Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eric Church's 'The Outsiders': Risk Taking without Meaningful Content

Let's start with the positive. I applaud Eric Church's musical risk taking in his new single 'The Outsiders'. The instrumentation is certainly off the beaten path. He has rap, southern rock, country, and metal all mixed into one bizarre salad of a song. There are surprising and exciting transitions that on first listen kept my attention for the entire 4:14, despite my almost immediate disappointment with the lyrics.

I'm so sick of songs about "who we are" that it's doubtful I'll ever embrace this one. He may be celebrating to his rough and rowdy fan base, but it isn't interesting. The review on Taste of Country says "This isn't the thinking man's song like the best from "Chief". 'The Outsiders' runs on adrenaline and testosterone." I wish Church had chosen to do it all, the adrenaline, the testosterone, and the thinking. He's capable of it.

My dislike of 'The Outsiders' aside, I think this single bodes well for his next album. In the context of popular country music, "Chief" is a work of art, but the more I listen to it, the more I hope that his next album will have more of an edge. Listening to "Caught in the Act", his live album, I get the Eric Church growl that's missing from "Chief". If releasing a harebrained song like like 'The Outsiders' is his way of telling us "Watch out! I'm doing some crazy shit!" then good luck Mr. Church. I hope you pull it off.

Click the link below to read Taste of Country's review. They also have a link to the song. 

You can also hear "Outsiders" on Spotify. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Band Perry's Nice Little Ditty about Murder/Suicide

I've been listening to The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two" for a few months now. I can't think of a song that I've struggled with in this exact way.  It's a beautiful and, for country radio, interesting song, but at the same time, it makes me uncomfortable.

Every time I hear the song I ask a question. Would anyone put this song on the radio if it was sung by a man? The implication in the lyrics is that if her husband leaves her, she would kill him and die herself, one way or another.

I had female coworker years ago who told us that when they first got married she took her husband's gun, held it up in front of him and told him that if he ever cheated on her she was going to shoot him. We all chuckled and told her she was nuts, assuming that she would never really do something so crazy.  Would we have laughed at all if her husband had been the one holding the gun? No. We would have told her that we were very worried for her safety, that he sounds unhinged. The murder/suicide phenomenon when a husband or boyfriend is the shooter is too common to just dismiss.

There are many lovable men in this world, including my wonderful husband, but no lover or spouse is worth the sentiments in this song. "Better Dig Two" is written from the perspective of a woman who has a loose grasp on reality. I certainly hope that this song hasn't given young women misguided notions about romance and love.