The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [August 2010]

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Yes, you read that right! With Josh’s permission I have brought this feature back to life on Country Perspective. Considering I was just a reader when this feature was introduced, I am definitely excited to see it revived as well as be the one in charge of it.

What the Past Pulse will do is take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay Chart (or, “Hot Country Songs” as it used to be called) from years ago and grade the top 30 songs. Each week will be a different year. Each song on the chart will receive either a +1, 0, or -1. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the top 30 songs with the highest score being a +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. Songs rated between a 7 and 10 will receive a +1. Songs rated either 5 or 6 will receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower will receive a -1.

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the past state of mainstream country music and determine if it was better or worse compared to now. To see the full list of the top 30 country airplay songs for this week, click here. Since I got involved with country music in 2010 (due more to age than quality of the music at the time), I will take a look at the top 30 on the Country Airplay Chart from August 14, 2010.

  1. Jerrod Niemann – “Lover, Lover” +1
  2. Zac Brown Band – “Free” +1
  3. Keith Urban – “I’m In” 0
  4. Carrie Underwood – “Undo It” -1
  5. Blake Shelton – “All About Tonight” -1
  6. Lee Brice – “Love Like Crazy” +1
  7. Billy Currington – “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer” -1
  8. Lady Antebellum – “Our Kind Of Love” 0
  9. Luke Bryan – “Rain Is A Good Thing” -1
  10. Uncle Kracker – “Smile” -1
  11. Kenny Chesney – “The Boys Of Fall” -1
  12. Josh Turner – “All Over Me” 0
  13. Easton Corbin – “Roll With It” +1
  14. Little Big Town – “Little White Church” 0
  15. Craig Morgan – “This Ain’t Nothin’” +1
  16. Darius Rucker – “Come Back Song” 0
  17. Alan Jackson – “Hard Hat and A Hammer” +1
  18. Gary Allan – “Get Off On The Pain” +1
  19. Rodney Atkins – “Farmer’s Daughter” +1
  20. David Nail – “Turning Home” +1 [Best Song]
  21. Josh Thompson – “Way Out Here” -1
  22. Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue” -1 [Worst Song]
  23. The Band Perry – “If I Die Young” +1
  24. George Strait – “The Breath You Take” +1
  25. Toby Keith – “Trailerhood” -1
  26. Justin Moore – “How I Got To Be This Way” -1
  27. James Otto – “Groovy Little Summer Song” -1
  28. Reba McEntire – “Turn On The Radio” 0
  29. Trace Adkins – “This Ain’t No Love Song” 0
  30. Steve Azar – “Sunshine (Everybody Needs A Little)” 0

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: 0

Wow, we’re without a Pulse folks! The sad part is that not having a Pulse is better than the negative Pulses we’ve been exposed to these days.

So what’s changed in these past six years? The Band Perry was ascending the charts with what would turn out to be their biggest hit, and by golly it’s actually a freaking country song! So now that they seemed to have died young can I bury them in yellow instead of satin? George Strait and Alan Jackson were not only still on the country charts at this time, but they were in the top 25! Now it takes a Beyonce move just to get Strait into the top 40. What’s that they used to say? “There’s been an awful murder down on music row.” My how things change. Craig Morgan released arguably his best song ever during this time too. Heck, even Easton Corbin and Jerrod Niemann were still viewed as the good guys of mainstream country music! Gary Allan was still releasing the badass moody rockers that have shaped his entire career (and not having to appeal to trends). My personal favorite song on here though is David Nail’s “Turning Home,” a song that I always felt was under-appreciated. Sure, it may not have been the most countriest thing out there, but the song told a damn good story and Nail’s emotion and vocal presence on this track was absolutely amazing.

Then there’s the bad stuff, even if it doesn’t compare with the lows we’ve seen today. Though he wasn’t shaking his ass for females everywhere yet, Luke Bryan still had a very annoying song out at the time with “Rain Is A Good Thing.” It’s also interesting to see that Blake Shelton has been releasing formulaic material for a LONG time at this point. “All About Tonight” is a total snooze-fest. Then of course we have Sugarland and their God-awful rap/reggae song which coincidentally was their last “big” hit ever. Surprisingly enough these two have both crafted some pretty solid music in their own solo careers. We also had Uncle Kracker’s cheesy, non-country “Smile” song, which bugged the ever-loving crap out of me as a teenager. Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It” was also released here, and it’s by far my least favorite song of hers. I think she can handle country-pop very well, but man this was bad…..

