The Current Coronavirus Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: March 23, 2020

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

Best Song: “One Night Standards,” 10/10
Worst Song: “Now You Know,” 3/10
Mode Score: 0 (16 songs)

Gone:

  • Jimmie Allen, “Make Me Want To” (recurrent
  • Florida Georgia Line, “Blessings” (down to #53)

Leaving:

  • Kane Brown, “Homesick” (down from #1 to #2)
  • Jason Aldean, “We Back” (holds at #6, but has looked weak and a new single has already been announced)
  • Maren Morris, “The Bones” (holds at #9, but lost its bullet and is trending downward)

In Real Trouble:

  • Kip Moore, “She’s Mine” (holds at #34, but loses its bullet)
  • Billy Currington, “Details” (up from #36 to #35, but gained only six points and lost points)
  • Rayne Johnson, “Front Seat” (holds at #38, but gained only six spins and lost points)
  • Dillon Carmichael, “I Do For You” (up from #46 to #45, but lost spins and gained only six points)
  • Little Big Town, “Over Drinking” (holds at #47, but loses its bullet)

In Some Trouble:

  • Honestly, if you’re below #30 and aren’t named Sam Hunt, you should be a little nervous.

In No Trouble At All:

  • Sam Hunt, “Hard To Forget” (up from #42 to #32)
  • Keith Urban, “God Whispered Your Name” (up from #33 to #27)
  • Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani, “Nobody But You” (up from #14 to #10)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” (holds at #15 and looks unexpectedly mortal right now…)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: I expected to see continued playlist shortening this week, but I did not expect to see a hard cap emerge like this.

A bright red line has been drawn across the chart this week, and if you’re on the wrong side of it, you’re in big trouble:

  • From #1 to #30, only six songs gained fewer than 100 spins (not including Brown and Morris, which are exiting naturally), and everybody but Brown and Morris gained at least 100 points.
  • From #31 to #50, if you throw out Hunt’s fast-rising track at #32, no one broke the 100 spin gain mark, and only seven gained over 100 points (and only Rodgers at #37 cracked 200).

I went through some theories as to why this was happening last week, and I’ll throw another possibility out today: With the nation going on lockdown one state at a time (our order went into effect this afternoon), label marketing teams are having to operate with little to no ground game, which is likely hurting artists on the B and C lists as labels concentrate their efforts on their profitable known quantities. I expected artists to struggle in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, but I didn’t expect this issues to crop up on the airwaves this strikingly. Then again, I don’t think I was really prepared for how fast these infection numbers would grow either.

Fasten your seatbelts and hold on to your hats, folks. This ride’s about to get even rougher.

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