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.