Album Review: Eric Church – “The Outsiders”

Eric Church – “The Outsiders”
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Label: EMI Nashville

church-outsiders

Grade: B+

On Church’s fourth studio album, he keeps up his reputation of being Country music’s outlaw with some loud, some rough, and some weird songs. Beginning with the title track, Church combines Country-rock with a heavy-rock breakdown that’ll even have Metallica fans headbanging to the beat. It’s not traditional Country music, but it’s what Church feels comfortable doing.

But like all of his albums, the stand-out tracks deal with women and telling stories about them. “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” is a soft ballad about a girl who saved an outlaw, while “Like a Wrecking Ball” is a catchy ballad about the physical love of a woman.

While Church takes some risks in the album, he still maintains his mainstream sound with tracks like “Talladega,” a bromance road trip tune and “Give Me Back My Hometown,” a post-breakup song. But then again, there are some weird tracks that round up the whole album. Specifically “The Joint,” which has a jazz vibe mixed with stoner influences.

What keeps Church on the top of the charts and in the Country music world is simply his ability to remain fearless and yet, being able to relate to his fans. He can be groups in with Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton as bro-country, but he displays an edge that is highly noticeable. His story-telling mirrors the likes of Zac Brown Band, but he sheds away the clean rhythms for choppy, frantic hooks.

If there’s something “The Outsiders” lacks is a true number one hit. There’s no song like “Drink In My Hand” or “Springsteen” on this album, but that’s not a bad thing. Overall, “The Outsiders” is about breaking free from what he’s supposed to be, whether it’s from his friends or his fans. Church will continue to break the mold of what is expected from him, but that’s one of the things we love the most about him.

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