The Endless Music Odyssey, Vol. 5 — CeeLo Green, Caylee Hammack & more!

CeeLo GreenCeeLo Green is Thomas Callaway

Dan Auerbach, David Ferguson and Easy Eye Sound just continue to churn out quality albums. This time it comes from veteran R&B artist CeeLo Green, who is known for such hits like “Crazy” as part of Gnarls Barkley and “Forget You” as a solo artist. But this album is much different than his popular material, as the glitz and glamour is all stripped away in favor of more subtle and smooth sounds. It’s an enjoyable mix of R&B, soul, pop, gospel and even some country. Many have described Green as a chameleon-like performer and I think this album exemplifies this more than any of his others.

There’s simmering love songs like “For You,” “I Wonder How Love Feels” and “Doing It All Together” that mix soul and pop to great results. “Lead Me” shows how Green can absolutely excel at gospel with his passionate vocals and makes me wish there were more gospel moments. “Little Mama” and “Don’t Lie” show another side of Green, being a father, which was great to see from him. But the two songs that intrigued me most were when he dipped into a more country-influenced sounds on “People Watching” and “Slow Down.” The former is a simple, yet bouncy song about observing the world around you and taking in the little things. The latter is a fantastic cover of his Easy Eye Sound label mate John Anderson. CeeLo Green covering John Anderson is not something I thought I would ever write about, but hey it’s 2020 and it works well.

The album closes out with another highlight in “The Way,” a brooding song about fighting your way through darkness. Green’s voice really excels in these dramatic songs, as his dynamic voice can add the right amount of tension to build up the lyrics. If you’re into soul music or enjoy Green’s voice, this album is definitely worth your time. 8/10

Caylee HammackIf It Wasn’t For You

The potential of Caylee Hammack is great. She has an incredible voice and when she incorporates her personal experiences into her songwriting, it makes for some damn compelling music. “Small Town Hypocrite” is easily the star of this album, an in-depth look at seven-year relationship that took Hammack away from a music scholarship and changed her life in several ways. And not only is the attention to detail great in the lyrics, but her vocal performance adds just the right amount of emotional touch. The best example is when she sings “When I chose you and daddy gave me hell/I made myself into someone else/Just to love you, damn, I loved you.” The aching regret and hesitation in her voice as she delivers these final words cuts straight to the heart. 

Hammack has other great moments on this album too like “Redhead.” Hammack and Reba sound great together and I’m surprised this wasn’t chosen for her new single, as it’s catchy and fun to singalong with. Hammack, Tenille Townes and Ashley McBryde sound fantastic harmonizing together on “Mean Something,” which is a song dripping with honesty about people seeking to be something more in a world filled with a lot of selfishness and lack of substance. “Sister,” “Forged in the Fire” and “Family Tree” are other solid songs where Hammack peels back layers of her life to deliver heartfelt messages and show the lessons she’s learned. “Gold” is a heartfelt epilogue to “Small Town Hypocrite” and “New Level of Life” is a fun closer to the album that features one of the more interesting production moments on the album.  

But this album falls frustratingly short of being great and I largely blame this on the production. It ultimately hinders Hammack more than it helps, as most of the time it feels very paint-by-numbers as far as pop country goes. Hammack’s voice isn’t fully utilized, as it’s bright and dynamic, so why not fully feature it? It’s also frustrating to have songs in the middle of the album like “Preciatcha,” “Just Like You,” “Just Friends” and “King Size Bed” that pigeonhole her into generic pop country. It’s just not that interesting and throws the flow of the album off for me. It’s not really surprising, as new artists typically have these kinds of songs on their debut album to appease labels who like to send them to radio. Nevertheless, this is a decent debut album from Hammack. 6/10

