Several years ago, Josh Schott started a weekly feature on the 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!
Best Song: “How They Remember You,” 9/10
Worst Song: “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” 2/10
- Teddy Robb, “Heaven On Dirt” (dropped below #50)
- HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” (dropped below #50)
- Chris Stapleton, “Starting Over” (collapsed hard from #1 to #16)
- Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” (down from #3 to #9)
- Florida Georgia Line, “Long Live” (down from #6 to #11)
- Parmalee ft. Blanco Brown, “Just The Way” (up from #8 to #6, but bullet-less and fading)
In Real Trouble:
- Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” (holds at #24, but gained only forty-one spins and 109 points)
- Brantley Gilbert, “Hard Days” (down from #26 to #27, bullet-less with a 500-plus point loss)
- Scotty McCreery, “You Time” (holds at #30, but gained only twenty-one spins and sixty-nine points)
- Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” (holds at #31, but gained only sixty-four spins and sixty-one points)
- Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley, “Freedom Was A Highway” (down from #39 to #40, gained only twenty-seven spins and lost points)
- LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” (down from #45 to #46, gained only thirty-three spins and 104 points)
- Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” (down from #44 to #47, gained only seven spins and lost points)
- Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” (down from #46 to #48, lost its bullet)
- Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” (down from #48 to #49, gained only seven spins and loses points)
In Some Trouble:
- Dan + Shay, “Glad You Exist” (holds at #23, but gained only twenty-five spins and lost points)
- Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, “Shallow” (holds at #34, but gained only twenty-nine spins and one point)
- Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” (down from #41 to #42, gained only sixteen spins and eleven points)
- Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” (down from #42 to #43, gained only tewnty-three spins and thirty-four points)
- Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” (down from #43 to #44, gained only eighteen spins and sixty-nine points)
In No Trouble At All:
- Thomas Rhett, “Country Again” (debuts at #35)
- Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90s” (up from #10 to #5)
- Eric Church, “Hell Of A Ride” (up from #12 to #7)
- Luke Combs, “Forever After All” (up from #14 to #13)
Bubbling Under 50:
- None listed by Country Aircheck for a second straight week.
On The Way:
- Kelsea Ballerini ft. Kenny Chesney, “Half Of My Hometown” (6/10)
- Maddie & Tae, “Woman You Got”
- Dillon Carmichael, “Hot Beer”
- Niko Moon, “No Sad Songs”
Overall Thoughts: The cracks in the Mediabase ice are getting bigger by the day: We’ve got four songs falling out of the top twenty (and a fifth that should be), and a bunch of songs in the lower half of the charts (and even some in the middle) that are barely hanging on. The problem, of course, is that I’m not 100% sold on the songs booking stays for the summer: Sure, Rhett’s entry was fine, but McColloum’s was not, and Robb and HARDY’s mediocre mush is likely still lurking right outside the door. (Maddie & Tae and Carmichael inspire a little confidence, but not Niko Moon…). Still, with the slump the chart has been in this year, there isn’t a whole lot of room for regression, so let’s hope the upcoming summer sounds are better than those of the spring.
Similarly, the pandemic is another situation that a) is in desperate need of a breakthrough, and b) may finally be on the verge of one. New cases remain essentially flat and there are still some troublesome hot spots on the map right now, but deaths still seem to be inching downwards as the ranks of the vaccinated swell (over 50% of adults in the country have now had at one least one vaccine dose). The focus is now starting to shift to those who remain unprotected: The anti-vaxxers and vaccine-hesitant, those too young to qualify for the vaccine, and those in other areas of the world whose rollouts have been relatively slow. There are going to be a lot of people who will be waiting a while longer for their shots, so I encourage everyone to continue the usual best practices to protect vulnerable individuals: Wear masks, wash your hands, and limit your gathering sizes and frequency. Better times are on the horizon, and we all need to continue doing our part to ensure we all get there safely.