The Current Pulse Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: April 26, 2021

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!

Song Score
1. Tenille Arts, “Somebody Like That” +2 (7/10)
2. Gabby Barrett, “The Good Ones” 0 (5/10)
3. Jake Owen, “Made For You” 0 (5/10)
4. Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up With Easy In The 90s” 0 (5/10)
5. Eric Church, “Hell Of A View” 0 (5/10)
6. Dylan Scott, “Nobody” 0 (5/10)
7. Rascal Flatts, “How They Remember You” +4 (9/10)
8. Brett Young, “Lady” +1 (6/10)
9. Luke Combs, “Forever After All” 0 (5/10)
10. Jordan Davis, “Almost Maybes” +1 (6/10)
11. Dierks Bentley, “Gone” 0 (5/10)
12. Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” +1 (6/10)
13. Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends” -2 (3/10)
14. Jason Aldean, “Blame It On You” +1 (6/10)
15. Blake Shelton, “Minimum Wage” 0 (5/10)
16. Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” 0 (5/10)
17. Cole Swindell, “Single Saturday Night” 0 (5/10)
18. Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” +1 (6/10)
19. Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” -1 (4/10)
20. Dan + Shay, “Glad You Exist” -1 (4/10)
21. Justin Moore, “We Didn’t Have Much” +2 (7/10)
22. Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” 0 (5/10)
23. Lainey Wilson, “Things A Man Oughta Know” +2 (7/10)
24. Chris Stapleton, “Starting Over” 0 (5/10)
25. Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” -1 (4/10)
26. Elvie Shane, “My Boy” +2 (7/10)
27. Thomas Rhett, “Country Again” +2 (7/10)
28. Luke Bryan, “Waves” -1 (4/10)
29. Scotty McCreery, “You Time” 0 (5/10)
30. Kane Brown, “Worship You” -1 (4/10)
31. Brantley Gilbert, “Hard Days” 0 (5/10)
32. Lee Brice, “Memory I Don’t Mess With” -1 (4/10)
33. Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” -3 (2/10)
34. Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, “Shallow” +1 (6/10)
35. Lady A, “Like A Lady” 0 (5/10)
36. Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” 0 (5/10)
37. Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” 0 (5/10)
38. Kenny Chesney, “Knowing You” 0 (5/10)
39. Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley, “Freedom Was A Highway” 0 (5/10)
40. Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris, “Chasing After You” 0 (5/10)
41. Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” +1 (6/10)
42. Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” 0 (5/10)
43. Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” -1 (4/10)
44. Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” +2 (7/10)
45. LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” -1 (4/10)
46. Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” 0 (5/10)
47. HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” +1 (6/10)
48. Brett Young, “Not Yet” +1 (6/10)
49. Parker McCollum, “To Be Loved By You” -2 (3/10)
50. Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +9
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +1
Overall Pulse +10
Change From Last Week
+4 😎

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

Gone:

  • Parmalee ft. Blanco Brown, “Just The Way” (recurrent)
  • Florida Georgia Line, “Long Live” (recurrent)

Leaving:

  • Gabby Barrett, “The Good Ones” (down from #1 to #2)
  • Brett Young, “Lady” (down from #4 to #8)
  • Dustin Lynch, “Momma’s House” (down from #9 to #19)
  • Chris Stapleton, “Starting Over” (down from #16 to #24)
  • Brantley Gilbert, “Hard Days” (down from #27 to #31)

In Real Trouble:

  • Tim McGraw & Tyle Hubbard, “Undivided” (up from #21 to #18, but lost its bullet)
  • Scotty McCreery, “You Time” (up from #30 to #29, but gained only fifty-three spins and 160 points, and got run over by Rhett and Bryan)
  • Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” (down from #31 to #33, lost its bullet with a 250+ point loss)
  • Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, “Shallow” (holds at #34, but gained only six spins and one point)
  • Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” (up from #43 to #41, but gained only thirty-eight spins and 106 points)
  • Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” (holds at #42, but lost its bullet)
  • Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” (up from #44 to #43, but gained only thirty-four spins and 142 points)
  • LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” (up from #46 to #45, but lost spins and gained only seven points)
  • Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” (up from #47 to #46, but gained only one spin and lost points)
  • Parker McCollum, “To Be Loved By You” (up from #50 to #49, but lost its bullet)
  • Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” (down from #49 to #50, gained only thirty-five spins and 100 points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Keith Urban & Pink, “One Too Many” (up from #20 to #16, but gained only twenty-eight spins and 116 points, and has looked relatively weak compared to its peers)
  • Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” (holds at #37, but gained only twnety-nine spins and 103 spins)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Luke Bryan, “Waves” (up from #41 to #28)
  • Thomas Rhett, “Country Again” (up from #35 to #27)
  • Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends” (up from #18 to #13)
  • Cole Swindell, “Single Saturday Night” (up from #22 to #17)
  • Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris, “Chasing After You” (up from #45 to #40)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs, “Forever After All” (up from #13 to #9)

Bubbling Under 50:

  • None listed by Country Aircheck for a third straight week? Has the feature been discontinued?

On The Way:

  • Chris Lane, “Fill Them Boots”

Overall Thoughts: The dam finally burst this week. Five songs are definitely on their way out (and “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” may be following them out the door as well), and a big push from Arts and a big rebound for Bryan meant spins were hard to find at the bottom of the chart, putting much of the flotsam there (especially Janson and LoCash) at risk of going under. The loss of Florida Georgia Line and the rise of semi-decent songs from HARDY and Brett Young bumped the Pulse back into double-digits for the first time in a while, but I’ll wait to see how it handles the upcoming loss of Arts before I declare that we’ve broken out of our early-year slump (again, dumping that LBT track would go a long way towards that goal…)

On the pandemic front, the numbers we’ve been tracking are trending in the right direction, with the daily case and death averages continuing to decline (the total death count now stands at over 572,000). The country is now awash in vaccines, and focus has shifted to two major issues:

  • There are still a lot of people who aren’t ready to get the vaccine, and the number “isn’t shrinking at the rate we might have hoped.” We’re still a long way off from herd immunity, and if people put off or refuse these shots at this rate, we’re going to slow down this timetable and prolong this pandemic unnecessarily. (The whole “skipping the second shot” phenomenon also confuses me: You convinced yourself to get the shot once, but not to finish the job and do it twice?) The vaccines and safe and effective, and getting one will help protect you, your family, and your community, so I implore you to get the vaccine at the earliest opportunity.
  • The vaccine rollout has been succesful in America so far, but it’s barely started in other parts of the world, and countries such as Brazil and India have been completely overwhelmed by COVID-19. With an apparent vaccine surplus here in the U.S. (including a ton of AstraZeneca doses that haven’t even been approved for use here), I encourage the Biden administration to continuing sharing their stockpile as they’ve done with Canada, Mexico, and now India, since a) an unchecked virus anywhere is a potential threat to people everywhere, and b) “vaccine diplomacy” would go a long way towards restoring global trust and confidence in the United States.

In the meantime, we need to keep following best practices to keep everyone safe: Keep your mask on, keep your distance from others, and keep your sleeves rolled up in anticipation of your vaccine shot. We’ve still got a few miles left in this marathon, and we’re only going to make it to the finish line if we all (metaphorcally) stick together.

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