The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [January 17]

Creepy Blake

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. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 (Up 2)
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Dirty Laundry” [Carrie missed #1 on Billboard by about 50k in audience]
  3. Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color” -4 (Down 2)
  4. Thomas Rhett – “Star of the Show” -3 (Up 3)
  5. Brett Eldredge – “Wanna Be That Song” (Down 1)
  6. Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5 (Up 2)
  7. Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All” +1 (Down 2) 
  8. Little Big Town – “Better Man” +2 (Up 2)
  9. Granger Dibbles Jr. – “If The Boots Fits” -4 (Up 2)
  10. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 (Up 2) 
  11. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 (Up 3)
  12. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 (Up 3) [Best Song] 
  13. Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” -1
  14. Michael Ray – “Douchey Pickup Song” -5 (Up 2) [Worst Song]
  15. Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” +1 (Up 2)
  16. Luke Bryan – “Fast” -1 (Up 2)
  17. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 3)
  18. Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” +3 (Up 1)
  19. Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” -5 (Up 2)
  20. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” (Up 2)
  21. Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” -5 (Up 3)
  22. Jason Aldean – “Any Ol’ Barstool” (Up 4)
  23. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 
  24. Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” (Up 1)
  25. Trent Harmon – “There’s A Girl” +1 (Up 2)
  26. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Up 2)
  27. Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” -3 (New to Top 30)
  28. Dierks Bentley – “Black” -2 (Up 1)
  29. Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” +3 (Up 1)
  30. Darius Rucker – “If I Told You” (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -25

The pulse drops three spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” +3 
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” -3 (On the bright side it’s always great to see Old Dominion leave the top 30. On the bad side, that means they’re probably releasing new music soon. Joy.)

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World”
    • Ooooh! A new Kenny Chesney single. How exciting! I’m sure he’s got something really creative and innovative for us. Okay enough with the sarcasm. When I reviewed this song on the album review, I didn’t really have anything to say except a bad joke about it. Well there’s nothing really changed. This song is one big snooze fest with Chesney singing of course about getting drunk at a bar and the beach and the sun and for the love of all things holy can Chesney even bother to sound like he’s trying? He’s worse at covering up his mailed-in singles than Aldean. I’m just so sick of Chesney at this point and his complete failure to innovate in any way, shape or form. This song is bland as hell and you’ll forget it as soon as it ends. 2/10
  • Darius Rucker – “If I Told You”
    • Originally when I reviewed this (all the way back in July) I gave this 7/10. I must have been in a great mood that day because this song just isn’t doing as much for me now. The lyrics are still good, but this production is just blah and can get sleepy after multiple listens. So this will fit right in with what’s popular right now. At least Rucker isn’t singing bro country anymore (I think the last time he was here was with “Homegrown Honey”). Revised grade: 5/10

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” – Up 10 from #37 to #27
  • Jason Aldean – “Any Ol’ Barstool” – Up 4 from #26 to #22
  • Brad Paisley – “Today” – Up 3 from #14 to #11
  • Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” – Up 3 from #15 to #12

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Tim McGraw – “How I’ll Always Be” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Old Dominion – “Song For Another Time” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – Down 2 from #5 to #7

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

  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Tim McGraw) – “May We All”
  • Maren Morris – “80s Mercedes” (Really bad week, as it lost 400k in audience. This shouldn’t be too far from recurrent. Only good news is it kept its bullet.)
  • Chris Stapleton – “Parachute” (Well at least new Stapleton music is coming soon)
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine” (How is this still here?)
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” (Still holding on, but by a thread. Pure luck it’s still here)
  • Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” (Looks dead in the water and done to me)

On The Hot Seat:

  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” (The fact this made top 20 in 2017 is surprising. It’s now going to be hitting a lot of resistance and I don’t like it’s odds of hanging around. But I said this a month ago too.)

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Miranda Lambert – “We Should Be Friends”
  • Dan + Shay – “How Not To”
  • Runaway June – “Lipstick”
  • Brett Young – “In Case You Didn’t Know”

Note: The new year’s cleaning appears to be underway. Next week at least four and maybe up to six songs could go recurrent. Not to mention Lady Antebellum is dropping a new single later this week, Sam Hunt is expected to have a new single in February and a host of other new songs are going to be impacting. I don’t have the best feeling about these new songs, but I’m hopeful for some surprises.

