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: “Things A Man Oughta Know,” 7/10
Worst Song: “To Be Loved By You,” 3/10
- Jake Owen, “Made For You” (recurrent)
- Little Big Town, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” (recurrent)
- LoCash, “Beers To Catch Up On” (recurrent)
- Eric Church, “Hell Of A View” (down from #1 to #4)
- Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90s” (down from #3 to #7
- Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” (holds at #43 but still bullet-less; I still think it’s toast)
In Real Trouble:
- Blake Shelton, “Minimum Wage” (up from #12 to #11, but loses its bullet in a surprise move)
- Parker McCollum, “To Be Loved By You” (down from #39 to #40, loses its bullet with a nearly 400-point loss)
- Brett Young, “Not Yet” (up from #47 to #45, but gained only forty-two spins and twenty-four points)
- Riley Green, “If It Wasn’t For Trucks” (up from #49 to #47, but gained only six spins and sixty-three points)
- Clay Walker, “Need A Bar Sometimes” (holds at #50, but gained only nine spins and seventy-six points)
In Some Trouble:
- Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” (up from #9 to #8 with a 1400+ point gain, but “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” is scheduled to release June 14th)
- Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” (up from #13 to #12, but gained only eighteen spins and 107 points)
- Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” (holds at #15, but gained only fifty-four spins and fifty-one points)
- Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” (up from #35 to #33, but gained only fifteen spins and 111 points)
- Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” (up from #37 to #35, but gained only twenty spins and twenty-three points)
- Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” (up from #38 to #36, but gained only thirteen spins and lost points)
- Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him”
- Chris Bandi, “Would Have Loved Her” (debuts at #50, but took nearly six months just to get there, and gained only sixteen spins and sixty-two points)
In No Trouble At All:
- Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter, “Thinking ‘Bout You” (up from #46 to #41)
- Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley, “Freedom Was A Highway (up from #34 to #30)
- Callista Clark, “It’s ‘Cause I Am” (up from #41 to #37)
- Luke Combs, “Forever After All” (holds at #2, but takes #1 on Billboard and will probably be there for the entire month)
Bubbling Under 50:
- Darius Rucker, “My Masterpiece”
- Chris Lane, “Fill Them Boots” (4/10)
- Heath Sanders, “Old School’s In”
- Brothers Osborne, “I’m Not For Everyone”
On The Way:
- Nelly & Florida Georgia Line, “Lil Bit”
- Elle King & Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”
Overall Thoughts: The loss of Rascal Flatts put the Pulse on the brink of the brink of disaster, but the subsequent collapse of Little Big Town and LoCash puts the Pulse on a bit firmer ground this week, even with the drop in Old Dominion’s preliminary grade. Still, despite the continuing turnover as spring gives way to summer, the airwaves are incredibly bland right now (nearly half the tracks have a 0 score), and I don’t have a ton of hope that what’s on the horizon will help (Nelly/FGL and King/Lambert will definitely shake things up, but said shakeups are just as apt to be negative as positive).
Truthfully, this prolonged period of “meh” has raised an existential question here at Kyle’s Korner: Is it time to pass the Pulse torch on to someone else? It’s a useful exercise (and a good place to collect my recent reviews), but as someone who’s increasingly out-of-step with mainstream radio, I don’t think I’m the right person to do it anymore. If this is something that someone out there would be interested in doing, let me know.
On the coronavirus front, whether the latest news is good or bad depends on whether you’ve been vaccinated or not:
- Overall, with 40% of the total U.S. population and over 50% of all adults fully vaccinated, the pandemic continues to recede, with the daily case and death averages continuing to drop (although the death count isn’t dropping much…)
- However, these numbers hide a darker reality:
“The [Washington] Post’s analysis concluded that the case rate among ‘susceptible, unvaccinated people is 69% higher than the standard figures being publicized. With that adjustment, the national death rate is roughly the same as it was two months ago and is barely inching down. The adjusted hospitalization rate is as high as it was three months ago. The case rate is still declining after the adjustment.'” —Shawn Vestal, The Spokesman-Review, May 31 2021
Basically, COVID-19 remains just as big a risk for unvaccinated people now as it did before, despite the rosy picture being painted by the overall numbers. This analysis is yet another reason why folks should go out and get their vaccine shots as soon as possible, and continue to wear their masks and keep their distance until then. (Side note: I received my second shot this week, and outside of some injection site soreness I’m feeling pretty good!) The coronavirus is still out wreaking havoc, so it’s imperative that as many people as possible get vaccinated so we can avoid a repeat of the nightmare that was 2020.