The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: April 14, 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. Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” +1 (6/10)
2. Brett Young, “Here Tonight” +1 (6/10)
3. Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” +1 (6/10)
4. Old Dominion, “Make It Sweet” (5/10)
5. Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” 0 (5/10)
6. Michael Ray, “One That Got Away” -4 (1/10)
7. Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” -1 (4/10)
8. Kelsea Ballerini, “Miss Me More” +4 (9/10)
9. Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” 0 (5/10)
10. Kane Brown, “Good As You” +1 (6/10)
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. Thomas Rhett, “Look What God Gave Her” +1 (6/10)
15. Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” +1 (6/10)
16. Lee Brice, “Rumor” (5/10)
17. Maren Morris, “GIRL” +1 (6/10)
18. Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” -1 (4/10)
19. George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” +3 (8/10)
20. Eric Church, “Some Of It” +2 (7/10)
21. Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” -3 (2/10)
22. Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” +2 (7/10)
23. Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” +1 (6/10)
24. Chris Young, “Raised On Country” +0 (5/10)
25. Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” -2 (3/10)
26. LoCash, “Feels Like A Party” -2 (3/10)
27. Dan + Shay, “All To Myself” -1 (4/10)
28. Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” 0 (5/10)
29. Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” -1 (4/10)
30. Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” +1 (6/10)
31. Jason Aldean, “Rearview Town” +2 (7/10)
32. Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” +2 (7/10)
33. Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” -1 (4/10)
34. Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” +3 (8/10)
35. Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” 0 (5/10)
36. Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” +2 (7/10)
37. Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (5/10)
38. Justin Moore, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” +1 (6/10)
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. Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” -1 (4/10)
46. Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” -1 (4/10)
47. Dierks Bentley, “Living” +2 (7/10)
48. HARDY, “REDNECKER” -3 (2/10)
49. Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” +3 (8/10)
50. Matt Stell, “Prayed For You” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +10
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +1
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)

Gone:

  • Chris Stapleton, “Millionaire” (recurrent)

Leaving:

  • Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” (max-spin week is over, “thank you radio!” ad posted in Country Aircheck)
  • Michael Ray, “One That Got Away” (down from #1 to #6)
  • Jake Owen, “Down To The Honkytonk” (down from #23 to #33)
  • LoCash, “Feels Like A Flop Party” (up from #27 to #26, but label has moved on to next single)

Death Watch:

  • Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (holds lifelessly at #21 while waiting for the album drop)

In Real Trouble:

  • Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” (holds at #11, but lost its bullet)
  • Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” (down from #14 to #15, gained only thirty-five spins, lost points for a second straight week, and was run over by Rhett)
  • Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” (down from #28 to #29, lost points for a second straight week, and only barely regained its bullet by gaining eleven spins)
  • Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” (holds at #40, lost spins and comes thisclose to losing its bullet by breaking even on points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” (holds at #39, lost spins and gained only forty-six points)
  • Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” (holds at #41, but gained only thirteen spins and seventy-seven points)
  • Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” (holds at #42, but gained only three spins and thirty points)
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (holds at #44, but gained only three spins and fifty points)
  • HARDY, “REDNECKER” (down from #47 to #48, barely gets its bullet back by gaining seventeen spins and twenty points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” (up from #33 to #25)
  • Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (up from #46 to #37)
  • Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” (up from #17 to #13)

Is Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beautiful Crazy” (holds at #3 and is easing into the sunset)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: The spring slog continues, but there are signs of a big move coming.

BMLG decided to split this week’s #1s between Green and Brett Young, so expect those tracks to join Ray, Owen, and LoCash (a surprising plug-pull, but a net win for the chart) on the path to the exits. I don’t see Underwood hanging on for much longer either, as she’s been stuck around #10 for quite some time and is getting blown away by its competition, so add that song to the list of leavers as well. Johnson continues to look shaky, Atkins will get dropped the minute the album comes out, Houser and Lindsey seem to be out of gas, some surprising names are struggling farther down (Swindell, Dickerson, McGraw…okay, Evans’s struggle isn’t much of a surprise)…yeah, things could get pretty interesting in the next month or so, especially with some weaker stuff sitting in the Top 10 that will get cycled out pretty quickly as the escalator restarts.

The problem is that I’m just not thrilled with what I’m hearing from the bullpen right now. Singers seem to be either angrily screaming at their audience or trying to recreate the Metro-Bro era, neither of which makes me happy. The Country Aircheck crystal ball doesn’t look great either (Adam Craig? Tucker Beathard? Really?), so I’m banking on Brad Paisley and “Mr. Lonely” to help clean this mess up.

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