 

As always be sure to weigh-in with your thoughts in the comments below. 

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48 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [January 17]

  1. Holy Moses, Blake looks really fucking creepy in the picture. A Guy With a Girl is such a lackluster song. Hopefully he’ll release Friends or Green as his next single. And I was really hoping that Tim McGraw would get another number one hit with How I’ll Always Be. As for the new songs, Kenny Chesney-zzzzzz. Boring! Is it just me, or is Kenny Chesney the most boring mainstream country artist currently? Such a shame, because Kenny had some good songs in the 90’s and early-to-mid 2000’s. The Darius Rucker song is alright. Definitely not my favorite, but I’ll definitely take it over anything Thomas Rhett or Cole Swindell.

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    • He has looked creepy in all the promotional photography this particular era! =/

      What in the world is up with his eyes in each image? Whoever handled photography this era sure did his/her level best at making his headshots look more like a slightly more polished version of mugshots! I could sub-title any one of them with “Have I got a little surprise for you!” or “Pssssssst………let me let you in on a little se…….cret…………” =/

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  2. I agree with you on that Chesney song, it’s very forgettable. He’s not even trying anymore. Instead, he’s trying to emulate Toby Keith with the drinking songs. Why can’t he go back to doing stuff like he did in the 90’s? Those were some of his best songs. And then the Darius Rucker song is okay. It’s not exactly one of my favorites, but at least he’s not doing stuff like “Homegrown Honey”.

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    • What annoys me about Kenny Chesney is how he always waxes philosophical about his music in interviews or presents them as though there’s a deeper meaning to each song, when in fact they’re rarely more than your run-of-the-mill frat-sensible sing-alongs.

      We get it, Kenny: you want to live each day like it’s your last with your friends and fans, and remain young at heart! I’m all for that! Just tell it to us straight! There’s no need to disingenuously purport yourself as Hemingway when you’ve got nothing on him!

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    • I think the song could’ve gone higher if he had done a video for it on the order of the one he did for Fire Away. The extreme highs/lows/desperation (“falling feels like flying ’til you hit the ground”) and emotional support aspects could have supported the same bipolar disorder support message.

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  3. I really hope Runaway June hits the Top 30. Such talented ladies.

    Also things are for me looking up for “Road Less Traveled” she’s in the MB Top 15 so Lauren Alaina should recieve some strong conversions.

    The labels testing out for the new single well in advance so they get the right song and probably get some early exposure.

    I will say if enough songs go recurrent this week I think the new Lady Antebellum single will be in the Top 30 (it’s getting an iHeartMedia debut), if reports are true it sounds like “These Days” by Rascal Flatts which was a great song by them. So I’m honestly stoked

    However for Sam Hunt he has a song apparently getting released soon called “Body Like A Back Road” aka “Look at me I’m country cause I mentioned a back road”

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    • “Lipstick” is such an enjoyable song. It’s a shame it just isn’t connecting well.

      *

      The announced release of “What Ifs” by Kane Brown seems like a clear indication “Road Less Traveled” will be getting a final push probably three weeks from now or so.

      Interscope/Mercury would be better served testing other tracks anyway in the hope at least one of them incites more passion in callout surveys. “Queen of Hearts” might prove a bit polarizing, but on the other hand if it’s a reasonable degree of polarizing it actually helps a single when it has a positive counterpart. And though it wasn’t even featured on the survey and radio programmers have been getting burnt out on slower tracks, there’s undoubtedly a strong audience for “Same Day Different Bottle”. Perhaps it’s just not meant for radio, but I would try flirting with other methods to get that song out there.

      *

      How fitting that a Lady Antebellum song is being compared to Rascal Flatts: seeing that I compared the former’s music to the latter’s much of their career! 😉

      Both trios have put out mostly pedestrian, vanilla material that is usually way too overproduced but is nonetheless usually harmless. Rascal Flatts’ first three albums (or pre-Huff era, to be more precise) blow anything Lady Antebellum has released out of the water for sure, but I’d say in terms of each act’s two most recent albums, Lady Antebellum have been releasing superior material.

