BY JULIA CHIRLS
Eric Church fans eagerly waited Feb. 11, the day of the country musician’s album release. His career began early and hit a milestone when he produced his third studio album in 2011. The southern rock album, Chief, was an instant Top Country Album and won a Country Music Award. It contained several number one singles, including “Drink in My Hand” and “Springsteen.”
The talented singer and songwriter, who has been producing country music for nearly a decade, debuted his fourth studio album, The Outsiders. It is a collection of music that is destined to satisfy his ever-growing audience.
Church began the production of The Outsiders in 2012, releasing two singles, “The Outsiders” and “Give Me Back My Hometown.” Both singles have generated so much attention that they have already sold nearly a half-million downloads combined.
The song that kicks off the album is a single of the same name. “The Outsiders” has an appropriate tempo and beat to convey the message of the song. Church passionately sings four minutes with a nitty-gritty voice as he tells the story of a “band of brothers, together, alone, the Outsiders.” The lyrics describe them as bad boys.
“We’re the bad news/We’re the young guns/We’re the ones that they told you to run from.” A group of background singers focus on the chorus of the song, proving they are a “band of brothers.”
Church maintains his unique style while varying the beats, rhythms, and sounds of each song on the track list. The second song on the album, “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young,” has a slow tempo with a constant guitar tune in the background. Included in the seventh tune, “Like a Wrecking Ball,” is a slight echo effect to Church’s voice.
Moving along the track list, the fourth song is “Roller Coaster Ride.” With an upbeat rhythm and catchy lyrics, this tune speaks of a man who has lost his love. In my opinion, however, the music in the background evokes a tone of joy, which is quite opposite from the meaning of the lyrics.
Nonetheless, I could not stop replaying the song in my head. “That chain keeps dragging me up just to drop me down / I think I’m over the hump enough to see the other side / That’s when another thought of you runs through my mind / Since you had to go, I’ve been on a roller coaster ride.”
It then explores an emotional downturn in which the man must resort to drugs, pulling him down even more. This is a too-common theme today. Can’t people learn to grow, mature, and find meaning in friendship before they become entangled in relationships that are unhealthy?
The ninth song on the album, “Dark Side,” explores an issue of secrets. In the song, Church made a strategic choice to voice the lyrics at a low pitch with little musical accompaniment in the background, adding to the low-spirited mood.
The song talks about a man who has a secret side of him; a mean, nasty, troubled one, that remains inside of him at all times. “That man’s dangerous as hell, a threat to himself / If he got out then there’d be hell to pay, and that’s why my dark side don’t ever see the light of day / Is there a dark side in each of us, one that we must control in order to thrive?”
Church travels on his international tour until early August.
First-year Julia Chirls is a staff writer. Her email is jchirls@ fandm.edu.