What’s interesting to see is that Carrie Underwood is the only solo female on this chart. Oh well, at least there wasn’t any bro-country or metropolitan. Little victories guys, little victories.

So what do you think of this chart? What’s your favorite and least favorite of the above songs? Do you want this feature to stay or remain gone?

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22 thoughts on “The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music [August 2010]

  1. First of all yay! Secondly isn’t there a Top 30 for this or no. Anyway I’m going to do my own score

    1. Jerrod Niemann Lover, Lover +1 (a pure ear candy catchy and just fun out song)
    2. Zac Brown Band Free 0. Eh I found this way too boring and the bridge was just a snoozer sorry.
    3. Keith Urban I’m In 0. Meh
    4. Carrie Underwood Undo It +1. From what I hear you either hate this song in disgust or you turn it up when it comes on the radio, and for me guess I’m in the latter.
    5. Blak Shelton All About Tonight 0. More outright boring than bad.
    6. Lee Brice Love Like Crazy 0. Read above I just never cared for me,
    7. Billy Currington Pretty Good Drinking Beer +1. He might not be good at a lot of things but this song was great at getting stuck in your head,
    8. Lady Antebellum Our Kind Of Love +1. Something about this carefree and little detail (You get me laughing with those funny faces) and the natural chemistry between Hillary and Charles makes this one of my favorite Lady A songs
    9. Luke Bryan Rain Is A Good Thing -1. This song made me dislike rain until I reminded myself of “Bring On The Rain” by Jo Dee Messina
    10. Uncle Kracker Smile -1. Hate it
    11. Kenny Chesney Boys Of Fall +1. Something about the line “I Got Your Number I Got Your Back when your back is against the wall” hits me everytime.
    12. Josh Turner All Over Me +1. This song just felt so natural and I loved it
    13. Easton Corbin Roll With It +1 Read above
    14. Little Big Town Little White Church +1. Sure it owes some of the success to some of those kissoff songs but between the tight harmonies the infectious handclaps and the sass in a lot of Karen Fairchild’s voice makes this one of my favorites
    15. Craig Morgan This Ain’t Nothing +1. Tearjerker enough said
    16. Darius Rucker Come Back Song -1. Don’t like it
    17. Alan Jackson Hard Hat and A Hammer 0. Never worked for me sorry.
    18. Gary Allan Get Off On The Pain 0. Same above
    19. Rodney Atkins Farmers Daughter-1. Good gosh the most formulatic song if there ever was one seriously I hated this song as it was so predictable
    20. David Nail Turning Home +1. (Fun fact it’s peak week)
    21. Josh Thompson Way Out Here -1. Cliche if there ever was one
    22. Sugarland Stuck Like Glue +1. Rarely has a song came by that was pure ear candy. Jennifer Nettles owns the song completely makes it her own little masterpiece the reggae breakdown was an earworm and it was an addiction the first time I heard it I was hooked. I’m not ashamed to like it.
    23. The Band Perry If I Die Young +1 Country music poetry
    24. George Strait The Breath You Take 0. I honestly was bored as to me it just didn’t sound like George Strait like out of his comfort zone .
    25. Toby Keith Trailer Hood 0. Meh

    Best Song: Stuck Like Glue, If I Die Young, or Little White Church
    Worst Song: Rain Is A Good Thing or Smile

    Total Score: +7 guess I’m still too positive.

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  2. I’m glad to see this “past pulse” feature again. On the whole, I agree, especially about David Nail’s song. But I would give LBT’s “Little White Church” a +1. And, for whatever reason, I never liked Jerrod Niemann’s “Lover, Lover,” and I still don’t.

    Amazingly, “Rain is a Good Thing” is among Luke Bryan’s “better” singles.

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  3. Glad to see the past pulse return. Hard to disagree with most ratings, but personally, I’d give Keith Urban’s “I’m In” and Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall” a +1 which would put my pulse at a +3

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  4. A few thoughts on the songs on this chart:

    ‘Free’ may be my favorite Zac Brown single. It’s always been one of my favorite driving songs as it just seems to fit with driving across Montana or Wyoming as I’m wont to do every summer.

