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

Best Song: “Miss Me More,” 9/10
Worst Song: “Caught Up In The Country,” 2/10
Mode Score: 0 (15 songs)

Gone:

  • Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” (recurrent)

Leaving:

  • Eli Young Band, “Love Ain’t” (down from #1 to #6)
  • Chase Rice, “Eyes On You” (down from #5 to #9)
  • Jon Pardi, “Night Shift” (down from #13 to #23)
  • Rodney Atkins ft. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Caught Up In The Country” (down from #24 to #24)
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Rainbow” (down from #34 to #41)

In Real Trouble:

  • Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” (up from #23 to #22, but gained only fifty-seven spins and seventy-nine points)
  • Lauren Alaina, “Ladies In The 90s” (down from #39 to #40, lost its bullet with a point loss substantial enough to suggest it might be history)
  • Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” (up from #46 to #45, but lost its bullet)
  • Brad Paisley, “My Miracle” (up from #48 to #47, but gained only fifty-four spins and 124 points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” (down from #20 to #21, gained only forty spins and eighty points)
  • Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” (up from #26 to #25, but lost its bullet)
  • Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” (holds at #36, but gained only twenty-three spins and sixty-eight points)
  • Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” (holds at #37, but gained only sixty-five spins and forty-nine points)
  • Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” (up from #44 to #41, but gained only twenty-three spins and 124 points)
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (up from #45 to #43, but gained only thirty-four spins and 145 points)
  • Travis Denning, “After A Few” (up from #50 to #49, but gained only fifty-seven spins and 104 points)
  • Ryan Hurd, “To A T” (re-enters the chart at #50, but gained only thirty spins and 112 points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Carrie Underwood, “Southbound” (up from #42 to #34)
  • HARDY, “REDNECKER” (up from #38 to #33)
  • Matt Stell, “Prayed For You” (up from #43 to #39 and has shown surprising strength lately)

Is Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (up from #18 to #13, will be a #1 hit before July 4th at this rate)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: Memorial Day weekend means we’ve hit the official start of summer, which means the last vestiges of the winter/spring rotation are falling fast.

Rice and the Eli Young Band are leaving on schedule with the #1 ribbons in tow, but the more interesting losses are happening farther back in the pack, and Pardi, Atkins, and (sigh) Musgraves are getting cut from the rotation. (I have a bad feeling that Alaina and McBryde won’t be far behind…). What’s coming next offers a small sliver of hope: Mize really deserves to chart, Davis actually has a decent single for a change, and Pardi and Brett Young’s new songs are both tolerable, albeit a bit disappointing. I expect more of the crud floundering between #40 and #50 to start sinking as well (Allen’s only at #41 and Scott’s only at #43 after nearly five months, and I don’t see Paisley going much higher either), so expect a high rate of turnover over the next month or so.

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