The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [February 6]

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. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 (Up 1)
  2. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 (Down 1)
  3. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 
  4. Little Big Town – “Better Man” +2
  5. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1  
  6. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 
  7. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 
  8. Michael Ray – “Douchey Pickup Song” -5 
  9. Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” +1 
  10. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4
  11. Luke Bryan – “Fast” -1
  12. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 
  13. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 
  14. Jason Aldean – “Any Ol’ Barstool” (Up 1)
  15. Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” -5 (Down 1)
  16. Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” -5 
  17. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” (Up 3)
  18. Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”
  19. Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” -3
  20. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 
  21. Sam Hunt – “Body Like a Back Road” -5 (New to Top 30) [Worst Song]
  22. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Down 1)
  23. Dierks Bentley – “Black” -2 (Down 1)
  24. Trent Harmon – “There’s A Girl” +1 (Down 1)
  25. Darius Rucker – “If I Told You” 
  26. Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man” +4 (New to Top 30) [Best Song]
  27. Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” +3 (Down 3)
  28. Miranda Lambert – “We Should Be Friends” +2 (Down 2)
  29. Dan + Shay – “How Not To” +1 (Down 2)
  30. Rascal Flatts – “Yours If You Want It” -2

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -25

The pulse drops six spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Runaway June – “Lipstick” +3
  • RaeLynn – “Love Triangle” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Sam Hunt – “Body Like a Back Road”
  • Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man”
    • As you can see above I’ve decided to change my grade to a 9/10 for the song because I realized it’s just not quite a 10 and I let my first impressions get the best of me in grading. Still a damn fine song, an early favorite for one of the best mainstream country songs of 2017 and in my mind the best in the top 30 right now.

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To” – Up 5 from #32 to #27
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” – Up 4 from #23 to #19

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Runaway June – “Lipstick” – Out of the Top 30 (#33)
  • RaeLynn – “Love Triangle” – Out of the Top 30 (#34)

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

  • Granger Smith – “If The Boot Fits” (Mercifully this one is done finally. A thank you ad was in Country Aircheck this week from Wheelhouse Records. Should be a big thank you considering radio is the only place Granger is relevant…)
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill a Word” (Radio just doesn’t want to go forward anymore with this and the long jam at the top hurt this song’s progression too)
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” (This one looks to finally be done I think, as it lost its bullet)
  • Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” (Now that his terrible album is out, this song should be on its last legs at minimum. Unfortunately I see “Bro Code” being the next single, as it’s selling well)
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine” (This just won’t go away. I refuse to remove it from this space!)
  • Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” (Somehow still here after 43 weeks)
  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To” (For some reason Warner has decided to pull this single and instead opting to push the duo’s new single in some new movie. It’s a shame, especially after that fantastic music video that was put out for this song)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” (The only reason I hesitate to say it’s going recurrent is Warner seems hell-bent on keeping this alive)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good”
  • Luke Combs – “Hurricane”
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Backstreet Boys) – “God, Your Mama and Me”
  • Cole Swindell – “Flatliner”

 

Thoughts: There’s good news and bad new for fans of “Lipstick” and “Love Triangle.” Good news is there are lots of songs due to go recurrent. Bad news is these are the type of songs radio will gladly leave in the dust. If I had to guess, I would say “Love Triangle” has the best shot of sticking around despite losing it’s bullet as it has 10 less weeks on the chart than “Lipstick.” Not to mention RaeLynn’s album release is relatively soon and the label could conceivably keep it alive. But they could just as easily put out another single and push it in enough time for the album. Some additional bad news also is two radio favorites Justin Moore and Brett Young are just as little as a couple of weeks away from passing them. Hope for the best, but expect the worst.

 

As always be sure to weigh-in with your thoughts in the comments below. 

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [January 30]

Creepy Blake
Three weeks in a row of creepy eyes! Aren’t you going to miss this staring back at you next week?

