Cody Johnson’s “Till You Can’t” Is Becoming The Song of 2022

Ever since Billboard tweaked their formula for how songs are slotted on the Hot Country Songs chart in 2012, it has given rise to heavyweight tracks that sit atop the chart for weeks and weeks on end. Where the #1 song on country radio regularly changes nearly every week or two, the more consumption-based Hot Country Songs chart looks more like a monopoly of a few select mega-songs.

For example, in 2021, there were 34 songs that reached #1 on country radio, but only 13 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. This included “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes, which sat at #1 for 20 weeks, and then wrapped over into 2022 for an additional four. 2021 started with Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope” being on the charts for six straight weeks, wrapping over from 2020 where it was #1 for an additional sixteen weeks.

Dan + Shay’s terrible “10,000 Hours” with Justin Bieber, the mediocre “The Bones” by Maren Morris, Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up,” and of course “Meant To Be” by Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha—which broke the all-time record (and still holds it) with an insane 50 weeks at #1—are other examples of this chart-dominating phenomenon. “Meant To Be” broke the record held by another terrible song, Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad.” So you see the kind of competition we’re talking about here.

All the more reason that the current song to get stuck at #1 is something to be celebrating. It’s none other than Cody Johnson’s “Till You Can’t.”

First going #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in late February, here it is early April, and it’s spending its sixth official week at #1. Unlike some other radio tracks that are artificially foisted into the #1 position by playlist manipulations, “Till You Can’t” got to #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart first and primarily off of public appeal. Then it spent two weeks at #1 on radio too at the end of March before ceding the position on radio to Sam Hunt’s “23” this week.

But it could be many weeks before “Till You Can’t” gives up the ghost on the Hot Country Songs chart. It’s still #2 on country radio this week. It’s also the #2 streaming song, and the #3 downloaded song in country music. It also currently sits at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. That’s right, “Till You Can’t” by Cody Johnson isn’t just dominating country, it’s one of the Top 20 songs in all of popular music.

As country chart expert Chris Owen said in late March, “Country fans on every platform want to hear it … Incredible run. This will likely be the biggest hit of 2022 in the country format.”

Of course, some purists and Americana snobs will still grumble that the theatrical and overstated song is just another version of pop country, even if Cody Johnson came up through grassroots support in Texas and on the rodeo circuit. Sure, this isn’t Tyler Childers or Cody Jinks. But ever since Billboard changed its chart rules in 2012 right before the onslaught of Bro-Country, it’s been quite literally the worst songs and artists in country music history achieving the success Cody Johnson and “Till You Can’t” are currently experiencing.

And again, this is virtually all organic. Cody Johnson’s last two singles both petered out at #43 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. The best he’d ever achieved on any chart outside of Texas before “Till You Can’t” was #11. There was a good chance Cody Johnson’s mainstream career was over. This is all being achieved off the strength and true appeal of the song itself.

And just as we saw mega hits like Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad,” and “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes launch their careers into the stratosphere, we might see the same from Cody Johnson. And the implications for mainstream country and the effort to save country music could be very, very significant.

The wild, unpredictable success of “Till You Can’t” is the latest sign that the shift in country music back to country music is real, and expanding.

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