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

Best Song: “Mr. Lonely,” 8/10
Worst Song: “REDNECKER,” 2/10
Mode Scores: 0 and +1 (16 songs apiece)


  • Maren Morris, “GIRL” (recurrent)
  • Mitchell Tenpenny, “Alcohol You Later” (recurrent)
  • Chris Stapleton, “Tennessee Whiskey” (who knows?)


  • Chris Young, “Raised On Country” (max-spin week is over)
  • Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” (down from #31 to #41)

The Only One Not In Trouble:

  • Dustin Lynch, “Ridin’ Roads” (up from #34 to #29)

Is Still Luke Combs:

  • Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (down from #1 to #2, and whether or not it’ll rebound is a coin toss)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: If you’re pushing a single to country radio right now, this is what you’re seeing:

Image from Encyclopedia Brittanica

Between a max-spin push from Dan + Shay, another max-spin push from Chris Young, the reluctance of Luke “Thanos” Combs to give up the Infinity Gauntlet/No. 1 slot, and a splashy (and undeserving) debut from Blake Shelton, this week’s chart represents the worst spin drought I’ve ever  encountered. No one was immune, not even the Top Ten: Luke Bryan gained a measly twenty-nine spins this week (yet still posted a decent point gain), and Florida Georgia Line lost their bullet entirely! All together, thirty-seven songs posted spin gains of 100 points or less, including seven songs who posted losses (and only Brothers Osborne truly expected to lose them).

It’s impossible to really say who’s in trouble when everyone’s numbers are this awful, but there are a few folks who should be concerned:

  • Florida Georgia Line: “Talk You Out Of It” hasn’t looked healthy for a while now, and this week’s 200+ point loss should finally convince Big Machine that this thing doesn’t have #1 potential. Expect it to exit quietly soon.
  • Morgan Evans: “Day Drunk” has looked even weaker than “Talk You Out Of It,” and it’s only in the low twenties! With a 250+ point loss this week, this song will be lucky to reach #15.
  • Zac Brown Band: With a 275 point loss, I agree with Chris Owen:

Thankfully, I expect a bit more rain to fall this week: Dan + Shay and Chris Young will be on their way out, Shelton will likely regress to the mean, and unless Kelsea Ballerini’s got something up her sleeve, I don’t see any big debuts on the horizon.

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