The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: May 19, 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 numbers are from the latest version of Country Aircheck, but I’m going to link to their archives since I never remember to update this from week to week. Without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers!

Song Score
1. Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” -1 (4/10)
2. Kane Brown, “Good As You” +1 (6/10)
3. Morgan Wallen, “Whiskey Glasses” -1 (4/10)
4. Kelsea Ballerini, “Miss Me More” +4 (9/10)
5. Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” 0 (5/10)
6. Brett Eldredge, “Love Someone” 0 (5/10)
7. Lee Brice, “Rumor” (5/10)
8. Thomas Rhett, “Look What God Gave Her” +1 (6/10)
9. Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” -2 (3/10)
10. Cody Johnson, “On My Way To You” +1 (6/10)
11. Maren Morris, “GIRL” +1 (6/10)
12. Eric Church, “Some Of It” +2 (7/10)
13. Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” 0 (5/10)
14. Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” -1 (4/10)
15. Chris Young, “Raised On Country” +0 (5/10)
16. Dan + Shay, “All To Myself” -1 (4/10)
17. George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” +3 (8/10)
18. Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” +1 (6/10)
19. Jason Aldean, “Rearview Town” +2 (7/10)
20. Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” +1 (6/10)
21. Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (5/10)
22. Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” +2 (7/10)
23. Justin Moore, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” +1 (6/10)
24. Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” -3 (2/10)
25. Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” +1 (6/10)
26. Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” 0 (5/10)
27. Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” +2 (7/10)
28. Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” 0 (5/10)
29. Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” 0 (5/10)
30. Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” +2 (7/10)
31. Keith Urban, “We Were” 0 (5/10)
32. Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” -1 (4/10)
33. Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” -2 (3/10)
34. Lady Antebellum, “What If I Never Get Over You” +1 (6/10)
35. Dierks Bentley, “Living” +2 (7/10)
36. Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” 0 (5/10)
37. Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” -1 (4/10)
38. HARDY, “REDNECKER” -3 (2/10)
39. Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” -1 (4/10)
40. Midland, “Mr. Lonely” +3 (8/10)
41. Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” +3 (8/10)
42. Carrie Underwood, “Southbound” 0 (5/10)
43. Matt Stell, “Prayed For You” 0 (5/10)
44. Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” -1 (4/10)
45. Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” -1 (4/10)
46. Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” +3 (8/10)
47. Zac Brown Band, “Someone I Used To Know” +1 (6/10)
48. Brad Paisley, “My Miracle” +1 (6/10)
49. Dustin Lynch, “Ridin’ Roads” -2 (3/10)
50. Travis Denning, “After A Few” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +12
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +6
Overall Pulse +18
Change From Last Week +1 🙂

Best Song: “Miss Me More,” 9/10
Worst Song: “Caught Up In The Country,” 2/10
Mode Scores: 0 (14 songs)


  • Old Dominion, “Make It Sweet” (recurrent)
  • Ryan Hurd, “To A T” (down to #51)


  • Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” (max-spin week is over)
  • Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” (down from #1 to #5)
  • Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” (down from #4 to #13)
  • Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (finally down from #21 to #24)
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” (down from #34 to #41)

In Real Trouble:

  • Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” (holds at #23, but gained only sixteen spins and lost 100+ points)
  • Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” (holds at #29, but lost spins and gained only thirty-two points)
  • Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” (holds at #32, but gained only six spins and lost points
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (down from #44 to #45, lost its bullet)
  • Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” (down from #45 to #46, gained only three spins and lost points)
  • Brad Paisley, “My Miracle” (down from #46 to #48, lost spins and gained only thirty-seven points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” (up from #15 to #14, but gained only forty-six spins and fifty-three points and just has not looked strong)
  • George Strait, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” (holds at #17 and gained only thirty-seven spins, but did manage a 200+ point gain for a change)
  • Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (up from #22 to #21, but gained only forty-three spins and lost points)
  • Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” (holds at #30, but gained only five spins and thirty points)
  • HARDY, “REDNECKER” (down from #36 to #38, gained only thirteen spins and thirty-two points)
  • Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” (down from #37 to #39, gained only sixty-one spins and sixty points)
  • Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” (down from #41 to #44, gained only forty-one spins and seventy-four points)
  • Travis Denning, “After A Few” (down from #49 to #50, lost its bullet)

In No Trouble At All:

  • No gains of note, except…

Is Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (laughs off its market correction and went up from #24 to #18)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: It’s not a good time to be a struggling no-name artist in country music.

On top of the aftershocks from Combs’s massive debut last week, huge splashes from Urban and Lady Antebellum shook things up even further, making even some established A-list stars look a little shaky (Luke Bryan lost points this week?!). It appears that the artists below #35 suffered the most from the two new additions, and given that some of these songs have been stuck down here fr a while (Alaina, Allen, Scott, McBryde, Paisley, etc.), I expect some major turnover at both ends of the chart in the next month or so. (Even if it doesn’t happen next week, the expected regression of this week’s debuts will send A&R teams scrambling again next week to try to reclaim lost ground.)

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