Album Review – Mo Pitney’s ‘Behind This Guitar’

mo-pitney-behind-this-guitar

Right now in popular country music there’s a triumvirate of traditionalists on major labels that have people excited about the future prospects of the genre improving. Those three artists are Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan and Mo Pitney. The first two artists have certainly gotten their fair share of buzz in 2016, as both racked up their first #1 singles at radio. Pardi’s California Sunrise has gotten mostly positive reviews (mine probably being the most positive) and Morgan’s debut album Vinyl has gotten a lot of high praise (my review probably being the most negative). But Pitney has sort of been the odd man out this year. He has yet to have a single reach the top 30 and there was very little hype leading up to his debut album Behind This Guitar. By very little hype, I mean barely anyone has been talking about it. The crowded fall release schedule is a small factor, but I believe this had more to do with Curb Records. But despite the little talk around the album, I certainly didn’t forget it and was hoping for the best as I dug into it. Unfortunately after listening to it, the problems leading up to its release are only exemplified more in the music.

Before I get to what’s wrong with this album, there are a few praiseworthy things on Behind This Guitar. The best song of the album is “Clean Up On Aisle Five.” I previously reviewed it and gave it glowing remarks. I still stand by that review, as the song perfectly captures the dread and sadness of running into an ex you’re still in love with. The song represents Pitney at his best and it’s a shame we don’t hear more songs like this on the album. Another highlight of Behind This Guitar is “It’s Just A Dog.” It sees Pitney recalling finding his dog along the side of a road, abandoned and alone. He then goes over the memories and life of the dog and the impact it had on his life. The song centers around how most people would say it’s just a dog, but to him that dog is something more, a friend and a companion. The dog eventually passes away, crushing him. It’s a real tear-jerker of a song, especially to people who may have lost a pet.

“Come Do A Little Life” is a tad on the broad side, but it’s a solid love song. It’s an easy song to sing along with and relate to, making it a worthy candidate of being a single for Pitney. The album’s title track is essentially Pitney paying thanks to the point he has reached in his career and getting to live his dream of making country music for a living. It’s shows his humbleness and dedication to his craft, which is something he will need if he wants to have a long career (more on this in a second). There’s real meaning behind the song, which the listener will feel. People will remember this and connect with the artist more when they give the listeners songs like this one. It’s just straightforward honesty.

Now let’s get to what I have a big problem with on this album. It was something that showed up on Pardi and Morgan’s albums earlier this year too, but it’s to a bigger extent on Behind This Guitar. This album does not stand out and it isn’t distinctive in any way. It seems to heavily rely on the it’s “real country” aspect that I forewarned of in my pandering and “saving” country music piece. Other than “Everywhere,” this album has plenty of fiddle and steel guitar. But the lyrics are completely lacking. The first single and song of the album “Country” is generic and is obviously pandering. The song is all about how country is a state of mind. This is the easiest of easy themes to sing about in a country song. The current single of the album, “Everywhere,” perfectly represents the type of song Pitney does too much throughout this album: generic and meaningless. I know he’s a new artist, but the amount of boring, trite music on Behind This Guitar is staggering.

The previous single “Boy & A Girl Thing,” is one giant gender stereotyping and didn’t surprise me at all that it didn’t do anything at radio (then again Dierks Bentley’s “Different For Girls” was similar and reached #1). I’m assuming Pitney is paying tribute to a legend and an inspiration with “I Met Merle Haggard Today.” Pitney recalls the day he met Haggard, which I’m sure was a special day for him. But even the Hag would agree with me that this song is just not memorable. It’s also centered on expecting the listener to pop for the song just because it mentions Haggard. This goes back to the pandering issue. “Take The Chance,” “When I’m With You” and “Love Her Like I Lost Her” are all the same song essentially. They’re generic, boring and cliché songs that have been done to death and do nothing to rise up and stand out. What’s worse is all three of these songs are in a row, which helps create a giant lull in the back half of the album and bores the listener.

It’s very easy to point the finger at Mo Pitney for Behind This Guitar being a mostly boring album. He certainly deserves some of the blame, as his name is on the album and songs. But this goes back to him being a new artist. So I put most of the blame for this album being lackluster and uneventful on Curb Records, who at this point has completely failed Pitney. Their promoting of him and his music has been absolutely pathetic and they should be ashamed of how badly they’ve mangled his career so far. Here they have a promising young talent and instead they’ve been investing their time and money more in artists past their prime and artists who will never be stars. I didn’t even know Pitney’s current single “Everywhere” was sent to radio this month until I did research for this album and I constantly keep up with country music news.

It’s quite clear that Curb did not put a lot of support behind Pitney and this album. Say what you want about Big Machine and other major labels, but they do a hell of a lot better job with their new artists and actually give them a chance to succeed in comparison to Curb. Behind This Guitar was doomed from the beginning and that’s a damn shame. The best advice for Pitney for his next album would be to 1) get a better producer who can actually put some life and energy behind the songs, 2) step up the songwriting and 3) run away from Curb Records as soon as possible. An artist with the talent of Mo Pitney should be not be relegated to releasing such lazy and forgettable music.

Grade: 5/10

 

Recommend? – No, only the album highlights

Album Highlights: Clean Up on Aisle Five & It’s Just A Dog

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: Country, Everywhere, Boy & A Girl Thing, I Met Merle Haggard Today, Take The Chance, When I’m With You, Love Her Like I Lost Her


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. 

Don’t You Think This Whole Propaganda Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand?

