The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: October 14, 2018

Several years ago, Josh Schott started a weekly feature on the now-defunct Country Perspective blog that asked a simple question: Based on Billboard’s country airplay charts, just how good (or bad) is country radio at this very moment? In the spirit of the original feature, I decided to try my hand at evaluating the state of the radio myself.

The methodology is as follows: Each song that appears is assigned a score based on its review score. 0/10 songs get the minimum score (-5), 10/10 songs get the maximum (+5), and so on. The result (which can range from +250 to -250) gives you an idea of where things stand on the radio.

This week’s official numbers are from Mediabase’s weekly chart publication. Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers!

Song Score
1. Florida Georgia Line, “Simple” +2 (7/10)
2. Luke Combs, “She Got The Best Of Me” +2 (7/10)
3. Russell Dickerson, “Blue Tacoma” 0 (5/10)
4. Cole Swindell, “Break Up In The End” +3 (8/10)
5. Chris Young, “Hangin’ On” 0 (5/10)
6. Old Dominion, “Hotel Key” +1 (6/10)
7. Chris Janson, “Drunk Girl” +5 (10/10)
8. Maren Morris, “Rich” -1 (4/10)
9. Kane Brown, “Lose It” +1 (6/10)
10. Jimmie Allen, “Best Shot” +2 (7/10)
11. Carly Pearce, “Hide The Wine” 0 (5/10)
12. Mitchell Tenpenny, “Drunk Me” 0 (5/10)
13. Garth Brooks, “All Day Long” +3 (8/10)
14. Eric Church, “Desperate Man” +1 (6/10)
15. Kip Moore, “Last Shot” -2 (3/10)
16. Sugarland ft. Taylor Swift, “Babe” 0 (5/10)
17. LANco, “Born To Love You” +1 (6/10)
18. Blake Shelton, “Turnin’ Me On” -1 (4/10)
19. Dierks Bentley ft. Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man” +3 (8/10)
20. Dan + Shay, “Speechless” 0 (5/10)
21. Midland, “Burn Out” +5 (10/10)
22. Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” 0 (5/10)
23. Jordan Davis, “Take It From Me” -2 (3/10)
24. Dustin Lynch, “Good Girl” 0 (5/10)
25. Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” +1 (6/10)
26. Scotty McCreery, “This Is It” +1 (6/10)
27. Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” -1 (4/10)
28. Thomas Rhett, “Sixteen” +2 (7/10)
29. Tyler Rich, “The Difference” 0 (5/10)
30. Kenny Chesney ft. Mindy Smith, “Better Boat” +2 (7/10)
31. Jason Aldean, “Girl Like You” (5/10)
32. Michael Ray, “One That Got Away” -4 (1/10)
33. Tim McGraw, “Neon Church” 0 (5/10)
34. Travis Denning, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs” 0 (5/10)
35. Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” 0 (5/10)
36. Keith Urban, “Never Comin’ Down” -2 (3/10)
37. Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” +1 (6/10)
38. Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” -1 (4/10)
39. Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” +3 (8/10)
40. Granger Smith, “You’re In It” 0 (5/10)
41. Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” -3 (2/10)
42. Danielle Bradbery ft. Thomas Rhett, “Goodbye Summer” (5/10)
43. Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” 0 (5/10)
44. Brett Young, “Here Tonight” +1 (6/10)
45. Craig Campbell, “See You Try” -1 (4/10)
46. Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” -1 (4/10)
47. Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” 0 (5/10)
48. Brandon Lay, “Yada Yada Yada” -1 (4/10)
49. Carlton Anderson, “Drop Everything” -2 (3/10)
50. Maddie & Tae, “Friends Don’t” -1 (4/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +24
Future Pulse (#26—#50) -7
Overall Pulse +17
Change From Last Week 0

Best Song (tie): “Drunk Girl” and “Burn Out,” 10/10
Worst Song: “One That Got Away,” 1/10
Mode Score: 0 (17 songs)


  • None!


