Re-Charting The Chart

Every week we will take a look at the top 30 Mediabase Country Chart. We will re-rank the songs on the chart based on the quality and overall enjoyment of each song. Next to each song I will provide the ranking that we would give it and the actual ranking on the Mediabase chart in parenthesis (From America’s Music Charts). Songs that are in the color red are songs that are either recurrent or in danger of going recurrent soon, while blue is for songs that I predict will go to number 1 at some point. At the end of each ranking there will be some thoughts about the current chart as well as any news or updates that are deemed important. I hope everyone enjoys this weekly post and feel free to comment/agree/disagree with anything you see.

This is from last week. It failed to post not sure why but here it is.

  1. Zac Brown Band “My Old Man” (16) up 3 A
  2. Midland “Drinkin’ Problem” (14) up 3 A-
  3. Drake White “Makin’ Me Look Good Again” (30) down 2 B+
  4. Maren Morris “I Could Use a Love Song” (29) up 1 B+
  5. Carly Pearce “Every Little Thing” (28) up 3 B+
  6. Old Dominion “No Such Thing As a Broken Heart” (17) up 4 B
  7. Brothers Osborne “It Ain’t My Fault” (21) up 2 B
  8. Darius Rucker “If I Told You” (4) up 1 B
  9. Dan and Shay “How Not To” (5) up 2 
  10. Luke Combs “Hurricane” (3) down 2 C
  11. Kip Moore “More Girls Like You” (23) up 2 C
  12. Brett Eldredge “Somethin’ I’m Good At” (25) up 1 C
  13. Justin Moore “Somebody Else Will” (15) up 3 C-
  14. Tim Mcgraw & Faith Hill “Speak to a Girl” (18) up 2 C-
  15. Billy Currington “Do I Make You Wanna” (20) up 2 C-
  16. Blake Shelton “Every Time I Hear That Song” (7) up 2 C-
  17. Rascal Flatts “Yours If You Want It” (10) up 1 C-
  18. Brett Young “In Case You Didn’t Know” (2) no change C-
  19. Cole Swindell & Sellout “Flatliner” (13) up 3 D
  20. Dylan Scott “My Girl” (8) up 4 D
  21. Dustin Lynch “Small Town Boy” (26) up 1 D-
  22. LoTalent “Ring on Every Finger” (27) up 2 D-
  23. Thomas Rhett & Maren Morris  “Craving You”  (9) up 5 D- 
  24. Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood “The Fighter” (11) up 2 F
  25. Kelsea Ballerini “Yeah Boy” (24) down 14 F
  26. Dierks Bentley “Black” (1) up 2 F
  27. Lady Antebellum “You Look Good” (12) up 3 F
  28. Chris Lane “For Her” (22) up 2 F
  29. Brantley Gilbert “The Weekend” (19) down 12 F
  30. Florida Georgia Line & Another Boy Band “Boy Band’s Are Lit” (6) up 2 F

New To The Top 30: “Every Little Thing.” Carly Pearce is IHeart’s new On The Verge pick. I was first introduced to her when she appeared on Josh Abbott’s single “Wasn’t That Drunk.” From what I have read she has had a long difficult road getting a record deal with Big Machine. This song in particular is pretty good and tows the line between country and r&b without crossing it. I am fearful for what path she will go down after this inevitably reaches number one. Will she go in the r&b direction or more traditional?

Songs That Left The Top 30: “Body Like a Backroad.” I think I have made my feelings about this song pretty clear.

Songs In Danger: “The Weekend”

“Yeah Boy”

“Yours If You Want It”

“Hurricane”

“Black”

Quick Thoughts: “My Old Man” jumped 3 spots this week. There are a number of songs in front of this that could fall off the chart in the coming weeks so I continue to stand by my prediction of number 1. Brett Eldredge however continues a slow climb.

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The Country Music Chat Featuring The Critical Abyss and Country Exclusive

Alex: So getting started I think we should talk about Leon changing up his blog. Would you like to talk about that?

Leon: I have a post on that soon actually. Believe me, it’s somewhat I wanted to do. I’ll post it after I clean everything up. It’s sort of a scattered mess at the moment

Alex: Oh Okay awesome. I’m just starting to get back in the swing of things after a few weeks with limited posts

Leon: Same here after my vacation week. I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to write about.

