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!
Best Song: “Miss Me More,” 9/10
Worst Song: “Caught Up In The Country,” 2/10
Mode Scores: 0 (13 songs)
- Michael Ray, “One The Got Away” (bury it deep so that it never rises again)
- LoCash, “Feels Like A Party” (recurrent)
- Brett Young, “Here Tonight” (down from #1 to #3)
- Riley Green, “There Was This Girl” (down from #11 to #16)
- Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” (down from #10 to #29)
- Randy Houser ft. Hillary Lindsey, “What Whiskey Does” (down from #31 to #47)
- Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (up from #21 to #20 as recurrent tracks fall from above it)
In Real Trouble:
- Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” (up from #36 to #35, but bullet-less for a second straight week)
- Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” (up from #40 to #37 despite losing points for a second straight week)
In Some Trouble:
- Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” (up from #14 to #12, but still relatively weak compared to its immediate competition)
- George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” (up from #19 to #18, but gained only thirty-three spins and lost points, and has been stalled in the high teens/low twenties for a while now)
- Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” (up from #41 to #39, but gained only thirty-nine spins and lost points)
- Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” (up from #41 to #38, but lost spins and gained only twenty-three points)
- Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (down from #42 to #43, gained only nineteen spins and forty-four points)
In No Trouble At All:
- HARDY, “REDNECKER” (up from #46 to #38)
- Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” (up from #20 to #14)
- Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (up from #29 to #25)
- Justin Moore, “The Ones Who Didn’t Make It Back Home” (up from #38 to #30, got twenty-four adds this week)
- Midland, “Mr. Lonely” (up from #50 to #45, has scored double-digit adds in back-to-back weeks)
- Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” (up from #48 to #44)
Bubbling Under 50:
- Ryan Hurd, “To A T” (5/10)
- Adam Hambrick, “Rockin’ All Night Long” (5/10)
- Logan Mize, “Better Off Gone” (6/10)
On The Way:
- King Calaway, “World For Two” (5/10)
- Scotty McCreery, “In Between” (6/10)
- Jordan Davis, “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot” (6/10)
- LANco, “Rival” (3/10)
- Carrie Underwood, “Southbound” (5/10)
- LoCash, “One Big Country Song” (5/10)
Overall Thoughts: You’d better head for high ground now, but the ice jam blocking up the charts has finally burst.
The losses of Ray and LoCash are welcome news in any season, but the abrupt dropping of Underwood and Houser (and Brett Young’s slow fall from #1, and the eventual booting of Old Dominion, Rice, and a whole bunch more from the top of the escalator) mean that we’re going to have a lot of spots opening up on the charts in the near future. Unfortunately, the artists rushing in to fill those spots are undistinguished and indistinguishable (Hurd, Hambrick, King Calaway, and even Mize to some extent), and the two disturbing trends I noted before (the rise of the A-list and the headwinds facing female artists) are still very much at play. While this will be a short-term win as folks like the Eli Young Band and Morgan Wallen eventually get cycled off of the chart, most of the songs I was excited about are already here, so I have a bad feeling that we’re going to get stuck with a whole bunch of bland nothingness on the radio this summer.
So what do you think? Are the numbers better or worse than you expected? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!