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. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 
  2. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 
  3. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 (Up 1) 
  4. Little Big Town – “Better Man” +2 (Up 2)
  5. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 2) 
  6. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 2)
  7. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 (Up 2)
  8. Michael Ray – “Douchey Pickup Song” -5 (Up 2) [Worst Song]
  9. Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” +1 (Up 3)
  10. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 1) [Best Song] 
  11. Luke Bryan – “Fast” -1 (Up 2)
  12. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 (Up 2)
  13. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 2)
  14. Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” -5 (Up 2)
  15. Jason Aldean – “Any Ol’ Barstool” (Up 3)
  16. Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” -5 (Up 3)
  17. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” (Up 3)
  18. Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” (Up 4)
  19. Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” -3 (Up 4)
  20. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Up 1)
  21. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Up 3)
  22. Dierks Bentley – “Black” -2 (Up 4)
  23. Trent Harmon – “There’s A Girl” +1 (Up 2)
  24. Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” +3 (Up 4)
  25. Darius Rucker – “If I Told You” (Up 4)
  26. Miranda Lambert – “We Should Be Friends” +2 (Up 4)
  27. Dan + Shay – “How Not To” +1 (New to Top 30)
  28. Runaway June – “Lipstick” +3 (New to Top 30)
  29. RaeLynn – “Love Triangle” +2 (New to Top 30)
  30. Rascal Flatts – “Yours If You Want It” -2 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -19

The pulse improves nine spots this week!

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Glad to see this one gone, but the next one isn’t much better)
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3
  • Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good” -4

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To”
  • Runaway June – “Lipstick”
    • Yes! So glad this one finally made the top 30. I don’t think it does any better than top 20, but still I’m pretty happy to see this just crack top 30.
  • RaeLynn – “Love Triangle”
    • Another one I’m glad to see make it. RaeLynn should be rewarded for her most mature single to date.
  • Rascal Flatts – “Yours If You Want It”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To” – Up 5 from #32 to #27
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” – Up 4 from #23 to #19

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” – Out of the Top 30 & Done

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

  • High Valley – “Make You Mine” (The song that just won’t go away. It’s been here forever and it’s well past due to go recurrent)
  • Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” (Loss of over 200k in audience and lost bullet. At 42 weeks it’s lucky to still be here)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” (Not in a great position and its close to hitting it’s wall. I still think it has enough left in it to maybe squeak out a top five, as Bryan will obviously pass him next week. But after that there’s three songs radio isn’t excited about and gives this song a cushion to stay afloat)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good”
  • Luke Combs – “Hurricane”
  • Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man” (Available Friday and impacting immediately, so expect hourly spins on iHeart)
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Backstreet Boys) – “God, Your Mama and Me”

 

Thoughts: Well we finally got a nice purge on the chart and yet it still wasn’t big enough. There’s still multiple songs that should have went recurrent by now. Looking at you Garth, High Valley and Dibbles. There are some others that are real iffy too. But at least we’re finally starting to see some new songs injected into the charts. Also just as I predicted, country radio is starting to really get behind Turner. That’s nice news for him, even if I don’t like the song. He’s an old reliable and while I don’t think this reaches the top, it should at least reach top ten. Finally Jon Pardi continues to demonstrate he has a real hit on his hands, as he moves into the top ten just under 20 weeks on the chart.

 

As always be sure to weigh-in with your thoughts in the comments below. 

Review – RaeLynn’s “Love Triangle”

raelynn-love-triangle

When it comes to RaeLynn and her music, I haven’t exactly been kind. It was for good reason though because the music was downright awful (and sexist in one case). I’ve probably been one of her harshest critics. But as I’ve said before I criticize because I care and I welcome any artist to turn it around and deliver something that will make me eat crow. I honestly never thought RaeLynn would do this though because I’ve been completely skeptical of her talent. Well she proves me wrong with “Love Triangle.” This was the song she should have always led off her career with because this song gives her credibility and shows an unseen side the world needed to see. It’s a reflective ballad based on RaeLynn’s own upbringing about being a child raised by divorced parents. She goes through the same old routine every week of splitting time between parents, going to the same old place and being caught up in all of the entanglements of her parents’ divorce. It’s a deeply personal song and RaeLynn does a great job of letting this shine through. In a world where divorce is common, I imagine many listeners will be able to connect with this song. The production is subdued and really lets the lyrics do the heavy lifting, which is the right call. Strong piano play and a little more steel guitar that shows up too briefly could have helped the song stand out even more though. RaeLynn is still a limited vocalist and a better vocalist would raise the final grade admittedly, but this is her best vocal performance yet. Overall RaeLynn shows and proves more with “Love Triangle” than she has proven and shown with every song she released before it. I gladly eat crow and praise RaeLynn for releasing such a mature single, which I hope is the sign of more better music to come from her.

Grade: 7/10

Recommend? – Yes

Written by RaeLynn, Nicolle Galyon and Jimmy Robbins

Worst Country Artist 2016 Tournament: Vote on the Sour 16 Regions!

Sour 16 Country Perspective's 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament

Welcome to the second round of Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament! We’re now down to the Sour 16 and the match-ups are getting better and better. You know the drill from the first round: vote for who you think is the worst country artist in the match-up. Remember you have until Wednesday, March 23 at 2 PM ET to vote, so be sure to get your votes in! If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.

