The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 2013]

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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. Admittedly my week was pretty hectic, therefore I’m taking a break from my review backlog this week. It will resume next week, but for now I picked 2013 since I already knew my thoughts on all thirty songs. This week’s chart will be from May 11th, 2013.

  1. Thompson Square – “If I Didn’t Have You” +1
  2. Florida Georgia Line – “Get Your Shine On” -3 (Admittedly this song REALLY annoys me, but it’s more of a personal thing. Therefore I decided to be fair.)
  3. Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart” 0
  4. Lady Antebellum – “Downtown” 0
  5. Kenny Chesney – “Pirate Flag” -3
  6. Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel” +1 (I don’t think the song is all that special but eh…it was the most country thing to hit the top in quite a while so whatever)
  7. Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift & Keith Urban – “Highway Don’t Care” -2
  8. George Strait – “Give It All We Got Tonight” 0
  9. Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There” +1
  10. Brad Paisley – “Beat This Summer” +3 [Best Song]
  11. Eric Church – “Like Jesus Does” +1
  12. Blake Shelton  & The Pistol Annies – “Boys ‘Round Here” -5 [Worst Song…..Ever]
  13. Brantley Gilbert – “More Than Miles” +1
  14. The Band Perry – “DONE” -1 (And now they really are!)
  15. Jason Aldean – “1994” -5 [Worst Song…..oh shit I already handed this out? Ugh….]
  16. Jake Owen – “Anywhere With You” 0
  17. Zac Brown Band – “Jump Right In” +1
  18. Luke Bryan – “Crash My Party” -1
  19. Gloriana – “Can’t Shake You” +2
  20. The Henningsens – “American Beautiful” 0
  21. Kip Moore – “Hey Pretty Girl” +2
  22. Easton Corbin – “All Over The Road” -1
  23. Hunter Hayes – “I Want Crazy” -2
  24. Carrie Underwood – “See You Again” +1
  25. Gary Allan – “Pieces” +1
  26. Brett Eldredge – “Don’t Ya” -1 (Almost a 0 but that opening line is just way too cringe worthy)
  27. Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill – “Don’t Rush” +1
  28. Justin Moore – “Point At You” -1
  29. Billy Currington – “Hey Girl” -3
  30. Randy Houser – “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” -2

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: -14

So yeah this week was definitely a bust. From the looks at the bottom half of the chart, it looks like we were just about to be inundated with bro-country. Elsewhere, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton run away with the “honor” of having two of the absolute worst songs to ever descend upon the country genre. Even looking beyond that there’s just not a whole lot here. The best song for me is Brad Paisley’s experimental “Beat This Summer” but only that is great as opposed to outright excellent. Honestly there’s just a whole lot of mediocrity here.

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 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!

Country Perspective’s Worst Country Songs of 2015 So Far

Yesterday we took a look at the very best country songs that have been released in 2015. Today we take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Yes, the very worst country songs of 2015 so far. As much great country music that’s been released, we’ve also had a lot of bad “country” music. There is already more 0/10 reviews this year than all of last year. Why did these songs make the Zero Club? Well there are many reasons, but they get a zero grade because they just aren’t country songs or there is no creative whatsoever put into them. So now let’s take a look back at the absolute worst of the worst offered from country music in 2015 so far. (Click on the song titles for the full review)

Luke Bryan – “Kick The Dust Up”

This isn’t as bad as “That’s My Kind of Night,” but I don’t think even this trio of writers could pen such a terrible song that could top it. “Kick The Dust Up” is still a horrendous song that only contributes more to the gaping black-hole of creativity on country radio right now. Bryan is still churning out the same exact music he was putting out in 2013. In two years time he hasn’t changed a thing. Why? He hasn’t changed because he knows the mainstream country music fans will gobble this turd up just like the previous ones. We can blame these assholes making bro country all we want, but if fans out there keep accepting this kind of trash as music then they’re just as much to blame for country music’s problems too. So if you want to help country music: avoid this song at all cost and go listen to quality country music. Support the artists that deserve it. You can make a difference. “Kick The Dust Up” is just another black eye on the face of country music.