      “Golden” is actually on par with their self-titled debut as my favorite Lady Antebellum album to date due to it being much more organic in its production and far less boring, and though “747” wasn’t good, it had its moments with the title track and “Sounded Good at the Time”. With Rascal Flatts, “Changed” was an alright album but pretty much forgettable across the board, and “Rewind” was just a complete clusterf*** of an attempt to pander to bro-country sensibilities and youth culture that came across as hilariously bad, and yet was still able to have two decent tracks in “Riot” and “I Have Never Been To Memphis”.

      The solo projects among Lady Antebellum’s members have actually been better than anything they’ve produced as a group, so I’m actually hoping their solo sensibilities rub off on what they come up with this time around. Though I didn’t like the title track and easily found it the worst track on the album, “The Driver” is a criminally underrated album with jaw-dropping moments in “Leaving Nashville” and “Lonely Girl”. And Scott’s Christian album “Love Remains” consisted of tracks that just felt more intimate and easier to connect with, even when I don’t care about Christian music as a whole, than most of what she has written for her group. Which is remarkable considering only three tracks on the album were original co-writes and the rest interpretations of gospel standards she was raised on.

      *

      Knowing the lazy critical press who praises Sam Hunt at every whim, they’ll probably praise “Body Like A Back Road” as his “Your Body Is A Wonderland”………………..just as they have praised “Drinkin’ Too Much” as his “Marvin’s Room”. (eye roll) -__-

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    • I heard “Baby Like A Back Road” is being released in the UK, not the US as a single. But it does sound like something it could get released eventually in the states. The title alone makes me cringe.

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  4. Like I delved into last week, I’m keeping an eye on the Struggling Half-Dozen as I like to call them (note I didn’t include Granger Smith’s “If The Boot Fits” in there because……………….2017 makes absolutely no sense already) which are:

    *

    Granger Smith: “If The Boot Fits” (I actually deliberated not including this, because……………….2017 makes absolutely no sense already as indicated by this single’s mindf*** of a run)
    Maren Morris: “80’s Mercedes”
    Eric Church/Rhiaddon Giddens: “Kill a Word”
    Lauren Alaina: “Road Less Traveled”
    Chris Stapleton: “Parachute”
    Brantley Gilbert: “The Weekend”

    *

    The first major development since last week is that “Parachute” has been shedding some audience since last week and, seeing that it just eclipsed 250 weeks on the Mediabase chart, my bet is it will be the first of these six to go.

    On the other hand, Maren Morris is hosting Country CountdownUSA this coming weekend. It isn’t ALWAYS indicative of a final chart push, but historically it has served as a signal of this much more often than not. I think we have to assume this will be throwing in the towel Monday morning.

    *

    Secondly, it has been announced that “What Ifs” will be the next single from Kane Brown’s debut LP. Which happens to feature……………….Lauren Alaina.

    It’s going for adds just one week after Alaina’s second album drops. Granted Kane Brown appears to be considerably disliked among many radio programmers in a way similar to the anathema surrounding Chase Rice, but this release’s confirmation only further indicates that the end is approaching for “Road Less Traveled”. With a lack of passion in callout, it would serve Interscope/Mercury well to start planning out the follow-up and hope it will spark more interest in her set.

    *

    “Kill a Word” remains the biggest question mark among the six.

    On one hand, EMI Nashville (and undoubtedly Eric Church calls much of the shots on this front) has a tendency to move between his singles faster than other artists rather than bank on a singular song’s potential for six months or more. And, the single was see-sawing for a string of weeks at the bottom of the Top Fifteen.

    On the other hand, the sales have been solid for a third single without a video (seriously, EMI: do you not realize a poignant video would work wonders for this type of song? ***smacks head***) and it has FINALLY surpassed its previous audience peak in this morning’s solid roaming chart update.

    There’s just no telling where this is going to peak. I’m just completely unconvinced it has enough in the tank to go Top Five, but it SHOULD. Just hard to say if the song’s message is charming listeners or not. The sales indicate there’s a clear audience for this, though.

    *

    Finally, we have “The Weekend”.