 

Pop Artists Region

 

 

We’re A Group & We Suck Region

 

 

Good ‘Ol Bros Region

 

 

Georgia Region

 

Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament: The Sour 16

The round of 32 in Country Perspective’s 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament is over! It was interesting to watch play out to say the least. So how did it play out…

Sour 16 Country Perspective's 2016 Worst Country Artist Tournament

 

For the most part it played out pretty predictably in the first round of voting. Most of the favorites won their match-ups pretty easily, just like the college basketball tournament. The biggest blowout took place in the We’re A Group & We Suck Region, as Florida Georgia Line crushed The Cadillac Three by a 93% to 7% margin. All of the top seeds won fairly comfortably, although I’m surprised Steven Tyler and Michael Ray were able to pull over 25% of the vote against Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett respectively.

Of course not every match-up was like this. There were two upsets that took place in the first round. The first one I didn’t see coming. In the Pop Artists Region #25 Chris Lane upset #6 Kelsea Ballerini, with Lane pulling just ahead of Ballerini with 53.25% of the vote to her 46.75% of the vote. Only 15 votes was the difference! But shockingly this was not the closest. That honor goes to the match-up of #15 Blake Shelton against #18 Justin Moore. It began with Blake crushing Moore early in the voting by a 70-30 margin. Then the Shelton super fans found out about our little tournament. They shared it and voted like crazy for Moore to give Moore a 10% lead at one point. But then Miranda Lambert fans started voting back against Blake fans (I know because of my mentions on Twitter). From there on it was an absolute dead heat as the lead changed hands multiple times yesterday afternoon and evening. Before I went to sleep there was only a one vote difference! I thought I would have to break a tie, but Shelton fans made one last push and Moore came out on top with 51.59% of the vote to pull the upset. Shelton pulled in 48.41% of the vote. The difference? Only 11 votes!

So now we move on to the Sour 16! We start off in the Pop Artists Region as top seed of the entire tournament Sam Hunt will take on #16 RaeLynn, who easily dispatched of Hunter Hayes in round one. Below #9 Kane Brown, who defeated Danielle Bradbery in the round of 32, will face the Cinderella of the tournament, #25 Chris Lane. The winners of these match-ups will face each other in the Egregious 8 to determine the winner of the Pop Artists Region. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Lane can pull off another upset and if RaeLynn, who has never received above a 0 grade on this blog, can knock off top seed Sam Hunt.

In the We’re A Group & We Suck Region, #4 Florida Georgia Line will square off with #13 LoCash, who dispatched of Lady Antebellum quite easily in the first round. In the other Sour 16 match-up in the region, #12 Dan + Shay, who defeated the older versions of themselves in round one, will face #5 Old Dominion. From the start it looked pretty obvious that Florida Georgia Line and Old Dominion were on a collision course to face each other in the region final and it looks to still be the case. Between LoCash and Dan + Shay, I think LoCash has the best chance to pull of an upset. It’s a long shot, but I can see an upset scenario.

Moving onto the Good ‘Ol Bros Region, #2 Thomas Rhett will face off with #18 Justin Moore. The winner of this will meet the winner of what I predict will an absolute bloodbath of a match-up. #10 Chase Rice, who crushed #23 Tyler Farr, will meet #7 Brantley Gilbert, who easily beat #26 Easton Corbin. I think Rice versus Gilbert will be absolutely crazy, as both artists have their fair number of detractors and have made lots of bad music. Just like Shelton versus Moore, I could see super fan turnout being a possible determining factor. Either way I expect it be quite close.

Finally in the Georgia Region, #3 Luke Bryan will take on #14 Dustin Lynch, who beat #19 Kenny Chesney in the first round. I expect Bryan to win this easily, but below we have another thriller set up. #11 Jason Aldean, who took down #22 Billy Currington with ease, will face #6 Cole Swindell, who took out Earl Dibbles Jr.’s alter ego. Do I have to spell this one out? It’s Swindell versus Aldean! The purveyor of country rap against the former Luke Bryan merchandise peddler. The man who helped make Brantley Gilbert a thing faces the man who does this:

Cole Swindell %22Dancing%22

I can’t wait to see how the Sour 16 match-ups play out! Thank you everyone who voted in the first round and hope you all continue to stick around in the subsequent rounds. It’s starting to get really good! The polls will open on Monday at 1 PM ET. May the worst win!