Song Review – Eric Church’s “The Outsiders”
What Eric Church’s detractors are reluctant or unwilling to admit is that when it comes to the very top of country music’s male talent, Eric Church outlasts his competition in both substance and imagination. Of course that says just as much about the vacuum of creativity at the top of mainstream country as it does Eric Church’s aptitude. But while country’s men are stuck in an ever-devolving rut of laundry list raps and rehashed platitudes, Eric Church has been, and continues to try and strike new ground. He may be rude and arrogant, he may be as calculating and image-driven as any. But dammit, he’s innovative.
His last album Chief won the Album of the Year from both the CMA and ACM in the last awards cycle, as it probably should have compared to its competition. Eric Church will never win the popularity contests like “Entertainer” or “Male Vocalist” categories because he’s made more enemies than friends in the industry and beyond. But his music’s unpredictability is the magic quotient that can’t be denied, and continues to win him loyal fans.
It’s been well over 2 years since Eric released his last album, and time was beginning to wear thin on him being able to continue the positive momentum that crowned Church an arena-level draw in near record time. And so chasing a rather cryptic video released a few days ago comes a new radio single called “The Outsiders.” As to be expected, the song is driven by the hard rock guitar that has become Eric’s signature, as well as an avant-garde approach to structure and flow.
Yes, “The Outsiders” is unpredictable. Yes it is innovative. But that’s about where the accolades end for this muddy mess of a tune that offers virtually no direction, is void of narrative, and does not really even build a cohesive groove to hang its hat on. Sure, Church may steer clear of ice cold beer and pickup trucks, but he runs into a wall trying to produce some modern country version of a prog rock opera, complete with chamber choir (or a synthetic version thereof), a weird Les Claypool-style bass guitar break speed bumping the song smack dab in the middle, giving way to a synthesized interlude that sounds like it ripped off the soundtrack to an 8-bit video game before the song resolves in an unbridled wank off of hair metal stunt guitar.
“The Outsiders” is an attempt to write and produce a song by aggregating popular sonic elements and trying to squeeze them together instead of simply drawing a story and three chords from inspiration. The result is a Frankenstein-like monster; a colossus of corporate music that threatens to kill its makers. Though this type of machination might be acceptable, or even appreciated in some outer fringes of the metal world, in the country music format it’s downright laughable.
The message of “The Outsiders” draws upon Eric Church’s already-established marketing angle as an anti-star that represents the “rest of us” that have been disenfranchised by all the pretty, normal people. “We’re the other ones. It’s a different kind of cloth that were cut from,” Eric says, and then carries this theme throughout the song. Though this rhetoric may be tempting to the downtrodden, falling for its message is no less conformist that sporting a Florida Georgia line T-shirt. The overt nature of Church’s demographic baiting in “The Outsiders” is downright striking. Combined with the imagery from the initial “Outsiders” video, Eric looks to be wanting to make an army of misfits, and crown himself supreme leader.
This song has only been out for a day, and already a lot has been made of if this song should be considered country rap, or if Church is simply calling on a spoken cadence. I would say it is a little of both, which again touches on the manic, unsettled, unspecified, and confused nature of this song. Church more than likely wants to take advantage of the trend of avoiding melody in the verses, but doesn’t have the balls to go all Colt Ford on our asses. Lines like, “A players gonna play and a haters gonna hate,” and “that’s how we roll” may tip the scales of judgement towards the rap side of the world. But if you ask me, the rap vs. spoken word argument would only be worth the breath if “The Outsiders” had any redeeming value. Rap or not, it’s simply a bad, prog metal song being forced on the country format.
I don’t see this song becoming a commercial hit either. It’s way too confusing; way too fey. If Eric’s A&R folks decide to give it the hard sell to radio and maybe cut off the second half (which is a distinct possibility), it may raise a blimp on radio. But the majority of mainstream folks outside of Eric Church’s “Church Choir” will simply look at it sideways a wait for the next Luke Bryan ass shaker to wipe the memories of this weird song from their palette.
It’s simply one song, and shouldn’t be taken as the ultimate signifier of what to expect from Eric Church for his next two-year album cycle. But it sure doesn’t start it off with a good foot. Innovative or not, this one feels dramatically, dramatically overthought.
2 guns down.
October 23, 2013 @ 9:52 am
I’m a fan of Eric Church, and this review is spot-on. I’ve been looking forward to his new music for quite awhile, and this song definitely wasn’t worth the wait.
October 23, 2013 @ 4:00 pm
All these comments are from the “in crowd”. He released this song knowing it wont get airplay and knowing many people will hate it and just rant about how its not country. Thats the point of the song… hes not trying to be country, hes not trying to be rock… hes being himself and not giving a flying fuck about what the label is on his music.. This song is raw and badass… If youre an outsider, youll understand it… but if you from the in crowd, youll just never understand the true meaning as much as you try.
October 23, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
Except he released it to COUNTRY radio, and will be performing on the COUNTRY Music Association Awards in a couple of weeks where he’s up for COUNTRY Male Vocalist of the Year. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, “I’m rock, kiss my ass”, and then act like you’re being oppressed when people point out you’re not appropriate for the country genre. If he doesn’t care, why release this song as a single at all? There’s no “in” crowd here. These are people’s opinions, and though you may disagree with them, it doesn’t mean they aren’t viable, or without merit.
October 24, 2013 @ 5:20 pm
I somewhat agree with your review. The song is clumsy and lacks direction. It’s like a novice writer all of a sudden trying to pen the next great fantasy series. I think Eric got caught up in all the metal riffs and solos talk and decided to try to blend too many genres into one song.
BUT, I think we need to give him credit for having the balls to release this to the public and country radio. I’m so damn tired of hearing the joke of a band you mentioned in Florida Georgia Line release the same damn song over and over again. I’m so damn tired of the likes of Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw selling out harder and harder by the song. I’m tired of seeing artists who at least leaned toward traditional roots in earlier albums (I’m looking at you, Jason Aldean and Chris Young) slowly erode before our eyes (for example, A.M. is a joke compared to any of Chris Young’s other albums).
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that as a person who is somewhat loyal country radio, I’m glad to hear something like “The Outsiders” steal airtime from the newest FGL or Blake Shelton shit show.
October 24, 2013 @ 6:57 pm
I think this is a perfectly viable and understandable position.
October 27, 2013 @ 9:23 pm
i’m sick and tired of hearing “thats how we roll”, in country songs. unless CCR gets back together and rolls another joint in Oklahoma all wrong.
October 24, 2013 @ 9:37 am
Outsider, I never realized I had to be an “outsider” like yourself to be a fan of Eric Church’s music. All this time, I called myself a fan because I liked the sound and the lyrics of every album he’s put out until he released this single. I wasn’t aware I had to fit some archetype like the one you presented, and I wasn’t aware I was part of some “in crowd.” I guess I have more friends than I realized. But rest assured, if Church continues putting out music such as this, I’ll gladly be a part of the “in crowd” and you and the rest of the outsiders can keep this song all to yourselves.
October 24, 2013 @ 1:11 pm
If youre an outsider, youll understand it”¦ but if you from the in crowd, youll just never understand the true meaning as much as you try.
So, did anyone else catch the inherent contradiction here? The commenter is trying to position the supposed audience of this pile of crap ”” the “outsiders” ”” as the only ones who will get it. So in a way, they”™re positioning themselves as the “insiders” in this context, and everyone else as the “outsiders.” So who are the real free-thinkers here?
October 25, 2013 @ 8:50 am
It’s not really rock either…. well maybe soft, sissy rock like Kings of Leon or Michael Bolton. Either way, its pretty damn lame… and if being an outsider is being lame, then yes, this song is for outsiders.
October 28, 2013 @ 4:14 pm
Kings of Leon is soft sissy rock? I mean, they’re not Cannibal Corpse, but they’re not as soft as Michael Bolton either.
October 30, 2013 @ 12:32 pm
I don’t know, man. I’m pretty sure Michael Bolton could take either one of the Followill brothers.
October 30, 2013 @ 12:33 pm
And DEFINITELY sissy rock.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:13 am
Jesus, this is shit. It will get some nice royalties from any motorsports that use it for promo spots.
To me Eric Church has always been late to the party. He’s always a step behind and how he gets credit for innovation, I don’t know.
Sorry, I’ll take Shooter’s “The Outsider” over this 100 out of 100 times.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:25 am
I’ll tell you this. I don’t really see many similarities between Shooter’s song “The Outsider” and Church’s “The Outsiders” except for maybe some incidental thematic similarities. But when I saw the video tease for this song, I immediately thought of Shooter—the blue hues of the light, the sort of abstract plot. Even how Eric is using “teasers” is very similar to Shooter, though Shooter in no way was the first to do so. They both try to be cryptic to draw attention to something that in the end is ambiguous in structure.
March 28, 2022 @ 10:31 pm
whoever hates this song, you can leave the chat. I don’t respect you
October 23, 2013 @ 10:17 am
I was very disappointed when I heard this. There is no denying that the man can write a good song, and he is better than most of the other mainstream country artists being played on the radio. I was really hoping for something similar to “these boots”, “sinners like me”, “Carolina”, or “creepin”. Creepin wasn’t really even country but it was a cool song. The outsiders just had nothing for me. This is the first song he has out out that I won’t buy.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:17 am
Following his appearance at the Orion Music Festival and a previous Rolling Stone interview where Church bemoaned upon playing Lollapalooza that he was “stunned at how pussy 90 percent of those bands were. Nobody”™s loud. It”™s all very f””-n”™ Peter, Paul and Mary sh”“.”………………..I was expecting him to further gravitate toward metal with the lead release, which he clearly does here.
