Eric Church: ‘Heart’ – Album Review
Eric Church’s new album, Heart, is available now, April 16th, on all streaming platforms. The record marks the first of 3 new albums to be released by Church this month, including ‘&’ and ‘Soul‘, which will come next week. Read our first impression review of ‘Heart‘ below as we dig a little deeper into the new music.
There are few artists as unique and innovative as Eric Church. Determined to bend the conventions of the music industry, Church continues down that path with the first release of his three-part collection, Heart & Soul. Heart is out today (April 16), followed by ‘&’ on April 20 (released exclusively on vinyl to members of his fan club, The Church Choir), and Soul on April 23. Each part of the collection was born during Church’s month-long retreat to the mountains of North Carolina, where he collaborated with famed producer Jay Joyce on 24 new explosive and introspective tracks, each with a unique sound and story.
The album opens with “Heart On Fire,” and it’s immediately apparent that Church is back and better than ever, ready to do something different on this record. One of the highlights of many of Church’s recent releases has been the use of a female background vocalist, and this is on full display here, as is a mean guitar solo that begins around the 2:25 mark.
“Heart of the Night” tells the tale of escaping a suffocating life, and the staccato delivery of “Let’s point this thing west //into the chest // of the still-beating heart of the night” is one of our favorite things we’ve heard in a long time. The bridge takes on a life of its own as it completely changes melodically, venturing into almost Broadway-esque territory, and it’s clear we’re witnessing something special on this album.
“Russian Roulette” is a clever take on that moment when a song can literally cripple you. Church assures us that he’s doing okay, but he needs to avoid those songs that will strike him like a bullet, “messing up my head, playing Russian Roulette with the radio.” This is such a relatable topic that those who know and love music can most certainly relate to, as everyone has a song, or songs, that can bring you to your knees. “I need a melody without a memory,” He pleads. “Take me where I’ve never been // I hear ‘em gunnin’ for me // I feel ‘em huntin’ for me // But I ain’t tunin’ them in.”
Church also continues to celebrate humanity in different ways on “People Break” and “Never Break Heart.” The first is a slow homage to heartbreak. “People break, people try // Things happen people cry // Someone leaves, love dies,” Church sings over the melancholy music. “Someone changes their mind // Baby I get it I really do // But now I gotta go and do the hardest part // Break the news to a broken heart.”
As usual, Church isn’t one to stay quiet when it comes to the realness of life, tackling some of life’s toughest topics on “Stick That In Your Country Song”, which is interestingly the only song on this collection that he didn’t co-write. Profiled on the cover of Billboard for encouraging fans to receive the COVID vaccine, Church is open to singing and talking about everything.
The album goes out with a bang, just as it began. “Bunch of Nothing” shows a different side of Church, a more twangy up-tempo than we’re used to from the Chief, lending itself midway through to a hand-clapping musical interlude that is sure to have you bopping along.
The final song on Heart is “Love Shine Down,” a track that builds from a sparse slow tempo to a full-out Gospel-inspired jam. Here, Church gives a nod to one of his earliest hits, “Sinners Like Me,” as he sings, “It’s cold and it’s dark in this sinner’s heart // Lady let your love shine down.”
Eric Church’s Heart is a unique and genre-bending release, showing different sides of Church, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, we can’t wait for the next two releases from Heart & Soul.
- Heart of the Night
- People Break
- Russian Roulette
Heart is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.