The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [Nov. 7]

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

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -28

The pulse drops five spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” -5
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” +2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend”
    • It’s been a while since we’ve seen you in the top 30, Brantley. I was starting to think he would never make it back. It feels like a long time since he’s had a hit and has sort of become irrelevant in the grand scheme of things in country music since the death of bro country. Gilbert returns with “The Weekend,” a song that is simply terrible. Most annoying Gilbert songs in the past at least had a hook, but this song isn’t catchy either. It’s just plain bad. The whole thing is just so stilted and clunky. Gilbert’s voice sounds worse than normal. The song is somewhere between bad hip hop and bad rock music, not really able to decide what the hell it even is. You can call the lyrics mailed in and boring at best, cliché and obnoxious at worst. This is supposed to be a fun song about looking forward to the weekend, but there’s absolutely no sense of joy or happiness in this song. It’s just one big drag. How can I award it any points when there’s nothing about the song I can find redeeming? You can’t even get angry, it’s just unpleasant. This might be the most boring -5 song ever. 0/10
  • Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice – “A Little More Love”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Brad Paisley – “Today” – Up 4 from #26 to #22
  • Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” – Up 3 from #14 to #11
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” – Up 3 from #23 to #20

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • LoCash – “I Know Somebody” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Billy Currington – “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting the World on Fire” – Down 3 from #3 to #6

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

  • Kenny Chesney & Pink – “Setting the World on Fire”
  • Miranda Lambert – “Vice”
  • Brothers Osborne – “21 Summer”
  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” (This song has made sluggish gains for weeks now, so I’m officially putting it on the hot seat. Even if it makes a turnaround I only see this reaching the top ten at best. Most realistically it peaks at #15.)
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine” (Their debut album with Warner drops next week, so I’m guessing this is how much longer this song is pushed. It’s not making enough gains to justify a long push, but hey that hasn’t stopped major labels before)
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” (Be concerned about this song because like the above two songs it just hasn’t been showing much progress)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy”
  • Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots”
  • Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl”
  • Little Big Town – “Better Man”

 

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

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15 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [Nov. 7]

  1. And Puke Bryan gets the number one slot again. 😦 And Josh, great assessment on that Brantley Gilbert song. My thoughts exactly. Actually, the song haves me a headache when I attempted to listen to it. There is nothing at all redeeming about it. Hopefully we’ll get some decent songs in the top 30 before too long. 🙂

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  2. Little Big Town’s Better Man is a decent song. I’m predicting that it becomes a hit. It is ripe with emotion and tells a decent story. It is much better than that stuff they did with Pharell and “Pain Killer”. +2

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  3. That new Brantley Gilbert song sucks big time. And to think I actually somewhat enjoyed “One Hell of an Amen”. I hope we’ll get some more good songs here soon.

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  4. I think Lauren Alaina is fine (she actually had a great update today on the Mediabase chart as she gained 47 spins and nearly 400k alone), since she’s a new artist her chart runs will last a lot longer and she is at what 12 weeks on BB now.

    I would instead say Drake White or Maren Morris are looking weak and on the hot seat as Maren has awful research ehich could greatly stop her soon and Drake White is at 48 weeks old and once a song hits 50 weeks it becomes very hard to keep the song afloat.

    For “The Weekend” I find it more inoffensive. Nothing cring worthy nothing great. I do find the chorus slightly catchy so I guess a 4/10 only for the weak lyrics.

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    • “…since she’s a new artist her chart runs will last a lot longer…”

      “New”? “Like My Mother Does” was released 2011!
      She was not able to release a new album for a couple of years. Why? Because she was not very successful with her singles. The success of “Road Less Traveled” is artificial. Now she must hope country radio will play the single for the next 3-4 month.

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      • I meant how long the chart run is. “Road Less Traveled” is only at 12 weeks. Lauren Alaina is a new artist so her chart runs will last a lot longer than a Carrie Underwood or Luke Bryan

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  5. Michael Ray’s song has idiotic lyrics but the production is no way as bad as ‘Seein Red’ or ‘The Weekend’. Those two song are tied for worst song to me, I’d rather listen to Think a Little Less on repeat for two hours than Seein Red or The Weekend for a minute.

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  6. The Weekly Lottery: what’s hot & what’s not.
    #36 – LANco – “Long LIve Tonight” – No Bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #42 – PARMAlee – “Roots” – No Bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #43 – JAKEowen – “If He Ain’t Gonna Love You” – No Bullet
    #46 – KANEbrown – “Thunder In The Rain” – No Bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #49 – CHASErice – “Everybody We Know Does” – No Bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #54 – CHRISlane – “For Her” – No Bullet (down in audience & plays)
    #55 – HUNTERhayes – “Yesterday’s Song” – No Bullet
    #57 – DAVIDnail feat. BROTHERSosborne – “Good At Tonight” – No Bullet
    #59 – JANAkramer – “Circles” – No Bullet (down in audience & plays)

    Hot Shot Debut: #58 – Tyler Farr – “Our Town”
    Re-Entry: #60 – Morgan Wallen – “The Way I Talk”

