The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 31]


Each week we take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart and grade the top 30 songs. 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 current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +150 and the lowest possible score being a -150. How do I determine the score for the song? The review grade it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been reviewed yet, then I will make the call. The grade it has received or 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 current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Luke Bryan – “Move” -4 (Up 1)
  2. Cole Swindell – “Middle of a Memory” -2 (Up 1)
  3. Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting The World On Fire” -2 (Down 2)
  4. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime”
  5. Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” -2 (Up 2)
  6. LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5 (Down 1) [Worst Song]
  7. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Up 1)
  8. Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (Up 1)
  9. Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2 (Down 3)
  10. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Up 1)
  11. Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 (Down 1)
  12. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Up 1)
  13. Miranda Lambert – “Vice” +3 (Down 1) 
  14. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” 0
  15. Drake White – “Livin’ The Dream” +1 
  16. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1 
  17. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 
  18. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 
  19. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 
  20. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 [Best Song]
  21. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 
  22. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 1)
  23. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Down 1)
  24. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 (Up 1)
  25. Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” +2 (Down 1)
  26. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 (Re-Enters Top 30)
  27. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Down 1)
  28. Michael Ray – “Douchey Pickup Song” -5 (Up 1)
  29. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” 0 (Down 1)
  30. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Down 3)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -23

The pulse improves five spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” -3

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brad Paisley – “Today”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley – “Today” – Up 5 from #31 to #26
  • Brett Young – “Sleep Without You” – Up 2 from #7 to #5

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love” – Out of the Top 30 (to #31)
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” – Down 3 from #6 to #9
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” – Down 3 from #27 to #30

Songs I See Going Recurrent & Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice” (Losing spins fast, as it appears it has hit it’s ceiling)
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer” (Shocked it’s still here)
  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” (This does not appear to have the airplay support to last in the top 30 much longer)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” (It’s been on the chart for 26 weeks already and there are a plethora of songs rising fast behind it. It’s in trouble and will need some serious label support if it wants to stick around, which I could see happening)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy”
  • Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots”
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”


As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s Pulse in the comments below. 


10 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [October 31]

    • Well part of the reason it’s been sort of stuck in the 31-35 area for weeks is because of the log jam at the top. All of these labels are trying to get their #1s on both charts and then they don’t go recurrent quickly, which sort of temporarily stagnates the chart. There’s also a lot of songs that are on the cusp of going recurrent and just won’t fall out. In other words, the top 30 is in for a little fall cleaning and that should give way to Turner getting into the top 30 soon. I predict it’ll end up doing slightly better than his previous single “Lay Low.”


      • Looking at the chart again you’re right. I hope it becomes a decent hit. I’m not too fond of the song (5-6 range) but I hope his name can get out there again so he goes back to the good stuff.


  1. I don’t dislike “I Know Somebody” as much as you do—but sweet mama “Move” is hot garbage. I sometimes wonder if there’s ever a point at which an artist will say “aw hell no, I ain’t recording that.” But then I realize that if Luke Bryan didn’t hit that point with either “That’s My Kind of Night” or “This Is How We Roll” with FGL, he’s never hitting it.


    • “Move” faked me out the first time I heard it, because the first verse makes it sound like it’s was going to tell a reasonably interesting story. I can’t decide whether that makes it a little better or even worse.


  2. Random thoughts of the week:

    -Move: ugh. It may be number one on the charts, but to me, it’ll always be number two. 😦

    -I don’t remember if I covered this song last week! but I like Brad Paisley’s “Today”. I don’t love it, but I do like it enough to give it a +2.