I agree with you from a lyrical and thematic standpoint that this is hackneyed and, as you say, no more rebellious than wearing a Florida-Georgia Line T-shirt. It’s an insubstantial pep rally clinically designed to make anyone wearing an “Outlaw Country Ain’t Dead” tee from his official merchandise shop pump their fist up and scream “Yeah, Outlaws Like Us, Wooooooooooo!”
Musically, however, I really dig this on its own accord. I’d rather this stay as far away from country airwaves as possible because it clearly doesn’t belong there (I had a different attitude about “Creepin'” in that it pays nods to the genre in both some of its thematic and musical selections despite being more rock than country). On its own merit, though, this was rather reminiscent of the Blue Oyster Cult while the closing minute had this “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes vibe.
I will mention that I felt Church’s vocals don’t exactly compliment the production scheme here. He really strains to be heard over this wall of sound throughout, and I’d also argue the production veers a little too close to a live cut brand of quality. In other words, sketchy.
However, I can’t help but feel with regards to the latter, that was exactly what Church was going for. I certainly don’t doubt airplay is a priority for him and EMI, but it is also clear that his live show is, bar none, what he’s most invested in. And beyond its artistic merit alone, I think Church has already set out exactly what he wanted to accomplish here: get people talking about him again and make an audible statement that will translate effectively live. Indeed you may recall, when Church dropped “Homeboy” as the lead single from his previous album, that Church acknowledged there were easily more radio-friendly offerings in the wings, but he intentionally wanted to challenge listeners with a more gutsy track that had something to say with his lead release, then follow it up with something radio would embrace.
In the end, this will all but certainly stall at radio, but it’s going to be a digital hit and go Platinum when all is said and done. If I were going by your grading criteria, I’d give it:
“One gun up, one gun down” (but please promote it where it belongs…………mainstream rock radio).
October 23, 2013 @ 11:13 am
Totally agree with the part about comparing it to Homeboy. Homeboy peaked at #13 but created a buzz surrounding the release of the album that I think “The Outsiders” will do to. The song is currently sitting at #5 on the Itunes all genre download chart ahead of Taylor Swift’s song that was also released this week. I feel like this song won’t really alienate his current fans, but will pull in more from the rock side.
October 23, 2013 @ 5:22 pm
I gave “Homeboy” a positive review, principally because of the story. I see a lot of people commenting about how they like this song and how it’s rock, but where is the story? What is this song about? How is it helping us relate to the human condition? I just hear Eric Church screaming a bunch of words.
October 23, 2013 @ 9:48 pm
I never said there was a story intact. I said this is a musical pep rally. Or perhaps a better way to put it is his fight song.
As someone who values lyrics and themes over all other components of songs overall, it would be too easy to come across as argumentally lazy here. But while these lyrics do nothing for me personally, I highly doubt Church was intending to make a statement from a storytelling or songwriting standpoint. In this case, he’s making a statement of how unabashedly he is willing to challenge the confides of his genre, and also throwing a bone to the eclectic crowd that he has accumulated over the past two and a half years.
I by no means love this, but I surely don’t dislike this either and honestly feel I can see what Church was trying to do here, just as you were able to see what Church was trying to do with “Homeboy” but received a hot-and-cold polarizing response quite similar to this, and was even accused as sounding racist by countless listebers.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:05 pm
Noah, I was more replying to Jon D., and not really replying to anyone but just making some points I wanted to make. I understand what you’re saying. This is a very polarizing song, and Eric Church is a very polarizing character, arguably the most polarizing in mainstream country music. I think when you identify and individual as such, you have to be extra vigilant that you’re not just reacting negatively or positively to the artist, but you really try to judge the situation objectively and autonomous from any other actions. I think you did that, and I honestly tried to do that as well. We just came to different conclusions.
August 14, 2015 @ 4:03 am
Hahaha, This is comical. Bunch of keyboard warriors here trying to reboot a “Country Sound” that even in itself is actually soft rock or blues. Sorry, but its true, Country music is a base Genre, meaning that there are many sub-genres in country music. I mean shit, You guys rag on people who write their own music I.E Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Eric Church, yet idolize people like George Strait… I love George Straits music, but I’m willing to drop $1,000,000 to say you wouldnt get out from behind your keyboard and call any of these men “pansies” to their faces; Gilbert and Church would drop you like a bale of hay. So please, please continue to write this hate crap. “The Outsiders” does tell a story, its about being true to yourself and not giving a rats ass about what “the insiders” care about, you just happen to be an insider, how do you feel to be such a basic douchebag?
October 23, 2013 @ 1:53 pm
The problem is, mainstream rock radio doesn’t exist. Hence why a song and artist like this is being pushed through country channels.
October 23, 2013 @ 1:57 pm
I 100% agree with you. I am a huge fan of his music, creativity, and his path to radio. However, I DO NOT want this song on country radio. And I am one of the legions of church choir members. As a rock release, would love to hear it on my rock preset that has resorted to the mid 1990’s to find actual rock songs. Rock has been dead. And actual country music is on life support. All that being said, I remember I was disappointed the first time I heard “Homeboy”, as I felt it was the weakest song on the Chief album. All that being said, it’s an absolutely awesome ROCK song. As for country, I’ll keep playing my George Strait box set.
October 24, 2013 @ 5:26 pm
The difference between “Homeboy” and “The Outsiders,” however, is that “Homeboy” is actually a fantastic song that can be stripped down to just Eric and acoustic guitar. “The Outsiders” is likely just a quick intro song. I doubt the band even plays the whole damn song in a year or two. I love Eric, but what makes him great is that while he shines in a rock show, he’s even better by himself with an acoustic guitar in hand.
October 28, 2013 @ 11:03 am
I never contribute to these types of sites – I do enjoy reading what others think though and I typically disagree with most or all of what people say but Noah nailed it. I feel like the people who were quick to bash the song listened once and then started writing. Listen to the song a few times and you’ll most likely say, “Well, that is actually pretty bad ass. I think I like it…..” Don’t over analyze – just enjoy it for what it is. Church is one the best things going in music right now and thank God for him – rock, pop, country, or whatever you want to call it.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:21 am
I listened to it once. And I don’t hate it. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say I kinda like it. I just don’t understand it. It’s certainly not boring, that’s for sure. Arrogant prick or not, I think the guy is too intelligent for these lyrics but the approach is way too serious for sarcasm. Too much thought put into the music. Oh well, points for being creative and I’ll still take this over what we’ve been getting as of late.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:25 am
If I had never seen Eric Church live, then I would be very confused with this song choice. I saw him for the first time for the after ACL show at Stubbs two weekends ago and got my first taste of the Church Choir up close. I know his catalog pretty well, but all these people not only knew these songs, but had a ton of little things they did during the songs that a first time concert goer would have no clue about. There was almost a mentality that they were there own little group against the world. This song is gonna fit in perfectly with that hard core group I saw at the show, they literally seemed like they had an us against the world mentality. When you hear him talking about his album release, he acts like he doesn’t know when in 2014 it will be. I almost think this is a song just to get his fan base fired up and and carrying on their support until it does come out.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:29 am
Thanks for sharing. That perspective helps the song make more sense. To me, anyway.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:38 am
Yea, I’ve seen this Erich Church concert crowd. What a bunch of dorks.
I honestly was laughing my ass off at some of them. Do they even know what it would be like to fight? Actually be in a fight for something you believe in? Or is it just fun to play the part for a couple hours? I’d rather go to a wrestlemania, that is more real.
The Outsiders….these douches are about as “outside” as a screened in porch.
October 24, 2013 @ 6:52 pm
Ah the internet… People type like they are so tough..
I dare you to go down into the GA pit and start talking shit at some of his smaller shows.
I’ve met some huge Marines, Bikers, and a whole bunch of other scary looking diehards and we’d be happy to show you the door.
October 24, 2013 @ 7:54 pm
Ah the internet”¦ People type like they are so tough..
Ah, the irony! Isn’t that exactly what you are doing?
He’s right, you know. You people like to position yourself as outsiders, but all you’re really doing is creating your own little insider group, centered around one of the most popular “country” singers of recent times. And for all your posturing it might as well be Lil’ Wayne.
October 28, 2013 @ 9:56 am
Haha. I can’t make it to his shows. I’m generally at a Jamey Johnson or Jackson Taylor show. All you, “huge Marines, Bikers, and a whole bunch of other scary looking diehards” are welcome to come to a Jamey or Jackson show. I’d love to see you tell Jamey or Jackson that Church is the real deal.
You don’t need to wear a gimmick, just come to the show and enjoy the music. Don’t open your loud mouth either because you’ve had a couple captain cokes.
August 14, 2015 @ 4:05 am
Jamey is actually a fan of Eric Church so… Your point is invalid
October 23, 2013 @ 1:23 pm
Kind of like Juggalo’s who follow Insane Clown Posse?