Old Dominion – “Break Up With Him”

Country music has gotten enough terrible music from all of the bro country artists invading the genre and now Sam Hunt is leading in a wave of spoken word pop music that is even worse. This is my first impression of Old Dominion and it isn’t a good one. Releasing a single like this early in your career shows me a lot of what you’re trying to accomplish as artists. It shows that you only care about popularity and quality is the last thing on your mind. “Break Up With Him” takes the worst elements of Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the worst elements of Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy” to make one of the most irritable country songs of 2015. I listened to this a few times and started to develop a light headache. That tells you what you need to know about “Break Up With Him.” 

Michael Ray – “Kiss You In The Morning”

This song flat-out sucks in every single way. There is no point in having yet another bro country song about kissing. This is another perfect example of Nashville trying to shove shit down the country music consumers throat and tell them it’s candy. I hope country music listeners have learned their lesson and just ignore this terrible song. Some people in country music are trying to make strides and this song hurts those strides. “Kiss You In The Morning” will go down as one of the worst country songs of 2015 and will be a strong contender for Country Perspective’s Worst Song of 2015 award.

RaeLynn – “For A Boy”

I just don’t understand why she continues to get pushed as an artist. It all started with Blake Shelton on The Voice and now Big Machine is pushing her. I just don’t see any talent in any area of her performances. The lyrics are weak, the instrumentation is weak and her voice is weak. I hate to say it, but it seems the only reason Big Machine even signed her is because of her looks and her willingness to sing any sexist, bubblegum pop country song they throw her way. Every time RaeLynn releases a new song I hope she proves me wrong, but she just doesn’t. “For A Boy” is simply another terrible song from RaeLynn and like every other RaeLynn song we’ve reviewed on here, I recommend avoiding it.

Eli Young Band – “Turn It On”

This uncreative garbage is getting pretty old. Then again I’m not surprised either. With the success of Sam Hunt, all of the other trend-chasing artists in the genre are going to try to follow suit in the way Hunt’s music is styled. Eli Young Band shows with this song they don’t give a crap about quality. It’s all about the money for them and they’ll churn out whatever they have to for radio success. You know why people hate sellouts? They hate sellouts because it’s easy. Making generic radio hits is easy to pull off. Making great music is difficult. It’s a true art form where you put your heart and soul into it. “Turn It On” is the opposite of heart and soul. It’s corporate, lifeless radio filler.

Cole Swindell – “Let Me See Ya Girl”

“Let Me See Ya Girl” is another boring and bland bro country song that the world didn’t need to hear. Swindell continues to be the most generic “country” singer I’ve ever heard. I’m so used to this terrible music that I can’t even get that angry anymore. I spend more time yawning and laughing. By the way the funniest part of the song is when Swindell utters in the bridge, “bring the beat back.” I can just picture Swindell wearing his baseball cap backwards and trying so hard to sound cool and sexy saying it. But Swindell can never be cool or sexy. He’s a merchandise peddler pretending to be a country artist. Avoid “Let Me See Ya Girl” at all costs. In fact avoid Swindell’s music at all costs.

Chris Janson – “Buy Me A Boat”

Chris Janson without a doubt has a hit on his hands and it should do really nice on country radio throughout the summer. It appeals to the lowest common denomination of intelligence when it comes to listeners. Throw in the whole underdog story being pushed about Janson, his hunky look and he’s the perfect image of what labels want. Warner Nashville swooping him up was one of the most unsurprising news stories in country music this year. For the rest of us, “Buy Me A Boat” is a huge insult to our intelligence. It’s nothing more than a corporate jingle with laundry list lyrics. I definitely recommend avoiding this song. Janson may be pulling the wool over the mainstream country fans’ faces, but he isn’t fooling me. “Buy Me A Boat” is a long-plotted monstrosity wrote specifically to pander to country radio.

Thomas Rhett – “Crash and Burn”

The cold, hard truth with “Crash and Burn” is this is just another attempt by country to hawk sounds from other genres in a desperate attempt to win back the temporary cross-over popularity it had with bro country. Don’t give me this crap about country music evolving. Changing the genre sound completely to the point where you can’t tell it’s country music anymore is not evolution. Artists like Rhett say it’s evolution because it’s the laziest and most brainless excuse you can trot out. Their fans and the corporate country outlets eat it right up too. When it comes down to it “Crash and Burn” is a song in the wrong genre performed by the wrong artist. Many will applaud this song for being different, but I jeer it for the poor excuse it is to make pop music and label it country. You should do the same too.

