facebooktwitterRSS
- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up

Sorry, no featured jobs currently.

- Advertisement -
 

« News Home

RECORD REVIEWS



Published: Sun, February 16, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Eric Church

“The Outsiders” (EMI Nashville)

Grade: B+

Eric Church is developing two separate and distinct personalities that seem to wrestle each other in a glorious battle royal on his fourth and best album, “The Outsiders.”

There’s that guy Chief, with the hat and sunglasses and the love of rock ‘n’ roll, whiskey, stubborn streaks and fistfights. And then there’s the version of Church who wins (or loses) the girl, stirs moments of universal reverie and tickles the funny bone with program director-wooing hits that appeal to country music’s bedrock fan base.

Both these guys are at their best on “The Outsiders,” one-upping each other with songs that embrace the breadth and history of country music while ignoring those conventions to explore far afield. Managing this trick requires a delicate touch, and Church and producer Jay Joyce push the limits while maintaining a balance that leaves a little something for everyone.

Don’t like the heavy rock riffs and leather jacket-clad message of the Black Sabbath-leaning title song? Well, there’s the tear-jerker ballad “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.”

Tired of the paint-by-numbers party songs that flood radio? His answer is “Cold One,” which offers a twist on a tired theme. Need a couples song for you and your new country gal? Try “Talladega,” which somehow turns auto racing into an epic love poem.

“Give Me Back My Hometown” is straight up nostalgia. And if that’s not your thing, there’s the rock-informed “Dark Side,” “That’s Damn Rock & Roll” and “The Joint” to go with your shot and beer back.

Tempo-shifting “Roller Coaster Ride” and funky country “Broke Record” use sonic interpretations of Church’s lyrics to rev up things.

The organ on “Like a Wrecking Ball” and the trumpet at the end of “The Joint” are delightful moments that show Church is confident that his listeners are his to command. He even tries his hand at spoken-word noir on “Devil, Devil.”

The album is full of little flourishes like these that aren’t necessary but show a restless creativity that requires repeated listening.

“The Outsiders” is the rare album that invites debate, and asks us to take sides. In this case, pick freely. You can’t lose.

—Chris Talbott, Associated Press

TONI BRAXTON AND BABYFACE

Album: “Love, Marriage & Divorce” (Motown)

Grade: A

Toni Braxton and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds have had more hits between them than the testimony in a Philly mob trial.

Teary, weary and smooth, Edmonds pretty much invented the new-school/old-school sleek (but not slick) romantic adult R&B genre when he penned “Grown & Sexy.”

Braxton’s powerfully tender, pleading voice could summon rain on the sunshiniest day.

One thing that unites the pair is that each has gone through the pain of public divorce. That’s why, 22 years after their “Give U My Heart” duet, Braxton and Babyface return with a bold, soul-soaked take on the state of separation.

Hark back to Motown’s Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell glory days, the duo simmer through love’s troubles (“Where Did We Go Wrong”) and steam up the guilt-ridden “Hurt You” as if having a conversation over snifters of Drambuie. The wrung-out emotionalism of “Roller Coaster” is matched by the seductive swerve of “Sweat.”

These two are masters at such romantic rope-a-dope. Each singer goes it alone (BabyFace’s “I Hope That You’re Okay” and Braxton’s “I’d Rather Be Broke” are best), but dramatic duets such as the pleading “Take It Back” cut deepest.

—A.D. Amorosi, Philadelphia Inquirer


Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.


News
Opinion
Entertainment
Sports
Marketplace
Classifieds
Records
Discussions
Community
Help
Forms
Neighbors

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes | Pittsburgh International Airport