After the title track to Eric Church's upcoming album, The Outsiders, raised some eyebrows and sparked discussion but failed to tear up the charts, Eric has released the second single, "Give Me Back My Hometown". While this song is a throwback to other songs in the Eric Church mold, it features some new elements that make it a very different and very intriguing song.
The thing that stands out the most about this song is the instrumentation. The song starts out with a banjo driven melody that the entire songs builds off of. After releasing what was probably the loudest and busiest country single to ever hit the charts, Eric comes back with a song that doesn't even see a drum until the second chorus. This acoustic driven build is a stark contrast to a lot of modern country music, which builds off a beat as opposed to a melody. The soft start really emphasizes the point where the drums kick in. Hand claps are also added in and it really gives the song a folk-meets-contemporary sound that has become so popular in the rock world. Both of the singles so far show that The Outsiders is going to feature very interesting instrumentation and sonic sounds. Whether it's good or bad, its going to warrant a second and third listen to digest it all. Even if it doesn't work, like "The Outsiders" single, it is at least an attempt to do things differently and create some new sounds.
Lyrically, this song is clever, even if the central theme is a slight retread. It seems like it will be another small town song we've heard a million times, but it takes it to a different place. While it features a lot of the same ideals, the fresh way they are presented keep this song above the slew of others like it. Instead of simply listing all the good things about small towns, he tells the story of the girl he brought to his hometown, and how now that she is gone, the town that was once his is now littered with memories of her. Its a cool take and a song with some actual feeling on the radio. We need that.
When I heard "The Outsiders", I was worried that Eric's new album would be a little too out there and a little loud and over the top. "Give Me Back My Hometown" has me excited again. Eric knows how to write and produce modern country music that evokes the soul of the genre and makes it fresh and current. I'm a big fan of his work, and a big fan of this song.