The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: March 9, 2020

(Editor’s Note: The author ran out of post ideas and may not get to post anything Wednesday anyway, so the Pulse is coming out early this week!)

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. Kane Brown, “Homesick” +1 (6/10)
2. Jake Owen, “Homemade” 0 (5/10)
3. Sam Hunt, “Kinfolks” -2 (3/10)
4. Luke Bryan, “What She Wants Tonight” -2 (3/10)
5. Brett Young, “Catch” +1 (6/10)
6. Jason Aldean, “We Back” -1 (4/10)
7. Jordan Davis, “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot” +1 (6/10)
8. Maren Morris, “The Bones” 0 (5/10)
9. Ingrid Andress, “More Hearts Than Mine” +3 (8/10)
10. Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” -1 (4/10)
11. Gabby Barrett, “I Hope” +2 (7/10)
12. Riley Green, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” 0 (5/10)
13. Carly Pearce & Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” 0 (5/10)
14. Thomas Rhett ft. Jon Pardi, “Beer Can’t Fix” +1 (6/10)
15. Morgan Wallen, “Chasin’ You” 0 (5/10)
16. Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” +1 (6/10)
17. Travis Denning, “After A Few” 0 (5/10)
18. Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani, “Nobody But You” 0 (5/10)
19. Kelsea Ballerini, “Homecoming Queen?” +1 (6/10)
20. Scotty McCreery, “In Between” +1 (6/10)
21. Kenny Chesney, “Here And Now” 0 (5/10)
22. Eric Church, “Monsters” 0 (5/10)
23. Florida Georgia Line, “Blessings” +1 (6/10)
24. LoCash, “One Big Country Song” 0 (5/10)
25. Carrie Underwood, “Drinking Alone” 0 (5/10)
26. Michael Ray, “Her World Or Mine” 0 (5/10)
27. Chase Rice, “Lonely If You Are” -2 (3/10)
28. Garth Brooks ft. Blake Shelton, “Dive Bar” +1 (6/10)
29. Justin Moore, “Why We Drink” -1 (4/10)
30. Miranda Lambert, “Bluebird” -1 (4/10)
31. Gone West, “What Could’ve Been” +1 (6/10)
32. Maddie & Tae, “Die From A Broken Heart” +2 (7/10)
33. Chris Young, “Drowning” 0 (5/10)
34. Chris Janson, “Done” 0 (5/10)
35. Kip Moore, “She’s Mine” +1 (6/10)
36. Billy Currington, “Details” -1 (4/10)
37. Ashley McBryde, “One Night Standards” +5 (10/10)
38. Jon Langston, “Now You Know” -2 (3/10)
39. Keith Urban, “God Whispered Your Name” 0 (5/10)
40. Jameson Rodgers, “Some Girls” 0 (5/10)
41. Rayne Johnson, “Front Seat” -2 (3/10)
42. Matt Stell, “Everywhere But On” 0 (5/10)
43. Eli Young Band, “Break It In” 0 (5/10)
44. Lauren Alaina, “Getting Good” +2 (7/10)
45. Midland, “Cheatin’ Songs” +4 (9/10)
46. Runaway June, “Head Over Heels” +2 (7/10)
47. Little Big Town, “Over Drinking” +2 (7/10)
48. Dillon Carmichael, “I Do For You” +2 (7/10)
49. Chris Stapleton, “Tennessee Whiskey” 0 (5/10)
50. Brantley Gilbert, “Fire’t Up” -1 (4/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +5
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +16
Overall Pulse +21
Change From Last Week 0

Best Song: “One Night Standards,” 10/10
Worst Song: “Now You Know,” 3/10
Mode Score: 0 (17 songs)

Gone:

  • LANco, “What I See” (down to #54)

Leaving:

  • Sam Hunt, “Kinfolks” (down from #2 to #3)
  • Maren Morris, “The Bones” (holds at #8 and actually regained its bullet, but the next single has already been announced)
  • Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” (down from #1 to #10)
  • Garth Brooks ft. Blake Shelton, “Dive Bar” (falls hard from #5 to #28)

In Real Trouble:

  • Riley Green, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died” (holds at #12, but lost its bullet with a 200+ point loss)
  • Kelsea Ballerini, “Homecoming Queen?” (holds at #19, but gets passed by yet another song)
  • Gone West, “What Could’ve Been” (down from #30 to #31, and its gains was relatively weak compared to its neighbors)
  • Dillon Carmichael, “I Do For You” (down from #47 to #48, lost its bullet with a triple-digit point loss)
  • Chris Stapleton, “Tennessee Whiskey” (down from #45 to #49, bullet-less for a second straight week)

In Some Trouble:

  • Jon Langston, “Now You Know” (down from #36 to #38, gained only forty-one spins and sixty points)
  • Jameson Rodgers, “Some Girls” (down from #39 to #40, gained only eleven spins and lost points)
  • Rayne Johnson, “Front Seat” (down fro #40 to #41, barely kept its bullet by gaining one spin and losing points)
  • Midland, “Cheatin’ Songs” (down from #42 to #45, gained only seventeen spins and lost points)
  • Little Big Town, “Over Drinking” (up from #48 to #47, gained only nine spins and twenty-six points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Kenny Chesney, “Here And Now” (up from #29 to #21, picks up another 19 adds)
  • Brett Young, “Catch” (up from #10 to #5)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” (up from #18 to #16)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: The floodgates finally burst this week: Driven by a 4600+ spin loss for “Dive Bar” and another 3100+ spin loss for “Make Me Want To,” PDs finally have something to give folks at the bottom of the chart. (If you struggled this week, you’ve got some serious problems.) While the major gains were still concentrated with higher-placed songs and known quantities, there were still far fewer sub-100 point and spin gains than we’ve seen over the last few weeks.

The ice jam may have finally burst, but don’t break out the party hats just yet:

With Brown aiming to stop up the elevator by spending another week at #1, spins could once again be at premium next week. Continued losses by Hunt, Morris, and Allen may blunt the impact of this a little, but don’t expect the escalator to be fully functional for another couple of weeks. (Look for the biggest loser in this shuffle to be Brett Young, whose song has not looked strong despite big gains this week and will probably get run over by Aldean, Andress, and possibly Barrett before it can reach the summit. Davis is in a similar position, with Barrett and Rhett biggest major threats behind it.)

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