The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 2013]

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This is the past pulse of mainstream country music. Each 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. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive one of the following scores: +5, +4, +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the past top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. The grade I would give it determines its Pulse score. The grading key: 10 [+5], 9 [+4], 8 [+3], 7 [+2], 6 [+1], 5 [0], 4 [-1], 3 [-2], 2 [-3], 1 [-4], 0 [-5].

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. Admittedly my week was pretty hectic, therefore I’m taking a break from my review backlog this week. It will resume next week, but for now I picked 2013 since I already knew my thoughts on all thirty songs. This week’s chart will be from May 11th, 2013.

  1. Thompson Square – “If I Didn’t Have You” +1
  2. Florida Georgia Line – “Get Your Shine On” -3 (Admittedly this song REALLY annoys me, but it’s more of a personal thing. Therefore I decided to be fair.)
  3. Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart” 0
  4. Lady Antebellum – “Downtown” 0
  5. Kenny Chesney – “Pirate Flag” -3
  6. Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel” +1 (I don’t think the song is all that special but eh…it was the most country thing to hit the top in quite a while so whatever)
  7. Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift & Keith Urban – “Highway Don’t Care” -2
  8. George Strait – “Give It All We Got Tonight” 0
  9. Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There” +1
  10. Brad Paisley – “Beat This Summer” +3 [Best Song]
  11. Eric Church – “Like Jesus Does” +1
  12. Blake Shelton  & The Pistol Annies – “Boys ‘Round Here” -5 [Worst Song…..Ever]
  13. Brantley Gilbert – “More Than Miles” +1
  14. The Band Perry – “DONE” -1 (And now they really are!)
  15. Jason Aldean – “1994” -5 [Worst Song…..oh shit I already handed this out? Ugh….]
  16. Jake Owen – “Anywhere With You” 0
  17. Zac Brown Band – “Jump Right In” +1
  18. Luke Bryan – “Crash My Party” -1
  19. Gloriana – “Can’t Shake You” +2
  20. The Henningsens – “American Beautiful” 0
  21. Kip Moore – “Hey Pretty Girl” +2
  22. Easton Corbin – “All Over The Road” -1
  23. Hunter Hayes – “I Want Crazy” -2
  24. Carrie Underwood – “See You Again” +1
  25. Gary Allan – “Pieces” +1
  26. Brett Eldredge – “Don’t Ya” -1 (Almost a 0 but that opening line is just way too cringe worthy)
  27. Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill – “Don’t Rush” +1
  28. Justin Moore – “Point At You” -1
  29. Billy Currington – “Hey Girl” -3
  30. Randy Houser – “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” -2

The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music: -14

So yeah this week was definitely a bust. From the looks at the bottom half of the chart, it looks like we were just about to be inundated with bro-country. Elsewhere, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton run away with the “honor” of having two of the absolute worst songs to ever descend upon the country genre. Even looking beyond that there’s just not a whole lot here. The best song for me is Brad Paisley’s experimental “Beat This Summer” but only that is great as opposed to outright excellent. Honestly there’s just a whole lot of mediocrity here.

As always, if you have any questions as to why I gave a song a certain grade feel free to ask me. Also, let me know what you guys think of the chart in the comments!

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15 thoughts on “The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [May 2013]

  1. See, things are better or something. Although actually their are two songs on the current chart that I think I hate worse than the Blake/Aldean songs on this chart….

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  2. “1994” and “Boys Round Here” were on the same chart? Wow, that’s a load of awful.

    ….yeah, I can’t pick one over the other for worst song either, so I agree with your handout there! Haha

    Personally, I’d make the argument for Kip Moore’s “Hey Pretty Girl” as the best song on this chart. I love “Beat This Summer” and I can’t blame you for thinking it’s the best because it is one of the best songs on this chart. But I think “Hey Pretty Girl” and Kip Moore is sincere and sweet in the song’s writing and delivery. Yeah, knock a few points for simply saying “hey pretty girl”, but I think he makes up for it with the story of their life he tells. And I think the way he spins the song title to refer to their baby girl at the end of the song is well done. So yeah, both “Hey Pretty Girl” and “Beat This Summer” are +3s in my book, with Kip getting the slight edge for Best Song on this chart.

    Overall, though, this was a pretty lackluster chart. Luke, Justin, Jake and Brantley all had decent singles. In fact, I may even through a +1 Owen’s way for “Anywhere With You.” I do like that song.