    It’s still beyond me why Valory is wasting time on this. Why keep pushing a track that isn’t even connecting with “BG Nation”? “Rockin’ Chairs” would be doing him a lot more good right now.

    The sales are better now than they were the great majority of its chart run, but that’s largely because his album “The Devil Don’t Sleep” is about to come out. I still predict it isn’t going to fare nearly as well as its two predecessors have and will out Gilbert as losing his single-era A-list status he had with “Just As I Am”.

    *

    *

    Further down the chart, there are other songs that stand out either as underperforming or overperforming.

    In terms of underperforming, it is beyond me why High Valley’s “Make You Mine” isn’t doing much better than it is. Granted it’s Flintstonian in terms of chart weeks, but with a great sales-to-airplay ratio it should already have been faring much better than it has, just saying.

    Radio also remains reluctant in powering up Josh Turner’s “Hometown Girl”. Maybe many just assume he has already been put out to pasture, but that’s irresponsible when it has enjoyed solid sales much of its chart run as well as streaming. This should already be Top Twenty.

    In terms of overperformers……………………(groans)…………………..Garth Brooks’ absolutely pointless song is SOMEHOW still here. Seriously: no one cares about this except Frito-Lay! Move along!

    And although I personally like “There’s a Girl”, it’s clearly taking up chart space it doesn’t deserve with it absent from the iTunes Top 1500 altogether and weak streaming. I’m honestly surprised it isn’t doing better, but objectively speaking the plug needs to be pulled on this.

    *

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    • The only explanation I can come up with for Granger is radio is head over heels for him. Like they have a serious crush on him or he has incriminating photos of someone at radio.

      “Parachute” is definitely done, but as I’ve said before Stapleton couldn’t care less about radio and doesn’t really need it. Besides he’s still topping the albums chart and looks to be set on possibly breaking the record for most weeks at #1, although there is still a ways. I’m still surprised by how poorly “80s Mercedes” performed, but at the same time I understand why it didn’t test well.

      These are my exact thoughts on Alaina too. This new Kane Brown single just seals it that this one is done soon. It had pretty minimal gains this week and as I’ve said the upcoming album release gave it a longer life than it should have had. They’re definitely planning out the next single, as my go to radio insider Christopher Baggs said on Twitter he received a survey of four songs they’re choosing between for her next single. While labels often plan out well in advance, this is another sign of “Road Less Traveled” going recurrent.

      I honestly think “Kill a Word” is in the clear for now and should have a run similar to McGraw’s “How I’ll Always Be.” As you said, I’m also skeptical of it reaching the top five and if it does it will probably stop there and fail to reach #1. But Church’s popularity and established name will help him survive this upcoming wave of cleaning until it goes recurrent. Ditto for Brad Paisley’s “Today.” Which speaking of that puzzles me of why he’s delaying the album when “Today” is doing well.

      Gilbert’s days of radio success are gone. I don’t see him ever having big hits again, but he continues to sell and tour well. So he’ll stick around, but won’t be near the impact he had in his bro days.

      I’m pretty fine with “Make You Mine” leaving though. They have better songs on the album I would like to see as singles. Garth should definitely be gone soon. I think “Hometown Girl” will start doing much better once this new year cleaning takes place. Radio used to love him and they’re going to need something to hold over until their favorites release new stuff.

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      • Christopher Baggs messaged me on Pulse and explained that for the most part labels tend to send out surveys for the next single months in advance and that this is not all that new.

        The label at the very least is planning for a Top 10 peak at least

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        • Yes, just as I said they plan out well in advance. Business as usual. Of course label is planning for a top ten peak, but that’s no guarantee. There’s a small chance, so it would be dumb if they didn’t plan. I still don’t think it will reach the top ten, but maybe it gets enough help. Let’s just say if I was a gambling man, I wouldn’t put money down.

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        • I agree with Christopher with regards to the surveys. That isn’t why I’m confident “Road Less Traveled” is about to call it a wrap.

          It’s because 1) “What Ifs” has been announced as the new Kane Brown single and Alaina now has a credit on that release which is an indication that both their labels are going to at least try and get it off the ground, and 2) dispassionate callout more than likely has her label motivated to get something out there sooner rather than later that will likely generate higher passion scores.