Kelsea Ballerini – “Love Me Like You Mean It”

You know what these lyrics make me picture in my head? I imagine I’m in a bar and Chase Rice is sitting at the counter. Or Cole Swindell. Pick any bro-country artist you want. So they’re sitting there at the bar and Ballerini walks up to them uttering these lyrics. Then Rice flashes a douchey smirk at her and makes a condescending, sexist remark. Ballerini eats this up most likely. I’m sitting in the background rolling my eyes so hard they’re about to fall out. That’s the mental image I get when I hear these lyrics. This is not a good thing.

Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”

Keith Urban is capable of producing much better music than “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” Urban’s laziness and chasing of the almighty dollar is quite evident here. Urban knows exactly what he’s doing. This is a song from an artist that praises Sturgill Simpson and wore his shirt on national television. Simpson wouldn’t be caught dead cutting a song like this one. I thought Urban would be inspired by a truly talented artist like Simpson, but it’s apparent that Urban is only interested in listening to others make quality music and not try to do this himself. “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″ is absolute garbage and I highly recommend avoiding it. This is one of the worst songs I’ve heard in country music in 2015.

Hunter Hayes – “21”

The Dishonorable Mentions

 

The Hodgepodge: Country Music After The Mainstream Bubble Pops

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After the mainstream country music bubble popping, the genre could finally rebuild and go back to it’s roots.

Last week in The Hodgepodge I laid out a prediction that mainstream country music’s bubble was about to burst. This week I want to further clarify what I mean and what I think country music would look like as a result. If you haven’t read last week’s Hodgepodge yet, you’ll want to read it before reading this piece. This is basically part two. What I mean by bubble bursting is that I think country music will cease to exist in the mainstream realm. I believe what’s been done to country music in the past few years, as well as right now is irreversibly damaging the format beyond repair as a mainstream genre. The big awards shows will disappear slowly, along with country radio stations. The amount of big labels will shrink and there will be more independent artists. This isn’t me predicting that country music will have another neo-traditional like renaissance or an outlaw movement. Essentially I’m predicting a country music apocalypse. I’m predicting the death of mainstream country music if they continue down the path they are on.

I think I got the point across now. So what would country music be like post-apocalypse? Well for starters lets take a look at the biggest names in country music. With the genre no longer a cash cow, no longer having a big radio presence and being relegated to second-tier status, I see many artists going to the pop realm. Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean would all go pop for example. They won’t find near the success they had in country music, but they can remain in the spotlight and are certainly willing to kowtow to whatever the popular sound is. Some of the bigger country artists I could see going to the rock scene. Brantley Gilbert could easily fit into the rock scene, as well as Eric Church. Their current sound has a lot of rock influences.

In post-death of mainstream country music, I think you would see a lot of lesser known acts fade into obscurity. Groups like Lady Antebellum and Thompson Square wouldn’t stand a chance in this new world of country music. Neither would bro country stars like Chase Rice, Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett. They no longer have any kind of radio presence nor huge appeal, so there’s no longer a reason sites like mine would need to cover them. Only the best would get covered. Speaking of the best artists like Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley and Kacey Musgraves could all put forth their best country albums possible. No longer would they have to answer to labels wanting a radio hit. They can make the exact music they would want to make. No more fad or trend chasing.

This leads me to the independent country artists, Americana artists who make country music and older country legends still making music. They would benefit the most out of all of this happening because now they’re on more equal ground with the likes of the biggest names in country music. The battleground is no longer on the radio. It’s on the Internet, where all media is competing now. The two key aspects to your music being heard would be quality and promotion. The latter is something that is really key because many country artists struggle to have a great online presence. Whoever can nail both of those two key aspects would not only be the most covered, but the most popular. Country music would finally be judged in the most just way possible. It would encourage artists to put out the best country music possible and establishing a dedicated fan base would be of the utmost importance. See why I think independent country artists would benefit the most?

