The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [July 25]


Derek here this week!  Josh is out enjoying a vacation, so I’m taking over the Pulse this 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. Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” -2 (Up 1)
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells” +2 (Down 1)
  3. Eric Church – “Record Year” +4 (Up 1) [Best Song]
  4. Chris Lane – “Fix” -5 (Up 1) [Worst Song]
  5. Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On” -2 (Down 2)
  6. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +3 (Up 1)
  7. Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up” +1 (Up 2)
  8. Jake Owen – “American Generic Country Love Song” -2 
  9. Sam Hunt – “Make You Miss Me” -4 (Up 1)
  10. Kelsea Ballerini – “Peter Pan” -1 (Up 1)
  11. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +2 (Up 1)
  12. Blake Shelton – “She’s Got A Way With Words” -2 (Up 3)
  13. Dierks Bentley & Elle King – “Different For Girls” -3 (Up 5)
  14. Kip Moore – “Running For You” +2 (Up 2)
  15. Zac Brown Band – “Castaway” +1 (Up 4)
  16. Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight” +2 (Up 1)
  17. Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3 (Up 3)
  18. Miranda Lambert – “Vice”   +3 (New to Top 30)
  19. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Up 3)
  20. William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl” +3 (Up 1)
  21. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Up 3)
  22. Big & Rich (feat. Tim McGraw) – “Lovin’ Lately” +2 (Up 1)
  23. Kenny Chesney – “Noise” (Down 10)
  24. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 1)
  25. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 2)
  26. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 
  27. Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You” +3 (Up 1)
  28. Old Dominion – “Song for Another Time” -2 (Up 1)
  29. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”  +1 (New to Top 30)
  30. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” 0

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -3

The pulse improves eight spots this week!

I give Jason Aldean’s “A Little More Summertime” a based on the iTunes preview of the song. We still haven’t heard the full version yet. Grade may change once the full version is heard.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Keith Urban – “Wasted Time” -3
  • David Nail – “Night’s on Fire” -1

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice”
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes”
    • Josh’s review of the song from Maren’s EP and HERO were positive, praising the pop-country aspect of what could be a big late summer hit. Maren sings the song well, the lyrics are catchy, and the melody is infectious. I honestly debated between scoring this a +1 or 0 and decided to give “80s Mercedes” the benefit of the doubt. Since I’m taking over for Josh this week, this score could change next week if Josh ultimately feels differently than I do.

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “H.O.L.Y.” (I think FGL is in for a multi-week run with this one).

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” debuts on the chart at #18!
  • Dierks Bentley and Elle King’s “Different for Girls” jumps 5 spots from #18 to #13

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Keith Urban’s “Wasted Time” – Out of the Top 30 and recurrent
  • David Nail’s “Night’s On Fire” – Out of the Top 30 and recurrent
  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise” – Down 10 from #13 to #23

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

  • Kenny Chesney – “Noise”
  • Jennifer Nettles – “Unlove You”
  • Jason Aldean – “Lights Come On”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need a Drink”
  • Brad Paisley & Demi Lovato – “Without A Fight”
  • Drake White – “Livin the Dream” (33 weeks on the chart and not making any headway)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • Luke Bryan – “Move”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend”

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