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      • Granger Smith’s “If The Boot Fits” is its own complete realm of the mind-melting inexplicable, from all other undeserving or inflated chart successes/”successes”.

        You know what, you’re right: I’m absolutely convinced he is holding radio programmers hostage with incriminating photos! What other explanation is there? @.@

        *

        “Today” is actually among the singles in the Top Fifteen I feel most confidently about going #1.

        Brad Paisley may be well past his commercial prime and the sales for this one aren’t great, but “Today” has had a smooth sail up the chart pretty much its entire run. It only just crossed the 100-day threshold Monday on Mediabase, and its streaming has been pretty decent as well.

        I think it is nearly assured a #1 peak. I’m predicting it will go #1, in fact. So the decision to delay “Love & War” is utterly incredible.

        *

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        • I’d be slightly surprised if Brad gets a #1 peak. Thomas, Dustin and then Little Big Town are in line after Blake, and radio prefers Luke, Pardi, and Ray after him (better sales and better testing numbers), they’re all gaining on Brad. I think if Brad wants a #1 he needs to get past Chris, and hope LBT doesn’t go for multiple weeks.

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          • I think LBT is definitely going for multiple weeks because that Taylor Swift effect is strong. Radio never stopped loving Swift, even if she stopped loving them. This is the closest they can get to playing her again. Which I’m not going to complain because it’s a nice song.

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          • Luke Bryan is his own renewable chart energy source altogether. It stands to reason anything he releases for the foreseeable future is inevitably going to make a near-record breaking 100-meter dash up the charts regardless of how mediocre its sales are. Why else do you think his current single is named “Fast”? 😉

            As for Michael Ray and Jon Pardi, they’re undoubtedly going to remain close competitors, but it won’t surprise me in the least if Capitol Nashville decides to push ahead of “Today” well before peaking because, with Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley also on their roster, they’re going to want to waste no time reaching #1 so they can turn their attention to the struggling “Black” (the video is helping for sure, but it is hardly generated a pulse at radio these past couple of weeks) and Keith Urban’s next release………………….which will all but certainly be “The Fighter” since his and Underwood’s latest singles peaked in tandem.

            I’m very confident about Brad Paisley going all the way this time around. His song is among the youngest in the Top Fifteen (Little Big Town obviously being the only outright younger song seeing that “Better Man” has become yet another career hit for the group and, let’s face it, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood are second only to Luke Bryan in terms of guaranteed chart sprinters) and it has been resonating well enough. I think Michael Ray (unfortunately) will also reach #1, but his single is over twice as old as Paisley’s and I won’t be surprised if he tries to push ahead of Paisley before peaking too because his label is aware of its age.

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          • Brad’s is “young” but you have to remember it received promo airplay, it’s been in medium rotation for a while. Radio will only keep a song in high/medium rotation for so long. If you start getting passed by numerous songs once you’re in the top 10/15, you’re not generally getting to #1.

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          • That’s just it, though: Brad HASN’T had that issue to date in this chart run.

            Of the ten songs ahead of his on Billboard: three are on their way out, one is peaking as we speak, and Granger Smith is an inexplicable asterisk that isn’t sustainable.

            Behind him, Luke Bryan is the obvious one that will leapfrog him, and it remains to be seen how Michael Ray wants to finish his chart run. I can see a scenario where Jon Pardi will pass him up. But besides that, I just don’t see Brad worrying about a steady stream of leapfrogging. At worst, three singles will move ahead of his, but Brad has plenty of time to peak as is.

            In the Top Fifteen, I view Eric Church as the weakest link since I figure Maren Morris is wrapping up her chart run Monday in hosting Country CountdownUSA this weekend. It ought to be Granger Smith but, y’know………………………2017 already makes no sense! =P

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  5. Looks like Blake will try for 3 weeks at Billboard with a guy with a girl (last week, this week, next week). Way to many slow tempo’s on this chart. He’s also performing Every time I hear that Song at the People’s Choice awards tonight, so look for that as his next single.

    Keith should be releasing Fighter to radio soon, featuring Carrie.

