The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: April 7, 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.

Mediabase’s usual PDF seems to be DOA right now, so this week’s numbers are from this week’s Country Aircheck. Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers!

Song Score
1. Michael Ray, “Blight Upon Humanity One That Got Away” -4 (1/10)
2. Brett Young, “Here Tonight” +1 (6/10)
3. Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” +1 (6/10)
4. Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” +1 (6/10)
5. Old Dominion, “Make It Sweet” (5/10)
6. Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” 0 (5/10)
7. Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” -1 (4/10)
8. Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” 0 (5/10)
9. Kane Brown, “Good As You” +1 (6/10)
10. Kelsea Ballerini, “Miss Me More” +4 (9/10)
11. Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” +3 (8/10)
12. Morgan Wallen, “Whiskey Glasses” -1 (4/10)
13. Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” 0 (5/10)
14. Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” +1 (6/10)
15. Thomas Rhett, “Look What God Gave Her” +1 (6/10)
16. Lee Brice, “Rumor” (5/10)
17. Maren Morris, “GIRL” +1 (6/10)
18. Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” 0 (5/10)
19. Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” -1 (4/10)
20. George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” +3 (8/10)
21. Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” -3 (2/10)
22. Eric Church, “Some Of It” +2 (7/10)
23. Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” -1 (4/10)
24. Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” +2 (7/10)
25. Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” +1 (6/10)
26. Chris Young, “Raised On Country” +0 (5/10)
27. LoCash, “Feels Like A Party” -2 (3/10)
28. Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” -1 (4/10)
29. Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” 0 (5/10)
30. Dan + Shay, “All To Myself” -1 (4/10)
31. Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” +1 (6/10)
32. Jason Aldean, “Rearview Town” +2 (7/10)
33. Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” -2 (3/10)
34. Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” +2 (7/10)
35. Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” +2 (7/10)
36. Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” +3 (8/10)
37. Justin Moore, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” +1 (6/10)
38. Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” 0 (5/10)
39. Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” 0 (5/10)
40. Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” -1 (4/10)
41. Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” -2 (3/10)
42. Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” -1 (4/10)
43. Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” 0 (5/10)
44. Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” -1 (4/10)
45. Dierks Bentley, “Living” +2 (7/10)
46. Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (5/10)
47. HARDY, “REDNECKER” -3 (2/10)
48. Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” -1 (4/10)
49. Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” -1 (4/10)
50. Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” +3 (8/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +11
Future Pulse (#26—#50) 0
Overall Pulse +11
Change From Last Week 0

Best Song: “Miss Me More,” 9/10
Worst Song: “One That Got Away,” 1/10
Mode Scores: 0 (12 songs)


  • Dylan Schneider, “How Does It Sound” (down to #51)


  • Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” (down from #13 to #18)
  • Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” (down from #6 to #23)

Death Watch:

  • Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (up from #22 to #21. Can the album just come out already so we can kick this thing off the radio?)

In Real Trouble:

  • Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” (down from #10 to #12, passed by three songs, and looks a lot weaker than its immediate competition)
  • Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” (holds at #28, but lost its bullet and has looked really shaky lately)
  • Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” (down from #29 to #31, lost its bullet, and got run over by Pearce and Dan + Shay. This may be going back down the charts soon)
  • Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” (down from #37 to #40, gained only forty-three spins and lost points for a second straight week)

In Some Trouble:

  • Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” (holds at 14, but only gained fifty-three spins and lost points, and was passed by two songs)
  • Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” (down from #32 to #35, gained only five spins and lost points, and was passed by three songs)
  • Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” (holds at #41, but gained only ten spins and thirty-seven points)
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (holds at #44, but gained only forty-three spins and ten points)
  • HARDY, “REDNECKER” (how does someone get an “Airborne” label and lose its bullet at the same time?)
  • Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” (down from #47 to #48 and lost its bullet)
  • Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” (down from #48 to #49, gained only thirteen spins and forty-six points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (hits the chart at #46)
  • Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” (up from #17 to #13)

Is Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” (down from #1 to #3, but earns a seventh week atop Billboard’s airplay chart and will likely fade very slowly…)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: Score one for the big fish this week, I guess.

With both Shelton and Bryan jumping back onto the charts, heavyweights like Rhett, Aldean, and Dan + Shay continuing to climb, and Luke Combs enjoying a slow descent into history, this was a bad week to not be a name-brand artist. While those on the bottom suffered the most (no one under #35 had a great week save for Bryan and Tim McGraw), even lesser-known artists heading for the top of the chart seem to be struggling (Johnson had a rough week, Green has been treading water for a while, Runaway June gained all of nine spins this week, etc.). Expect this trend to continue into the summer as everyone preps their summer releases.

The bright spot here is that there’s a fair amount of middling-to-awful tracks at the top right now (Ray, Rice, Eli Young Band, Pardi, etc.), which means most of these songs should clear out in the next month or so. I’m still not thrilled by what’s coming in to replace them right away (why, why, why does Morgan Wallen have to be a thing?), but I’m hopeful that this will mean good things for the Pulse going forward.

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