The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: July 21, 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. Eric Church, “Some Of It” +2 (7/10)
2. Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” +1 (6/10)
3. Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” -2 (3/10)
4. Maren Morris, “GIRL” +1 (6/10)
5. Dan + Shay, “All To Myself” -1 (4/10)
6. Jason Aldean, “Rearview Town” +2 (7/10)
7. Justin Moore, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home” +1 (6/10)
8. Chris Young, “Raised On Country” 0 (5/10)
9. Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots” (5/10)
10. Florida Georgia Line, “Talk You Out Of It” -1 (4/10)
11. Runaway June, “Buy My Own Drinks” +2 (7/10)
12. Carrie Underwood, “Southbound” 0 (5/10)
13. Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” +1 (6/10)
14. Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” +2 (7/10)
15. Dierks Bentley, “Living” +2 (7/10)
16. Keith Urban, “We Were” 0 (5/10)
17. Chris Lane, “I Don’t Know About You” -2 (3/10)
18. Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” 0 (5/10)
19. Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” +2 (7/10)
20. Rascal Flatts, “Back To Life” +1 (6/10)
21. Morgan Evans, “Day Drunk” -1 (4/10)
22. Matt Stell, “Prayed For You” 0 (5/10)
23. Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” -1 (4/10)
24. Lady Antebellum, “What If I Never Get Over You” +1 (6/10)
25. Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” 0 (5/10)
26. Garth Brooks ft. Blake Shelton, “Dive Bar” +1 (6/10)
27. Kenny Chesney, “Tip Of My Tongue” -2 (3/10)
28. HARDY, “REDNECKER” -3 (2/10)
29. Midland, “Mr. Lonely” +3 (8/10)
30. Miranda Lambert, “It All Comes Out In The Wash” 0 (5/10)
31. Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” -1 (4/10)
32. Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” 0 (5/10)
33. Zac Brown Band, “Someone I Used To Know” +1 (6/10)
34. Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” 0 (5/10)
35. Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” -1 (4/10)
36. Ryan Hurd, “To A T” 0 (5/10)
37. Jordan Davis, “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot” +1 (6/10)
38. Trisha Yearwood, “Every Girl In This Town” +1 (6/10)
39. Old Dominion, “One Man Band” +1 (6/10)
40. Dustin Lynch, “Ridin’ Roads” -2 (3/10)
41. Jon Pardi, “Heartache Medication” +1 (6/10)
42. Travis Denning, “After A Few” 0 (5/10)
43. Thomas Rhett, “Remember You Young” +2 (7/10)
44. Brett Young, “Catch” +1 (6/10)
45. Scotty McCreery, “In Between” +1 (6/10)
46. Brad Paisley, “My Miracle” +1 (6/10)
47. Mitchell Tenpenny, “Alcohol You Later” -2 (3/10)
48. Jake Owen, “Homemade” (5/10)
49. LoCash, “One Big Country Song” 0 (5/10)
50. Michael Ray, “Her World Or Mine” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +11
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +3
Overall Pulse +14
Change From Last Week 0

Best Song: “Mr. Lonely,” 8/10
Worst Song: “REDNECKER,” 2/10
Mode Scores: 0 and +1 (15 songs apiece)

Gone:

  • Lee Brice, “Rumor” (recurrent)
  • Riley Green, “In Love By Now” (down to #52)

Leaving:

  • Blake Shelton, “God’s Country” (down from #1 to #3)
  • Tenille Townes, “Somebody’s Daughter” (down from #28 to #34)
  • Brad Paisley, “My Miracle” (down from #43 to #46, loses its bullet, and a 300+ point loss indicates that it’s toast)

In Real Trouble:

  • Carly Pearce, “Closer To You” (down from #23 to #25, loses its bullet, and has been stuck in neutral for a while now)
  • Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” (up from #32 to #31, but gained only thirteen spins and thirty-three points)
  • Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” (up from #33 to #32, but is bullet-less for a second consecutive week)
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (down from #34 to #35, gained only twenty-one spins and lost points)
  • Trisha Yearwood, “Every Girl In This Town” (down from #36 to #38 and lost its bullet)
  • Mitchell Tenpenny, “Alcohol You Later” (down from #46 to #47 and lost its bullet)

In Some Trouble:

  • Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” (up from #19 to #18, but gained only twenty-five spins and twenty-one points)
  • Dustin Lynch, “Ridin’ Roads” (holds at #40, gains only forty-one spins and seventeen points)
  • Jon Pardi, “Heartache Medication” (holds at #41, gains only six spins and nineteen points)
  • Brett Young, “Catch” (holds at #44, gains only twenty-seven spins and thirty points)
  • Scotty McCreery, “In Between” (holds at #45, barely keeps its bullet by gaining one spin and losing points)
  • Jake Owen, “Homemade” (down from #47 to #48, gains only thirteen spins and twenty-eight points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Miranda Lambert, “It All Comes Out In The Wash” (debuts at #30)
  • Thomas Rhett, “Remember You Young” (up to #43)

Is Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (up from #3 to #2, poised to take #1 depending on what Morris does)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: To paraphrase Joe Nichols: What’s a guy gotta do to get a spin in this town?

Even with Shelton stepping aside and Townes giving up the fight, Lambert’s big debut and Rhett’s big move ate up any spare spins that were lying around, and the result were across-the-board weak numbers for folks near the bottom of the Top 50. Next week looks to be even worse, as it’s shaping up to be a repeat of what happened with “Beautiful Crazy”a while ago: Everyone wants to grab #1 before Thanos gets there and holds the spot until October.

Morris is the first challenger, but as Chris Owen rightly points out, she doesn’t have much to worry about because the fix is in:

Dan + Shay, however, are with Warner and not Columbia, which means we’ll have a real fight on our hands two weeks from now (as much as these things are actually fights). Throw in Aldean looking to make the jump soon, and the bottom line is that if you’re struggling now (*cough* Pearce *cough* Brothers Osborne *cough*), you’ve got some hard decisions to make, because you aren’t going anywhere for a while.

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