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    • The inclusion of the pistol annies probably saves Boys Round Here but just barely (I could also say they lose credibility by appear on the song but sicne Miranda/Blake were still married I can understand it)
      1994 is truly awful

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    • The thing with/problem with with Boys Round Here is that it was a massive commercial success. That song is still super popular. Blake did the Today show concert thing this summer, and fans were allowed to vote on one song that he’d perform, the options were Boys, Ol Red, and (I think) Honeybee, and Boys was the runaway winner in the voting (sob). The saving grace is that the song knows it’s stupid, and Blake knows it’s stupid. Nobody is trying to pretend it’s any good.

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  3. I agree with Derek, “Hey Pretty Girl” could contend for the best on this chart. I am curious that “Mama’s Broken Heart” got a zero. I’m not thrilled about the production, but I think it’s a good song. As for Gloriana’s “Can’t Shake You,” I don’t hear anything but boring, generic material, albeit not terrible.

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  4. Oh my……what a terrible pile of dung. Eric Church would definitely be my favorite song on this list as I’m very partial to that one. That being said there are only 3-4 songs I would even give a zero. Only 2 would get a positive at all. Hey Pretty Girl and Like Jesus Does. A few zeros but pretty well as stinky as you can get.

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    • I agree, alongside “Hey Pretty Girl” the best song is Eric Church’s “Like Jesus Does.” It seems obvious to me that it deserves more than a +1. It is one of Church’s best and most authentically country singles in his career.

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  5. For me best song would go to “Can’t Shake You” for me it is very relatable and I love Rachel Reinert’s voice and brief falsetto perfect. Slight biased but not ashamed. I actually liked Hunter Hayes “I Want Crazy” as a lightweight pop country song that I also find very relatable.

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  6. My chart:

    1. If I Didn’t Have You– +1
    2. Get Your Shine On– -5
    3. Mama’s Broken Heart– +1
    4. Downtown– +1
    5. Pirate Flag– -3
    6. Wagon Wheel– +2
    7. Highway Don’t Care– 0
    8. Give It All We Got Tonight– +2
    9. I Can Take It From There– +3
    10. Beat This Summer– +2
    11. Like Jesus Does– +3 (Best song)
    12. Boys Round Here– -5 (Worst song)
    13. More Than Miles– +2
    14. DONE– 0
    15. 1994– -5
    16. Anywhere With You– 0
    17. Jump Right In– +1
    18. Crash My Party– -2
    19. Can’t Shake You– +2
    20. American Beautiful– +1
    21. Hey Pretty Girl– +3
    22. All Over the Road– +1
    23. I Want Crazy– -1
    24. See You Again– +3
    25. Pieces– +3
    26. Don’t Ya– -1
    27. Don’t Rush– +1
    28. Point at You– -1
    29. Hey Girl– -3
    30. Runnin’ Outta Moonlight– -2

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  7. This is a pretty terrible week. However, there are a few good songs here. It’s not all shit. Eric Church would get best song from me. I love his voice in Like Jesus Does and I like the production and the lyrics. Hey Pretty Girl, I Can Take it From There, See You Again (not very country but a great pop song), and Pieces (what can I say, I’m partial to and a sucker for Gary Allan. It would devastate my heart to have to give him a negative score. 😉 ) are all very good songs. Beat This Summer, Can’t Shake You, Give It All We Got Tonight, Wagon Wheel, and More Than Miles are also pretty good. There are a few decent songs, a few boring songs, and then a few god-awful ones. Boys Round Here, 1994, and Get Your Shine On. Get Your Shine On is probably the least offensive of the three and I only gave it a -5 honestly because of the horrible shit that followed. 1994 irritates the ever-living shit out of me, and if I were Joe Diffie, I would move to Canada after hearing this clusterfuck. As for Boys Round Here…………………wow. What a pile of shit. And to think that one of my favorite artists (Ashley Monroe) is involved with this. She probably only did it because Miranda and Blake were still married at the time. With all that being said, Blake runs away with the dishonor of worst song on this chart. I hope I never hear the lines “chew tobacco chew tobacco chew tobacco spit” ever again. 😦

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  8. I’m listening to the Mo Pitney album right now.

    Even the god-awful “Past Pulse” week can’t change my mood…

    Best song (+3): Gary Allan – “Pieces”
    Worst songs (0 & lower): FGL, Lady A, Kenny Chesney, TBP, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Hunter Hayes. Billy Currington & Randy Houser.

    Still listening to Mo Pitney.

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    • The lyrics for that song are pretty bro-countryish. If it was sung by someone else it probably would be a -2 or -3

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