Alex: I have some catching up to do. My next album reviews are going to be Wheeler Walker and Dalton Domino

Megan: I think I’m the only one not on the Dalton Domino bandwagon. But looking forward to what you have to say.

Leon: I don’t think I’ll cover the Wheeler Walker one. I just don’t get how one would review it. Summers In Kentucky is a good song though. For Domino, sorry Megan, but it has really grown on me

Alex: The Dalton Domino album is taking time for me. It’s a lot to digest

Alex: And the Wheeler review is one I am looking forward to

Leon: Yeah, I get that. I don’t like every song but there’s a few I really love. There’s nothing I want to cover until June 9th. I’ve already started focusing on my mid year list actually

Alex: Megan seemed to echo the same thing on Twitter… Nothing grabbing her atm

Megan: I’m not sure how one would review Wheeler either, but I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge.

Leon: I guess it will depend, but I doubt I’ll cover Wheeler. Should be better than that new A Thousand Horses one though. I mean, 5 new songs and like 7 or 8 live cuts? What the hell?

Leon: And Luke Combs’ album seems like it’ll be boring as hell too

Alex: Luke Combs has been destroyed by the Nashville machine

Alex: It’s a shame I think he’s much better than this

Megan: Something’s grabbing me now for sure, and that’s Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly. That’s out in the U.S. Friday. I’ll have my thoughts soon. I agree about Luke.

Leon: You’ve told me about that one. I don’t feel like covering a double album but I’ll give it a go.

Alex: Leon talked about mid year lists which I plan on doing also. Out of curiosity what is your favorite album (both of you) of 2017

Leon: So far? Well, I actually haven’t reviewed mine yet. I will on Friday though. For now, we’ll go with Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’

Alex: I actually have a different “favorite” and “best” album. Trophy is my album of the year and Tenderheart is my favorite.

Megan: There’s some filler for sure, but overall very strong. Not always the case with double albums. To your question, Alex, that honor goes to Way Out West by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, no contest, without question, and I dare anyone to top it in 2017, both from a critical standpoint and as a personal favorite.

Alex: I MUST revisit Marty Stuarts album. I only gave it one listen when it came out and I just didn’t “get it.” But I think that type of album needs multiple listens

Leon: Why are you seperating favorite and best Alex? And Marty’s is excellent. Top 5 for me.

Megan: I would agree. Also recommend not being sober lol. Colter Wall is probably the closest second, but a couple songs on his hold it back from being my favorite.

Alex: Well I think Trophy is the best album of the year and my second favorite album. I think Tenderheart is great but not quite as high quality as trophy. However as a fan I enjoy Tenderheart more than anything else this year if that makes sense.

Alex: Another example is me loving Cody Johnson’s albums more than anything else while admitting there are higher quality albums from a critical perspective

Megan: Aaron Watson’s is a good example of that too.

Leon: Eh, I’d say go with what you love most man. I want to hear Alex, not a critic. But it’s your blog man. But I get what you’re saying.

Leon: Aaron Watson made my list actually, haha

Leon: I haven’t made it through once. Not worth my time.

Megan: That thing was awful, but it didn’t piss me off as much as some others. Just bland, boring, forgettable, not sexy, etc. Chris Young can pull off sexy better than that. His voice was almost unrecognizable as well. Ironic title because I wanted to sleep.

Alex: If you asked me 5 years ago I would have named him and Keith Urban is 2 of my top 5 favorite artists. After their recent material I just have no respect for their music anymore.

Megan: Don’t get me started on Keith, we’ll be here all night.

Leon: As a Pop album I didn’t hate Urban’s last album. I hate that he’s calling it country. With Chris I just hate it in general

Alex: Young’s last album was just boring as dirt. This album I think is going to be straight Bieber

Leon: I didn’t even make it through Young’s album and I think I reviewed it at 1 point. I liked his first 2 or 3 albums a lot, but ever since Neon bombed there’s just been no going back for him.