  • Russell Dickerson, “Blue Tacoma” (down from #1 to #3)
  • Old Dominion, “Hotel Key” (down from #3 to #6)
  • Craig Campbell, “See You Try” (down from #38 to #45)


  • Chris Janson, “Drunk Girl” (41 weeks on chart)
  • Carly Pearce, “Hide The Wine” (40 weeks on chart)

In Real Trouble:

  • Eric Church, “Desperate Man” (holds at #14 and regains its bullet, but turns in another poor week and gains less than 150 points)
  • LANco, “Born To Love You” (aging, down from #15 to #17, loses its bullet, and just seems to have reached the end of the line)
  • Travis Denning, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs” (down from #33 to 34, gained less than 200 points, has Pardi and Urban breathing down its neck, and approaching the dreaded “outside the top thirty after twenty weeks” milestone)
  • Granger Smith, “You’re In It” (down from #39 to #40, gained less than 150 points, passed by Underwood and the Eli Young Band, and is just holding on by its fingernails at this point)
  • Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (holds at #41, but gained less than 100 points this week and is basically on life support)
  • Carlton Anderson, “Drop Everything” (down from #48 to #49, barely holds onto its bullet with a zero point gain week, and gets passed by Brandon Lay of all people)

In Some Trouble:

  • Garth Brooks, “All Day Long” (down from #10 to #13, gained less than 175 points, and passed by Allen, Pearce, and Tenpenny)
  • Sugarland ft. Taylor Swift, “Babe” (up from #17 to #16 and regains its bullet, but needs to show it can build on this week)
  • Tyler Rich, “The Difference” (holds at #29 but on the verge of getting crushed by Chesney, Aldean, and Ray)
  • Michael Ray, “One That Got Away” (down from #31 to #32, passed by Aldean after a sub-100 point gain)
  • Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” (down from #34 to #37 and passed by three songs after a sub-50 point gain)
  • Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” (holds at #43, but lost spins this week and still isn’t finding any traction)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Luke Combs, “She Got The Best Of Me” (at #2 after only fourteen weeks, has already topped the Canadian Mediabase chart for two weeks, and has the appearance of a multi-week #1 stateside as well)
  • Tim McGraw, “Neon Church” (only drops to #33 after a huge opening week)
  • Thomas Rhett, “Sixteen” (up from #37 to #28)

Likely To Be Sunk By Luke Combs:

  • Cole Swindell, “Break Up The End”
  • Chris Young, “Hangin’ On”

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:


  • Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug, “Havana” (debuts at 98?)
  • Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling” (sitting in the 100s despite being released over two years ago?)

Overall Thoughts: Did I say last week that there was a lot more turbulence to come? Because apparently the chart heard me and decided “No one tells me what to do!”

With McGraw defying gravity and maintaining most of his early momentum, for the first time since the Pulse re-started we have no new entries to talk about. In fact, not only does the continued slow burnout of #1 songs continue to clog the charts, but it’s about to get a lot worse: “She Got The Best Of Me” has been steaming towards the top like a freight train, and with only fourteen weeks in the Top 50, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it camp at #1 for the rest of the month, and perhaps linger into November as well!

Below that, however, expect to see a bit more volatility as the fall moves along. Currington, Rascal Flatts, LoCash, Kelsea Ballerini, and Old Dominion’s “Make It Sweet” are due to make the Top 50 soon, with several others (Evans, Brothers Osborne, etc.) primed to make a decent showing as well. With so many songs looking old or shaky all over the charts, I’d say that everyone except Combs should feel a little uneasy going into next week.

So what do you think? Are the numbers better or worse than you expected? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

One thought on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: October 14, 2018

  1. Okay, I thought it was weird seeing Post Malone and Girls Like You on here, but when Havana, a song that is over a year old, and Can’t Stop The Feeling, a song that is over TWO years old, appear on here, that just makes no sense AT ALL!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.