    -I have a huge confession to make: when I was in high school, I was a massive Brantley Gilbert fan. No joke. Until I discovered this site and Trigger over at Saving Country Music (and Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe, which prompted me to delve back into more traditional country and leave the bro shit behind for good), I had some horribly embarrassing music taste. I honestly can’t believe I ever enjoyed Brantley Gilbert and his bro-country shit. I’m happy to say that I now understand truly what country music is and should be. As for 20-year-old Amanda’s musical tastes vs. 16-year-old Amanda’s musical tastes, my musical taste now is a hell of a lot better. 🙂 As for “The Weekend”, it was gosh-awful. Oh my god, this was terrible. Not as bad as Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation”, but gives Mr. Rhett some very serious competition. I spent the hour that followed listening to this terrible song curing a headache (courtesy of Brantley Gilbert) with some great music from Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack, and Tim McGraw. The Weekend: -5

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  3. As bad as his first few songs were, I actually think Cole Swindell is finally picking up on something. His last two songs actually have a little bit of a story and, for the most part, have a country sound. If he could just drop the whole hooking up theme and put a little more work into providing a deeper story, I think he could produce some quality music.

    Luke Bryan should give up though. His stuff sucks.


  4. Luke Bryan move…& take Cole Swindell, Jason Aldean, Brett Young, FGL, OD with you. I better listen to some obscure 80’s Italo-Disco tracks in the next weeks. The guys can’t sing & the lyrics are cringeworthy. But it’s fun-music. I take P. Lion, Savage, Den Harrow, Albert One, Ken Laszlo & Miko Mission. Well…Den Harrow…the Milli Vanilli of Italo-Disco. Silver Pozzoli & Tom Hooker (+ a couple of other guys) are the voice of Den Harrow.

    Billboard Country National Airplay:
    #45 – Re-Entry – Ronnie Dunn with Kix Brooks – “Damn Drunk”
    #57 – Hot Shot Debut – Hunter Hayes – “Yesterday’s Song”
    #59 – New – Justin Moore – “Somebody Else Will”
    #60 – New – Love & Theft – “Candyland”

    The weekly lottery:
    #40 (was 41) – Runaway June – no bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #42 (was 43) – Parmalee – no bullet
    #46 (was 38) – LBT – no bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #47 (was 46) – Chase Bryant – no bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #51 (was 49) – Dan + Shay – no bullet
    #53 (was 52) – Joe Nichols – no bullet
    #54 (was 53) – Chris Lane – no bullet
    Darius Rucker (#41) with bullet (but down in audience) & Craig Campbell (#37) with bullet (but down in audience)

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    #1 – Chris Stapleton
    #2 – Jason Aldean
    #3 – FGL
    New Entries: #5 – Various Artists – CMA Awards 50 / #7 – Rascal Flatts – The Greatest Gift Of All / #16 – Jamie Kent – All American Mutt / #21 – Kevin Fowler – Coming To A Honky Tonk Near You

    Country Music Services / Country Tracks Top 40 Australia:
    #1 – Jason Standley – “Beechworth Gold” (2nd week)
    #2 – Natalie Howard – “A Little Cold Right Now” (Album: Under -Love’s- Umbrella)
    #3 – Aly Cook – “Kimberly” (Top Track New Zealand)
    On The Rise: #9 (was 35) – The McClymonts – “House”
    American Top Track: #28 – Brad Paisley – “Today”

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay:
    #1 – Luke Bryan
    #2 – Jason Aldean
    #3 – FGL & Tim McGraw
    Canadian Top Track: #5 – Dallas Smith – “Autograph”

    New Releases:
    Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood Live… – Album – 11/4
    Ronnie Dunn – Tattooed Heart – Album – 11/11
    Ty Herndon – House On Fire – Album – 11/11
    Miranda Lambert – The Weight Of These Wings – Album – 11/18
    Travis Tritt – A Man & His Guitar (Live From The Franklin Theatre) – Double-Album + DVD – 11/18
    Hugh Prestwood – Used To Be The Real Me – Album – 11/18
    Tucker Beathard – “Momma & Jesus” – Single – 11/7
    Aaron Watson – “Outta Style” – Single – 11/14
    William Michael Morgan – “Missing” – Single – 11/14
    (Source: Music Row)


  5. Hey Josh, I was wondering if there was a place on the internet that I could reference the top 100 or top 50 airplay chart, rather than just the top 30? I seem to only be able to find the top 30 on Billboard’s website, etc. Thanks!



      Go to that link and select ‘country’ and you will get the Billboard Country Update every Monday night. It’s free and you get all kinds of chart stuff and news.


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