October 23, 2013 @ 1:56 pm
He’s definitely pushing the cult, whole life approach to marketing similar to ICP with this song. Can’t help but thinking there’s another shoe to fall before the thread started with “The Outsiders” is done, like this is just the first chapter.
October 23, 2013 @ 2:16 pm
I had to laugh at this. After reading the other comments, would you have rather been at a concert where the fans sang every word to “Sinners Like Me” or held up there boots during “These Boots” or held up there cup during “Drink in My Hand” and was absolutely totally involved or gone to a concert where the fan participation was a bunch of soccer moms throwing their panties on stage at a guy who just got off the phone with Jason Aldean to discuss there next henna tattoo? Sorry, I just dislike Luke Bryan.
October 24, 2013 @ 5:29 pm
I can diagnose the reason behind your hatred for Luke Bryan: You have ears.
Don’t worry about bashing LB on an Eric Church thread lol.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:33 am
Trig, you pretty well summed up my feelings towards this song. It makes me uneasy about the direction of Church’s next album, but then again Chief was a better album than its lead single (“Homeboy”) let on.
I’m a fan of songs like “These Boots” and “Sinners Like Me.” Hope he can still make room for simple stuff like that, or if the machine has gotten too big.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:36 am
I think “avant-garde” is literally the last word that comes to my mind when listening to Eric Church’s music. Furthest from the truth. And it’s an insult to avant-garde artists. Because they are artists. And Eric Church is not an artist. He’s a cheap-ass punk making a living out of being slightly different than the mainstream. Slightly is the key word there. His damn glasses and hat need to knocked off his ugly face and stomped on. Avant-garde my ass, Thelonius Monk is rolling over in his damn grave.
October 23, 2013 @ 1:57 pm
“Avant-garde” was meant more in the literal definition instead of the specific music genre some define with that term.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:38 am
Hmm ”¦ I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t really say that I like it either. Then again this was only the first time I have heard it, so maybe it will grow on me? It’s definitely nowhere near country though. And the lyrics are mehh.
October 23, 2013 @ 11:10 am
Every week on our local country radio station, the DJs play a new release for fans and ask them to vote on whether it should be played on a regular basis. This week, it was “The Outsiders”. After the song was over, they started accepting calls.
The first caller asked: “Is this a country station?”
The DJs had no response other than laughter. One of the DJs then revealed that she preferred traditional country, basically admitting that she was being forced to play the song by higher ups.
October 23, 2013 @ 11:12 am
No to fond of this one myself but that is an easy fix I just won’t listen to it – If you wanna here some good music check these guys out — Chason Mason and Bobby’s Song are my favorite but I like all the songs,
October 23, 2013 @ 11:16 am
I sent you a message saying that it might be worth your while to check it out. I have been an unspoken viewer of your website contemplating a times to leave a comment but never pulling the trigger. I have been frequenting your website for a few years now and I have agreed and disagreed with much of your content; however, I have always respected your content because you clearly try to do your own thing.
Generally your reviews are predictable, which is not an insult, and I half expected this response to this song. I expected you to look at this and feel that Eric tried too hard and took too calculated of an approach with the intent of creating a rebellion song. I understand if you don”™t like the musicianship of the song but in the past you have not reviewed songs as if they exist in a vacuum and I don”™t feel as though you have given this song enough credit.
I think this song is a solid step forward for country music. The mainstream country scene has gotten so ludacris that it takes an exceptional push to turn it around. This song is without question a statement song and Church is not trying to hide it. He has pieced together a song that no one in mainstream country would come out with. This song is 100% rock and not country but it comes from the machine that is producing these cookie-cutter pop country hits, which means something. You don”™t like how the lyrics are too deliberate in trying to paint himself as an outsider and you don”™t like this because you don”™t buy that Eric Church is truly an outsider. But your favorite independent country singer Hank 3 makes deliberate statements in many of his songs to paint himself and his followers as outsiders and Hank 3 also uses what you call “laundry list” lyrics within his songs.
I personally like this song but I am a huge Eric Church fan. I am a big fan of your website, even though many times I disagree, and I enjoy reading your work but I don”™t think you have given this song enough credit. I think that it is genuine and Church used uses this hodgepodge instrumental to hammer home this statement. He is going to make music the way he wants to make music. I think this is a theme that pop country desperately needs and hopefully it will lead to more genuine music being produced. I think that this song deserves at least ”˜no thumbs up or down”™ in comparison to everything else being played on country radio. I think this is song is a message to his hard-core fans saying: ‘don’t worry I will not confirm.’ I think that an artist would release his first single with this intent is something to be respected.
October 23, 2013 @ 5:06 pm
I’ll say a few things here.
First, the reason my reviews are “predictable” is because I work from a point of principle, and run every one of my opinions through those principles before printing them. One of my top principles that I’ve called on many times is that if you mislabel something, it immediately warrants a failing grade. My favorite example is if you invited an Italian food critic to your Chinese restaurant and asked him to grade your Chinese food…. as Italian food. He would fail you every time. Same goes for this song. If Eric Church wants to be rock, then that’s totally fine. But don’t push your music to country radio, and forfeit your CMA Male Artist of the Year nomination.
“This song is 100% rock and not country but it comes from the machine that is producing these cookie-cutter pop country hits, which means something.”
It only means something if it doesn’t suck. Pop country fans will never hear it, trust me. Radio programmers are literally laughing at this. It will be like “Accidental Racist,” creating a bunch of buzz, but then completely forgotten weeks later. Nothing has been accomplished here except for the further reduction of the term “country” by this rock song.
“But your favorite independent country singer Hank 3 makes deliberate statements in many of his songs to paint himself and his followers as outsiders and Hank 3 also uses what you call “laundry list” lyrics within his songs.”
Hank3 is FAR from my favorite independent country singer at the moment. He may not even be in my Top 10. I have a lot of respect for the man and always will, but comparing Hank3 to Eric Church is apples and bowling balls. Eric Church is one of the top 5 males in country music. Hank3 lives in a rental in east Nashville.
But hey man, if you enjoy this song, that is all that matters, and please feel free to disagree with any of my opinions at any time. You dissent is appreciated and encouraged here.
October 23, 2013 @ 10:07 pm
I actually think this song will get significant airplay. As you said, though, it really does not significantly differ from the rest of the songs currently on country radio.
October 23, 2013 @ 11:17 am
Sounds like a Big and Rich turd, to me.
October 23, 2013 @ 11:50 am
I agree with a previous commenter. Huge Eric Church fan, and this review is spot-on, as all of your reviews always are. I wish it hadn’t been released as a single and left to something he plays just at his live shows because I think that’s what he was trying to do. But he gave us a full live album so those who don’t go already have a taste of it. The first 55 seconds are worst, the rest are growing on me. “we’re the paint where there ain’t supposed to be paint” are they serious? they couldn’t have come up with a better line than that?!
October 23, 2013 @ 12:47 pm
I honestly have nothing against Eric Church. He can be an arrogant prick sometimes, but he hasn’t done anything to piss me off majorly yet. He hasn’t really put anything super bad out yet, well, until now. Chief had some pretty decent moments. But this just sounds like someone banging on garbage cans. Its loud and noisy, and it isn’t even catchy. I don’t see this being very radio friendly either. I respect him for being innovative without following everyone else. Even though he sometimes tries to be too much of an outlaw, he has some well written songs. Besides that shitty Jason Aldean/Luke Bryan collaboration, he hasn’t done the rap thing yet. But this is just not worth the anticipation. I hope the rest of his album is better, because I don’t want to give up on him yet.
October 23, 2013 @ 12:51 pm
I think the song tries to take itself too seriously and falls flat. However, it doesn’t necessarily piss me off either so that’s a plus I guess. If Eric continues in the rock style then I’ll buy in, if for no other reason than being a necessary evil to counter the current hip hop direction of 40 year old guys trying to set a bunch of 14 year old girls pants on fire.
October 23, 2013 @ 5:09 pm
But there’s plenty of alternative to Top 40 males. They’re called country music females, and they’ve been putting out some excellent music in 2013. You don’t need to settle for Eric Church just because it doesn’t suck as bad as Luke Bryan. THere’s an entire world of music much much better than this.
October 25, 2013 @ 5:10 am
If we’re talking top forty, it’s a shame that most people still don’t know who Kacey Musgraves is.
I love Eric Church, but I completely agree that you don’t need to listen to him to still hear decent country in the mainstream. Though he’s hit or miss, Dierks Bentley is pretty damn good. Eli Young Band might not be a great Texas artist, but people can use them as a gateway to a fantastic Texas scene. To be completely honest, I went mostly Texas country to get away from how horrid Nashville Country has been, lately.
October 25, 2013 @ 5:12 am
You don”™t need to settle for Eric Church just because it doesn”™t suck as bad as Luke Bryan. THere”™s an entire world of music much much better than this.
This quote needs to go on the masthead of this site along with the culture quote
Bigfoot is Real (but I have my doubts about you)
October 23, 2013 @ 1:06 pm
Now we can all stop wondering what Kid Rock’s impact on country has been…
October 23, 2013 @ 1:43 pm
The ‘next Luke Bryan Ass Shaker’, I predict you’ll hear that line in a country song in the next 3 to 5 years. “I’m gonna put on another Luke Bryan ass shaker, a bonfire out in them woods I’m gonna take’r”! Thanks trig, it writes itself!
