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Label: EMI Nashville

Release Date: February 11, 2014

Rating: 10/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

How is it that the first two discs to receive a rating of 10/10 from me both originate in the country genre?  The last was a great album full of great songs.  This release is an excellent album that is nearly perfect from opening note to the close.  Mark my words, Eric Church has released the best rock album of 2013 not recorded by a rock artist!  Title track “The Outsiders” is balls out rock that gets the blood pumping, the foot tapping, and the head banging.  The song is biographical for every metal head out there when he sings “That’s who we are; that’s how we roll” at the chorus.  Not every song is metal at heart, but “Cold One” comes close.  The organ and heavy bottom end are sure to please rockers, while the steel and slide guitars will thrill country fans.  This is Church doing what he does best – telling a story of him done wrong!  “Roller Coaster Ride” has a funky groove that keeps this song afloat.  If you take the twang out of the man’s voice, this is another track that rocks at its core.  The pounding piano, rhythmic time keeping from the drummer add to the vibe created by the chugging guitar.  The coolest track by far has got to be “That’s Damn Rock & Roll.”  The lyrics are cool and spot on, while the sexiest groove I have heard in a long time drives the song.  The pace of the lyrics along with the guitars turns up the attitude to 10, creating the need to listen to this one cranked to 11.  “Devil, Devil” is all country, while being all rock.  The musical instruments and background vocals help this track stand out.  The tribal feel of the bass and drums add to the mix and help give this song soul.

An acoustic track, “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” took a little growing, but now hits a spot.  This track features Eric, a guitar, and his heart on his sleeve – honest and emotional.  “Talladega” is a great country track, but fits within the killer parameters of this disc established by other heavier tunes.  This is going to be a lighter-in-the-air moment, if he adds this song to the live show.  “Broke Record” keeps the country vibe alive with guitars and a boot stomping rhythm track.  The guitars combined with Church’s voice really gives this song a push, while the groove of the song is established by the minimal (yet productive) use of an organ in the background.  “Like A Wrecking Ball” sounds like it was lifted from a Butch Walker disc – don’t get em wrong, I love me some Butch.  The feeling created by the song through the guitars and organ are killer, while Eric’s vocals really add depth to the track.  “Dark Side” is an earthy and moody track that has elements from both the rock and country world.  “Give Me Back My Hometown” blends the rock world with the country feel, especially on the chorus and bridge.  The song moves between the genres seamlessly; what this track does is tip its hat to Church’s past while looking toward the future.  The moodiest track on the disc is closer “The Joint.”  This song has a cool sound that doesn’t fit into one hole.  This isn’t country, but it isn’t rock either – it is a cool hybrid that even has slight jazz/blues undertones.  I am not sure what Eric has in mind for the future, but let’s say music’s present is much better thanks to this release.

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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  1. NEWS: TODDSTAR’S TOP 50 RELEASES OF 2014 | 100% ROCK MAGAZINE | 24 December 2014

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