    Billboard Top Country Albums:
    New: #1 – Kenny Chesney – Cosmic Hallelujah
    New: #2 – Brett Eldredge – Glow
    #3 – Keith Urban – Ripcord
    .
    New: #5 – Cole Swindell – Down Home Sessions III (EP)
    New: #6 – Jimmy Buffett – ‘Tis The Season
    New: #12 – Kip Moore – Underground (EP)
    New: #13 – Frank Foster – Good Country Music
    New: #16 – Kacey Musgraves – A Very Kacey Christmas
    New: #17 – Jennifer Nettles – To Celebrate Christmas
    On The Rise: Maren Morris – Hero (#7 – was 26)
    On The Rise: Thomas Rhett – Tangles Up (#8 – was 27)

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia (Country Music Services):
    #1 / Top Track New Zealand – Aly Cook – “Kimberley”
    #2 – Natalie Howard – “A Little Cold Right Now”
    #3 – Lindsay Waddington – “Twenty Five”
    On The Rise: #10 (was 38) – Camille & Stuie – “Paper Cuts”
    Top New Track: #11 – The Sherrahs – “Far Side Banks Of Jordan”

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay / Canadian Tracks Only:
    #1 – Dallas Smith – “Autograph”
    #2 – High Valley – “Every Week’s Got A Friday”
    #3 – Dean Brody – “Bush Party”
    On The Rise: #31 (was 42) – James Barker Band – “Just Sayin'”
    Top New Track: #50 – Chris Buck Band – “Sun Sets Down”

    New Releases:
    11/18 – Double Album – Miranda Lambert – The Weight Of These Wings
    11/18 – Album (Walmart Only) – George Strait – Strait Out Of The Box Part 2
    11/18 – Album – Hugh Prestwood – I Used To Be The Ream Me
    11/18 – Double Album (& DVD) – Travis Tritt – A Man & His Guitar (Live From The Franklin Theatre)
    11/18 – Album – High Valley – Dear Life
    11/18 – Album – Curtis Grimes – Undeniably Country
    11/18 – EP – Shotgun Rider – Sunlight
    11/25 – Album – Garth Brooks – Gunslinger
    12/02 – Album – Kane Brown – Kane Brown
    12/02 – Album – RaeLynn – WildHorse
    12/09 – Album – Shane Owens – Where I’m Comin’ From
    (Sources: Music Row & Google Play)

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  7. So, I’m finally back after turning my attention to the election for a short while. All I’ll add is, it’s going to be a tumultuous few years ahead.

    *

    First of all, it’s definitely discouraging to see some of the top radio hits remaining four-day-old refrigerated Chinese food rennants of bro-country. Yet it is encouraging thst, for the most part, they’re not what’s conquering the digital chart. So I’m still inclined to think 2016 is the best we’ve had since 2011 as a whole.

    *

    Secondly, it’s hard to tell what’s on the Hot Seat at the moment.

    All three of the tracks cited have definitely been limping for at least three weeks now. But with something like “Holdin’ Her”, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of being a sleeper hit of sorts that nonetheless requires a minimum of 40 weeks to peak. Josh Turner’s current single may be a safer bet, but I can see Janson surprising us.

    As with Lauren, I knew her single would be struggling the moment the “On The Air” payola transpired. Debates surrounding whether she had any business getting the treatment aside, “Road Less Travelled” is being met with indifference and a lack of passion across the board. Its sales are underwhelming and its research also lacks passion. I think it’ll hang on long enough to peak around #15, but it was a track better-suited for Hot AC to begin with seeing it’s basically Kelly Clarkson/Rachel Platten.

    *

    Again, I have no f***ing idea why Valory is wasting their time with “The Weekend”.

    For a lead single from Brantley Gilbert, its chart performance has been atrocious so far. Even “Country Must Be Country Wide” (which isn’t technically a lead single but is still essentially one by default seeing it was his first single pushed under a major label) outpaced this song at this moment when comparing chart runs.

    Its sales are also terrible by Brantley Gilbert’s standards especially and remains most polarizing in BG Nation. It’s not doing him any service in preparation for his forthcoming album.

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    • Well welcome back! Always great to hear your thoughts. I agree with your sentiments regarding the future ahead.

      I could defintiely see Holdin’ Her being a sleeper hit, especially since Warner really seems to be behind him. This is also the quieter part of the radio season. I could see it having a similar performance to Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got.”

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      • Yeah, I was busy canvassing. Not happy with where we’re at, but it’s important to focus our attention on relational empathy and maintaining a sense of humor regardless of the result. We’re as diverse a community also!

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        The sales of “Holdin’ Her” are weaker than those of both “Road Less Traveled” and “Hometown Girl” in the meantime. But I still think the advantage it has the other two don’t is that Janson is still an artist in development and so is likely to be met with a little more room to grow before having the plug pulled.

        And romantic, minimalist songs just seem to be in peak season right now. I think this song will benefit from that preference among listeners even in spite of its traditional production. I think “Hometown Girl” will stick it out for the same reason, with “Road Less Traveled” the least likely to hold up.

        *

        I think the next two weeks will also say a lot about the ultimate fate of “Kill a Word”.

        With the election finally past us but emotions running feverishly high and unlikely to ease anytime soon, it will be interesting to see if this abruptly hits a brick wall and hits poor research, or if the compassionate message actually helps the song resonate to a new level.

        I’ve been saying that this is the type of song where a music video can prove absolutely decisive in making it a big hit or not. It fascinates me there isn’t one already as this is precisely the type of anthem that DEMANDS a knockout of a video concept.

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