The Current Pulse Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: June 28, 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. Dierks Bentley, “Gone” 0 (5/10)
2. Luke Combs, “Forever After All” 0 (5/10)
3. Chris Young & Kane Brown, “Famous Friends” -2 (3/10)
4. Cole Swindell, “Single Saturday Night” 0 (5/10)
5. Jason Aldean, “Blame It On You” +1 (6/10)
6. Jordan Davis, “Almost Maybes” +1 (6/10)
7. Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” +1 (6/10)
8. Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” -1 (4/10)
9. Dan + Shay, “Glad You Exist” -1 (4/10)
10. Blake Shelton, “Minimum Wage” 0 (5/10)
11. Justin Moore, “We Didn’t Have Much” +2 (7/10)
12. Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” 0 (5/10)
13. Lainey Wilson, “Things A Man Oughta Know” +2 (7/10)
14. Thomas Rhett, “Country Again” +2 (7/10)
15. Luke Bryan, “Waves” -1 (4/10)
16. Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” +1 (6/10)
17. Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” 0 (5/10)
18. Scotty McCreery, “You Time” 0 (5/10)
19. Elvie Shane, “My Boy” +2 (7/10)
20. Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” 0 (5/10)
21. Old Dominion, “I Was On A Boat That Day” -2 (3/10)
22. Lee Brice, “Memory I Don’t Mess With” -1 (4/10)
23. Lady A, “Like A Lady” 0 (5/10)
24. Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, “Shallow” +1 (6/10)
25. Kenny Chesney, “Knowing You” 0 (5/10)
26. Jimmie Allen & Brad Paisley, “Freedom Was A Highway” 0 (5/10)
27. Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris, “Chasing After You” 0 (5/10)
28. Kane Brown, “Worship You” -1 (4/10)
29. Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” 0 (5/10)
30. Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” 0 (5/10)
31. Jon Pardi, “Tequila Little Time” -1 (4/10)
32. Russell Dickerson, “Home Sweet” +1 (6/10)
33. Callista Clark, “It’s ‘Cause I Am” -1 (4/10)
34. Parker McCollum, “To Be Loved By You” -2 (3/10)
35. Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter, “Thinking ‘Bout You” 0 (5/10)
36. Chris Stapleton, “You Should Probably Leave” 0 (5/10)
37. Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” +2 (7/10)
38. Kelsea Ballerini ft. Kenny Chesney, “Half Of My Hometown” +1 (6/10)
39. Zac Brown Band, “Same Boat” +1 (6/10)
40. HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” +1 (6/10)
41. Toby Keith, “Old School” 0 (5/10)
42. Matt Stell, “That Ain’t Me No More” 0 (5/10)
43. Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” 0 (5/10)
44. Caitlyn Smith ft. Old Dominion, “I Can’t” 0 (5/10)
45. Brett Young, “Not Yet” +1 (6/10)
46. Riley Green, “If It Wasn’t For Trucks” -1 (4/10)
47. Elle King & Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” +1 (6/10)
48. Brothers Osborne, “I’m Not For Everyone” +3 (8/10)
49. Chris Bandi, “Would Have Loved Her” +1 (6/10)
50. Clay Walker, “Need A Bar Sometimes” 0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25) +4
Future Pulse (#26—#50) +7
Overall Pulse +11
Change From Last Week
+3 🙂

*Preliminary Grade

Best Song: “I’m Not For Everyone,” 8/10
Worst Song: “To Be Loved By You,” 3/10

Gone:

  • Brantley Gilbert ft. Toby Keith & HARDY, “The Worst Country Song Of All Time” (down to #52)

Leaving:

  • Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down” (holds at #7, but lost its bullet)
  • Tim McGraw & Tyler Hubbard, “Undivided” (down from #15 to #16 with a 800+ point loss; I think it’s toast)
  • Kane Brown, “Worship You” (down from #24 to #28)

In Real Trouble:

  • Blake Shelton, “Minimum Wage”(down from #8 to #10, lost its bullet with a nearly 650-point loss. I almost put this one under “Leaving”)
  • Keith Urban and Pink, “One Too Many” (holds at #12, but gained only thirty-three spins and 187 points. I need to see another half-decent week before I pull it off this list)
  • Carly Pearce, “Next Girl” (holds at #17, but gained only sixty spins and sixty-eight points)
  • Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” (holds at #43, but gained only twelve spins and six points)
  • Chris Bandi, “Would Have Loved Her” (holds at #49, but lost its bullet)
  • Clay Walker, “Need A Bar Sometimes” (down from #47 to #50, lost its bullet)

In Some Trouble:

  • Lainey Wilson, “Things A Man Oughta Know” (holds at #13, but gained only twenty-two spins and forty-three points)
  • Thomas Rhett, “Country Again” (holds at #14, but lost spins and gained only fifty-nine points)
  • Lady A, “Like A Lady” (holds at #23, but gained only sixty-seven spins and thirty-three points)
  • Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” (holds at #30, but gained only twnety-five spins and sixty-three points)
  • Ingrid Andress, “Lady Like” (down from #35 to #37, lost spins and gained only fifteen points)
  • Matt Stell, “That Ain’t Me No More” (down from #40 to #42, gained only fifteen spins and lost points)
  • Riley Green, “If It Weren’t For Trucks” (down from #45 to #46, gained only eleven spins and twenty-one points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Toby Keith, “Old School” (debuts at #41)

Is Thanos:

  • Luke Combs, “Forever After All” (down from #1 to #2, but holds #1 on Billboard for a fifth consecutive week, and is now leading the 2024 presidential straw polls of every major party)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

Overall Thoughts: The plug was pulled on “Forever After All” a week ago, but Thanos’s slow descent from the summit ended up making things back up worse than last week, with nearly half the chart stuck in the same spot and some surprising songs (Shelton, Wilson, Rhett) struggling to find spins. The Pulse got a temporary boost when “The Worst Country Song Of All Time” regressed to the mean, but it will likely be back next week (especially with Thanos, Kane Brown, and possibly McGraw/Hubbard on the way out). Throw in the usual batch of flag-waving tracks that appear around the 4th of July (look for Lee Greenwood to steal a fair number of spins), and I think we can expect a fair bit of turbulence next week, even if the songs don’t swap too many positions.

On the coronavirus front, while the virus appears to be generally receding in the U.S., don’t throw away those masks just yet. The spread of the dangerous Delta variant has got countries issuing new lockdowns and is making health experts nervous to the point that even though the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to be effective against it, the WHO is advising that even fully-vaccinated individuals should wear masks when in public. With just 46% of the population fully vaccinated in America, the specter of another virus surge this fall still looms large, which means we still need to follow best practices to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. As individuals, we must wear our masks, keep our distance from others, and get vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunity, and as a nation, we must ensure that vaccines are easily accessible so that everyone has the opportunity to receive their shots. There may be dark clouds on the horizon, but if we all do our part, we can get through this together and finally put this pandemic behind us.