October 23, 2013 @ 2:14 pm
It features “a weird Les Claypool-style bass guitar break,” eh? Is this just one more “Look at me!!! I’m such a stoner!!!”-type ploy to capture the bud-smoking contingent of mainstream pop-country listeners? Hell, most of ’em probably don’t know nothin’ ’bout no Primus.
October 23, 2013 @ 2:18 pm
I think this comment sums up the song perfectly, more so then the actual article. For the song, I love it. No it’s not Eric’s best song to date, but to kick off a new album, back from a year of taking a break, this is exactly what i wanted to hear. I cant wait for the new album! As for this song being country, really in no one is it country. Just because an artist makes a song that isnt the truest country, doesnt make it bad. If anything, it makes me a bigger fan. Finally someone in the mainstream music, having the balls to write something that sounds different. If i heard anything damn Florida Georgia Line generic type song, I would flip my lid. Finally something thats different, and its not forced.
Obviously, this sound isnt going to be a huge radio hit, but who cares? Not Eric, because this is the song he wanted to come out with, whether its a huge hit or not. Thats what more music artists need to do, who cares what people think of it, come out with the music you want to come out with. And because of that, Eric is by far, the best current “country” musician/artist of today. No he’s not the most country, but hell look at Hank Williams 3. He knows country more then anyone today i bet, but you still see him putting out punk records, because its music he wants to make. Which is the same reason I continue to support Eric, this song, and just artists who arent afraid to put out the song they want to put out.
October 23, 2013 @ 5:14 pm
I agree this song is different. I disagree that it is not forced. This may be the type of music Eric Church wants to make, but I hear a lot of calculation and attempts to capitalize off of pop country trends like rapping and synthesizers and loud rock guitar. He just tries to make the song sound complicated to hide his plan.
October 25, 2013 @ 5:14 am
I gotta admit that I disagree with all the rap/hip hop comments. I think he simply added some spoken word to the intro. That’s not necessarily a hip hop thing. If we have to keep that comparison alive, it instantly reminded me “Orange Man,” a song that Jamey Johnson recorded with an underground rap artist that most people didn’t even hear about.
This is for everybody:
^If only all the hip hop infused country was this good.
October 23, 2013 @ 2:29 pm
I actually liked EC when he first came out. His first album was his best, second was ok and chief was the worst. Seemed like he got a little more radio friendly with songs like Springsteen and Drink in my Hand. But this song came out yesterday and I was like….WTH! I love some good rock music from time to time but I would rather hear it from a true rock band/artist. To me he just comes off as a little corny. I have always thought that if you go around telling everybody/ singing songs about being an outlaw/rebel/OUTSIDER then your probably really not one. Maybe the album will be better. If not I’ll just keep buying Texas/Red Dirt music. They are the true rebels and don’t really try. It just comes out naturally.
October 23, 2013 @ 2:55 pm
Growing up listening to Metallica and other rock bands, I actually really like this song. Obviously it’s not country, but I still think its a good song looking past the genre (whatever that might be). If I had to pick an artist that is currently making music, Eric would 100% be my pick. I’ve seen him 5 times live, and from the loudest, heaviest sounding guitar solo, to him standing at the front of the stage with nothing but a guitar singing “Sinners Like Me”, I enjoy every second of his live performance. I listened to “Lightning” on my way home from work the other day, and thought what is the difference from that to any of Johnny Cash’s old prison songs about execution. And yes I DID just compare an Eric Church song to a Johnny Cash song…
October 23, 2013 @ 3:26 pm
Yet another pile of shit from the wana be bad boy of homo fag country. Its sad that people see this tard as the outlaw of new country. He is about as outlaw as oprah!
March 2, 2014 @ 6:20 pm
Homo? Fag? Tard? Really? You should come back when grow up. This is a site for intelligent people.
October 23, 2013 @ 4:47 pm
Eric knows what he’s doing as far as marketing goes. He has a degree in the field. When Homeboy came out first from the Chief CD it got a lot of attention but didn’t quite make the top of the charts but got people talking and interested. Each song after that got better and better until Springsteen blew it wide open. He knows where he came from and he knows what the fans want, both in a live show and on an album. This is all a publicity campaign to get us interested and talking about the new album and it’s working. We either love it, hate it, but we are talking about it. A lot.
I would rather listen to this metal country sound then listening to lyrics like:
“Floatin”™ down the Flint River, catch us up a little catfish dinner Gonna sound like a winner, when I lay you down and love you right” and most of the new rap country that is starting to come out now.
This may not be one of the best songs he ever did but it’s a good song. His band is awesome and I can’t wait for the rest of the album to come out to see what else we have to look forward to.
I do agree that some of the older songs, Carolina, These Boots, Sinners Like Me, Love Your Love the Most are classics and I hope there are at least one or two of them on the new album, if not we still have them to hold on to.
I will buy the new album and see the new tour when it comes to my area.
I love my country rockin’, how bout you?
October 23, 2013 @ 5:27 pm
“Eric knows what he”™s doing as far as marketing goes. He has a degree in the field. This is all a publicity campaign to get us interested and talking about the new album and it”™s working. We either love it, hate it, but we are talking about it. A lot.”
And you’re saying this in Eric Church’s defense? So the point of this song is to get people taking, sell a bunch of tracks and move on? Who cares if the song sucks or not, that’s not the point? Where’s the soul and artistry in that?
“I would rather listen to this metal country sound then listening to lyrics like:
“Floatin”™ down the Flint River, catch us up a little catfish dinner Gonna sound like a winner, when I lay you down and love you right” and most of the new rap country that is starting to come out now.”
The lyrics of “The Outsiders” are just as vapid. Eric Church can write a good story. “Homeboy” is a good example. Here, there’s no story. Nothing. Just a bunch of chest pounding and platitudes.
October 24, 2013 @ 1:19 pm
I would rather listen to this metal country sound then listening to…
But why do those have to be the only two choices? Why can’t we have some real, identifiably country music instead of this muddled mishmash of everything else?
October 23, 2013 @ 5:01 pm
you’re review made it sound more interesting than it turned out to be
October 23, 2013 @ 5:24 pm
Oh wow, I haven’t heard someone try this hard to be complex and fail so spectacularly in a long time.
Speaking as someone who likes prog-metal, this song is sloppy as hell, with strikingly poor production and lyrics that sound stridently adolescent, or pulled from a bad nu-metal track. And Eric Church – dear Christ, he is not the right kind of vocalist for this sort of material – his voice does not have the swell and force to work with that instrumentation (which is why they brought in that choir that only re-emphasizes that point), and even if he does, his production does nothing to help him.
Queensryche, this is not. Not even the Geoff Tate abomination under that name right now. Yikes. I’m looking forward to watching this tank on country radio.
October 24, 2013 @ 10:47 am
Amen to that. I don”™t know what you”™d call this particular Eric Church song, but progressive metal it most certainly is not. Just as fiddle and steel guitar do not make a song country, guitar solos and shifting time signatures do not make a song progressive metal. Maybe it was Church”™s spin on prog-metal, but if indeed it was, somebody needs to lock him in a room for about a month with some QueensrÃ¿che, Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Symphony X.
(That new QueensrÃ¿che album with Todd La Torre kicks all sorts of ass, by the way. Best thing since Empire, if not Mindcrime.)
October 23, 2013 @ 5:35 pm
I actually like some parts and elements of the song but all together its a bit of a mess. I get what he is trying to do but its like he’s trying too hard to sound like a hard rocker on this one. It would actually sound more interesting to me if it was less heavy and overproduced. There’s just too much going on.
October 23, 2013 @ 6:03 pm
Im a fan of his, didnt really like this song, his older albums are definitely better. Did you like his older albums? Sinners like me, Carolina and caldwell county? Just curious
October 23, 2013 @ 6:32 pm
The amalgamation of diverse sounds and progression of The Outsiders reminded me somewhat of an old Pink Floyd track. While I understand your criticism that the song is “void of narrative”, I wouldn’t be surprised if EC was going for more of an album narrative with this upcoming project, rather than individual songs providing their own narratives. I agree this song has its shortcomings, but if placed in the proper context, I think it could have some really redeeming qualities. Odd choice for a leadoff single, however.
October 23, 2013 @ 6:39 pm
I agree, and as I said in another comment above, there could be some more shoes to fall that will somehow resolve some of the strangeness and loose ends Church presents in this song. But if he wants it to be understood in context, then keep it as an album cut and let it do that.
October 23, 2013 @ 6:56 pm
I loved the telecaster in the first 8 seconds or so.
October 23, 2013 @ 8:12 pm
So I consider myself an Eric Church fan, but I have never really considered his music country to begin with. I expected his new album to move even further away from country music (which I am completely fine with since if I want to listen to country I will listen to someone else). With all of that said, I was hoping for better quality than this. I am really just disappointing with the lyrics on this. I feel like the songwriting is a major step back. The only positive that I see from this song, is that I don’t find it particularly offensive compared to much of what is popular today…but again that really doesn’t say much.
October 23, 2013 @ 8:46 pm
“Chief” was epic as an album. It was truly good, and in spite of not liking Eric Church based on statements he’d made, and some horrible collaboration choices, etc. I bought it because it was just that damned good.
