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: “Come Back As A Country Boy,” 1/10
- Scotty McCreery, “You Time” (recurrent)
- Lee Brice, “Memory I Don’t Mess With” (down from #1 to #4)
- Jameson Rodgers ft. Luke Combs, “Cold Beer Calling My Name” (down from #3 to #6)
Out Of Bullets:
- Old Dominion, “I Was On A Boat That Day” (down from #7 to #10, 250+ point loss)
- Lady A, “Like A Lady” (down from #12 to #13, 500+ point loss)
- Priscilla Block, “Just About Over You” (holds at #17, single-digit point loss)
- Callista Clark, “It’s ‘Cause I Can” (down from #22 to #24, 100+ point loss)
- Garth Brooks, “That’s What Cowboys Do” (up from #30 to #29, 400+ point loss)
- Matt Stell, “That Ain’t Me No More” (down from #32 to #33, 80-point loss, second week in a row with an empty gun)
- Nate Barnes, “You Ain’t Pretty” (holds at #46, 31-point loss)
- Caroline Jones, “Come In (But Don’t Make Yourself Comfortable” (down from #47 to #49, 74-point loss)
Running Out Of Bullets:
- Caitlyn Smith ft. Old Dominion, “I Can’t” (down from #37 to #38, gained only nine spins and 108 points)
- Brothers Osborne, “I’m Not For Everyone” (down from #42 to #43 despite a decent 200+point gain, and it’s been buried in the forties for a long time)
- Tenille Arts, “Back Then, Right Now” (down from #43 to #44, gained only twelve spins and forty-four points)
- Chris Lane, “Fill Them Boots” (up from #48 to #47, but gained only twenty-one spins and 107 points)
- Cam, “Till There’s Nothing Left” (up from #49 to #48, but gained only nine spins and 101 points)
Pinned Down Behind Cover:
- Michael Ray, “Whiskey And Rain” (up from #16 to #15, but gained only forty-eight spins and forty-one points)
- Eric Church, “Heart On Fire” (up from #26 to #25, but gained only nine spins and fifty-seven points)
- HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell” (up from #30 to #29, but gained only forty-four spins and ninety-seven points)
- Lauren Alaina & Jon Pardi, “Getting Over Him” (holds at #34, but gained only thirteeen spins and forty-eight points)
- Dierks Bentley ft. BRELAND & HARDY, “Beers On Me” (down from #35 to #36, gained only two spins and lost 100 points)
- Darius Rucker, “My Masterpiece” (down from #38 to #40, gained only eight spins and broke even on points)
- Tim McGraw, “7500 OBO” (down from #39 to #41, gained only ten spins and lost points)
- Dan + Shay, “Steal My Love” (down from #42 to #43, gained only twenty-nine spins and sixty-six points)
- Frank Ray, “Country’d Look Good On You” (holds at #45, but gained only twenty-nine spins and 101 points)
- Dylan Scott, “New Truck” (holds at #50, but gained only forty-two spins and 106 points)
Both Barrels Blazing:
- Mirand Lambert, “If I Was A Cowboy” (debuts at #32)
- Blake Shelton, “Come Back As A Country Boy” (up from #44 to #39)
- Morgan Wallen, “Snd In My Boots” (down from #25 to #21)
- Luke Combs, “Cold As You” (up from #10 to #8)
Bubbling Under 50:
- Crowded out of Country Aircheck once again…
On The Way:
- Luke Bryan, “Up”
- Chase Rice, “If I Were Rock & Roll”
- Justin Moore, “With A Woman Like You”
Overall Thoughts: Did someone turn the dial on the time machine back a decade? Because this week was mostly defined by the former power couple of Shelton and Lambert, with “Come Back As A Country Boy” posting a 1300+ point gain in the low forties/high thirties and lambert riding a massive 1500+ spin wave to debut at #32. Throw in a massive push from Shane to leap from #4 all the way to the summit, and this week turned into the driest spin drought that I’ve ever seen. If you weren’t comfortably in the Top Ten and didn’t have a ton of star power to lean on, you were holding on your dear life, and a lot of songs lost their grip (especially in the lower half in the chart). The spigot should open back up a bit more next week as Shane and Lambert come back to earth (as of today, Aldean & Underwood are easing into the top spot with a more-measured spin increase), and as that song and “Fancy Like” cycles off the chart, things should return to some semblance of normalcy and give everyone a fighting chance at success.
On the coronavirus front, the trend lines for new case and death averages continue to drop, but with over 80,000 cases and 1,500 deaths per day, it’s still too early to breathe easy, especially with a nationwide vaccination rate still at only 57%. Much of the focus recently has been on potential booster shots, with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters joining Pfizer on the FDA-approved shelf and the official green light being given to getting any booster brand regardless of what your initial vaccine shots were. With the country now prepping to offer the vaccine to children ages 5 through 11, we’ve got a lot more tools at our disposal for combatting the coronavirus, as long as we can convince people to use them.
Given all of this, this is no time to let up on the guidelines and best practices we’ve been using thus far:
- Wear a mask and maintain proper social distance from others when in public.
- If you’re not vaccinated yet, get your shots at the earliest opportunity, and be sure to get your booster shot once you become eligible.
- If you’re in a position to do something to minimize the spread of COVID-19, do it. More incentives, more mandates, reducing access barriers…whatever it is you can do to help, do it.
We’ve got the nationwide numbers moving in the right direction, and we should’t do anything to jeopardize this momentum. Keep doing the right things to protect yourself and others, and we may yet bring this draining, depressing, and deadly pandemic to an end.