Ultimately I think country music fans would benefit greatly too. Many of you reading this are already taking to the Internet to find country music. Your habits and listening wouldn’t change much, if at all. If anything you’ll have more fellow people joining you in toasting the best of country music. Sites like mine could take the time we spent talking about the junk in the mainstream and use it to find more unknown country acts who deserve to be heard. I enjoy writing reviews on an act that deserves to be heard and doesn’t have a huge following more than some terrible, fad chasing mainstream country single. They say it’s always darkest before the dawn and I think that would be the case here. Country music needs to die as a mainstream format if it ever wants to fix itself and be country music again.

In this scenario the best artists would become the face of the genre. The likes of Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Wade Bowen, Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves and others would lead country music like they should be now. Together these great artists could re-build the genre into what it once was in its heyday and continue it on for future generations in the manner it should be. This would take years to happen, but it’s something that must happen. If anything we should all be cheering for this to happen because everyone in the end would benefit. Well except for those fringe artists I mentioned, but that’s their own doing. Nevertheless I think the death of country music as a mainstream format would be the drastic change needed to save this genre. It would be painful to watch and tumultuous at times, but from the ashes country music would rise again reborn in its rightful image. In the words of founding father Patrick Henry, “give me liberty or give me death.” Country music isn’t going to give us liberty. So I guess there’s only one other option.

(Note: This is all pure speculation on my part and I could easily be wrong. Country music always seems to pull a rabbit out of its hat just at the right moment. But I do think this is a real possibility and I wanted to fully explore it. Who doesn’t like to explore hypothetic scenarios?)

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • The long-awaited debut album of Chris Stapleton will finally be released next Tuesday. The album called Traveller, is currently streaming on NPR if you want to get an early listen before the release date. We’ll definitely have a review on it next week.
  • Shelby Lynne, sister of fellow alt country artist Allison Moorer, will release a new album next Monday titled I Can’t Imagine. If it’s anywhere close to Moorer’s album in terms of quality we’re in for a real treat.
  • Jason Michael Carroll will release his first new album in four years next Tuesday. It’s titled What Color Is Your Sky. The former Arista Nashville artist is hoping this album will launch him back into mainstream conscious. I’m curious to hear what he’s come up with.
  • Randy Houser has released the first single from his new upcoming album and it’s called “We Went.” You can currently stream the song on Rolling Stone if you want to give it a listen. Ryan is writing a review on this one.
  • Right now at Brandy Clark’s website if you sign up for her newsletter you get a free download of her new song “I Cried.” How great of a deal is this? If you’re a fan of Clark or free music head on over and sign up.
  • The eagerly anticipated sophomore album release from Kacey Musgraves has finally been announced. It’s called Pageant Material and will come out on June 9. This is definitely one of the more fascinating and interesting releases in mainstream country music this year, as her debut album won her a lot of hardware and praise from critics and fans alike.
  • More great news! Lindi Ortega’s new album is coming out on August 7 and it’s called Faded Gloryville. I’m definitely excited about this one and will provide more details about it as they become available.

Throwback Thursday Song

Jamey Johnson – “The Last Cowboy” – This feels like an appropriate one for this week’s Hodgepodge. Also I listened to some of Johnson’s catalog to wash the new Zac Brown Band album out of my head. I’m still salty and it’s going to take me a while to get over it. Arrgh! Also I’m looking forward to hearing Jamey’s new album, whenever it may come out.

Non-Country Album of the Week

Let’s talk about a great album, shall we? Like Lord Huron’s new album Strange Trails. If you’re into Springsteen type rock music, you’ll love this album. It also reminds me a lot of The War on Drugs’ album last year, except this album doesn’t have five different songs over seven minutes. There’s also some country influences on the album, most notably on “Hurricane.” I think a lot of you would like it and it’s worth checking out.

Tweet of the Week

Amen Reginald.

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Face Palm

Fuck You Hunt Fans

Cobra brought to my attention this ridiculous review left under Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen’s fantastic new album. Now you know why I say so many terrible things about Hunt and his fans. It’s idiotic, trolling comments like this (and the horrific music of course). But hey Hunt fans might get their wish if my above prediction comes true. They’ll kill country music in the mainstream. But you’ll never take away great artists like Bowen and Rogers.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [April 2013]

Every week I take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. It could be 10 years ago, 20 years ago or even further back. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive either a +1, -1 or a 0. 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 +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated between 5 and 6.5 receive a 0. Songs rated 4.5 or lower receive a -1.