DUCKWRTHSuperGood

Smooth, slick and funky are the three best words to describe this album. If you’re looking for lyrical prowess, this album won’t have it. Not to say the lyrics are bad. They’re solid, yet unspectacular as most of the lyrics deal with love and enjoying the party. But if you’re looking for some smooth beats, this album is overflowing with them. This is an album to move to and sing along with on a Saturday night. While it’s listed as hip-hop, this is far from a straight hip-hop record. No, I would describe this more along the lines of Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. This album is very much genre fluid, an enjoyable blend of hip-hop, R&B, soul, pop and disco. While I was a big fan of DUCKWRTH’s earlier material that was edgier and had an almost rock flavor to them, it’s clear this sound seems to suit him best. And he did kind of foreshadow this on “MICHUUL,” aspiring to be like the king of pop. And this music is definitely a strong step into that sound. 8/10

The MavericksEn Español

This is definitely one of those times where I wish I had taken more Spanish classes. I know some of the language, but unfortunately not enough to understand and appreciate the lyrics of this album. If anybody would happen to know how to procure a translated version of it, I would be happy to go more in-depth on this album. So for now I can only analyze the other elements of this album and they’re top level as always from the eclectic and dynamic group. The instrumentation is flamboyant, colorful and vibrant, a beautiful mixture of country, pop, Tex Mex and a whole lot more. Raul Malo still has one of the best voices in music, as it still sounds as flawless as ever. So based on the two elements of this album I can understand, this is another great album from The Mavericks. 

Margo PricePerfectly Imperfect At The Ryman

This is the best Margo Price album and you can’t tell me otherwise. In the last edition of The Endless Music Odyssey, I expressed my disappointment with her latest studio album and how it fails to capture the energy of her live shows that get rave reviews. I’ve never seen her live, but I potentially will next year as she opens for a Chris Stapleton show I have tickets to see. This reminded me that she actually released a live album on Bandcamp earlier this year and it had slipped through the cracks for yours truly. After listening to this album, it further cements the sentiment she’s better live. She has a fiery and infectious personality that unfortunately just gets sanded away in her studio recordings. But in a live setting she’s unleashed and at her very best. Her vocals don’t feel restrained and you even get to hear her excellent vibrato on multiple songs, which baffles me that this isn’t featured much on her studio albums. 

I hope whoever produces her next album takes cues from this live album and finds a way to incorporate them. Old Crow Medicine Show was in this same boat for years too and Gary Clark Jr. is still in this boat. It’s a rare occurrence it feels like in music to sound good live, but not in the studio, as it’s usually the other way around for several artists. 8/10

Tucker BeathardKING

Well I’ll say this: at least his voice is tolerable now. I once said he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket and that his voice was grating to the ears. It didn’t help either he was another victim of On The Verge, which is a legal payola way of making someone a “star”, but really just distorts reality. Also a smart move to delete all of his music with Big Machine Records and to start a clean slate. 

So I will say I can now listen to his voice without wanting to turn the song off. But he sounds essentially like every other male pop country artist. Still progress of course to go from bad to generic, but not really good either. None of these songs compel me to say anything other than it’s a song, except for “One Upper.” It’s a song about two characters: a rich asshole in a suit who thinks he can buy everything with money and an average joe who ultimately thinks he’s better because he has a hot girlfriend. What endearing people! 4/10

Josh TurnerCountry State of Mind

Just like I said about Jon Pardi’s Rancho Fiesta Sessions, take this for what it is and you’ll have an enjoyable listen. This is another solid country covers album released in a year where there’s been several. Needless to say I’m starting to get a little fatigued by them at this point. There’s not a bad song on this album, but the highlights in my eyes are “I’ve Got It Made” with John Anderson, the album title track with Chris Janson, “I Can Tell by the Way You Dance,” “Forever and Ever, Amen” with Randy Travis and “Desperately” with Maddie & Tae. 8/10

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 24]

world-on-fire

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -28

The pulse drops two spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” -3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Michael Ray – “Think A Little Less”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” – Up 8 from #27 to #19
  • Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” – Up 4 from #22 to #18
  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” – Up 3 from #17 to #14
  • Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime” – Up 3 from #7 to #4

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Tucker Beathard – “Rock On” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” – Down 9 from #19 to #28
  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Down 4 from #1 to #5

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

  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody”
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brad Paisley – “Today”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” (Oh joy to the world, I’m so excited about this)
  • Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” (This is well on it’s way to being a big hit for Pardi, as it’s having great sales)
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”

 

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

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.