Megan: I’d like to discuss two artists I covered in May who haven’t received a lot of attention and definitely should, Robyn Ludwick and Kody West. West’s album came out in April, and I found it through SCM. I found Ludwick thrugh a recommendation from Jamie Lin Wilson. Both really cool albums, and I’d like to see them getting more coverage.

Leon: I still want to cover Kody since I heard the first eight or so songs. You know time though.

Alex: In regards to what Megan said, I unfortunately haven’t listened to either of those albums

Alex: I’ll have to add them to my list

Leon: There’s just too much music coming out honestly. Like I get it and all, but it’s so hard to absorb a piece of music as it is, let alone feel like you have a time limit. I’ve gotten pickier about the stuff I cover.

Alex: This month I was just so busy and I felt overwhelmed trying to cover everything and I just exploded lol

Leon: May was probably the best month so far for me personally in terms of finding albums I love. A weak year is slowly turning into a good year for me.

Megan: I think the excess of music is a great thing, I’m also slightly at an advantage there because I have Bri to help cover things, but I stopped giving myself time limits and things. Sometimes lots of albums hit me at once. Sometimes, like this week, there’s barely anything I want to write about at all. And Leon, I agree, May was a very strong month for me in terms of finding good music.

Alexander: I have actually been a little disappointed so far. I thought Josh Turner and Zac Brown would have been better than they were. And as far as Bluegrass goes, only one Bluegrass album has blown me away this year.

Alex: Last year there were a lot of spectacular bluegrass albums

Leon: I’m not saying there haven’t been disappointments. I find myself being frustrated because I often say “well this is good, but it could have been great if it did this, this and this…”. I’ve only given 4 9/10’s this year so far.

Alex: Right. I find a lot of albums this year are around 8/10 which we have discussed before.

Megan: Zac Brown Band was probably the single most disappointing album of 2017 for me, and the thing is, it’s a good album. It’s just I wanted so much more from it.

Alex: Yes. I thought it would be an album of the year contender and it’s just not. Very good but not great

Leon: Same, but for me it’s more 7’s. I liked Zac Brown Band’s album honestly. I get why people don’t, but I don’t know, it’s just highly enjoyable for me. I’ve definitely overrated a lot of albums this year though.

Megan: I’ve overrated a couple, and sorry, Alex, but for me, Trophy was one of them. It hasn’t held up like I thought it would. As for ZBB, it’s enjoyable, they’re just better than that.

Alex: I never said anything about it but I thought I would mention that that Andrew Pope album that you reviewed (Leon) I gave it a listen when it came out and I surprisingly did not like it at all. And no worries Megan, it’s okay if you don’t like Trophy but, I loved it.

Leon: I feel like I overrate a lot of independent albums. There’s just some things that are hard for me to shake. One album that I honestly don’t like as well as I did was Wrangled, so sorry Megan, haha

Alex: I liked 3 songs on Wrangled and didn’t like the rest.

Leon: Andrew doesn’t hold up either now. I’d go with a 7 for that

Alex: I would think Andrew Pope would be right in my wheelhouse but I just found the album boring.

Leon: It definitely need more variety in the tempo. I’ll give you that.

Megan: Surprisingly, I don’t like Wrangled quite as much, but it’d still be like a 9. Wish I hadn’t given it a 10, but things change. As for Andrew, that’s a 7 for me, but I didn’t cover that, Bri did, so I didn’t listen to it a whole lot.

Leon: I want to be more critical for starters. I hate that criticism has become synonymous with hating or bullying. Aside from that, I don’t know. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing now

Leon: I do want to make my own blog logo and hopefully pay for the blog so there’s that

Alex: I think I have the weirdest logo lol

Alex: And I also want to pay for the blog eventually

Leon: At least it’s a logo, haha.

Megan: I’m not sure. I want to cover more bluegrass and more older music, which we’re now doing the older stuff. I want to do more collaborative reviewing with Bri, we really enjoy that. I don’t have really anything too long-range in mind, though, as I’ve told Leon before, Country Exclusive has pretty much been one giant experiment in winging it, lol, and so far, it’s worked. We will take it one day and one song at a time.

Alex: Haha. I have this dream of doing a country bluegrass Americana podcast. I have gotten into podcasts recently and there aren’t any great country podcasts that I know of that talk about whats going on. I’m not counting Wheeler or Keleigh Bannen’s.