    Look for a lot of chart housecleaning in the next couple weeks. Hoping that Runaway June finds the top 30 on BB (they have a couple of times on MB).

    Not that I love Blake’s song, but I am hoping this signals maybe more unpredictability on the charts, and less turn taking.

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    • How does “A Guy With A Girl” represent increased unpredictability on the charts?

      It was clearly next-in-line for #1 after “Dirty Laundry”. Then it will all-but-surely free-fall so “Star of the Show” can follow suit the following week.

      Seems like business as usual to my eyes.

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        • It was projected to be too-close-to-call on Billboard to begin with though, right?

          That’s at least how I interpreted the data. I knew it would be a cakewalk for Carrie on Mediabase, but she started this past week off barely ahead of Blake and the latter had indicated his release was “powering up” as well.

          So I can’t say I’m that surprised by the end result. I totally get why countless Carrie fans feel slighted and angry by this and are crying: “She’s a woman, OF COURSE this was going to happen!”. But in a more logical sense, Underwood is so far-removed from virtually all other so-called “tomatoes” on the format that it is disingenuous to blame it squarely on women being mistreated on country radio………………..and it was going to be a nail-biter to begin with.

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          • They were close to start the week, but Carrie ran max ads and Blake only power up, so most people assumed Carrie would get it. Looking at the numbers throughout the week made you realize it was going to be close, but if you’d asked at the start of the week everyone would have predicted Carrie. It was Carrie’s “turn”, she did CC, and she was the only pushing max…and she didn’t get it on BB.

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          • Yeah, I’m only speaking what I was sensing surely, but in my eyes it was going to go down to the wire all week long.

            And as early as Thursday, it was pretty clear Blake Shelton had the greater momentum. I wasn’t sure to what extent it translated on Billboard admittedly, but I knew it was akin to a “Too Close To Call” assertion on Election Night.

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  6. “How exciting!”

    Yes! The charts are sooo good right now. The music is sooo good right now. Blake Shelton is leading the charts. The great new Kenny Chesney song. Come on High Valley! “Make You Mine” will be a Top 20 hit in 25 weeks & a Top 10 hit in 2018. You can do it!
    The exciting new entries: FGL with the Backstreet Zombies (#51), the Osborne Bro…Brothers Osborne (#57).
    The Hot Shot Debut is the best Cole Swindell song of all ti…since his last single (#48).
    Chris Stapleton is still leading the Country Albums charts & the Americana/Folk charts.

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay/Canadian artists only:
    #1 – Chad Brownlee – “Somethin’ We Shouldn’t Do”
    #2 – James Barker Band – “Just Sayin'”
    #3 – Lindsay Ell – “All Alright”
    #4 – Dean Brody – “Time”
    #5 – Gord Bamford – “Fall In Love If You Want To”

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia/Country Music Services:
    #1 – Casey Barnes – “Just Like Magic” (mehhhhhhhhh)
    #2 – Connie Kis Andersen – “Happy Day” (do the conga!)
    #3 – Justin Standley – “Sweet Ophelia” (zzzzzzz)
    Top New Track – #6 – Tania Kernaghan – “That’s A Tradie” (Tania!)
    On The Rise – #11 (37) – Aleyce Simmonds – “Defeated” (Aleyce!)

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  7. By the way, Josh………………I only just caught attention of this, but I notice you are now grading Darius Rucker’s “If I Told You” a 0, despite originally rating it 7/10.

    Out of curiosity, what about his song soured on you to go from +2 to a 0?

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    • As I said above in the post, the production is just blah. After multiple plays it can get tired and make the song drag. Still like the lyrics though.

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  8. Super excited for Lady Antebellum new music after their hiatus, really have a big expectation to it and hope it won’t disappoint me. Hope you guys make a great review to it Country Perspective. 😀👍🎶

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  9. Josh, would love to see a a review of Jake Owen’s album “American Love”. Do you think that’s a possibility of being done in the near future?

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    • I may be wrong, but I think he tersely mentioned before that he listened to it, but chose not to review it because he didn’t consider it country outside of “LAX”. (I know he has deliberately passed on viewing a handful of albums because they sounded too boring to him, including Chris Young’s current album).

