The Coronavirus Pandemic of Mainstream Country Music: November 21, 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. Thomas Rhett ft. Riley Green, “Half Of Me”0 (5/10)
2. Tyler Hubbard, “5 Foot 9”-1 (4/10)
3. Jackson Dean, “Don’t Come Lookin'”+1 (6/10)
4. Bailey Zimmerman, “Fall In Love”-3 (2/10)
5. Jimmie Allen, “Down Home”0 (5/10)
6. Luke Bryan, “Country On”-2 (3/10)
7. Jelly Roll, “Son Of A Sinner”+2 (7/10)
8. Gabby Barrett, “Pick Me Up”0 (5/10)
9. Jordan Davis, “What My World Spins Around”-1 (4/10)
10. Ingrid Andress ft. Sam Hunt, “Wishful Drinking”0 (5/10)
11. Nate Smith, “Whiskey On You”0 (5/10)
12. Kane Brown & Katelyn Brown, “Thank You”+1 (6/10)
13. Jason Aldean, “That’s What Tequila Does”0 (5/10)
14. Zac Brown Band, “Out In The Middle”0 (5/10)
15. Lainey Wilson, “Heart Like A Truck”0 (5/10)
16. Brett Young, “You Didn’t”+1 (6/10)
17. Carly Pearce, “What He Didn’t Do”+1 (6/10)
18. Luke Combs, “Going, Going, Gone”0 (5/10)
19. Dierks Bentley, “Gold”+1 (6/10)
20. Blake Shelton, “No Body”-1 (4/10)
21. HARDY ft. Lainey Wilson, “Wait In The Truck”+3 (8/10)
22. Parker McCollum, “Handle On You”0 (5/10)
23. Chris Stapleton, “Joy Of My Life”+1 (6/10)
24. Sam Hunt, “Water Under The Bridge”-1 (4/10)
25. Morgan Wallen, “Thought You Should Know”0 (5/10)
26. Corey Kent, “Wild As Her”0 (5/10)
27. Keith Urban, “Brown Eyes Baby”-1 (4/10)
28. Cody Johnson, “Human”0 (5/10)
29. Joe Nichols, “Good Day For Living”0 (5/10)
30. Shane Profitt, “How It Oughta Be”0 (5/10)
31. Dan + Shay, “You”0 (5/10)
32. Kenny Chesney & Old Dominion, “Beer With My Friends”0 (5/10)
33. Walker Hayes, “Y’all Life”-3 (2/10)
34. Randy Houser, “Note To Self”+2 (7/10)
35. Zach Bryan, “Something In The Orange”0 (7/10)
36. Dillon Carmichael, “Son Of A”0 (5/10)
37. Matt Stell, “Man Made”0 (5/10)
38. Scotty McCreery, “It Matters To Her”+2 (7/10)
39. Russell Dickerson ft. Jake Scott, “She Likes It”-1 (4/10)
40. Parmalee, “Girl In Mine”-1 (4/10)
41. Eric Church, “Doing Life With Me”+1 (6/10)
42. Hailey Whitters, “Everything She Ain’t”-1 (4/10)
43. Jon Pardi, “Your Heart Or Mine”0 (5/10)
44. Miranda Lambert, “Strange”0 (5/10)
45. Carrie Underwood, “Hate My Heart”0 (5/10)*
46. Dylan Scott, “Can’t Have Mine (Find You A Girl)”0 (5/10)
47. Kolby Cooper, “Excuses”0 (5/10)*
48. Elle King ft. Dierks Bentley, “Worth A Shot”0 (5/10)
49. Drake Milligan, “Sounds Like Something I’d Do”+2 (7/10)
50. Ashley Cooke & Brett Young, “Never ‘Til Now”0 (5/10)
Present Pulse (#1—#25)3
Future Pulse (#26—#50)-1
Overall Pulse2
Change From Last Week+6 😎

*Preliminary Grade

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


  • Morgan Wallen, “You Proof” (recurrent)
  • Lee Brice, “Soul” (recurrent)
  • Kelsea Ballerini, “HEARTFIRST” (recurrent)
  • Brantley Gilbert & Blake Shelton ft. Vince Gill, “Heaven By Now” (dropped below #50)


  • Tyler Hubbard, “5 Foot 9” (down from #1 to #2)
  • Ingrid Andress & Sam Hunt, “Wishful Drinking” (down from #4 to #10)
  • Russell Dickerson ft. Jake Scott, “She Likes It” (down from #29 to #39)

Zombie Tracks:

  • Brett Young, “You Didn’t” (holds at #16 with a solid week, but I don’t think this one will make it out of the teens)
  • Dillon Carmichael, “Son Of A” (up from #38 to #36, but gained only twenty-nine spins and nineteen points)

In Real Trouble:

  • Randy Houser, “Note To Self” (up from #37 to #34, but lost its bullet)
  • Matt Stell, “Man Made” (up from #40 to #37, but gained only nineteen spins and eighty-eight points)
  • Ashley Cooke & Brett Young, “Never ‘Til Now” (re-enters at #50, but lost its bullet with a 200+ point loss)

In Some Trouble:

  • Dan + Shay, “You” (up from #32 to #31, but lost spins and gained only sixty-two points)
  • Drake Milligan, “Sounds Like Something I’d Do” (re-enters at #49, but gained only fourteen spins and six points)

In No Trouble At All:

  • Morgan Wallen, “Thought You Should Know” (up from #35 to #25)
  • Scotty McCreery, “It Matters To Her” (up from #45 to #38)
  • Luke Combs, “Going, Going, Gone” (up from #23 to #18)
  • Jon Pardi, “Your Heart Or Mine” (up from #48 to #43)
  • Jimmie Allen, “Down Home” (up from #9 to #5)
  • Shane Profitt, “How It Oughta Ba” (up from #34 to #30)
  • Kenny Chesney & Old Dominion, “Beer With My Friends” (up from #36 to #32)
  • Zach Bryan, “Something In The Orange” (up from #39 to #35)
  • Carrie Underwood, “Hate My Heart” (up from #49 to #45)

Bubbling Under 50:

On The Way:

  • Kelsea Ballerini, “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)”
  • Russell Dickerson, “God Gave Me A Girl”

Overall Thoughts: Okay, now we’re really starting to see some action. After three losses last week, we lost four more this time around, with two more set to depart within the next week or so. With no major debuts, spins were fairly plentiful this week, with a ton of growth concentrated in the teens (seven out of ten songs from #11 to #20 put up 1000+ gains!) and the usual suspects (Combs, Wallen) putting up 2000+ point scores (Allen’s 2000+ points were a bit more surprising). We’ve still got a few notable debuts coming up before the end of the year, but for the most part I think the turnover is finally over…at least until 2023. Look for things to settle down as the holiday season begins and the holiday music starts invading the playlists.

On the coronavirus front, national new case and death numbers are slightly up this week, and while the virus isn’t surging just yet, the combination of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu is already pushing the healthcare system to the brink once again, especially our pediatric units. It’s gotten to the point where people are urging the Biden administration to make a emergency declaration to help address the issue, which means that when we do see a significant rise in coronavirus cases (I still say it’s a matter of when, not if), we’re going to be back in a really bad spot. With Thanksgiving on our doorstep, we need to do everything we can to protect our loved ones and reduce the strain on our health care workers, which means:

It was about this time last year when things started to go off the rails and the original omicron surge started, so we need to be extra careful this time around, especially with several respiratory viruses going around. We all need to take the necessary precautions and continue to follow our best practices to combat these threats and protect the people we care about.