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

Best Song: “Mr. Lonely,” 8/10
Worst Song: “REDNECKER,” 2/10
Mode Scores: 0 (17 songs)

Gone:

  • Dan + Shay, “All To Myself” (recurrent)
  • Chris Young, “Raised On Country” (recurrent)
  • Billy Currington, “Details” (down to #53)

Leaving:

  • Justin Moore, “The Ones Who Didn’t Make It Back Home” (down from #1 to #2)
  • Jason Aldean, “Rearview Town” (down from #4 to #11)

In Real Trouble:

  • HARDY, “REDNECKER” (up from #24 to #23, but lost its bullet with a concerning triple-digit point loss)
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (up from #34 to #33, but lost spins and gained only thirty-three points)
  • King Calaway, “World For Two” (holds at #46, but gained only twenty-five spins and forty-two points)
  • Blanco Brown, “The Git Up” (down from #48 to #49, lost its bullet)

In Some Trouble:

  • Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” (holds at #19 and has a decent week for a change, but it needs to show more strength than a one-week boost)
  • Garth Brooks ft. Blake Shelton, “Dive Bar” (up from #21 to #20, but lost spins and gained only twenty-two points)
  • Ryan Hurd, “To A T” (up from #32 to #31, but gained only thirty-seven spins and 118 points points)
  • Michael Ray, “Her World Or Mine” (holds at #45, but gained only thirty-two spins and 109 points)
  • Filmore, “Slower” (down from #49 to #50, gained only twenty-three spins and 101 points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Kelsea Ballerini, “Homecoming Queen?” (debuts at #32)
  • Ingrid Andress, “More Hearts Than Mine” (up from #39 to #34 and is on fire right now)
  • Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” (up from #12 to #8 and rebounds nicely from last week)
  • Old Dominion, “One Man Band” (up from #25 to #21)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs, “Even Though I’m Leaving” (debuts at #40)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: Wait…did everyone kinda-sorta play nice this week?

Bryan made a push for #1 and Ballerini and Thanos splash-landed onto the charts with big debuts, but after several weeks of craziness, this week turned out to be rather normal. Moore’s decision to bow out gracefully and the exits of Dan + Shay and Chris Young freed up enough spins to give other songs a chance to make some progress.

Bryan looks to be making himself comfortable at the top right now, but I don’t think that will stop things up. Moore and Aldean will drop out, this week’s debuts will regress to the mean, and Bentley doesn’t seem to be pushing for the lead right now, which should leave enough slack space to absorb “We Back”‘s crash into the charts (I don’t expect a whole lot from Little Big Town’s new song). Outside of a few superstar singles (Old Dominion, Andress), the escalator is officially back in operation, and I don’t see a ton of surprises going forward.

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