Megan: Same to you!

Alex: Same to both of u!

Scotty Mccreery Five More Minutes Single Review

Image result for scotty mccreery five more minutes

Scotty Mccreery has always been someone I rooted for. Ever since I heard him sing “Your Man” on American Idol I have loved his voice. But voice is not enough for me to like someone’s music and with Scotty I have always been left wanting more. With his first couple albums I felt they were very juvenile and boring. When the lead single to his third album was released it was clear Mccreery was unhappy with the direction his label was making him go in. “Southern Belle” was a bad bro country type song and in interviews he had given about the song it was clear he wasn’t comfortable with it. After that single bombed at radio he was released from his record label Mercury and it was unclear what would be next for the now 23 year old. Well now with the new record label Scotty has released a new lead single to his third album and it’s exactly what I had hoped to hear from him since the beginning. “Five More Minutes” is a song about wanting just a little more time to do things and be with the people who you loved before it’s gone. Things like your first love, your last football game and seeing your grandfather one more time. It’s an idea that was actually done by Granger Smith on his most recent album and it goes by the same name. I consider both to be great songs and I don’t want to criticize anyone for stealing the idea because I really don’t have a clue. What I do know is that Scotty is back on the right track with “Five More Minutes” and hopefully it can have enough success at radio to warrant his third studio albums release.

Song Grade: 8.5/10 B+

Welcome Home Zac Brown Band Album Review

 

Before the Zac Brown Band released their last album Jekyll and Hyde in 2015, I had had a great deal of respect for them even though they were never one of my favorite bands. Like most mainstream acts I had liked their early work but began to like their more commercial music less with time. What I really disliked about their music the most were the beach songs which seem to be released as a single on every one of their albums. I just don’t really feel anything when I listen to the radio made beach songs and the Zac Brown Band is obviously capable of much more interesting and thoughtful music. When Welcome Home was announced as their follow up album to the mess that was Jekyll and Hyde, they had promised to get back to their roots “Foundation Style” (first album). Honestly when I heard them go out of their way to talk about getting back to their roots I believed them and when “My Old Man” was released as the lead single I had very high hopes for this album.

 

So, with that all being said did the Zac Brown Band actually make good on their promise and get back to “Foundation Style” music? After many listens to Welcome Home I can’t say anything really except yes. Now the album isn’t perfect and has moments that feel a little too safe and boring but as far as getting back to their roots musically they are there. The lead single “My Old Man” is a really great song that is a tribute to Zac’s father. The production is very dialed back and the music is mostly acoustic with a light fiddle in the background. It’s a song that is one of the few songs that I would classify as great on country radio.

 

The album opens with the song “Roots” that really shows the band trying to move past the EDM nonsense even if Zac is still pursing that on the side. No matter where this life takes him his roots always keep him grounded and remind him of where he belongs. Where I have my most criticism of this album is the fact that it is too safe and too generic. Songs like “Real Thing” and “Family Table” are other songs on the album that are far from unique and frankly bore me. And I am pretty sure we don’t need to hear another beach song from the Zac Brown Band so can you just make “Start Over” go away? The idea for the song is actually not bad with two married people trying to save their marriage by going on a vacation to a tropical paradise. But, the song is weirdly happy and upbeat for a song about a failing marriage and it’s pretty obvious a few days on a vacation won’t save this marriage.

 

I think I have done enough criticizing at this point so let me say what I love about this album. I already mentioned the fact that “My Old Man” is a fantastic song but so are the final three tracks on Welcome Home. “Your Majesty” is a beautiful love song with tremendous fiddle play. It’s honestly a song that I would love to listen to on the beach as opposed to “Start Over” because it’s a song that is easy going and relaxing but actually has something to say which is important to keeping my attention. “Trying to Drive” is another great love song featuring pop singer Aslyn. I’m usually not a fan of pop singers on country songs but she really doesn’t sound out of place on this song and the two sound good together.

