The Current Pulse Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: May 11, 2020

(Editor’s Note: The Pulse is early this week in anticipation of us not being able to post tomorrow.)

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. Thomas Rhett ft. Jon Pardi, “Beer Can’t Fix” +1 (6/10)
2. Morgan Wallen, “Chasin’ You” 0 (5/10)
3. Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani, “Nobody But You” 0 (5/10)
4. Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” +1 (6/10)
5. Travis Denning, “After A Few” 0 (5/10)
6. Carly Pearce & Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now” 0 (5/10)
7. Scotty McCreery, “In Between” +1 (6/10)
8. Kenny Chesney, “Here And Now” 0 (5/10)
9. Sam Hunt, “Hard To Forget” 0 (5/10)
10. Carrie Underwood, “Drinking Alone” 0 (5/10)
11. Miranda Lambert, “Bluebird” -1 (4/10)
12. Keith Urban, “God Whispered Your Name” 0 (5/10)
13. LoCash, “One Big Country Song” 0 (5/10)
14. Florida Georgia Line, “I Love My Country” -3 (2/10)
15. Justin Moore, “Why We Drink” -1 (4/10)
16. Eric Church, “Monsters” 0 (5/10)
17. Ingrid Andress, “More Hearts Than Mine” +3 (8/10)
18. Maddie & Tae, “Die From A Broken Heart” +2 (7/10)
19. Chris Janson, “Done” 0 (5/10)
20. Michael Ray, “Her World Or Mine” 0 (5/10)
21. Luke Bryan, “One Margarita” 0 (5/10)
22. Thomas Rhett ft. Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Keith Urban and Chris Tomlin, “Be A Light” +1 (6/10)
23. Chase Rice, “Lonely If You Are” -2 (3/10)
24. Ashley McBryde, “One Night Standards” +5 (10/10)
25. Tim McGraw, “I Called Mama” +4 (9/10)
26. Kip Moore, “She’s Mine” +1 (6/10)
27. Gone West, “What Could’ve Been” +1 (6/10)
28. Kane Brown, “Cool Again” -1 (4/10)
29. Jameson Rodgers, “Some Girls” 0 (5/10)
30. Matt Stell, “Everywhere But On” 0 (5/10)
31. Chris Young, “Drowning” 0 (5/10)
32. Midland, “Cheatin’ Songs” +4 (9/10)
33. Jason Aldean, “Got What I Got” +2 (7/10)
34. Brad Paisley, “No I In Beer” 0 (5/10)
35. HARDY ft. Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson, “One Beer” -1 (4/10)
36. Jon Langston, “Now You Know” -2 (3/10)
37. Lee Brice, “One Of Them Girls” -1 (4/10)
38. Jon Pardi, “Ain’t Always The Cowboy” 0 (5/10)
39. Parker McCollum, “Pretty Heart” -1 (4/10)
40. Lauren Alaina, “Getting Good” +2 (7/10)
41. Old Dominion, “Some People Do” +3 (8/10)
42. Russell Dickerson, “Love You Like I Used To” 0 (5/10)
43. Runaway June, “Head Over Heels” +2 (7/10)
44. LANco, “What I See” -1 (4/10)
45. Chris Lane, “Big, Big Plans” +1 (6/10)
46. Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” -1 (4/10)
47. Dillon Carmichael, “I Do For You” +2 (7/10)
48. Brett Eldredge, “Gabrielle” 0 (5/10)
49. Lindsay Ell, “I Don’t Love You” +1 (6/10)
50. Tenille Arts, “Somebody Like That” +2 (7/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +9
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +17
Overall Pulse +26
Change From Last Week +5 😎

Best Song: “One Night Standards,” 10/10
Worst Song: “I Love My Country,” 2/10
Mode Score: 0 (16 songs)

Gone:

  • Gabby Barrett, “I Hope” (recurrent)
  • Rayne Johnson, “Front Seat” (recurrent)
  • Brett Young, “Lady” (dropped below #50)

Leaving:

  • Ingrid Andress, “More Hearts Than Mine” (down from #8 to #17)
  • Chris Young, “Drowning” (down from #26 to #31)

In Real Trouble:

  • Thomas Rhett ft. Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Keith Urban and Chris Tomlin, “Be A Light” (holds at #22, but loses its bullet with a massive 600+ point loss)
  • Chase Rice, “Lonely If You Are” (holds at #23, but gained only thirty-six spins and fifty points, and is about to get run over by McBryde and Bryan)
  • Gone West, “What Could’ve Been” (holds at #27, but lost spins and gained only forty-nine points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Jon Langston, “Now You Know” (down from #32 to #36, gained only eleven spins and lost points, and has looked shaky for a while)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Tim McGraw, “I Called Mama” (debuts at #25 with 147 adds)
  • Miranda Lambert, “Bluebird” (up from #16 to #11)
  • Kane Brown, “Cool Again” (up from #33 to #28)
  • Luke Bryan, “One Margarita” (up from #25 to #21)
  • Brad Paisley, “No I In Beer” (up from #38 to #34, grabs 17 adds)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs ft. Eric Church, “Does To Me” (holds at #4)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: Just when you think you’ve got the charts figured out, they find a new way to surprise you:

  • Charts covered in booze-soaked party songs? Tim McGraw crashes the party with “I Called Mama.”
  • Spins and points being hoarded by the top 25? The latter were spread a bit more evenly this time, with only a few non-leaving tracks gaining less than 100 points.
  • Pulse going in the wrong direction? McGraw teamed up with Arts to put it solidly back in the mid-20s. (Also, Arts fighting back to #50 helps maintain the current level of female representation on the charts.)
  • Escalator back to normal operations? A few early exits from Chris Young and Johnson are shaking things up a bit at the back of the pack, although McGraw’s high debut meant that the actual position movement was minimal.

Unfortunately, the rest of America is bucking trends as well, with a number of states taking steps to reopen in the face of over 80,000 COVID-19 deaths and a ton of pushback from health experts, including the head honcho Dr. Fauci himself. People seem to be losing patience with shelter-at-home orders, and my fear is that we’ll be seeing (and losing) more patients as a result.

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