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 take a look at the top 30 on the Country Airplay Chart from April 13, 2013. After getting a perfect score last week when looking at 1993, we’ll now get to see how much country music regressed over 20 years.

  1. Hunter Hayes – “Somebody’s Heartbreak” -1 (Too pop sounding)
  2. Lee Brice – “I Drive Your Truck” +1 (Brice’s best single of his career)
  3. Lady Antebellum – “Downtown” (I like the sentiment, but it’s overproduced)
  4. Blake Shelton – “Sure Be Cool If You Did” -1 (It made the bro country mashup, so…)
  5. Thompson Square – “If I Didn’t Have You” (Pretty forgettable song)
  6. Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There” (Young doesn’t show enough charisma and energy)
  7. Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart” -1 (This song is just dumb)
  8. Kenny Chesney – “Pirate Flag” -1 (This song is even dumber)
  9. Florida Georgia Line – “Get Your Shine On” -1 (I think this is the song that made the term “sugar shaker” popular)
  10. Carrie Underwood – “Two Black Cadillacs” (Good production and vocals, but is the violence necessary?)
  11. George Strait – “Give It All We Got Tonight” +1 (One of his weaker singles, but still good)
  12. Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel” (Just listen to Old Crow Medicine Show’s version)
  13. Eric Church – “Like Jesus Does” (Too sappy to take seriously)
  14. Brantley Gilbert – “More Than Miles” (This sounds exactly the same as “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do”)
  15. Jason Aldean – “1994” -1 (One of Aldean’s worst songs ever)
  16. Brad Paisley – “Beat This Summer” +1 (A summer tune I can enjoy)
  17. Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift – “Highway Don’t Care” -1 (This song’s entire arrangement annoys me)
  18. Dustin Lynch – “She Cranks My Tractor” -1 (Do I really need to explain this one?)
  19. Blake Shelton – “Boys ‘Round Here” -1 (One of the worst country songs ever)
  20. The Band Perry – “DONE.” -1 (This song flat-out annoys me)
  21. Jake Owen – “Anywhere With You” -1 (I’ve heard this song way too many times in my life)
  22. Zac Brown Band – “Jump Right In” +1 (You either love or hate this song)
  23. Rascal Flatts – “Changed” (Not bad enough for a -1, not good enough for a +1)
  24. Gloriana – “Can’t Shake You” (A pretty forgettable song)
  25. The Henningsens – “American Beautiful” (I forgot about this father-son-daughter trio)
  26. Kip Moore – “Hey Pretty Girl” -1 (The hook is annoying and Kip sounds bored)
  27. Jana Kramer – “Whiskey” (A decent song. Nothing more, nothing less)
  28. Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill – “Don’t Rush” +1 (This song needed more Vince to be really good)
  29. Easton Corbin – “All Over The Road” -1 (The start of Easton wasting his talent)
  30. Brett Eldredge – “Don’t Ya” (Eldredge’s vocals save this song from being terrible)

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -8

Pretty terrible list, huh? Amazing how much of a difference there is from 1993 to 2013. Over a 20 year span the pulse went from a perfect +30 to -8, making it a 38 point drop. There are some songs up above that would be strong contenders for the worst country songs ever. If terrible music wasn’t being made, it was usually just safe and neutral music. Hell this time period is even worse than today, which was at -4 this past week. There’s really not any great music, just a few good songs that save this chart from being a total wash. Of course this is right before bro country would become huge.

Personally I remember being a pretty disinterested country music fan at this time. My frustration started in late 2012 and at this point I was drifting away from the genre. I went about five months in 2013 without turning on country radio. Zac Brown Band and Brad Paisley were the only country music I would listen to in my music library. I really got into rap music. When I returned and saw it had gotten even worse, that was when I began my search for country music beyond the mainstream and started the path to me eventually creating this site.

As is now customary, fire away with your comments and questions about this week’s past pulse.