For me to dislike an artist but like their music enough to buy it anyway (Pearl Jam also falls into that category) means the music had better be fantastic.
Even if I liked Eric Church, once was enough for this awful song.
October 23, 2013 @ 8:57 pm
Why do you think people care about your opinion? Who the fuck are you to judge someone’s music, ok maybe the songs not for you, doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I honestly wouldent consider it much of a country song either, but it is WAY more country then some of the “if I wear boots I can be a country singer” artist of today such as Keith urban, hunter Hayes, Taylor swift etc. country music has been changed so much and I hate it. Eric’s new song really isn’t a country sound but it’s coming from a country dude and that’s all that matters.
October 23, 2013 @ 9:09 pm
I literally received more requests to review this song than I have received requests to review anything in the 6+ year history of this website. This review has also received incredible traffic and interest for just a song review. That is why I think people care about my opinion. To be honest with you, if it was up to me I wouldn’t have written a review for this song and would have waited for the new album to come out. But people asked my opinion, and I gave it.
And folks preaching how this is so much better than pop country: I know you may not know the in’s and out’s of Saving Country Music and this may be the first time on this site, but you are preaching to a choir. I have been fighting this fight for a very long time. That’s also why I started off this review with the first two paragraphs.
October 24, 2013 @ 1:35 pm
I get what your saying but we all have our own opinions and we’re not all going to agree with you. I honestly admire eric for going out and trying something different, I personally don’t think it’s his best song ever but it definitely deserves some respect. What reasons make you think he’s “rude and errogant” anyways?
October 24, 2013 @ 4:51 pm
That was said rhetorically. I think it is a clear, accepted notion that Eric Church is rude to folks. Rascal Flatts? Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert over the whole reality show thing? I’m not saying that they’re right, I’m simply saying this is a prevailing perception of Eric.
October 24, 2013 @ 6:18 pm
Oh the irony…
October 23, 2013 @ 9:54 pm
All 3 of the artists that you criticized are sonically more country than this song.
October 23, 2013 @ 11:35 pm
Weird song. I was hoping the talking or rap intro would lead into Eric bashing bro country. This hot mess sounds pop, bro or both with rock. Maybe it’s the first bro/pop/rock song. BROP? Whatever, it ain’t country at all and it’s way too overproduced and pop for me. I’m really hating all the whoaoaoaoaoh background singing in many songs because it’s a weak pop element the men are copying over and over. Somebody kill that quick. Interesting you mentioned rock opera because near the end I hear a little Bohemian Rhapsody thing. Eric’s last album is great but this is his worst song. It’s not a song I want to hear on country radio because it ain’t country, so I’ll be a little surprised if they don’t play it constantly and make it a #1. On the other hand it sounds like a great song for a movie soundtrack so there’s a compliment.
October 24, 2013 @ 7:27 am
Wow. I don’t mind some of Church’s other stuff, but this is not good at all. He should just go make the rock album he obviously wants to, and take a break from country for a while. He’s not pushing boundaries, he’s switching genres with this nonsense song. Besides the cliches he spouts off during the song’s running time, the music itself is boring and commonplace. Yes, it’s different than country, but still mainstream enough to sell records. The guy’s not stupid. Either way, it’s not very good. I don’t know why people are even giving this song the time of day. There’s nothing good, special, or even remotely interesting about it. I agree with the poster above that said that this song could be used to shill merch. NASCAR immediately comes to mind.
October 25, 2013 @ 6:36 am
“He”™s not pushing boundaries, he”™s switching genres with this nonsense song. ”
My sentiments exactly. To use Trigger’s metaphor, it’s as if a Chinese restaurant started serving lasagna. Even if it’s it’s not god awful, who really cares? One thing I’ll say is that this is legitimately a rock song, as opposed to the typical “bad rock with a fiddle” stuff often heart on mainstream country radio. That doesn’t mean it’s good, though.
October 24, 2013 @ 8:55 am
The entirety (intro to outro) of the song is a mute point. This song is all about the chorus and it’s gonna be huge. Also whether it’s country or not is a mute point. It’s redneck, for lack of a better term, and that’s what counts. As pointed out before this is going to be huge for sporting events and commercials. That chorus is built for the party masses, especially since it gives the listeners the psuedo feeling of being different or “outsiders”. People love that shit.
October 24, 2013 @ 10:00 am
I meant moot not mute.
October 24, 2013 @ 8:57 am
Putting “we” in a song is brilliant fucking marketing. “hell yeah! we’re together in this”
October 24, 2013 @ 9:45 am
Best Bon Jovi song I’ve heard in two decades. They must’ve decided to replace Richie Sambora with Mick Mars.
October 24, 2013 @ 9:51 am
I was hoping for alot more out of Erich Church than this. This song doesn’t make me cringe like the country rap out right now but it also wont make me tune to country radio. I didn’t mind Church’s previous 2 albums, and I sure hope he has some better material coming than this single.
October 24, 2013 @ 12:32 pm
This is a marketing tool and it is working. It worked for Miley….people have been talking about her for weeks and weeks.
On a scale of 1-10, Eric is a 10…handsome and very cute. When you are this cute, you can get away with anything.
Ask anyone out there who’s hooked up with a handsome man…how much can they get away with….almost anything. Hmmmmm.
October 24, 2013 @ 4:49 pm
If he wasn’t selling out arenas, you’d shoot him in the face with pepper spray for being a creep if he asked you to borrow some jumper cables.
October 31, 2013 @ 7:12 am
you cant be a 10 with a voice like Little Jimmy Dickens…. thats one prevailing problem with this historic low point in country music we are living in…. its looks and marketing over substance. Garth started the downward slide and it has not bottomed out yet.
October 24, 2013 @ 3:16 pm
I’ve been coming to this blog for awhile now. And I usually agree with everything you have to say. I have laughed at your stabs at the pop country scene and you helped me find a lot of good, quality music on the country underground scene I would have not have found otherwise.
But I am a diehard Eric Church fan, so I guess its finnally time I share my viewpoint on the issue only had the pleasure of being to three of his live shows, and know every he’s released (And some unreleased) song like the back of my hand, even his unreleased ones. That said, I do agree with some parts of this review and being as big of a fan as I am maybe I can make a case for some parts of the song.
The first part of this review I wholeheartedly agree with is the lyrics. Eric is such an intimate, creative, and most of the time unique lyricists. I completely cringed when that “haters gonna hate” line came up. Like what the fuck are you doing Eric? You’re better than this.
But I don’t think storytelling is this the song’s focus..
I’ve only been to three ECB shows but I go to A LOT of concerts of pretty much all genres, the amount of energy the man and his band brings to the stage is incomparable to anything Ive ever seen and when I listen to that song it just takes me back there. When in your in a cramped dark venue space around tons of people you don’t know that it fits is his live show. Double bass, Heavy guitar riffs, and essentially screaming verses, that will wake you the fuck up for a show of everything he has to offer.
Going back to the live show maybe another reason I’m welcoming this song more than others is maybe that I’m looking at other things apart from Eric. He has been touring with this band of his since the beginning and you can tell that all of them are really just Pantera loving rockers. I like that he finally has a song for them to cut loose to and jam a little bit like they’ve been wanting to do forever and get in the spotlight instead of sneaking it into his country song’s vocal breaks.
That’s all well and good and I’m all for it. But that’s no excuse to take the day off lyrically. I feel like this is the first song on the album and instead of trying to release a hit single that made him lots of money he just wanted to get his fans all hyped up for more music. It’s supposed to be that “Yeah let’s fucking go!” song but I guess Eric’s not the best adrenaline rock lyricist haha.
A criticism I’m seeing is that “Oh this is NOT country!” or “This is not even CLOSE to prog rock.” I agree that its not, but even you admitted that it sounds like an Eric Church song.
Eric has been preaching for years now that genres are starting to break down and he welcomes it. Artists SHOULD sound unique now a days. Not everything that comes out needs to fit a Johnny Cash/Waylon Jennings mold. (Even though I feel the instrumentation of this song has a few nods to God’s Gonna cut you down) He has a country influence, he has a metal influence. But he doesn’t HAVE to be either.
“Then why is he playing this on the CMA’s in a few weeks if he’s not country? Is he some kind of poser?!”
Ok, so you are telling me if you were making music and had the opportunity to showcase it on one of the most watched live music events in the world you wouldn’t do so?
…That’s what I thought.
Live Eric Church shows have sounded like this song for years and nobody complained because people that hate Eric Church don’t go to his shows.
Overall, I feel like this song is just a piece of a larger picture, and I agree that you should have waited for the album to come out before putting out a review. If I know anything it is that Eric is not a 1 trick pony. He has variety in his music that appeals to multiple different ideals that people have. For every “Drink in my hand” or “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” that are made to rock too there’s songs like “Longer Gone” and “Can’t take it with you” that really have intimate stories to tell and I feel like those will be on the way and maybe you’ll enjoy them.
Giving this song 2 guns down, the same rating you gave songs to “That’s my kind of Night” and “1994”, seems way to harsh to me for a song that I feel by ITSELF is more of an intro than anything.
That’s my unorganized 2 cents haha
October 25, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
Not to split hairs, but I gave “1994” and “That’s My Kind of Night 2 guns WAY down, and did so in a rant form. So even though this hypothetically got the lowest grade, I wouldn’t compare it to those songs.
