The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [February 27]


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. Little Big Town – “Better Man” +2 
  2. Chris Young (feat. Vince Gill) – “Sober Saturday Night” +1 
  3. Michael Ray – “Douchey Pickup Song” -5 
  4. Brad Paisley – “Today” +2 
  5. Jon Pardi – “Dirt on My Boots” +1 
  6. Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl” -1 (Up 1) 
  7. Luke Bryan – “Fast” -1 (Up 2)
  8. Eric Church (feat. Rhiannon Giddens) – “Kill A Word” +4 [Best Song]
  9. Lauren Alaina – “Road Less Traveled” -2 (Up 2)
  10. Jason Aldean – “Any Ol’ Barstool” 
  11. Kelsea Ballerini – “Yeah Boy” -5 (Up 2)
  12. Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend” -5 
  13. Josh Turner – “Hometown Girl” (Up 2)
  14. Kenny Chesney – “Bar at the End of the World” -3 
  15. Sam Hunt – “Body Like a Back Road” -5 (Up 3) [Worst Song]
  16. Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”
  17. Dierks Bentley – “Black” -2 (Up 2)
  18. High Valley – “Make You Mine” -2 (Down 1)
  19. Luke Combs – “Hurricane” -1 (Up 1)
  20. Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her” +4 (Up 2)
  21. Trent Harmon – “There’s A Girl” +1 
  22. Dan + Shay – “How Not To” +1 (Up 1)
  23. Darius Rucker – “If I Told You” (Up 1)
  24. Rascal Flatts – “Yours If You Want It” -2 (Up 1)
  25. Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven” +3 (Up 1)
  26. Lady Antebellum – “You Look Good” -4 (Up 1)
  27. Miranda Lambert – “We Should Be Friends” +2 (Up 1)
  28. Keith Urban (feat. Carrie Underwood) – “The Fighter” -5 (New to Top 30)
  29. Runaway June – “Lipstick” +3 (Up 1)
  30. Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man” +4 (Re-Enters Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio: -19

The pulse improves six spots this week.

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” -5
  • Brett Young – “In Case You Didn’t Know” -2

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Keith Urban (feat. Carrie Underwood) – “The Fighter”
  • Zac Brown Band – “My Old Man”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Keith Urban (feat. Carrie Underwood) – “The Fighter” – Up 5 from #33 to #28
  • Sam Hunt – “Body Like A Back Road” – Up 3 from #18 to #15

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Dustin Lynch – “Seein’ Red” – Out of the Top 30 & Done
  • Brett Young – “In Case You Didn’t Know” – Out of the Top 30 (#31)

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

  • Blake Shelton – “A Guy With A Girl”
  • Chris Janson – “Holdin’ Her”
  • High Valley – “Make You Mine”
  • Trent Harmon – “There’s A Girl”
  • Craig Campbell – “Outskirts of Heaven”
  • Runaway June – “Lipstick”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Brantley Gilbert – “The Weekend”
  • Garth Brooks – “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Brett Young – “In Case You Didn’t Know”
  • Cole Swindell – “Flatliner”
  • Florida Georgia Line (feat. Backstreet Boys) – “God, Your Mama, and Me”
  • Blake Shelton – “Every Time I Hear That Song”


Call me crazy, but is this gerrymandering really helping anyone? What is the point of all this blatant chart jacking?


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


7 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio [February 27]

  1. Labels think being able to say #1 hit helps sales (both song and album sales, and ticket sales). The 50 week chart runs are beyond ridiculous though.

    At this point I almost think the biggest sign/test of how big a radio hit a song was, is what happens after it’s peak. If it’s a really artificial peak, the song drops likes a cement block. Conversely, I’m beginning to suspect that AGWAG is never leaving the top 10 & going recurrent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This week is unpredictable as Trent Harmon and Runaway June lost a lot yesterday only to gain it back. Today Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, and Eric Church lost. It’s unknown if anybody will leave. Maybe High Valley will leave but even then.

    Lauren Alaina continues to gain and hold her own. I think she could make the Top 5. I wonder with her performing “Three” at CRS if that indicates the next single? I still wonder how much higher “Road Less Traveled” can get as it is testing well and is still young enough to last a little while longer.


  3. “Make You Mine” is down in audience & plays (week 53). Time to say goodbye & never come back.

    Hot Shot Debut: #32 – Brett Eldredge – “Somethin’ I’m Good At”

    From the outside looking in: FGL feat. the Backstreet Zombies. Still #34.

    Brothers Osborne lost a place, the bullet & lot of audience. (#41)

    No bullet: Parmalee (#37), Hunter Hayes (#45), Drake White (#46), Easton Corbin (#50), Drew Baldridge feat. Emily Weisband (#54), Cody Johnson (#56), Adam Craig (#59) & Ryan Kinder (#60)
    I hope the majority of songs will go away soon & take Tucker Beatheard, Morgan Wallen, Chris Lane, Jake Owen & Jakie Lee with them. Faceless, boring Nashville pop.

    Billboard Canada Country National Airplay (Canadian Artists Only):
    #1 – Dean Brody – “Time”
    #2 – Dallas Smith – “Side Effects”
    #3 – Meghan Patrick – “Still Loving You”
    #4 – Tim Hicks – “Slow Burn”
    #5 – Brett Kissel – “She’s Desire”

    Country Tracks Top 40 Australia (Country Music Services):
    #1 – Casey Barnes – “Just Like Magic”
    #2 – Travis Collins – “Hometown Calling”
    #3 – Carpenter Caswell – “Life Like It’s A Trainwreck”
    Top New Entry: #12 – Chris Staff – “Storm’s A-Comin'”
    On The Rise: #20 (37) – Jodie Crosby – “Hello”

    New Single: Carpenter Caswell – Life Like’s It’s A Trainwreck”: Allan Caswell & Michael Carpenter together. “Life…” is a classic guitar driven rockabilly track. Unusual & good. An album is in the making.


  4. The chart is totally due for a cleaning. High Valley at 53 weeks? Come on! That’s crazy! Unfortunately, with the exception of Blake Shelton and his average “Every Time I Hear That Song”, the rest of the next songs expected to enter the chart are horrendous. In a better world, the next four songs would be the current singles from Brett Elderedge, Brothers Osborne, William Michael Morgan, and Midland. 🙂


  5. It is a travesty that “Sober Saturday Night” is being allowed a #1 without contest.

    If I were Little Big Town, I would aim to continue blocking the top spot for reasons I stated last week. Their mega-hit and “Dirt On My Boots” are the only two songs in the current Top Ten that have steadily sold, streamed and steadily scaled the airplay chart like true #1 candidates.

    I really wish we could go back to a mode where larger hits are reflected in their tenure at #1 on radio. As time goes on, I actually have had a genuine change of heart regarding the Hot Country Songs chart criteria being revamped. The rare instance of crossover airplay is still a glaring issue, but otherwise that and Billboard Hot 100 peaks are FAR more accurate indicators of a single’s actual appeal at least 95% of the time, not radio peaks.


  6. Actually some pretty nice songs in the #20-30 range ! I’m amazed Craig Campbell is still hanging around. I think his song entered the chart during the time of Peleg. Wow, I like that Carpenter Caswell “Trainwreck” song better than most everything on the US chart.


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