This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Every week, I 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. This week I will take a look at the top 30 songs of the Billboard Hot Country Songs from January 31, 2009.
Note: In the wake of the news of Joey Feek’s death, I switched my original plan of doing a chart from 1986, and instead picked the chart which carries their first hit, “Cheater, Cheater.” Rest in peace Joey, and thank you for reminding us all of what strength truly is.
- Alan Jackson – “Country Boy” -1 (probably the only one of his songs that I’d give this designation to)
- Brad Paisley & Keith Urban – “Start A Band” +1
- Blake Shelton – “She Wouldn’t Be Gone” +1 (Probably the last song of his that I would give this distinction to)
- Billy Currington – “Don’t” 0 (I actually really like this song, but it isn’t country)
- Dierks Bentley – “Feel That Fire” 0
- Toby Keith – “God Love Her” +1
- Kenny Chesney & Mac McAnally – “Down The Road” +1
- Keith Urban – “Sweet Thing” -1 (Guilty pleasure division, but I can acknowledge that this is a lightweight, fluffy pop song)
- Brooks & Dunn & Reba McEntire – “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” +1
- Sugarland – “Already Gone” +1
- Rascal Flatts – “Here” 0
- George Strait – “River Of Love” +1
- Taylor Swift – “White Horse” +1
- Darius Rucker – “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” +1
- Pat Green – “Let Me” +1
- Lee Ann Womack – “Last Call” +1
- Jake Owen – “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” +1
- Rodney Atkins – “It’s America” 0
- Jack Ingram – “That’s A Man” +1
- Miranda Lambert – “More Like Her” +1
- Martina McBride – “Ride” 0
- Josh Turner – “Everything Is Fine” +1 [Best Song]
- Jimmy Wayne – “I Will” 0
- Tim McGraw – “Nothin’ To Die For” +1
- Jason Aldean – “She’s Country” -1 [Worst Song]
- Eli Young Band – “Always The Love Songs” +1
- Gary Allan – “She’s So California” 0
- Lost Trailers – “How ‘Bout You Don’t” +1
- Trace Adkins – “Marry For Money” +1 (It’s so corny that it’s kind of good….)
- Joey + Rory – “Cheater, Cheater” +1
The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: +17
Wow! Our best score yet of doing this! 2009 is a year that brings some nostalgia for me, so there may or may not be a bit of bias playing into here. Anyway, plenty of good songs from the likes of George Strait, Miranda Lambert and heck even Taylor Swift had a pretty good song out during this time. My favorite one here is probably Josh Turner’s “Everything Is Fine,” mainly because I really like the message of enjoying the little things in life and taking moments to enjoy what you have. Plus, Lee Ann Womack was also on the charts during this time too! And of course, Joey + Rory had their highest charting single during this time with “Cheater, Cheater,” a song which is also one of the best ones on here.
And really there isn’t a lot of bad songs here either. Unfortunately, Alan Jackson had probably the worst song of his entire career during this time with “Country Boy,” and trust me it really pained me to give him the -1. But even at Alan’s worst, he’s still better than a lot of other people out there. Case in point, Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country,” the tune which started the nosedive of Jason’s career. It was an overproduced rock mess that had embarrassing lyrics. Far and away the worst thing offered here.
If you have any questions as to why I gave a certain song the score I did, or perhaps just want to make your own Pulse, sound off in the comments!
[Editor’s Note from Josh] I felt this was the appropriate place to let everyone know that Zack informed us this past week that due to some unforeseen personal issues that he is stepping away from writing at Country Perspective indefinitely. Derek and myself thank him for all of the work he has done in the short time he’s wrote for Country Perspective and that he has an open invitation to come back and write anytime. We wish him the absolute best! Zack most definitely appreciates all of the love you have given him too with his reviews and bringing this feature back to life. We hope he is able to come back and write again soon.