A few people have mentioned seeing Eric Church live, and how that might allow this song to make more sense. I’ll admit I’ve never had the opportunity to see Eric Church live, though I have had one eye on his concert schedule and would be more than willing to do so in the future if the opportunity presents itself. I am totally open to either the live context or the entire album painting a better picture for this song, and if it does, I will have no problem admitting to it.
Lastly, yes I can’t fault Eric for wanting to perform at the CMA’s, but I think if he performs this song, it will be a wasted opportunity. I guarantee there’s a song on his upcoming that would be better suited to the masses. Which reminds me to not lose sight that one of the major problems with this song is not the song itself, but that it was released as a single, and the first single off a new album. Yes, folks are talking, and so many no matter what it has worked for Eric, but I think he has a real opportunity to outdo his male mainstream competition, and releasing this song in this way I don’t think will accomplish that, or much more than some impressive digital sales that trail off abruptly.
October 28, 2013 @ 2:18 pm
“Not everything that comes out needs to fit a Johnny Cash/Waylon Jennings mold.”
Completely agree, that is why Church won’t ever be confused for a Cash or Jennings type, even though he seems to think he is doing for today’s music what they did in their time. Although I would argue that Waylon’s time is…timeless. His songs cut all genres and still are as meaningful today.. and more meaningful than Mr. Outsider.
October 31, 2013 @ 7:25 am
…I would argue that Waylon”™s time is”¦timeless. His songs cut all genres and still are as meaningful today…..
BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!! That sound could still dominate today, unfortunately, sadly, I have come to realize there is not going to be another Waylon, nobody has that perfect storm of talent, VOICE, song writing, stage presence and even looks (not posterboy looks but the ability to ooze “cool”) He was the perfect 10.
October 28, 2013 @ 8:45 pm
Can’t Take It With You might be my favorite song of Eric’s and Longer Gone is also one my favorite lesser known EC songs and maybe even top 5. I think you’re right that Eric is just trying to get some live show material to get the crowd even more amped up than usual. I just have a feeling this album is going to have a HUGE diversity in it. I’m expecting some funky sounds and progressions coming off of this one.
I wouldn’t be too worried about the lyrics on the rest of the album. He ALWAYS delivers great songs on his albums and I expect nothing less with this next one. He has never disappointed me. I have yet to dislike a song he has produced.
October 24, 2013 @ 6:28 pm
Cool rock song. So when is Eric’s next country single, again..?
October 24, 2013 @ 7:06 pm
Sweet lands, this is awful. It sounds like Church is borrowing some of the more unfortunate parts of Hank Jr.’s “Young Country” set to something I would have listened to back in high school in the mid-90’s (‘1994’ anyone?). Not to flog the horse dead here, but this is in no way, shape, or form a country song. What it is, is pedestrian. This might have been cool15 to 20 years ago, I guess. I keep trying to think of something I listened to back then, during the tail end of early 90’s glory days of rock that might have been similar to this but frankly, they all kicked its ass. Nothing said being an outsider like actual seething and dissidence that defined a lot of the music in that era. This is just lame, and 20 years too late to be relevant. We are only talking about it because it is trying to shoehorn something that sounds like a bland version of the mid-90’s rock into a musical tradition that it has nothing to do with.
October 24, 2013 @ 8:32 pm
You don’t even know who I am. Your basing his fan base off a preconceived notion from an article you’ve read on the internet or some douche you know in real life.
I was just responding to the ignorant statement that everybody at a Church show is a wannabe, pussy-footed, yuppie. And all I said was that’s far from the truth and I dared him to prove me wrong by telling that to the face of someone that his music REALLY means something to.
It may seem corporate to you and that’s your opinion. But the fact is there are LEGIONS of people who feel something in this music from all shapes and colors. Just because it isn’t traditional country the way you perceive it that isn’t going to change the fact that his fans don’t give a damn and they love it anyway. I wouldn’t call us outsiders like Eric wants to market it as right now.. but we’re pretty damn passionate about the music he’s making.
I don’t care if it is the 15 year old girl who listened to Springsteen last summer and became a fan girl, the metalhead that got opened up to country after seeing Eric at Orion, or the guy that has “Sinners Like Me” tattooed on his arm since he saw him play at a bar one night. Talk shit about the thing they all have in common and they’ll chuck your loud ass out the window.
One thing I wish this blog would actually do more of is talk about strictly the music and not about “this guys a pussy”,”who’s fans did what” what or “this guy said that.” The only thing you know about these people is what they sing about in their songs, and how they carry themselves at public appearances (which usually isn’t how they actually are)
October 24, 2013 @ 8:55 pm
The only thing you know about these people is what they sing about in their songs, and how they carry themselves at public appearances (which usually isn”™t how they actually are)
So you don’t see anything wrong with artists like Eric Church, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean deliberately cultivating images with their music and public commentary that could well be completely at odds with who they are as people? Well, I do see something wrong with that. I see it as the mark of a fake and a poseur, and I make no apologies for that. By all accounts, with folks like George Strait and Alan Jackson, what you saw and heard was pretty much exactly who they were as artists and as human beings. I don’t see why that shouldn’t still be the standard, as opposed to some semi-literate loudmouth hack putting on the “outlaw” act like it’s some kind of costume.
And as for not caring what genre it is…well, a lot of us do still care and see it as more than a little bit of an insult when said loudmouth hack boasts about not having grown up on Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams and wonders why we say he doesn’t belong.
October 25, 2013 @ 8:25 am
Just because it isn”™t traditional country the way you perceive it that isn”™t going to change the fact that his fans don”™t give a damn and they love it anyway.
Who said this song isn’t traditional country? It’s not country at all. It’s pop/rock/rap. Now some of Eric’s other songs are country or at least country/rock. This one is too close to songs like That’s My Kind Of Night for comfort. Of course many of his fans love it and some don’t. No one is trying to change his fans minds. Many fans will support anything their favorite artists release even if they just sing the phone book.
October 24, 2013 @ 8:38 pm
I’m not saying its the best song I’ve ever heard. I aint saying its a country song. But I see what eric is tryin to do. Theres a lot of people out there who cant relate to pop country bullshit. Hes tryin to call out to those people. He didn’t do a great job of it but hey he tried. I guess it just has some kind of meaning in the fact that he sees my point of view. Next time eric keep it simple. Write a song about why were outsiders why you’re the only successful country artist I respect hell call luke bryan a pussy I’m sure your fans would love it
October 25, 2013 @ 8:42 am
But I see what eric is tryin to do. Theres a lot of people out there who cant relate to pop country bullshit. Hes tryin to call out to those people.
This song is pop/rock/rap so it joins the “pop country bullshit.” Before this he was calling out to people who can’t relate to pop country just fine.
October 24, 2013 @ 9:02 pm
I don’t think this song is half-bad, really. This wouldn’t be out of place on mainstream rock radio or mid-2000s alternative, but active rock is dead, heritage rock is a non-factor as usual, and alternative is going through it’s pop phase right now. Pop won’t play it, and AAA won’t either. Realistically, the only place to release this is country radio.
And really, I don’t think the guitars here are metal or even hard-rock… they aren’t even heavier than on “Homeboy”, and I’d say they almost take a backseat to the vocals in the mix. I don’t think the vocals are rapped, it’s a spoken-word type cadence IMO.
The worst part of this is easily the ending instrumental bit. I think the bass bit is pretty cool (maybe because I’m a bassist), but after that it feels really cluttered, and not in a good way. Rush could pull off the cluttered sound and have it work, but it really doesn’t work for Eric Church here. The guitars are switching type too much and there isn’t any reason for it.
That aside, I would absolutely take this over pretty much every song in the top 30 of country radio. He’s at least TRYING to do something here, and that is worth some points to me, and quite frankly the song has a very catchy and appealing chorus while still being aggressive. I’d give it a 7, maybe a 7.5 on a good day.
October 25, 2013 @ 8:45 am
Pop won”™t play it, and AAA won”™t either. Realistically, the only place to release this is country radio.
It’s a terrible song for country radio and that’s why they’ll play it. It will just make me change stations.
October 24, 2013 @ 9:40 pm
Eric C….I already gave you a 10 !!!!!!
October 24, 2013 @ 11:00 pm
I think what Eric Church has done here is admirable. I do agree with you that it is pretty messy towards then end, i think it could have used another verse instead of the almost 2 min in solos/breakdown at the end. But that being said, Eric has put this song out specifically for his fans. I have been to his concerts and this is the type of energy he brings and his fans love. Almost saying to his fans im still here and im still progressing. Some people are saying he is “selling out” to the label….just think about that. If he were truly selling out he would have released another song similar to drink in my hand or springsteen. If he was selling out to the label he wouldn’t have waited 2 years to put another record out. He wants to grow musically which we rarely see anyone do in the country music world today. The Luke Bryan’s and Jason Aldean’s of this world release album after album of the same song with different lyrics about “partying in a hayfield” or “come sit on the tailgate of my truck” to fatten their wallets and that is what the label wants. By the way those guys don’t write any of their own music (Brantley Gilbert was writing Jason Aldean’s music before Brantley had his hits). Eric Church has wrote every single one of his songs with the exception of “Like Jesus Does” which he said he put on his album Chief because his wife loved it so much. What makes this song so great is that Eric Church is basically giving a big middle finger to mainstream county music and all the hunter hayes characters that go along with it. He is not going to conform. And that is what being an outlaw is all about. And I agree with parts of this review Trigger (I have read many of your EC reviews and i know you not a fan of him or his music), I think the song could have been constructed in a better way and it is the farthest thing from country a top country artist has put out to date. But the latter is what makes it awesome. He is pushing the envelope, and is grinning at country music radio daring them to play it while he sits at #1 on itunes for country music with The Outsiders.