      Correct me if I’m wrong, of course.

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  10. Very frustrating that Blake’s incredibly dull and boring “A Guy With A Girl” took the (Billboard) number one spot over Carrie’s “Dirty Laundry.” Carrie’s song may not be too country sounding either, but at least it’s a lot more fun and memorable than Blake’s song. I’ll gladly take Carrie’s brand of pop country over the boring, vanilla stuff a lot of the males have been churning out lately.

    As Raymond mentioned, I also really hope to see Runaway June’s “Lipstick” make the top 30 very soon. Same goes for RaeLynn’s “Love Triangle.” These two songs are a breath of fresh air to me, and they would definitely help add a little more spice and variety to the radio playlists if played more often.

    Sad to think that “Outskirts Of Heaven” may be nearing the end soon. I was hoping it would keep chugging along a little while longer, not only because I think it’s one of the best songs out right now, but so Craig could finally get his new album out. I’m also still bummed that “Tomorrrow Tonight,” the original lead single for the album, didn’t catch on. Still love that song.

    As for Darius Rucker’s new single, I agree that the production is kind of bland, but I still like the song. I’m just happy to hear a decent, well written song from male artist that isn’t about hooking up, partying, riding around in his truck with his girl, or pretending it’s summertime all year round.

    Also, I’m in total agreement with the above comments on Kenny’s new song. I’m with jmartin103 on this. Can we please have 90’s Kenny back already? And also on that title for Sam Hunt’s new song: Yikes! That has to be one of the most cringe inducing song titles I’ve ever seen. I’m already scared to hear the song. lol!

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    • Honestly, I prefer Shelton’s completely innocuous, anonymous ditty over Underwood’s presumptuous stomper at #1.

      Much like “Before He Cheats”, I simply have an aversion to songs that merely ASSUME wrongdoing and rush to judgement. I’m sorry: seeing a wine stain on a shirt or smelling lingering perfume is NOT immediately indicative of cheating, just saying.

      In contrast, “Church Bells” worked for me because the lyricism actually had enough descriptive detail to reveal the song’s protagonist had been abused by the man in question. Her anger and desperation was absolutely justifiable. Or, say, “Gunpowder and Lead” was justifiable because the narator had actually been shook around like a ragdoll by the man.

      “A Guy With A Girl” is by all marks a white-bread song. But in this particular instance, I’ll actually take the white-bread song over the misguided one.

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    • The first thing I thought when I saw the title of that Sam Hunt song: Yikes. Move over, Brantley Gilbert, Sam Hunt is here to claim the spot for worst song on the charts. Of course it would debut in the top 30 or near the top 30 because obviously country radio eats his pop shit up. I had a random thought the other day while driving to school, and I wonder: what would country radio be like if the radio people didn’t so shamelessly pander to teenage girls and soccer moms? Who would be the huge superstars and most “poised-to-break-out” newcomers?

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      • Probably a spectrum consisting of William Michael Morgan, Mo Pitney, Aubrie Sellers and Candi Carpenter among others representing the more melodic names, while Cody Jinks, Dori Freeman and others representing the more intimate lyrical tradition.

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        • I’d also imagine artists like Ashley Monroe and Kacey Musgraves would be getting more airplay. Chris Janson and Craig Campbell would probably be doing a lot better with their latest singles. Also Runaway June and RaeLynn would’ve probably already made the top 30 or 20 by now. In general, a lot more female artists would probably be getting played.

          Interesting thought, Amanda. I sure wish I lived in the world where William Michael Morgan, Mo Pitney, and Candi Carpenter were the huge breakout stars. Speaking of WMM, I’m still really hoping “Missing” becomes another hit big for him. The way it’s been moving so slowly on the chart kind of has me worried, though.

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          • I love you all, but you’re all delusional. First of all suburban moms, teenagers, frat boys, make up a large portion of the population…so you’d still have to have songs that they liked. And well, with spotify, concerts, pandora etc…we can get a pretty good idea of what is most popular, even without radio. I love WMM but he barely sold any albums. Ashley Monroe, no one is clamoring to take her on tour. “Lipstick” is selling poorly etc. Pop is popular for a reason, the vast majority of the populace likes fun, good hook, relatively lyrically boring, music. They also like Budweiser.

