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: “I’m Not For Everyone,” 8/10
Worst Song: “To Be Loved By You,” 3/10
- Sam Hunt, “Breaking Up Was Easy In The 90s” (recurrent)
- Chris Janson, “Waitin’ On 5” (recurrent)
- Dylan Scott, “Nobody” (down from #1 to #4)
- Eric Church, “Hell Of A View” (down from #4 to #13)
In Real Trouble:
- Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” (down from #15 to #17, lost its bullet, and honestly just misread the moment)
- Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” (holds at #36, but gained only twenty spins and twenty-nine points)
- Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” (up from #44 to #43, but gained only eight spins and twenty-three points)
- Riley Green, “If It Wasn’t For Trucks” (up from #47 to #46, but gained only forty-four spins and seventy-eight points)
- Clay Walker, “Need A Bar Sometimes” (up from #49 to #47, but lost its bullet)
- Chris Bandi, “Would Have Loved Her” (up from #50 to #49, but gained only eleven spins and eleven points)
In Some Trouble:
- Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” (up from #13 to #12, but gained only eighteen spins and 107 points)
- HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” (up from #38 to 37, but gained only twenty-one spins and forty-eight points)
- Caitlyn Smith ft. Old Dominion, “I Can’t” (up from #46 to #45, but gained only ten spins and three points)
In No Trouble At All:
- Old Dominion, “I Was On A Boat That Day” (up from #32 to #26)
- Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” (up from #17 to #12)
- Jason Aldean, “Blame It On You” (up from #10 to #6)
- Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” (up from #26 to #22)
- Chris Stapleton, “You Should Probably Leave” (up from #48 to #44)
- Luke Combs, “Forever After All” (up from #2 to #1, earning Combs a permanent seat on the UN Security Council)
Bubbling Under 50:
- Chris Lane, “Fill Them Boots” (4/10)
- Niko Moon, “No Sad Songs”
- Heath Sanders, “Old School’s In”
- Dillon Carmichael, “Hot Beer”
On The Way:
- Nelly & Florida Georgia Line, “Lil Bit”
- Elle King & Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”
Overall Thoughts: Some surprise good news in the form of Rucker and Brothers Osborne’s latest singles have put the Pulse on firmer ground for the moment, but we’ve got some serious trouble on the horizon. (Spoiler alert: “Angry Kyle” is definitely making an appearance on my eventual Sanders and Moon reviews, and there’s a fair chance he shows up for the Nelly/FGL collab too…) Spins seemed a bit more plentiful on the whole this week, but with Thanos likely to sit at the top of the escalator for a while (based on today’s daily chart, I don’t see Bentley making up a nearly four-digit spin deficit in four days), expect a bit of chart constipation over the next few weeks as things back up behind “Forever After All” and Nelly/FGL and King/Lambert angle for splashy debuts.
We’re seeing a similar dynamic on the coronavirus front:
- The present outlook is relatively okay, with daily case and death averages dropping (the overall death count now stands at just over 598,000), over 42% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated (with several states over 50%, and Vermont on the verge of 60%), and post-vaccine “breakthrough” cases causing mostly mild symptons and appearing to be less contagious. Moderna’s filing for emergency use authorization in younger patients is a positive sign as well.
- Unfortunately, storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, with the rate of vaccinations continuing to plummet (so much so that President Biden’s goal of getting one dose into 70% of Americans by July 4th is in jeopardy) and the dangerous Delta variant of the virus becoming the dominant strain in the UK and threatening to do the same in America.
The U.S. needs to pull out all the stops to get vaccine shots into the arms of as many people as possible, whether that’s through improving access to vaccines, creating more incentives to convince people to get the vaccine, or other means (and honestly, doing all of the above is probably the best strategy). I implore people to get their vaccine shot at the earliest opportunity (and to wear masks and maintain social distance until they are fully vaccinated), and I implore businesses and governments to make those opportunities as plentiful and easy to access as possible. Ending this pandemic won’t be easy, but we’ve made great progress in the U.S. so far, and we need to keep up the good work to prevent this virus from surging once more.