The Current Pulse Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: January 11, 2021

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. Lady A, “Champagne Night” 0 (5/10)
2. Dan + Shay, “I Should Probably Go To Bed” 0 (5/10)
3. Luke Combs, “Better Together” 0 (5/10)
4. Kenny Chesney, “Happy Does” 0 (5/10)
5. Kelsea Ballerini, “Hole In The Bottle” +2 (7/10)
6. Chris Lane, “Big, Big Plans” +1 (6/10)
7. Darius Rucker, “Beers And Sunshine” 0 (5/10)
8. Niko Moon, “GOOD TIME” -1 (4/10)
9. Chris Stapleton, “Starting Over” 0 (5/10)
10. Luke Bryan, “Down To One” 0 (5/10)
11. Parker McCollum, “Pretty Heart” -1 (4/10)
12. Thomas Rhett, “What’s Your Country Song” 0 (5/10)
13. Parmalee ft. Blanco Brown, “Just The Way” 0 (5/10)
14. Florida Georgia Line, “Long Live” -2 (3/10)
15. Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” -1 (4/10)
16. Rascal Flatts, “How They Remember You” +4 (9/10)
17. Tenille Arts, “Somebody Like That” +2 (7/10)
18. Dylan Scott, “Nobody” 0 (5/10)
19. Gabby Barrett, “The Good Ones” 0 (5/10)
20. Brett Young, “Lady” +1 (6/10)
21. Jordan Davis, “Almost Maybes” +1 (6/10)
22. Morgan Wallen, “7 Summers” +1 (6/10)
23. Brothers Osborne, “All Night” -1 (4/10)
24. Eric Church, “Hell Of A View” 0 (5/10)
25. Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” 0 (5/10)
26. Dierks Bentley, “Gone” 0 (5/10)
27. Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up With Easy In The 90s” 0 (5/10)
28. Jake Owen, “Made For You” 0 (5/10)
29. Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” +1 (6/10)
30. Brantley Gilbert, “Hard Days” 0 (5/10)
31. Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” 0 (5/10)
32. Jason Aldean, “Blame It On You” +1 (6/10)
33. Runaway June, “We Were Rich” +2 (7/10)
34. Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” -3 (2/10)
35. Cole Swindell, “Single Saturday Night” 0 (5/10)
36. Justin Moore, “We Didn’t Have Much” +2 (7/10)
37. Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” -1 (4/10)
38. Old Dominion, “Never Be Sorry” 0 (5/10)
39. Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends” -2 (3/10)
40. Kane Brown, “Worship You” -1 (4/10)
41. Scotty McCreery, “You Time” 0 (5/10)
42. Elvie Shane, “My Boy” +2 (7/10)
43. Lee Brice, “Memory I Don’t Mess With” -1 (4/10)
44. Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” 0 (5/10)
45. Robert Counts, “What Do I Know” -3 (2/10)
46. Cody Johnson & Reba McEntire, “Dear Rodeo” 0 (5/10)
47. Teddy Robb, “Heaven On Dirt” 0 (5/10)
48. LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” -1 (4/10)
49. Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” 0 (5/10)
50. Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +6
Future Pulse (#26—#50) -4
Overall Pulse +2
Change From Last Week
N/A

Best Song: “How They Remember You,” 9/10
Worst Song: “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” 2/10

Gone:

  • Jon Pardi, “Ain’t Always The Cowboy”
  • Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani, “Happy Anywhere”
  • HARDY ft. Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson, “One Beer”
  • Maren Morris, “To Hell & Back”
  • Caroline Jones, “All Of The Boys”

Here:

  • Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, ” Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.”
  • Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends”
  • Teddy Robb, “Heaven On Dirt”
  • Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain”
  • Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5”

In Real/Some/No Trouble:

  • These will return next week.

Remains Thanos:

  • Luke Combs, “Better Together” (currently at #3, not sure if this will be another multi-week #1)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

  • Tim McGraw ft. Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided”
  • Jimmie Allen ft. Brad Paisley, “Freedom Was A Highway”

Overall Thoughts: It’s been nearly a month since we’ve looked at the Pulse, and a lot has changed (most notably the Nashville bombing, the nation’s streak of peaceful power transfers getting snapped, and the subsequent second impeachment). New singles from Rice/FGL and Chris Young/Kane Brown have put the Pulse in precarious territory, indicating that the radio is leaning on some seriously mediocre material right now (good stuff is out there, it just can’t seem to find any room on current playlists). There might be some hope on the horizon, but I can’t say for sure until I hear Andress, McGraw, and Allen’s latest work.

Unfortunately, one thing that remains out there in 2021 is the coronavirus, which seems to be getting worse by the hour (the death toll now tops 380,000, and the daily case and death counts continue to climb). Where once we were shocked to see 1,000 or 2,000 deaths in a day, we’re now seeing three to four thousand deaths on a regular basis, and with more-transmissable variants now spreading throughout the world, expect these numbers to get even worse despite the ongoing vaccine rollout. If you’re part of the high-risk groups that are eligible to receive the vaccine now, get it as soon as you can; for the rest of you, keep washing your hands, wearing masks, and avoiding crowds until the shots become available. The darkest hour may be just before dawn, but we know the dawn is coming, and we all need to do what we can to hang on until then.

Stay safe out there folks. 2020 isn’t done with us quite yet.