The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [August 2010]


Yes, you read that right! With Josh’s permission I have brought this feature back to life on Country Perspective. Considering I was just a reader when this feature was introduced, I am definitely excited to see it revived as well as be the one in charge of it.

What the Past Pulse will do is 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. Each song on the chart will receive either a +1, 0, or -1. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the top 30 songs with the highest score being a +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. Songs rated between a 7 and 10 will receive a +1. Songs rated either 5 or 6 will receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower will 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. Since I got involved with country music in 2010 (due more to age than quality of the music at the time), I will take a look at the top 30 on the Country Airplay Chart from August 14, 2010.

  1. Jerrod Niemann – “Lover, Lover” +1
  2. Zac Brown Band – “Free” +1
  3. Keith Urban – “I’m In” 0
  4. Carrie Underwood – “Undo It” -1
  5. Blake Shelton – “All About Tonight” -1
  6. Lee Brice – “Love Like Crazy” +1
  7. Billy Currington – “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer” -1
  8. Lady Antebellum – “Our Kind Of Love” 0
  9. Luke Bryan – “Rain Is A Good Thing” -1
  10. Uncle Kracker – “Smile” -1
  11. Kenny Chesney – “The Boys Of Fall” -1
  12. Josh Turner – “All Over Me” 0
  13. Easton Corbin – “Roll With It” +1
  14. Little Big Town – “Little White Church” 0
  15. Craig Morgan – “This Ain’t Nothin’” +1
  16. Darius Rucker – “Come Back Song” 0
  17. Alan Jackson – “Hard Hat and A Hammer” +1
  18. Gary Allan – “Get Off On The Pain” +1
  19. Rodney Atkins – “Farmer’s Daughter” +1
  20. David Nail – “Turning Home” +1 [Best Song]
  21. Josh Thompson – “Way Out Here” -1
  22. Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue” -1 [Worst Song]
  23. The Band Perry – “If I Die Young” +1
  24. George Strait – “The Breath You Take” +1
  25. Toby Keith – “Trailerhood” -1
  26. Justin Moore – “How I Got To Be This Way” -1
  27. James Otto – “Groovy Little Summer Song” -1
  28. Reba McEntire – “Turn On The Radio” 0
  29. Trace Adkins – “This Ain’t No Love Song” 0
  30. Steve Azar – “Sunshine (Everybody Needs A Little)” 0

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: 0

Wow, we’re without a Pulse folks! The sad part is that not having a Pulse is better than the negative Pulses we’ve been exposed to these days.

So what’s changed in these past six years? The Band Perry was ascending the charts with what would turn out to be their biggest hit, and by golly it’s actually a freaking country song! So now that they seemed to have died young can I bury them in yellow instead of satin? George Strait and Alan Jackson were not only still on the country charts at this time, but they were in the top 25! Now it takes a Beyonce move just to get Strait into the top 40. What’s that they used to say? “There’s been an awful murder down on music row.” My how things change. Craig Morgan released arguably his best song ever during this time too. Heck, even Easton Corbin and Jerrod Niemann were still viewed as the good guys of mainstream country music! Gary Allan was still releasing the badass moody rockers that have shaped his entire career (and not having to appeal to trends). My personal favorite song on here though is David Nail’s “Turning Home,” a song that I always felt was under-appreciated. Sure, it may not have been the most countriest thing out there, but the song told a damn good story and Nail’s emotion and vocal presence on this track was absolutely amazing.

Then there’s the bad stuff, even if it doesn’t compare with the lows we’ve seen today. Though he wasn’t shaking his ass for females everywhere yet, Luke Bryan still had a very annoying song out at the time with “Rain Is A Good Thing.” It’s also interesting to see that Blake Shelton has been releasing formulaic material for a LONG time at this point. “All About Tonight” is a total snooze-fest. Then of course we have Sugarland and their God-awful rap/reggae song which coincidentally was their last “big” hit ever. Surprisingly enough these two have both crafted some pretty solid music in their own solo careers. We also had Uncle Kracker’s cheesy, non-country “Smile” song, which bugged the ever-loving crap out of me as a teenager. Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” was also released here, and it’s by far my least favorite song of hers. I think she can handle country-pop very well, but man this was bad…..

What’s interesting to see is that Carrie Underwood is the only solo female on this chart. Oh well, at least there wasn’t any bro-country or metropolitan. Little victories guys, little victories.

So what do you think of this chart? What’s your favorite and least favorite of the above songs? Do you want this feature to stay or remain gone?

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 2004]

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? The rating it received on the site by either Derek or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. 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 March 27, 2004.

  1. Tim McGraw – “Watch The Wind Blow By” +1
  2. Toby Keith – “American Soldier” -1
  3. Brad Paisley – “Little Moments” +1
  4. Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker – “When The Sun Goes Down” -1
  5. Sara Evans – “Perfect” 0
  6. Trace Adkins – “Hot Mama” 0
  7. Buddy Jewell – “Sweet Southern Comfort” 0
  8. Alan Jackson – “Remember When” +1
  9. Keith Urban – “You’ll Think Of Me” +1
  10. Martina McBride – “In My Daughter’s Eyes” +1
  11. Jimmy Wayne – “I Love You This Much” +1
  12. Rascal Flatts – “Mayberry” +1
  13. John Michael Montgomery – “Letters From Home” +1 (Hey Toby, this is how you do a song about soldiers)
  14. Gary Allan – “Songs About Rain” +1
  15. Josh Turner – “Long Black Train” +1
  16. George Strait – “Desperately” +1
  17. Clint Black – “Spend My Time” 0
  18. Blue County – “Good Little Girls” -1
  19. Carolyn Dawn Johnson – “Simple Life” +1
  20. Tracy Lawrence – “Paint Me Birmingham” +1
  21. Dierks Bentley – “My Last Name” +1
  22. Montgomery Gentry – “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” +1
  23. Brooks & Dunn – “That’s What She Gets For Loving Me” +1
  24. Big & Rich – “Wild West Show” +1
  25. SheDaisy – “Passenger Seat” 0
  26. Brian McComas – “You’re In My Head” +1
  27. Lonestar – “Let’s Be Us Again” 0
  28. Reba McEntire – “Somebody” +1
  29. Clay Walker – “I Can’t Sleep” 0
  30. David Lee Murphy – “Loco” -1

The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: +15

Last week we look at the chart in March 2000 and had a very healthy score of +22. This week we go four years ahead of that to the year 2004, where the pulse is slightly lower at +15. You can tell a lot of the old guard of the 90s is fading out at this time and giving way to new artists such as Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts. Garth Brooks and Shania Twain are nowhere to be found. It’s interesting that the 2005 score we looked at weeks ago was closer to 2000 in terms of the pulse than 2004. The 2000 pulse at this time was 18 points better than the current pulse.

As is now customary, fire away with your comments and questions about this week’s past pulse. Recognize some old favorites? Maybe a few you would like to not be reminded about?