The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: November 3, 2019

Several years ago, Josh Schott started a weekly feature on the now-reborn 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. Russell Dickerson, “Every Little Thing” +2 (7/10)
2. Luke Combs, “Ever Though I’m Leaving” 0 (5/10)
3. Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” +1 (6/10)
4. Old Dominion, “One Man Band” +1 (6/10)
5. Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” -1 (4/10)
6. Keith Urban, “We Were” 0 (5/10)
7. Thomas Rhett, “Remember You Young” +2 (7/10)
8. Kenny Chesney, “Tip Of My Tongue” -2 (3/10)
9. Lady Antebellum, “What If I Never Get Over You” +1 (6/10)
10. Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” +2 (7/10)
11. Jon Pardi, “Heartache Medication” +1 (6/10)
12. Dustin Lynch, “Ridin’ Roads” -2 (3/10)
13. Miranda Lambert, “It All Comes Out In The Wash” 0 (5/10)
14. Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” 0 (5/10)
15. Jason Aldean, “We Back” -1 (4/10)
16. Sam Hunt, “Kinfolks” -2 (3/10)
17. Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” -1 (4/10)
18. Dan + Shay ft. Justin Bieber, “10,000 Hours” -2 (3/10)
19. Garth Brooks ft. Blake Shelton, “Dive Bar” +1 (6/10)
20. Midland, “Mr. Lonely” +3 (8/10)
21. Blake Shelton ft. Trace Adkins, “Hell Right” -2 (3/10)
22. Ingrid Andress, “More Hearts Than Mine” +3 (8/10)
23. Jordan Davis, “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot” +1 (6/10)
24. Kelsea Ballerini, “Homecoming Queen?” +1 (6/10)
25. Kane Brown, “Homesick” +1 (6/10)
26. Ryan Hurd, “To A T” 0 (5/10)
27. Brett Young, “Catch” +1 (6/10)
28. Trisha Yearwood, “Every Girl In This Town” +1 (6/10)
29. Riley Green, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” 0 (5/10)
30. Luke Bryan, “What She Wants Tonight” -2 (3/10)
31. Maren Morris, “The Bones” 0 (5/10)
32. Jake Owen, “Homemade” 0 (5/10)
33. Travis Denning, “After A Few” 0 (5/10)
34. Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” -1 (4/10)
35. Scotty McCreery, “In Between” +1 (6/10)
36. Caylee Hammack, “Family Tree” 0 (5/10)
37. Michael Ray, “Her World Or Mine” 0 (5/10)
38. LoCash, “One Big Country Song” 0 (5/10)
39. Gone West, “What Could’ve Been” +1 (6/10)
40. Eric Church, “Monsters” 0 (5/10)
41. Carly Pearce & Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” 0 (5/10)
42. Chase Rice, “Lonely If You Are” -2 (3/10)
43. Florida Georgia Line, “Blessings” +1 (6/10)
44. Gabby Barrett, “I Hope” +2 (7/10)
45. Morgan Wallen, “Chasin’ You” 0 (5/10)
46. Maddie & Tae, “Die From A Broken Heart” +2 (7/10)
47. Hootie & The Blowfish, “Hold On” +1 (6/10)
48. Billy Currington, “Details” -1 (4/10)
49. Caroline Jones, “Chasin’ Me” 0 (5/10)
50. Chris Young, “Drowning” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +8
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +4
Overall Pulse +12
Change From Last Week 0

Best Song: “Mr. Lonely,” 8/10
Worst Song: “Hell Right,” 3/10
Mode Scores: 0 (17 songs)

Gone:

  • Matt Stell, “Prayed For You” (recurrent)
  • Zac Brown Band, “Someone I Used To Know” (recurrent)
  • King Calaway, “World For Two” (recurrent)

Leaving:

  • Cole Swindell, “Love You Too Late” (down from #1 to #10)
  • Chris Janson, “Good Vibes” (down from #2 to #5)
  • Tim McGraw, “Thought About You” (up from #15 to #14, but it’s down to #23 on the daily charts, suggesting the label has pulled the plug)

In Real Trouble:

  • Brantley Gilbert & Lindsay Ell, “What Happens In A Small Town” (up from #4 to #3, but they’re making one final push. Can they hold off Thanos for the top spot?)
  • Miranda Lambert, “It All Comes Out In The Wash” (up from #14 to #13 and regains its bullet, but still looks weaker than its immediate competition and is about to get run over by Aldean and Hunt)
  • Garth Brooks ft. Blake Shelton, “Dive Bar” (down from #16 to #19, has looked weak for a while, and just got run over by Aldean, Hunt, and Dan + Shay)
  • Midland, “Mr. Lonely” (down from #19 to #20, gained only forty-two spins and thirty-seven points, and just hasn’t looked healthy lately)
  • Trisha Yearwood, “Every Girl In This Town” (holds at #28, but loses its bullet)
  • Travis Denning, “After A Few” (holds at #33 with an okay week, but really needs to show more strength to hold on)
  • Dylan Scott, “Nothing To Do Town” (erases all of last week’s gains by falling #32 back to #34, gains all of four spins and loses points. We’re entering Tyler Rich territory now, and that isn’t good)
  • Billy Currington, “Details” (holds at #48, but loses its bullet)
  • Caroline Jones, “Chasin’ Me” (reappears at #49, but gained only ten spins and sixty-three points, and the public just hasn’t warmed to it)

In Some Trouble:

  • Caylee Hammack, “Family Tree” (down from #36 to #37, gained only twenty-four spins and ninety-one points)
  • Morgan Wallen, “Chasin’ You” (down from #43 to #45, gained only twenty-three spins and 108 points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Luke Bryan, “What She Wants Tonight” (holds at #30 and gains spins after a big debut?!)
  • Sam Hunt, “Kinfolks” (up from #20 to #16)
  • Maren Morris, “The Bones” (up from #36 to #31)
  • Carly Pearce & Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” (up from #45 to #41)
  • Gabby Barrett, “I Hope” (up from #49 to #44)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs, “Even Though I’m Leaving” (up from #6 to #2, expected to both grab the #1 spot and launch his 2020 presidential bid any day now)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: Good grief, did we have a normal week for a change?

After weeks of massive debuts, we finally got some time to breathe, and artist street teams across the country got a chance to finally get some spins for their clients. Unfortunately, the Metro-Bro rebound I pointed out last week seem to be getting even stronger, at least from an A-list perspective: Bryan barely budged from his big debut, and Dan + Shay + Biebs, Hunt, and Aldean all saw major gains (Thanos did too, but at this point he’s his own musical trend). Thankfully, some of the female artists that struggled last week rebounded (most notably Morris and Barrett), suggesting that there are enough spins to go around for everyone if they’re doled out equitably.

I think things should remain relatively calm for the next few weeks: Neither LANco nor Underwood shook up the charts this week (expect them to phase in a bit more naturally), and the biggest artists listed on Country Aircheck’s upcoming release list for the next few weeks are Chris Janson (more of a B/C-lister) and Mitchell Tenpenny (whose career is worth about ten pennies right now). That said, with Thanos preparing for potentially another long stay atop the charts, things may back up again even without new material shaking things up.

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