The Current Pulse Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: May 17, 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. Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up With Easy In The 90s” 0 (5/10)
2. Jake Owen, “Made For You” 0 (5/10)
3. Eric Church, “Hell Of A View” 0 (5/10)
4. Luke Combs, “Forever After All” 0 (5/10)
5. Dylan Scott, “Nobody” 0 (5/10)
6. Dierks Bentley, “Gone” 0 (5/10)
7. Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends” -2 (3/10)
8. Jordan Davis, “Almost Maybes” +1 (6/10)
9. Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” +1 (6/10)
10. Jason Aldean, “Blame It On You” +1 (6/10)
11. Cole Swindell, “Single Saturday Night” 0 (5/10)
12. Blake Shelton, “Minimum Wage” 0 (5/10)
13. Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” 0 (5/10)
14. Dan + Shay, “Glad You Exist” -1 (4/10)
15. Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” +1 (6/10)
16. Justin Moore, “We Didn’t Have Much” +2 (7/10)
17. Lainey Wilson, “Things A Man Oughta Know” +2 (7/10)
18. Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” 0 (5/10)
19. Thomas Rhett, “Country Again” +2 (7/10)
20. Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” -1 (4/10)
21. Luke Bryan, “Waves” -1 (4/10)
22. Elvie Shane, “My Boy” +2 (7/10)
23. Scotty McCreery, “You Time” 0 (5/10)
24. Kane Brown, “Worship You” -1 (4/10)
25. Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, “Shallow” +1 (6/10)
26. Lee Brice, “Memory I Don’t Mess With” -1 (4/10)
27. Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” 0 (5/10)
28. Lady A, “Like A Lady” 0 (5/10)
29. Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” -3 (2/10)
30. Kenny Chesney, “Knowing You” 0 (5/10)
31. Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” 0 (5/10)
32. Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley, “Freedom Was A Highway” 0 (5/10)
33. Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris, “Chasing After You” 0 (5/10)
34. Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” +1 (6/10)
35. Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” 0 (5/10)
36. Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” -1 (4/10)
37. Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” +2 (7/10)
38. Rascal Flatts, “How They Remember You” +4 (9/10)
39. Parker McCollum, “To Be Loved By You” -2 (3/10)
40. Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” 0 (5/10)
41. HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” +1 (6/10)
42. LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” -1 (4/10)
43. Matt Stell, “That Ain’t Me No More” 0 (5/10)
44. Callista Clark, “It’s ‘Cause I Am” -1 (4/10)
45. Kelsea Ballerini ft. Kenny Chesney, “Half Of My Hometown” +1 (6/10)
46. Brett Young, “Not Yet” +1 (6/10)
47. Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” 0 (5/10)
48. Riley Green, “If It Wasn’t For Trucks” -1 (4/10)
49. Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter, “Thinking ‘Bout You” 0 (5/10)
50. Clay Walker, “Need A Bar Sometimes” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +6
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +1
Overall Pulse +7
Change From Last Week
-2 😦

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

Gone:

  • Tenille Arts, “Somebody Like That” (recurrent)

Leaving:

  • Jake Owen, “Made For You” (down from #1 to #2)
  • Rascal Flatts, “How They Remember You” (down from #23 to #38)

In Real Trouble:

  • Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” (holds at #15, but loses its bullet)
  • Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” (up from #30 to #29, but lost its bullet)
  • HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” (holds at #41, but gained only twenty-three spins and 121 points)
  • Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” (up from #42 to #40, but gained only forty-nine spins and 190 points)
  • LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” (up from #43 to #42, but gained only six spins and fifteen points)
  • Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” (down from #46 to #47, gained only twenty-five spins and 115 points)
  • Riley Green, “If It Wasn’t For Trucks” (up from #50 to #48, but gained only seventeen spins and 106 points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Elvie Shane, “My Boy” (up from #24 to #22, but gained only twenty-two spins and eight-four points)
  • Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” (up from #36 to #34, but gained only sixteen spins and sixty-six points)
  • Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” (up from #37 to #36, but gained only two spins and lost points)
  • Matt Stell, “That Ain’t Me No More” (up from #44 to #43, but gained only twenty-six spins and twenty-one points)
  • Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter, “Thinking ‘Bout You” (holds at #49, but gained only thirteen spins and seven points)
  • Clay Walker, “Need A Bar Sometimes” (up from #51 to #50, but lost spins and gained only twenty-five points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” (up from #31 to #27)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs, “Forever After All” (up from #5 to #4)

Bubbling Under 50:

  • The feature got bumped from Country Aircheck again this week.

On The Way:

  • Chris Stapleton, “You Should Probably Leave”
  • Tenille Arts, “Back Then, Right Now”

Overall Thoughts: With only one recurrent track and Owen’s slow descent from the summit, this turned out to be a stabilizing week for the charts, especially at the top of the charts (Hunt and Owen’s swap and Thanos and Scott’s swap were the only position changes in the top 20). Rascal Flatts managed to avoid recurrence this week and put off the inevitable Pulse collapse for another week, but the release of spins from both RF and Owen didn’t seem to help the lower half of the chart, with most of the tracks below #25 struggling to break the 100-spin mark for gains this week. In other words, it’s more of the same in country music, as radio playlists continue to grow smaller and more homogeneous.

Speaking of growing smaller, the good news is that coronavirus cases continue to decline in America, with the two-week averages for new diagnoses and deaths both down by over 10% (the official death toll now stands at over 586,000). Vaccinations, in contrast, are growing, with 37.5% of the U.S. population now fully vaccinated and much of New England (basically everyone except New Hampshire) closing in on the 50% mark. The country still has a long way to go, but it’s doing well enough now that President Biden is ramping up the nation’s vaccine deliveries to the rest of the world, with plans to send roughly 80 million doses abroad by the end of June. Given how badly the pandemic is going in the rest of the world (India just set a record for the most COVID-19 deaths in a country in a single day), I applaud this decision, because it makes the world safer (COVID-19 anywhere is a potential threat everywhere) and perhaps restores some of the trust we’ve lost over the last few years.

Folks who are considered fully vaccinated are now free to “resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic,” but if you haven’t reached that point yet, keep following best practices to keep yourself and your vulnerable loved ones safe: Wear a mask, maintain social distance, and get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. We have the power to both minimize the threat of COVID-19 at home and make strides against the virus around the world, and we shouldn’t squander either opportunity.

Finally, a blog housekeeping note for those who don’t follow me on Twitter:

Assuming that Friday’s post (likely a review of Stapleton’s new song) comes out on time, next Monday will mark the 1000th post here at Kyle’s Korner, and I have no idea how to mark the occasion. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below!

One thought on “The Current Pulse Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: May 17, 2021

  1. Happy soon-to-be 1000th post, Kyle! I’ve been happily following for years and think your writing is excellent. As for an idea for Monday … hmm, I don’t know. Vintage song reviews are always fun. As a writer, I guess I’d like to see a reflective post on what’s kept you going at Kyle’s Korner over the years, but if we’re looking for something more lightweight and fun … I don’t know, maybe a special edition of “Lost in the Shuffle” or so?

    Liked by 1 person

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