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          • You’re right and this was a hard lesson I came to grips with too. Radio is for all, not just for me. So what a lot of us might think is crap, might be gold to someone else listening to it. Different strokes for different folks. However there are some artists radio are ignoring or still not giving enough airtime when there’s demand for them, most notably Stapleton I think is worthy of more airplay. But radio has practically admitted they resent the fact he made it without their help. Cody Jinks is someone who generates a lot of talk and I think would be received by a significant portion of listeners. His sales are are on par or surpass most B and C-listers on major labels, not to mention beats them on Internet traffic according to my own stats. These are not end all be all metrics of course. But radio ignoring these independent acts completely is still not wise and costing themselves.

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          • I’ve come to the conclusion that George Strait and Alan Jackson would still be played on radio if this was the case. If country radio “pandered” (for lack of better word, I don’t mean pandering in a negative connotation) to predominantly the demographic of true country fans, the superstars would be Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe (arguably one of the greatest songwriters/storytellers of this generation of country music; just listen to “The Morning After” and “Two Weeks Late”), George and Alan (duh), and possibly maybe even Gary Allan, Joe Nichols, and Josh Turner (oh, how I would freaking love to see these guys as some of the biggest male stars of country music instead of Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Brantley Gilbert!). Maybe Dierks Bentley (if he ever gets his head back in the game). Maybe Little Big Town. Maybe Zac Brown Band. Maybe Chris Young (if he would go back to his “Neon” days, I would be thrilled). Brandy Clark would probably have a bigger radio presence. Hell, maybe even Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price. Sure we’d still have our mediocre singers like Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, and Toby Keith, but even Kenny, Keith, and Toby, as boring as they are, aren’t really among the biggest offenders, in my opinion. As far as newcomers go, we’d definitely have William Michael Morgan (LOVE him, he is just fantastic!) and Jon Pardi, as well as Candi Carpenter, maybe Chris Janson (he has improved a lot since Buy Me a Boat), Runaway June, RaeLynn (if she continues to release songs like the fabulous “Love Triangle), Mo Pitney, Craig Campbell, Maddie and Tae, maybe Cam, maybe Mickey Guyton, Cody Jinks, Dori Freeman, Aubrie Sellers, and maybe a few others I forgot to mention. Lee Ann Womack, Martina McBride, and Sara Evans would also have never been shunned by radio, as well. I am fully aware that this will never happen at the rate we are at now, but it was just a random thought I had.

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          • In my last comment, in lieu to the mediocre artists, I’d forgotten Blake Shelton. Due to The Voice, a seemingly universal appeal, and some decent to good songs, he’d still be around. He may be mediocre and dull, but I would take him over Thomas Rhett any given day.

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          • I’d also forgotten Brad Paisley. He’d also be included in the superstars. Sorry about all the omissions, it’s been a long day.

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          • 2 things 1: I don’t like the concept of “true country” a) music is subjective, what is country to you might not be to somebody else and vice versa. Country has always included songs that also borrowed from rock, pop, blues, etc b) A large portion of what we now consider “true country” wouldn’t have been considered “true country” when it was released.

            2: A lot of the bigger names that you mentioned, have adjusted what they released to what radio desires. A guy like Blake is perhaps the best example: he starter off with songs like Austin & the Baby, he’s had beach hits (some beach), bro country, and pop country –even as the vast majority of his catalog has stayed ballads, from Austin to AGWAG. If radio desires changed, they’d adapt.

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          • But yes, I think you’d see some more diversity, guys like Stapleton and Cody, Monroe, Clark etc & it’d be nice. I still don’t think you’d get the old folk though. In basically every genre people age out, it’s how you get new blood in.

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        • I would also add that I think Cody Johnson, Aaron Watson, Randy Rogers Band and Wade Bowen would be getting significant airplay on mainstream radio in this type of world.

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          • Aaron Watson is awesome! So are Randy Rogers Band and Wade Bowen. I need to study up a bit more on Cody Johnson, as I’ve only heard one song from him, and that song is not bad at all. Thanks for the inclusions!

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