Here’s what’s happening on Country Radio this week, for the chart dated July 8.
Top of the Pile
Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys – God, Your Mama and Me. I found myself nodding along to this the other day, its Adult Contemporary grooves and sweet harmonies in the chorus getting me as they’ve got to so many radio listeners. Their eleventh and smoothest number one (even smoother than H.O.L.Y.) shows an adult side to the frat bros, one of whom is expecting a kid now. Tyler will be singing this to his baby, which will sleep in a diamante-encrusted crib thanks to all the Cruise money. The Backstreet Boys will have something else to sing on their tour with Nelly and the guys. Fun fact: this was written by Josh Kear, Hillary Lindsay and Gordie Sampson, a sort of super summit of writers who have all now written another number one between them.
The Sales Number One
Sam Hunt – Body Like a Back Road. Twenty weeks. Four behind Cruise, but Sam would be the only one to do it in a single calendar year. Still number 4 on radio. Does he want another medal?
Dylan Scott – My Girl. Now. One writer has said he has received one email a day from Dylan’s promo team for the past fortnight. The guys behind this song really want to get it to the top on radio; it’s number 5 this week, and I think it’ll stop at 3 or 4. There are better songs in the top 10 (not least those by Luke Combs and Brett Young) and Dylan needs his next single to really pop if he doesn’t want to be a one-hit wonder, but he’s got the label behind him and he’s got a deep hot voice. He just needs better material.
Midland – Drinkin’ Problem. I’ve talked at length about this song before, but well done to Big Machine records who have helped a great song get near the top of the charts. It’s at 14 and will keep rising, thanks to the cool groove straight from 1994.
Garth Brooks – Ask Me How I Know. Imagine being Garth. You’ve got a lovely wife, you can tour the hits and slip in some new stuff, but because you’re in your fifties you won’t get on radio as much as hot young non-Garths. Elton John has spoken of the rise of Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga as reason enough for him to ‘retire’ from the singles charts, and maybe Garth should do that too. He’s at 28 with a slow-paced groove where he shouts the chorus, just as he would at his live show with thousands patiently waiting for one of the massive hits from twenty years ago. The production stands out because it doesn’t have crunching guitars or processed drums; it all sounds real, and Garth’s voice is full of natural echo. It’s more real than the last hit, about laying down and dancing with a baby, and puts Garth as the Paul McCartney of country: everyone knows him and everyone would go and see him if they got offered a ticket, but his song to connect with the world at large was in a year beginning 19–. Come to think of it, Garth is really the Elton John of country. Or is Elton the Garth of pop? Regardless, those three acts would be great on one of those Legends-type festivals such as the one Macca played last October in California.
The Lower Reaches
Aaron Watson – Outta Style. STILL at 32, and sounding great in the summer sun. Drake White is making another push with his love song at 31, with Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Chris Janson and Brad Paisley also in the 30s. Miranda Lambert hits number 40 with Tin Man, which makes her one of three females to have solo hits in the radio 40 (Maren Morris, who is at 3 with Thomas Rhett, is at 27 with I Could Use a Love Song; Carly Pearce still remembers Every Little Thing at 24). Though Carrie and Lauren are also featured on two songs in the 40, there are as many Backstreet Boys as women in the country radio top 40. Is that not scandalous?
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