 

Finally, the album concludes with what is probably my favorite song on the album “All The Best.” This song supposedly features Kacey Musgraves but I can hardly hear her! I would like this song even more if Kacey had more of a prominent role. The song is about wishing your former lover love and happiness even if it can’t be with you. The narrator loves her too much to wish her anything but the best. He even hopes that she doesn’t make the mistake that he makes by falling in love with someone that will break her heart. Zac sounds terrific on this track and bravo on the dialed back production again, less really is more here. It’s a shame these last three songs were buried at the end because along with “My Old Man” they are the real highlights.

 

Overall I have to admit I am a little bit disappointed in this album. After I heard “My Old Man” and “All The Best” I was convinced this would be one of my album’s of the year. It’s not that this is a bad album though and good for the Zac Brown Band for getting back to their roots with this album. I find this to be a solid album overall and surely one of the best mainstream albums that will be released all year. Not an album of the year contender but a damn solid album.

 

Grade: 7.5/10 B-

 

Best Songs: All the Best, My Old Man, Your Majesty                                                                     

 

Re-Charting The Chart

Every week we will take a look at the top 30 Mediabase Country Chart. We will re-rank the songs on the chart based on the quality and overall enjoyment of each song. Next to each song I will provide the ranking that we would give it and the actual ranking on the Mediabase chart in parenthesis (From America’s Music Charts). Songs that are in the color red are songs that are either recurrent or in danger of going recurrent soon, while blue is for songs that I predict will go to number 1 at some point. At the end of each ranking there will be some thoughts about the current chart as well as any news or updates that are deemed important. I hope everyone enjoys this weekly post and feel free to comment/agree/disagree with anything you see.

  1. Zac Brown Band “My Old Man” (19)  no change A
  2. Midland “Drinkin’ Problem” (17) no change A-
  3. Drake White “Makin’ Me Look Good Again” (28) no change B+
  4. Maren Morris “I Could Use a Love Song” (30) no change B+
  5. Old Dominion “No Such Thing As a Broken Heart” (21) no change B
  6. Brothers Osborne “It Ain’t My Fault” (23) down 1 B
  7. Darius Rucker “If I Told You” (5) up 2 B
  8. Dan and Shay “How Not To” (6) up 2 
  9. Luke Combs “Hurricane” (1) no change C
  10. Kip Moore “More Girls Like You” (25) no change C
  11. Brett Eldredge “Somethin’ I’m Good At” (26) up 1 C
  12. Justin Moore “Somebody Else Will” (20) no change C-
  13. Tim Mcgraw & Faith Hill “Speak to a Girl” (20) no change C-
  14. Billy Currington “Do I Make You Wanna” (22) up 2 C-
  15. Blake Shelton “Every Time I Hear That Song” (9) up 1 C-
  16. Rascal Flatts “Yours If You Want It” (11) up 1 C-
  17. Brett Young “In Case You Didn’t Know” (2) no change C-
  18. Cole Swindell & Sellout “Flatliner” (16) down 2 D
  19. Dylan Scott “My Girl” (12) up 1 D
  20. Dustin Lynch “Small Town Boy” (27) up 4 D-
  21. LoTalent “Ring on Every Finger” (29) no change D-
  22. Thomas Rhett & Maren Morris  “Craving You”  (14) up 2 D- 
  23. Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood “The Fighter” (13) down 2 F
  24. Kelsea Ballerini “Yeah Boy” (10) down 6 F
  25. Dierks Bentley “Black” (3) up 2 F
  26. Lady Antebellum “You Look Good” (15) no change F
  27. Chris Lane “For Her” (24) down 1 F
  28. Brantley Gilbert “The Weekend” (7) down 1 F
  29. Florida Georgia Line & Another Boy Band “Boy Band’s Are Lit” (8) up 1 F
  30. Sam Hunt “Body Like a Backroad” (4) down 1 F

New To The Top 30: “I Could Use a Love Song.” This is a solid pop song from Maren Morris. A more mature dialed back song following 2 more uptempo/wild songs.

“Small Town Boy.” Instead of this maybe try listening to “Cowboys and Angels.” Believe it or not but 1 song into Dustin Lynch’ career he had a lot of promise. I just wonder when he’s going to ditch the cowboy hat like Chris Young did.

“Ring On Every Finger.” LoCash has no talent. What is it that they do well exactly? People criticize Cole Swindell but LoCash is significantly worse. They don’t sing well and the songs that they write are embarrassingly bad. “Keep in Mind” is their only song that I ever liked.