Kris_Willie_Waylon

Did you hear the good news? Country music has been saved! The streets of Music Row are now paved in gold, heavenly choirs are singing in unison from the heavens above and country radio is using its powers for good. With the release of Jon Pardi’s new album earlier this year and William Michael Morgan’s debut album Vinyl this week, this seems to be the overwhelming sentiment I’m hearing from all corners of country music. Since Pardi got a #1 song at radio with “Head Over Boots” and Morgan got a #1 at radio with “I Met A Girl,” that means country music is all well and good now. It’s been saved!

Give me a damn break.

First off let me just address the absurd notion of “saving” country music. It’s an idea built on sensationalism and propaganda to appeal to the gullible and rebel hearted. Country music has never needed to be saved and it never will. It’s a marketing tactic that people will use to paint us vs them themes and build up a fictional battle taking place right in your backyard. It’s pandering to a natural human instinct to rebel against “the man” if you will. It’s no different from Toby Keith singing about having sex on the American flag on the back of an F-150 truck while fireworks go off in the background and bald eagles fly overhead. If you look me in the eye right now and told me country music needs saved I would laugh and point to Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan and Margo Price. If you did this same thing in the 90s I would point to Alan Jackson, George Strait and Reba. In the 80s I would point to Dwight Yoakam, Keith Whitley and Randy Travis. I think you get my point. Every time in country music history where people think the genre needs “saved” a couple of traditional artists come along and gain popularity to appease the traditionalist masses. It’s a natural cycle that everyone tends to forget about and even yours truly at one point bought into the stupid idea country music needed saving.

This year in particular has really made me open my eyes up to what the real problem has been all along. It made me realize how exactly mainstream country would solve its traditional problem and would do it in the most predictably wrong way. The real problem all along with mainstream country music the past several years has been songwriting. It’s very easy to get hung up on all of these pop sounding songs and their terrible production that doesn’t resemble country in any way. Music Row wisely saw this, so you’ve seen a lot of acts this year go back to a more neutral/pop country sound. Just listen to Blake Shelton and Cole Swindell’s new albums. Zac Brown Band has just promised they’re going back to their roots on their next album. They’re all adjusting to a more country sound to easily appease a lot of people, all while they’re lyrics have not/will not change. Jekyll + Hyde pissed me off more with its lazy songwriting than its two EDM songs. That did more harm to the album than Brown’s egotistical attempts at making EDM music.

But this sound adjustment goes much deeper and clever than this. Music Row knows they can’t fool everyone with these slight pivots and the rest will have to be won over with more elaborate maneuvering. The rest is traditional country fans and what better way to win them over than with pedal steel guitar and a fiddle. Enter Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan and Aaron Lewis. Pardi and Morgan both don cowboy hats and give numerous interviews talking about how proud they are to be country. Lewis’ leading song when joining Dot Records was about how things just aren’t country nowadays and he’s here to bring it back. All feature generous amounts of steel guitar and fiddle in their music. It all helps these labels frame and paint the exact narrative they want to spoon feed the public.

Now I’m painting a picture here insinuating that these artists aren’t genuine in their intentions. In the case of Morgan and Pardi, I don’t think they’re being disingenuous. I think they’re being quite sincere in their efforts of releasing traditional country music. I think Lewis on the other hand is a sleazy con man using traditional country as a vehicle to revive his career from irrelevancy because he pretty much admitted to it when he said he talked shit on pop country artists as a means to pander to his crowd at shows. Pardi and Morgan while sincere, make the perfect pawns for their respective labels and for the industry at whole, but they don’t realize it and won’t until years later.

These three artists being championed by country circles is the industry’s way of saying, “Ha! We still put out traditional country. Happy now? We gave you what you wanted.” While it may have given a lot of people what they wanted, it didn’t give the industry what it needs and that’s better, more honest songwriting. Many people and outlets are going to applaud Morgan and Pardi for bringing traditional country “back.” If you enjoy their music, that’s fine and I don’t knock you for it. Enjoy the music you want to enjoy. But there’s two artists in mainstream country this year that have run circles around everyone else and nobody is talking about them like they should: Tim McGraw and Eric Church. These two have been showing the real change that’s needed at radio and that is deeper songwriting. But because they’re not part of some propaganda movement or don’t have overwhelming steel guitar in their music, their accomplishments are glossed over. Church in particular has been doing more for country music with his songs and attitude than he’s ever done before.

So while Pardi and Morgan’s sound may harken back to Strait and Jackson, their lyrics certainly don’t measure up to the two titans. Both albums suffered from sub par and bad songwriting (yes, I’ll freely admit I overrated the Pardi album and it did not deserve the grade I gave it). But thanks to bringing back a sound many people craved, this was overlooked by many and including yours truly at first. While this traditional revival may sound like the real deal, its substance is still as fake as the pop country it opposes (Morgan and Pardi’s intentions are real, but their respective labels and the industry certainly aren’t). And the substance that is songwriting is something that cannot be faked no matter how hard Music Row tries. You’re not going to consistently get heart and soul out of the assembly line writers on Music Row. The music of Strait, Jones and Nelson is remembered not only for its great instrumentation, but heartfelt songwriting. A song is not just about how it sounds, but what it says.

The point of this post isn’t to bash Pardi and Morgan, who are great, talented artists with very bright futures ahead of them. I’m coming from a place of honesty and genuine care that you the country music fan is being treated like a fool. The point of this post brings me back to something Jason Isbell once said to a fan on Twitter. Isbell said who needs genre, citing off numerous great acts in different genres. A fan said critics need genres and Isbell replied, “Only the lazy ones.” Another quote I leave you with comes from poet W.H. Auden: “Propaganda is a monologue that is not looking for an answer, but an echo.” The country music industry is being lazy and wants you to buy this propaganda that’s being pushed and it’s not right. Don’t be manipulated by what’s taking place and think for yourself. Otherwise you’re playing the part of the echo they desire.

 

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.