P.S. I cant wait to watch EC preform this at the CMA’s and watch hunter hayes poop his pants because he cant handle country music with some grit.
October 25, 2013 @ 4:50 am
The Luke Bryan”™s and Jason Aldean”™s of this world release album after album of the same song with different lyrics about “partying in a hayfield” or “come sit on the tailgate of my truck” to fatten their wallets and that is what the label wants. By the way those guys don”™t write any of their own music (Brantley Gilbert was writing Jason Aldean”™s music before Brantley had his hits). Eric Church has wrote every single one of his songs with the exception of “Like Jesus Does”
Aaaaand again, why do Bryan, Aldean, and Church have to be the only choices? Sure you can pit one of those against the other two, but again, it’s really just two kinds of bad ”” faux good-ole-boy bullshit vs. wannabe metal guy. And Church can’t even really do THAT right. Not that that’s ultimately his fault, because country and heavy metal really don’t mix, but he still more than deserves to be called out because he ought to know better. If he’s a real fan of metal, that is, at least as opposed to just dipping his toe into the Metallica pool every so often. He’s already made it obvious that he never was a country fan.
October 25, 2013 @ 8:56 am
I understand what your saying there. When I compare Church to Bryan, Aldean, and Hunter Hayes I’m not saying these are your only options. There are many great lesser known or unknown country artists out there that put out better music than these guys but it never makes it to the radio. The point I’m trying to make is that when you turn on your local country radio Eric Church is the tops when it comes to innovation and having that “outlaw” country feel. I have 4 country stations on my presets and I have to constantly change them to find a decent song because all the music today is garbage, but when I hear an Eric Church song come on I am able to crank it up and enjoy country music again. Waylon was critized for the way he changed country music in the 70’s and now he is know as one of the greats….
October 28, 2013 @ 9:40 am
Man, the pistolero… Did Church sleep with your spouse or something? You’re all over the guy.
I’m new to the page, so I’m just curious what you consider “real country music?”
If it’s guys like Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr., that’s fine, because I like those guys too, but it’s 2013.
As a whole, I do think Eric Church separates himself about as much as he can from the competition while still keeping in mind he’s on a major record label in a mainstream industry.
And the true measure of Church’s excellence is in a live, headlining setting.
October 25, 2013 @ 3:25 am
I don’t see what all the controversy is about. He put out a muddled song that has some good elements to it, but maybe has a bit too much going on. I personally don’t care about labels — country, rock, whatever — in terms of radio or genre. Having said that, I do think it is fair to say that southern rock has moved into country, and that type of rock has even incorporated some metal guitar.
I just listen to whatever I want to. So my playlists may see George Jones fade into Metallica. Eric Church can do whatever he wants. If I like it (Before She Goes), I will listen. If not, I move on. Nothing to get worked up over.
The guy may be a jerk, I really have no idea, but he isn’t putting out horrible stuff, and at least he is trying some new things.
October 25, 2013 @ 8:58 am
I don’t care about labels but I do care about the type and quality of the music I listen to including on country radio, and that’s what labels, genres and formats are used for. Except now country radio tries to be the one size fits all format that plays everything and more pop than country. Pop, rap, and rock radio don’t have that problem.
October 25, 2013 @ 12:07 pm
The voice sounds like hes trying to imitate Vince Neil from Motley Crue. The song sounds like bad hair metal or something. Certainly aint a damn thing country about it.
A song for angsty high school or college kids I guess I just dont understand
October 25, 2013 @ 12:13 pm
And I do not think it took any balls to release this on country radio, more like some suits thought it would be a good time to have their pretty Outlaw Eric Church release something like this in light of some stars down talking the same old same old in country music. I bet this was a very calculated move on the part of Nashville execs. Why not play both side im sure thats the question theyre asking themselves. Kinda like Shooter doing that whole Outlaw You thing at the time, but bigger scale. Shooter aint ready for the mainstream but they,ve groomed Erich Church into a cool enough character in the mainstream to attempt to appeal to the Outsiders.
October 25, 2013 @ 8:22 pm
After mulling over the extent of this single and the commentary surrounding it, here’s where I think as to why the response over this song has been as tumultuously polarizing as is.
I chose to review this from a standpoint similar to how you, Trigger, reviewed a couple of Taylor Swift’s singles and the album “RED” last year. He reviewed both more on their own merit after offering a disclaimer that it should NOT in any way, shape or form be depicted as a country album, and nonetheless proceeded to give “RED” a mostly positive review as a pop album; in which I understood where he was coming from after so many belittled Trigger for his obsession or even love affair of Taylor Swift in that, as a pop release, it is above-average in terms of depth.
That’s how I chose to review “The Outsiders”. In NO way, shape or form should it EVER be regarded as a country release. And yet, on its own merit as a contemporary metal/heavy rock release, it’s respectable, if also messy. I by no means love the release, but I’d honestly rather hear this, hypothetically, on an active rock or mainstream rock station over the likes of Papa Roach, Avenged Sevenfold, Pop Evil or Three Days Grace ANY day (honestly, the only Active Rock staple worth listening to still, in my opinion, are the Deftones, and Fair To Midland when they somehow even get airplay).
And I also take contention with the idea that a song should be disqualified just because it isn’t predicated on a story, or backed by a narrative. I detest lazily-drawn strings of non-sequiturs that pass off as pathetic efforts at songwriting in so much current music across all formats just as much as the next person here, but I also think fight songs and plain-spoken anthems of sorts will always have a place in our collective musical tradition too. I don’t dig the lyrics anyway, but I’m also not going to hand it demerits just because it lacks narrative focus.
“The Outsiders” certainly isn’t going to make my Best of 2013 Year-End List, or even come close. But it’s also not going to make my Worst of 2013 Year-End List either, or even come close to the dishonorable mentions either. To give it “Two guns down” seems to suggest this is presently ranked eighth in line for the Top Ten Worst “Country” Singles of 2013 just behind “1994”, “Cruise (Nelly Remix)”, Boys ‘Round Here”, “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun”, “Redneck Crazy”, “Get Your Shine On” and (album track) “Accidental Racist”…………..when I can easily think of another twenty singles minimum released this year that I’d deem worse than “The Outsiders”, including:
“That’s My Kind of Night” – Luke Bryan
“Sure Be Cool If You Did” – Blake Shelton
“This Is America” – Ashton Shepherd
“Kiss You There” – Ronnie Dunn
“Chase A Little Love” – LoCash Cowboys
“Ready Set Roll” – Chase Rice
“Tippin’ Point” – Dallas Smith
“Southern Girl” – Tim McGraw
“Twisted (Featuring Colt Ford)” – Tim McGraw
“Highway Don’t Care (Featuring Taylor Swift)” – Tim McGraw
“Aw Naw” – Chris Young
“Drink To That All Night” – Jerrod Niemann
“Hey Girl” – Billy Currington
“How Country Are Ya?” – Kevin Fowler
“Don’t Ya” – Brett Eldredge
“She Cranks My Tractor” – Dustin Lynch
“Two Step (Featuring Colt Ford)” – Laura Bell Bundy
“Little Bit of Everything” – Keith Urban
“Downtown” – Lady Antebellum
“All Over The Road” – Easton Corbin (I expect this to easily be one of my two most controversial selections, and while I’m not arguing the production is pleasant and the song is catchy, the lyrics and theme, which take the issue of distracted driving lightly when in fact there’s a VERY thin line between distracted and drunk driving, completely make this cringe-inducing; and the fact it has such a pleasant, light-hearted vibe is what makes it all the more atrocious)
“Give It All We’ve Got Tonight” – George Strait (Dead right I’m serious here. Yes, even the King of Country can slip up every once in a while despite his solid overall batting average, and this is easily by far and shamelessly one of his worst AND most mediocre releases to date. He’s above this dreck.)
Again, not through a country single lens (where it would be an absolute failure), but from a lens on its own merit, I view this as a “One gun up, one gun down” kind of release. It would unquestionably translate quite well live and will go on to be a perennial favorite in his live setlist, but I do resent that it is being force-fed to “country” stations.
October 26, 2013 @ 12:45 am
I meant to point this out earlier in the discussion and forgot to include it at the time, but there’s one particular lyric that really concerns me, and it is the opening couplet to the second verse:
“Our women get hot and our leather gets stained,
when we saddle up and ride ”˜em in the pouring rain.”
Does that lyric strike anyone else here as absolutely objectifying?
The first immediate red flag is referring to them as “our women”, which could very well be construed as that women are their property.
Secondly, the latter lyric of this couplet is an obvious sexual innuendo………….but still, the fact this is a contemporary heavy rock/metal-esque single aside, doesn’t it strike anyone else as out of place even from a lyrical standpoint on “country” airwaves, even in the era of “Eight Second Ride” and “Take A Little Ride”?
