Eric Church has had quite the eventful 2014. From releasing a polarizing new album, to firing up a headlining tour, to cranking out radio singles, Eric has been all over the news. While The Outsiders had a lot of missteps and self-indulgent songs that didn't quite click, it also had some gems. “Cold One” is one of the highlights. It’s the perfect blend of summer fun and crafty songwriting that makes “Cold One” an obvious choice to be a big single.
“Cold One” looks like your typical drinking song on the surface. However, it actually covers a little bit of heartache and a little bit of humor during its run. Eric compares his woman leaving him to his cold drink, making a clever little play on words that is simple enough to be easily understood, but still endearing to an intelligent listener. My favorite line would have to be “a long neck I won’t do, cause every time I see one sweating man, I break out in one too”. It isn't exactly Shakespeare, but it’s that subtle use of imagery and wit, rather than lists of repetitiveness, that make “Cold One” stand out among its peers.
Musically, “Cold One” is a hot mess that is fantastic in parts, and downright weird in others. The laid back approach of the first verse is really strong. There’s no denying that this song is country. It may be the twangiest song on The Outsiders. The use of the baritone sax through the chorus is a very interesting risk, but I love it. It’s a great way to bring in an outside influence to the genre and not sound hokey or pandering. It makes the song very recognizable. However, the effects on the second verse make the whole song sound very muddy and messy. It’s some type of electronic sound made to mimic a skipping record. It works on the album with the song “Broke Record” due to the subject matter of the song; here it just makes a mess. I still appreciate the creativeness, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. My very favorite part of the song is the up-tempo breakdown in the instrumental break. It’s a cool throwback that sounds like a bluegrass jam on modern country radio. I dig it.
At this point, calling Eric Church a risk taker is borderline cliché. Eric certainly marches to the beat of his own drum, and love him or hate him, he is very much his own man in a country music world full of followers. “Cold One” is a great example of how that uniqueness Eric brings can result in a fun, intelligent country summer jam that feels fresh and modern, but doesn't feel out of place in the country cannon. “Cold One” is one of the better songs at radio right now, and a great soundtrack for you to kick back and relax and enjoy the last few days of summer.