I wasn’t sure it was possible, but he did it. Eric Church topped his CMA and ACM Album of The Year Chief with the stellar The Outsiders. Everything you expect from Eric is here; the quality songwriting full of relatable stories, the unique take on tried and true topics, and a wide range of sounds all taken to the next level and made unique and fresh.
The twelve creative tracks include “The Outsiders” as well as his current single “Give Me Back My Hometown.” The songs run the gamut from metal infused head bangers to country ballads to fist thumping anthems, showing that Eric can not only be a rebellious bad ass, but emotional and sweet as well.
“Cold One” isn’t about having a beer on a tailgate, but rather a tongue in check song about a woman who left him “hanging high and dry in that hell hot summer sun.” The groove is a funky one which slides into an all out bluegrass pickin’ fest before is slinks back into a soulful horn filled finale.
If you think “The Joint” is another song about marijuana, listen again. The trombone filled, atmospheric song has a woman setting ablaze the joint where her husband spends a good amount of time. The story told is so clear, you can see it as you hear it.
“Roller Coaster Ride,” a song about the ups and down of breakups, has an 80’s feel. The pairing of the boom of the piano with the thumping beat has you feeling like you’re flying off the track with him.
Eric takes you on a trip down memory lane in “Talladega,” which is about remembering what it was like for a group of guys when they were young and carefree.
The rollicking “Broke Record” is about being unable to quit loving a girl, even though the obsession isn’t a healthy one. “You’re a song I gotta sing….when it gets to the end I gotta play it again and again.”
“Like A Wrecking Ball” is an organ driven ballad that is so downright sexy, it makes me uncomfortable to listen. He paints an incredibly vivid picture of a guy who misses his wife...a lot. “That old house is gonna be shakin’, I hope those bricks and boards can take it/But I wont be surprised if the whole damn place just falls/I wanna rock you baby like a wrecking ball.”
“A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” is a sparsely arranged song where you focus on Eric’s voice and the story he tells, which is an ode to the love of his wife. In the smokey, atmospheric “Dark Side,” we learn that there are things that he has done that he doesn’t want his wife and son to know. However, that side would reappear if anyone ever did anything against his son.
He rocks out on both “Devil, Devil” and the rowdy, yet soulful “That’s Damn Rock and Roll”. In the latter, over thumping drum beats and hand claps, he lets you know what rock n’ roll isn’t “long hair, tattoos, or playing too loud” and what it is “about doing for nothing cause it lives in your soul.” In the former, which is eight minutes long, he speaks about making it in Nashville, but if you can hang in until the 3:35 mark the song really kicks into gear.
The Outsiders takes you on a musically adventurous ride from first note to last. It is the first great record of 2014; one that is sure to earn Eric another award or two by year’s end.
The album will be released February 11th.
It is available for pre-order wherever you purchase music.