The Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: November 7, 2022

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!

1. Ingrid Andress ft. Sam Hunt, “Wishful Drinking”0 (5/10)
2. Morgan Wallen, “You Proof”-1 (4/10)
3. Tyler Hubbard, “5 Foot 9”-1 (4/10)
4. Thomas Rhett ft. Riley Green, “Half Of Me”0 (5/10)
5. Jackson Dean, “Don’t Come Lookin'”+1 (6/10)
6. Bailey Zimmerman, “Fall In Love”-3 (2/10)
7. Jelly Roll, “Son Of A Sinner”+2 (7/10)
8. Luke Bryan, “Country On”-2 (3/10)
9. Gabby Barrett, “Pick Me Up”0 (5/10)
10. Jimmie Allen, “Down Home”0 (5/10)
11. Jordan Davis, “What My World Spins Around”-1 (4/10)
12. Zac Brown Band, “Out In The Middle”0 (5/10)
13. Jason Aldean, “That’s What Tequila Does”0 (5/10)
14. Nate Smith, “Whiskey On You”0 (5/10)
15. Kane Brown & Katelyn Brown, “Thank You”+1 (6/10)
16. Russell Dickerson ft. Jake Scott, “She Likes It”-1 (4/10)
17. Dustin Lynch, “Party Mode”-1 (4/10)
18. Brett Young, “You Didn’t”+1 (6/10)
19. Lee Brice, “Soul”0 (5/10)
20. Lainey Wilson, “Heart Like A Truck”0 (5/10)
21. Blake Shelton, “No Body”-1 (4/10)
22. Dierks Bentley, “Gold”+1 (6/10)
23. Carly Pearce, “What He Didn’t Do”+1 (6/10)
24. Chris Stapleton, “Joy Of My Life”+1 (6/10)
25. HARDY ft. Lainey Wilson, “Wait In The Truck”+3 (8/10)
26. Kelsea Ballerini, “HEARTFIRST”0 (5/10)
27. Sam Hunt, “Water Under The Bridge”-1 (4/10)
28. Parker McCollum, “Handle On You”0 (5/10)
29. Luke Combs, “Going, Going, Gone”0 (5/10)
30. Corey Kent, “Wild As Her”0 (5/10)
31. Keith Urban, “Brown Eyes Baby”-1 (4/10)
32. Joe Nichols, “Good Day For Living”0 (5/10)
33. Cody Johnson, “Human”0 (5/10)
34. Dan + Shay, “You”0 (5/10)
35. Kenny Chesney & Old Dominion, “Beer With My Friends”0 (5/10)
36. Shane Profitt, “How It Oughta Be”0 (5/10)
37. Walker Hayes, “Y’all Life”-3 (2/10)
38. Randy Houser, “Note To Self”+2 (7/10)
39. Dillon Carmichael, “Son Of A”0 (5/10)
40. Matt Stell, “Man Made”0 (5/10)
41. Zach Bryan, “Something In The Orange”0 (7/10)
42. Eric Church, “Doing Life With Me”+1 (6/10)
43. Hailey Whitters, “Everything She Ain’t”-1 (4/10)
44. Parmalee, “Girl In Mine”-1 (4/10)
45. Miranda Lambert, “Strange”0 (5/10)
46. Scotty McCreery, “It Matters To Her”+2 (7/10)
47. Jon Pardi, “Your Heart Or Mine”0 (5/10)
48. Elle King ft. Dierks Bentley, “Worth A Shot”0 (5/10)
49. Dylan Scott, “Can’t Have Mine (Find You A Girl)”0 (5/10)
50. Drake Milligan, “Sounds Like Something I’d Do”+2 (7/10)*
Present Pulse (#1—#25)1
Future Pulse (#26—#50)-1
Overall Pulse0
Change From Last Week+2 🙂

*Preliminary Grade

Best Song: “Wait In The Truck,” 8/10
Worst Song: “Fall In Love,” 2/10


  • Brett Eldredge, “Songs About You” (recurrent)


  • Morgan Wallen, “You Proof” (down from #1 to #2)
  • Kelsea Ballerini, “HEARTFIRST” (down from #21 to #26)

Zombie Tracks:

  • Dustin Lynch, “Party Mode” (down from #15 to #17, bullet-less for a second consecutive week. It’s trying to staunch the bleeding on the daily charts, but this one is on life support)
  • Lee Brice, “Soul” (down from #18 to #19, lost its bullet)
  • Dillon Carmichael, “Son Of A” (holds at #39, but gained only twenty-two spins and forty-six points)

In Real Trouble:

  • Sam Hunt, “Water Under The Bridge” (down from #26 to #27, lost its bullet)
  • Keith Urban, “Brown Eyes Baby” (down from #29 to #31, gained only seven spins and eighteen points)
  • Kenny Chesney & Old Dominion, “Beer With My Friends” (down from #34 to #35, lost its bullet)
  • Eric Church, “Doing Life With Me” (down from #41 to #42, lost its bullet)
  • Parmalee, “Girl In Mine” (down from #42 to #44, gained only eleven spins and forty-three points)

In Some Trouble:

  • Keith Urban, “Brown Eyes Baby” (up from #30 to #29, but gained only fourteen spins and lost points)
  • Cody Johnson, “Human” (down from #32 to #33, gained only nine spins and eighty-eight points)
  • Dylan Scott, “Can’t Have Mine” (holds at #49, but gained only twenty-eight spins and forty points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Luke Combs, “Going, Going, Gone” (up from #37 to #29)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

  • Carrie Underwood, “Hate My Heart”

Overall Thoughts: Wow, this might be my best prediction yet: I called out Lynch, Brice, and Ballerini for taking up space on the charts, and all three took notable losses during a week that wasn’t super tight on spins. Ballerini is done, and while it looks like the other two are kinda-sorta recovering on the daily charts, I don’t think either one lasts much longer.

Wallen essentially replaced himself this week with “Thought You Should Know” reaching #54, and Ballerini’s losses countered most of Combs’s gains, so for the most part there were spins to go around (yet we still had six songs lose their bullets, not including Wallen and Ballerini). With only an Eldredge-for-Milligan trade this week, I expect to see a bit more chaos on the charts before the holiday slowdown, and honestly, I think we could use it.

On the coronavirus front, NPR didn’t update its coronavirus page this week, so I had to draw information from the New York Times’s site, and the picture in paints is…well, complicated. National numbers appear to be relatively flat (slight increase in new daily cases and hospitalizations, 14% drop in daily deaths), but there’s some serious variations in state-by-state numbers, with some states seeing cases increase over 50% over the the last two weeks (mainly in the South and West) while others seeing cases decrease over 20% (mainly in the Northeast and Northwest). I’m not sure exactly what defines a COVID-19 ‘wave,’ but we’re certainly seeing some concerning trends in parts of the country, and given how quickly this virus can spread, I don’t think I’d feel too safe anywhere right now. You can, however, increase your level of safety by using our oft-repeated best practices:

So is a wave coming? Is it already here? Regardless, there’s never a bad time to start taking steps to protect yourself and the people you care about, and you sooner you start, the better prepared you’ll be when the you-know-what hits the fan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.