
  7. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 2)
  8. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 [Worst Song]
  9. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Down 7)
  10. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2
  11. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 2)
  12. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  13. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 1) 
  14. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 1)
  15. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 1)
  16. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 1)
  17. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 1)
  18. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 1)
  19. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 1)
  20. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 1)
  21. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Down 10)
  22. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 
  23. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” 
  24. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (Up 1)
  25. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -3 (Down 1)
  26. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 
  27. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Re-Enters Top 30)
  28. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 [Best Song] (New to Top 30)
  29. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Down 2)
  30. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -19

The pulse improves six spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4
  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
    • Apparently Billboard screwed up last week and mistakenly took it off the chart. So now it’s back. I had thought EMI Nashville gave up and decided to just put more push behind David Nail’s new single with the Brothers Osborne, “Good at Tonight.” I’m not complaining, as this song deserves to fight for another day. I previously covered this song both hear and in the album review, so check those out if you want to see my thoughts on it.
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word”
    • Rhiannon Giddens is in the top 30 airplay chart for country radio! What a world. Nobody has been churning out better singles in 2016 than Eric Church and it continues once again with “Kill A Word.” As Church said in recent interviews, releasing this as a single at this time was just too perfect. With the amount of racial and sex-based tension and incidents that have happened in the United States over the past year combined with the always contentious Presidential election taking place, this country needs this song more than ever. It’s a reminder in this crazy world we currently live in that we need to put our hate aside and strive for something we all want and that’s peace. And unlike Garth Brook’s cheesy single he released last year, “People Loving People,” this song has a lot of heart and clever songwriting. In the radio edit of this song, Giddens also gets to sing a line solo and of course sounds fantastic. This is not only one of the best singles of 2016, but one of the best songs you’ll hear. 9/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” (Warner has officially announced they’re going for max spins this week and Currington’s label Mercury appears willing to play nice and wait to push for #1 next week)

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” – Up 4 from #7 to #3
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need a Drink” – Up 3 from #4 to #1
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” – Up 3 from #31 to #28

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” – Down 10 from #11 to #21
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” – Down 7 from #2 to #9
  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” – Out of the Top 30 (to #32)

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

  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got a Way With Words”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan”

On The Hot Seat:

  • None

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love”
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her”
  • Artists of Then, Now & Forever – “Forever Country”
  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red”

 

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [Sept. 19]

the-honeymooners
A picture from the era that inspired this week’s #1 song. (Side note: Jackie Gleason is a great actor)

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. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 1)
  2. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Down 1)
  3. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 5)
  4. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 
  5. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Up 1)
  6. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 3)
  7. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 
  8. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 2) [Worst Song]
  9. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 2)
  10. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 3)
  11. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -3 (Up 1)
  12. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” (Up 3)
  13. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  14. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Up 3) 
  15. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Up 4)
  16. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 2)
  17. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 (Up 3)
  18. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 3)
  19. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” (Up 4)
  20. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 2)
  21. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 4)
  22. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 2)
  23. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 3)
  24. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -3 (Up 3)
  25. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0 (New to Top 30)
  26. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Up 3)
  27. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (New to Top 30)
  28. Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3 (Up 2)
  29. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (New to Top 30) [Best Song]
  30. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -25

The pulse improves six spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2
  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4
  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry”
    • Really Carrie? Another song about murdering a guy? Your blood lust apparently can’t be quenched. You’d think after releasing “Church Bells” Underwood would want to switch up the theme for this new single (or you know release “Choctaw County Affair” as a single, the most interesting murder song on the album). But this is essentially the same song as “Church Bells.” The only difference is instead of the husband being an alcoholic asshole who beats women and asked to be murder, the guy in this song has laundry that smells like cheap perfume and red wine. So naturally the wife jumps to conclusions of infidelity and murders him in revenge. Sure, that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction instead of you know just confronting him. This isn’t a bad song, it’s just been done so many times by Underwood already that I’m just bored of this theme coming from her. She’s done this song better multiple times and releasing “Dirty Laundry” as a single is essentially beating a dead horse (which Underwood probably murdered in her song after smelling booze on it). 5/10
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”
    • The music video for this song was released in January 2015. What the hell? Just thought I would share this tidbit with you. As for High Valley, if you don’t know who they are I don’t blame you. They’re a relatively new duo from Canada signed to Warner Bros. Records and this is essentially their introduction to American audiences. For those who follow Canadian country radio, you’re probably familiar with them. The shortest way I would describe them is Dan + Shay + some token banjos. At least that’s the impression I get from “Make You Mine.” The second comparison is Mumford & Sons, as this sounds like a cheap knockoff of their hit “I Will Wait.” Seriously go play these two songs side-by-side and everything sounds the same. The Walmart-brand folk production, the cliché love lyrics and sanctimonious harmonies all match. Two things this song does get right though are the uplifting, soaring nature that will undoubtedly hook some listeners and the palpable enthusiasm and energy conveyed. In other words, High Valley doesn’t take the song too seriously, which both hurts and benefits it. 3/10
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her”
    • How great is it to see this song in the top 30? I already gave this a full review, so if you missed it here’s the main gist: This song hooks me from the very beginning with its earthy, acoustic guitar play before giving away to some steel guitar. “Holdin’ Her” tells the story of how Janson grew up from his early days, fell in love and became the man he is now. Janson recalls in his younger days how he used to party and wake up in places with strangers he didn’t know and wondered how he even got there. He goes onto meet the woman he would one day call his wife in an underground pool hall and from that day on his life changed.The lyrics, which were written by Janson and James Otto, are personal, touching and honest. This is the type of country music the world needs. Not to mention the pedal steel guitar is present throughout. It has everything you want in a country song and it’s one of the best singles you’ll hear in 2016. 9/10
  • Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night”
    • The best word to describe Chris Young’s latest album would be interchangeable. That’s because every song on the album plays it really safe and doesn’t take any risks. It’s perhaps one of the safest albums I’ve ever heard, as Young comes off as absolutely petrified to go outside the box and try anything. The good side to this is you can’t really piss anyone off with this type of music. But I have to say I’m glad he chose the interchangeable song with Vince Gill on it as a single because I’ll take Gill in any capacity on country radio. Unfortunately we don’t get to hear Gill’s great pipes (at least outside of harmonies), but we do get to hear his equally great guitar play. The song itself is your standard love ballad about a guy staying sober on Saturday night instead of drinking his pain away. Young delivers his standard performance. There is some nice steel guitar though. Along with Gill, these two aspects raise this song just above average. 6/10

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” – Up 9 from #34 to #25
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” – Up 7 from #36 to #29
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” – Up 5 from #8 to #3

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” – Out of the Top 30 (& Done)

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

  • Blake Shelton – “She’s Got a Way With Words”
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” (I think her label will fight until it reaches top ten and then let it fall. Consider it lucky to reach top ten, as radio programmers predictably don’t care for this song.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word”
  • LANco – “Long Live Tonight”
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”
  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”

 

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