Songs That Left The Top 30: “Hometown Girl”

“Love Triangle”

“Bar At The End Of The World.” Kenny Chesney should mix it up with the next song and make it beach or alcohol themed.

Songs In Danger: “Yours If You Want It.” I stand by what I said. I think this is top 10 and done.

“Hurricane.” Luke Combs first #1 single is there 2 consecutive weeks.

“Yeah Boy.” Awe poor Kelsea not being gift wrapped a number 1 song for once. I feel for her, she’s a true artist.

“Body Like a Backroad.” Go to hell.

Community Writing Piece

Welcome to the third Community Writing Piece. For those of you that are new to the blog, this is a monthly piece where the readers of this blog submit writing of their own. Enjoy!

I Am the Executioner by Julian Spivey 
I am the executioner and I have to do my job
It’s not something that I love to, but without me it’s a mob
I don’t want to know the names, I hate to see the faces
Can’t think about their families, the ones who’d take their places
I don’t make the choices, but the punishment I carry out
Hopefully God will understand, though sometimes I have my doubts
They tell me there’s another scheduled in the spring
I will follow orders, my duty, if that phone don’t ring
Play the Hits by Julian Spivey 
Cut out the ruckus and get a little introspection
They’ll stab you in the back without further question
You’re not who they remember, You’re not who they want
You can’t mature, You can’t get deep
They’ll think it’s depression, They’ll think you’ve gotten weak
They just want to drink, dance and fight
They don’t care about your deepest, darkest secrets tonight
So pump up the bass and raise up your amp
These dumb sons of bitches think they are real fans

Thought You Should Know Poem by Alexander

You probably know, the way I feel

The pressure built and broke the seal

So here it is, thought you should know

I’ve been silent before but here I go

A Happiness I’ve never known

It’s more than beauty, you’re in my soul

So there it is, thought you should know

I understand if it’s just one way

No one ever feels the same

The off-the-cuff bro-satire By Robert

“Two Girls, One Truck”

Saturday night, and I think I’m in luck
Feelin’ all right – two girls, one truck.
Yeah, I’m feelin’ all right – two girls, one truck.

Two girls, one truck
A special kind of day,
The kind of day you never want to ever go away.
It’s Saturday night; I think I’m in luck.
Feelin’ all right – two girls, one truck.
Yeah, I’m feelin’ all right – two girls, one truck

One named Jenny, and one named Jane.
One real pretty, and one pretty plain.
I picked ’em up when I saw their car was stuck.
I’m feelin’ all right – two girls, one truck.
Yeah, I’m feeling mighty fine – two girls, one truck.

Jenny brought out some cuffs, and I thought “okay,”
But something hit me in the head, I think it was Jane.
I woke up the next morning, handcuffed by the road –
No girls, no truck, just another episode…
A PSA we were filming for a TV show.

 

Keep Your Mouth Shut (A Haiku) By Leon

He was sent to jail

Criticism is censured

Everything is great

Chris Young Doesn’t Give a Shit… Neither Will I

Image result for justin bieber

Remember the days when Chris Young actually gave a crap about the music he released? He was a neo traditionalist with a cowboy hat and a killer voice. Back in the days of Neon, I actually considered Chris Young to be one of my favorite artists. When his last album I’m Comin’ Over came out I was left wanting a hell of a lot more than what I got. It was essentially adult contemporary/pop/a little country and it was boring, generic and safe as could be. There wasn’t one song on the entire album that stood out as a great song. The last single from the album “Sober Saturday Night” wasn’t the greatest but at least if someone was listening to it they could tell it was actually a country song.

With the lead single for Young’s 7th album we get the worst garbage that has ever come out of Chris Young’s mouth. “Losing Sleep” is a ripoff of Justin Bieber of all people and in no way resembles anything to do with country music. You want to know what this song is about? Guess. It’s about having lots of sex. You know it’s good if it’s causing you to stay up all night losing sleep. I guess the sex wouldn’t be as good if one or both parties were asleep during. The alternative ending to this song is getting turnt while listening to Justin Bieber and Drake.

Grade: F 1/10 His voice elevates this song to a 1.