The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: February 17, 2019

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. Scotty McCreery, “This Is It” +1 (6/10)
2. Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” +1 (6/10)
3. Jason Aldean, “Girl Like You” (5/10)
4. Luke Bryan, “What Makes You Country” (5/10)
5. Jordan Davis, “Take It From Me” -2 (3/10)
6. Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” 0 (5/10)
7. Midland, “Burn Out” +5 (10/10)
8. Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” +1 (6/10)
9. Michael Ray, “One That Got Away” -4 (1/10)
10. Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” -1 (4/10)
11. Old Dominion, “Make It Sweet” (5/10)
12. Brett Young, “Here Tonight” +1 (6/10)
13. Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” +3 (8/10)
14. Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” 0 (5/10)
15. Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” 0 (5/10)
16. Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” +1 (6/10)
17. Kelsea Ballerini, “Miss Me More” +4 (9/10)
18. Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” -1 (4/10)
19. Keith Urban, “Never Comin’ Down” -2 (3/10)
20. Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” 0 (5/10)
21. Kane Brown, “Good As You” +1 (6/10)
22. Tyler Rich, “The Difference” 0 (5/10)
23. Morgan Wallen, “Whiskey Glasses” -1 (4/10)
24. Lee Brice, “Rumor” (5/10)
25. Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” -3 (2/10)
26. Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” -1 (4/10)
27. George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” +3 (8/10)
28. LoCash, “Feels Like A Party” -2 (3/10)
29. Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” +2 (7/10)
30. Maren Morris, “GIRL” +1 (6/10)
31. Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” -1 (4/10)
32. Chris Young, “Raised On Country” +0 (5/10)
33. Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” +1 (6/10)
34. Maddie & Tae, “Friends Don’t” -1 (4/10)
35. Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” 0 (5/10)
36. Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” +1 (6/10)
37. Eric Church, “Some Of It” +2 (7/10)
38. Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” -1 (4/10)
39. Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” +2 (7/10)
40. Brandon Lay, “Yada Yada Yada” -1 (4/10)
41. Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” +2 (7/10)
42. Justin Moore, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” +1 (6/10)
43. Brad Paisley, “Bucked Off” +3 (8/10)
44. Garth Brooks, “Stronger Than Me” 0 (5/10)
45. Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” -1 (4/10)
46. Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” -1 (4/10)
47. Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” -2 (3/10)
48. Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” 0 (5/10)
49. Dylan Schneider, “How Does It Sound” 0 (5/10)
50. Billy Currington, “Bring It On Over” -1 (4/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +4
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +6
Overall Pulse +10
Change From Last Week 0

Best Song: “Burn Out,” 10/10
Worst Song: “One That Got Away,” 1/10
Mode Score: 0 (14 songs)


  • Dierks Bentley ft. Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man” (recurrent)


  • Scotty McCreery, “This Is It” (holds at #1, but lost its bullet and posted “thank you radio!” ad in this week’s Country Aircheck)
  • Jason Aldean, “Girl Like You” (down from #1 to #2)

Aging Songs:

  • Midland, “Burn Out” (#7 after 43 weeks)
  • Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” (#6 after 41 weeks)
  • Tyler Rich, “The Difference” (#22 after 41 weeks and lost its bullet)
  • Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (#25 after 41 weeks)
  • Jordan Davis, “Take It From Me” (#5 after 38 weeks)

In Real Trouble:

  • Keith Urban, “Never Comin’ Down” (holds at #19, but lost its bullet with major spin/point losses, and may be finished)
  • Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” (down from #31 to #33, gained only seven spins and lost points this week)
  • Brandon Lay, “Yada Yada Yada” (down from #38 to #40, gained only sixteen spins and lost points, and got blown away by Evans and Swindell)
  • Brad Paisley, “Bucked Off” (down from #42 to #43 and bullet-less for a second straight week)
  • Billy Currington, “Bring It On Over” (down from #49 to #50 and also bullet-less for a second straight week)

In Some Trouble:

  • Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” (holds at #10 but inexplicably lost its bullet)
  • Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” (holds at #13, but gains only thirty-seven spins and fifty-one points)
  • Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” (holds at #14 but also lost its bullet)
  • Lee Brice, “Rumor” (holds at #24, but only gained thirty-five spins and 120 point)
  • George Strait left one heck of a path of destruction in his wake: Nobody below him had a good spin week (only Morris and Chris Young managed to crack 150), and LoCash, Maddie & Tae, Pearce, Church, Scott, and Lane didn’t crack 100 points either. (Runaway June just missed that list with 101 points.)

In No Trouble At All:

  • No moves big enough to note, with one major exception…

Is Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” (up from #3 to #2)

Is King George:

  • George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” (debuts at #27?!)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: Well, I guess I know where the charts are going now: nowhere!

Earlier this week, I mashed together a meme to highlight this week’s two major stories:

  • Luke Combs, the current crown prince of country music, is poised to take over #1 from Scotty McCreery next week, and as I discussed last week, there aren’t a lot of credible challengers nearby. In fact, looking at the charts right now, I don’t see any real challengers at all, with one notable exception…
  • George Strait exploded back onto the charts this week with a massive (but not quite McGraw-level) debut, using a bright, cheerful honky-tonk description to carve a path of desolation and misery all the way into the Top 30! He’ll regress back to the mean next week, but his strong add numbers indicate he’ll rebound in a hurry.

Beyond these two titans, however, the story is more about what didn’t happen than what did. A solitary flip-flop between Combs and Aldean was the only change in the top fourteen, and no one moved more than two slots outside of Strait’s debut. I’d call the the chart constipated if the spin and point numbers didn’t look so weak across the board, so songs with some real momentum behind them (maybe Musgraves with “Rainbow”?) might be able to make some real noise soon.

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: February 17, 2019

  1. Maybe it’s just me but I am really optimistic about Runaway June’s chances. They seem to be slowly picking up more and more steam and maybe they could make the Top 20.

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