What’s more, before the interlude, we hear Church utter: “Our backs to the wall! A band of brothers! Together, alone. The Outsiders!” Ahhhhhhh, so what you’re really saying, Eric, is that only males (except for effeminate and petite men, of course! 😉 ) are allowed among “the other ones”?
Yeah………………..real inclusive, Chief! (eye roll) >=)
The saddest part in all of this is that, even if this was hypothetically pushed to Active Rock radio, the aforementioned couplet would still sound tamer when sized up to many recent lyrics from lunkheaded cock-rockers like Theory of a Deadman, Hinder, Buckcherry and Puddle Of Mudd. -__-
October 26, 2013 @ 4:09 pm
“Our women get hot and our leather gets stained,
when we saddle up and ride ”˜em in the pouring rain.”
Yeah I heard those bro country rap lyrics. He even said “a band of brothers.” The only thing missing is a tailgate and river. The pouring rain = make it rain?
I guess we saw this coming when Eric talked about no genres
Obviously there are still genres because pop, rap and rock radio aren’t playing country songs. Taylor had to remix her songs then go all out pop to get pop radio to play them. iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, etc. still classify music by genres. All the no genre, expanding, blending, evolving. etc. talk is a sales pitch to try to sell country fans on pop and rap.
October 26, 2013 @ 4:33 pm
I’m sorry I have read enough about what genre this song belongs in and it belongs on country radio more than the crap put out by hunter Hayes or the very pop rascal fags. This song does not have a story to it, but you can count on Eric church being somewhere where no one else is and that is what makes his music great. I will agree that I have better songs from church, but then tell me when the man has not put out a good album?
He has made more enemies than friends because of his comments in rolling stone, but he came into the business the old fashioned way and he payed his dues. So give the guy some credit, he is more talented than a lot of the current shit we hear on the radio
October 27, 2013 @ 3:44 pm
I”™m sorry I have read enough about what genre this song belongs in and it belongs on country radio more than the crap put out by hunter Hayes or the very pop rascal
No it doesn’t and even less so because Hayes and Flatts pop and country/pop songs are more country than this, at least they aren’t rapping rap leaning lyrics. I hope Eric’s album is better and more country than this song. Ever since Billboard changed the Hot Country chart rules and Taylor’s team put her annoying, pure pop song We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together again on country radio, there seems to be new trend or marketing ploy of releasing the worst, most pop song on your album to country radio first via a promotion deal with Clear Channel. The latest to do it was Luke with That’s My Kind Of Night. I listened to his album samples and none were as bad or pop as that song. It’s like the only way they can get those bad, not country songs played is with that big Clear Channel deal. It’s also interesting that Eric hasn’t released an album in 2 years so this is his first after those changes and Billboard’s editor said country is going pop. It all seems well planned out by big labels.
So give the guy some credit, he is more talented than a lot of the current shit we hear on the radio
Totally agree and just don’t want to see him joining “a lot of the current shit we hear on the radio.” That’s all we need is more shit.
October 28, 2013 @ 2:15 pm
This song will debut at #25 on the new Billboard Country airplay chart which will be a career high for Church by far. Will be interesting to see what happens from here as it is so far off the mainstream.
October 29, 2013 @ 4:49 pm
Thanks to the big Clear Channel promotion, like every pop and pop/rap song they do that for.
“Owing in large part to hourly play at Clear Channel-owned stations on Oct. 22”
It’s to ensure pure pop songs get played that otherwise wouldn’t on country radio. It’s artificially inflating songs just like the new Billboard Hot Country chart rules do. It’s all part of the big push to make country pop.
Now if labels can get Clear Channel to do the same for great country songs they aren’t playing on country, pop, and rap radio, then country music will be getting somewhere.
October 31, 2013 @ 9:14 pm
Yep exactly. The interesting thing is this has backfired more times than not and I’m not sure why labels keep buying into this strategy. The Chesney/McGraw duet didn’t even make the top 10, the abominable ‘Truck Yeah’ only made #10 on the airplay chart and Toby Keith has done it several times with his recent run of songs almost all about beer which have all pretty much tanked. Same mixed results on the pop side as it doesn’t really accomplish anything because people are onto the con they are running. The Church also debuted at #6 on the Country Songs chart this week but it will tumble next week with the loss of Clear Channel airplay and the normal regression in sales.
October 28, 2013 @ 2:20 pm
Any dude that isn’t Hank Jr. or Dale Sr. and wears sunglasses everywhere is an outsider and can stay outside. What a douche this guy is. Worse off, he thinks he is cool.
October 31, 2013 @ 8:54 pm
Just gonna drop this here………..
October 31, 2013 @ 9:11 pm
Why can’t we just release music and information like normal people? And that goes for Shooter Jennings and Garth Brooks as well. They’re all stealing from each other’s playbook. If you’re going to spend this much effort on hype, you better back it up with substance. Song is decent I guess, but you’re distracted by the video.
October 31, 2013 @ 9:18 pm
C;mon man! It’s because they are so damn special they can’t do it the normal way.
November 1, 2013 @ 6:27 am
I see your point Trigger, and to some extent agree with the hyping that all artists do. However, while the video is distracting, I think that there will be substance in the song & music itself.
I mainly dropped the video link because after I heard the clip I felt much better about Eric’s upcoming release. Although I am a fan of his, I am still VERY critical of his work as well as other artists that I am a fan of. I don’t just eat everything up that “said” artist puts out because I am a fan.
That’s why I was VERY nervous about this upcoming project after hearing ” The Outsiders”. On one hand the song could be a strong statement about Eric and who he is and wants to be as a artist – different from the current scene in Nashville. On the other hand it has the potential to be a pandering, look at me, I am different, I’m a badass outlaw and then his album is the same as everyone else . It would be in the same vein as Justin Moore’s “Outlaws Like Me” and then his albums drop – and they’re nothing new or different, but instead just a bunch of southern pandering and check-listing that sound like a bunch of Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, or Blake Shelton rejects.
But, I hope/think that Church’s album will instead validate the stance that he is taking in “The Outsiders” and that that song is not just a ego-filled, chest-pounding nonsense that won’t be backed up with a solid album that is different and actually thought-provoking, which in itself will be very welcomed, especially with the “Country Music” that has been coming out of Nashville in 2013.
Namely, (Redneck Crazy, Boys Round Here, Cruise, Round Here, That’s My Kinda Night, It Goes Like This, It’d Be Yours, Chillin It ect……….)
October 31, 2013 @ 11:18 pm
Hope this link works.
November 5, 2013 @ 7:40 am
I’ll call it how I see it, that is a good tune. But there is just something that is a miss with Church singing it. Something feels off. If he has this kind of stuff in him, why the hell is he playing to a level of wannabes? I know every song an artist puts out can’t be the best they’ve ever done, but if you have this in you, then sell off songs like “Drink in my hand” to some other douche. Pass on the collaboration with Aldean and Bryan.
Honestly, I don’t think Church has faith in his music. He does so much to hype it, or inflate it, he doesn’t “let it breathe” on its own. He wants a rowdy/loud fanbase… why? Let the music be the music. The rest is all pointless.
I can imagine a handful of others that could sing this song and kill it. Leroy Virgil, Jamey Johnson, Jackson Taylor.
November 8, 2013 @ 2:31 pm
This is the outlaw we grew up with.http://youtu.be/5f_1VUnIK8o
November 13, 2013 @ 11:48 am
My opinion on the song is…”bleh”. I’m not completely against it nor am I rocking out in my truck to it. I’m a huge fan of Church. I get that he’s trying to be a bad ass, and that is apart of his personality. I think he pulls of the appearance of being a bad ass well, and he is. Judging by previous albums, and this song, he is much better when he sticks to his simple stripped down songs. “Love your love the most” is my favorite song of his because its simple. I don’t dislike The Outsiders because its heavy. I dislike it because Church can make better music than that. Thats from a rock and Church fan. I just don’t think the two mix well. With that said, I like the guy so I will listen to what he puts out. Just wish is was more simple like Carolina/Sinners Like Me.
December 13, 2013 @ 5:07 pm
lets hear what you got. oh yeah I forgot, you don’t shit about how to write a song. while outsiders is not nearly Eric’s best song it’s still better than every FGL song and most of the stuff on country radio these days. like he says “a haters gonna hate”.
January 17, 2014 @ 11:30 am
I stumbled upon this article while searching for an answer to a question about Eric Church… After scrolling through the comments its clear that the majority of commenters are friendless losers who sit at a computer all day trying to matter in someway and have probably burned candles or watched movies to many a song trying to find the meaning of life… (I know u have plenty of friends, but im not counting your facebook friends!)
Now step away from your useless garbage producing keyboards and go live your life!
Hell, maybe write your own song? Seems like most of you know exactly what it takes (or doesnt take).
October 1, 2014 @ 2:14 pm
NEWS FLASH: there’s a subgenre called country rock. Just wonderin if y’all new.
July 19, 2016 @ 5:01 pm
for what little do any of you know is this song describes outlaw motorcycle clubs this song is for outlaw mc hence we let our colors show where our numbers aint a band of brothers together along listen to it if you lived the life as i have its an anthem for all mcs