    I think ‘Little White Church’ is a +1 as it reminds me of what Little Big Town once was before they went in the dumper with ‘Pontoon’.

    Also think ‘Get Off On The Pain’ is a +1 as it’s the kind of moody, dark song that Gary Allan featured there for a few years after the tragedies in his life.

    ‘The Breath You Take’ is a very good song also and is the kind of grown up song that is just gone from the mainstream country landscape anymore. Too bad.

    Overall I would say this chart is from a time when mainstream country music was right on the edge of the cliff and getting ready to fall off as the lousy reign of crappy Blake Shelton songs and the beer drinking songs of Currington and Bryan attest. #17 would also be the peak position of ‘Hard Hat And A Hammer’ and Alan Jackson has never made it back into the top 20.

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  5. I agree for the most part on your assessment.

    “Turning Home” is definitely a criminally underrated and underappreciated gem that proves David Nail’s worth and is umpteen times better than his few most recent singles following “The Sound of a Million Dreams”.

    Honestly, I’d give “Rain Is A Good Thing” a 0. It’s definitely a very stupid song all things considered, and predicts the embarrassing lyrical cheese that would follow on Luke Bryan’s material ever since. But I do like the production on that song and it is also harmless, so it’s passable.

    I’d definitely give “Come Back Song” a -1. Sure, it sounds innocuous, but I’d argue that’s its main drawback in that it reveals how pointless the song is: from laughing about spilling coffee down the drain after making it to saying he’s the back side of a mule to the “My bad!” drop……….topped off with “Na Na na!” filler at the end………….amounts to a song about nothing that is unbelievably boring listening to.

    I actually really liked “Groovy Little Summer Song”. True, it isn’t country and really had no business being on the format. But on its own, it’s a damn enjoyable slice of the Muscle Shoals sound that is the Carolina Shag, and Otto’s vocals are irresistible there. I understand the need to call it out for being on the wrong format, but I consider it a +1 on its own.

    My final source of disagreement would be with “Roll With It”. Sure, Corbin sounds great on that song and the production is definitely serviceable. But it just sounds way too paint by numbers and by the book as you expect a beach song to sound and when surrounded by more interesting stabs at the theme at the time like “Toes”………….I’m sorry, but the songwriting just screams way too lazy to warrant a top score.

    *

    So, those four main disagreements considered………….our final tally still comes up the same right on the borderline! ^__^

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    • Wait, I take that back.

      I noticed you gave “Turn On The Radio” a 0. I thought it was a desperate cry for relevance with forced references to youth culture that didn’t jive with me. I give that a -1.

      So yeah, my pulse wound up slightly on the negative side! =P

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      • You could easily persuade me to give Reba a -1. I guess I’m just more bored by it than anything else.

        I actually didn’t knock GLSS for not being country, I just thought it was extremely lazy in its songwriting.

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  6. On a side note seeing Steve Azar at #30 reminds me of another of his songs called ‘Waitin’ On Joe’ which peaked at #28 eight years prior to ‘Sunshine’ and is a very good song that he wrote.

    It has a very good video also:

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    • Steve Azar’s “Waitin’ On Joe” is such a great song. It was a tragedy that it did not perform better on the charts — and, for that matter, that Steve’s career was so short-lived. Though he still tours.

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  7. These Past Pulses are really cool. I’d like for ’em to stay around. I haven’t heard all these songs, honestly, as I had stopped listening to country radio about a year and a half before this, but I do have some observations…

    Radney Foster’s version of “I’m In” was a lot better. But then I’ve always considered him to be a much better singer and songwriter than Keith Urban.

    I have never been big on the songs that wax nostalgic about the hometown and the high school days, and “The Boys of Fall” was no exception. Songs like Cross Canadian Ragweed’s “17” are much more my speed.

    Craig Morgan has always been one of my favorite singers, going back to his first album. That album didn’t make much of a splash, but apart from “Something To Write Home About,” it had some pretty solid country stuff on it. His song selection has left a lot to be desired since Little Bit of Life. “This Ain’t Nothin'” was one of the better ones.

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    • I think this week’s chart will be more your speed. 🙂

      Yeah, that’s why Keith is a 0. Radney’s version is definitely better.

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