Review – Eric Church’s “Like A Wrecking Ball”

Eric Church
Photo Credit: ericchurch.com

Hit and miss. That’s how I would describe Eric Church’s singles choices over his career. It’s never in-between. I either really like the single or I hate it. Let’s take a look at the singles that have come from The Outsiders so far. First it was the album’s title track. The whole theme of this song made me not even take it seriously. Church’s whole schtick of being a rebel, outsider to the Nashville machine is a load of crap. He’s part of the system and while he may not do it exactly the way they like it, he’s nevertheless still a part of the machine. Then there was “Give Me Back My Hometown,” which to me had corny lyrics and a lackluster production. Plus the fact it’s a pop rock song. Church’s last two singles, “Cold One” and “Talladega,” I found to be good. Both were right in Church’s wheelhouse thematically and weren’t overproduced. That leads us to his newest single “Like A Wrecking Ball.”

Right away I can tell this is an overproduced mess. What stands out the most is Church’s voice. It sounds like he is singing underwater, in a hole and it’s pretty annoying. I don’t understand the point of making his voice sound like this and to me it adds absolutely nothing to the song. The premise of the song is it’s about Church being on the road for a while and coming home to make love to his wife. Now I understand this and there are many love songs along this line. Except this doesn’t come across as a love song. It comes across as a sex song. Just look at these lyrics and judge for yourself:

You… look at you send me one more shot sitting on a bathroom sink.
Damn you really turn me on painting your toenails pink.
Easy baby before you say but if I can make it just one more day, and

That old house is gonna be shaking.
I hope those bricks and boards can take it.
But I won’t be surprised if the whole damn place just falls.
I’m gonna rock you baby, like a wrecking ball.

This song should come off as romantic and sweet. Instead it comes off as crude and tasteless. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with a sex song, but this song is using those type of lyrics in a song where it doesn’t belong. Throw in the production, along with a sound that once again isn’t very country and you have this cluster of a song. It’s really indicative of Church’s entire album, as it has no idea what it wants to be. It feels like it’s all over the place and I have no idea how I’m supposed to make a connection with it.

So this is definitely a big miss for me. “Like A Wrecking Ball” sounds like a song from a one-hit wonder, pop rock artist in the 80s. It’s not romantic nor sexy. It’s a hot mess from the productions to the lyrics to the vocals. If you’re an Eric Church fan, you probably don’t have a problem with this song. Most Church fans I’ve found have accepted the spacey, pop rock sound of The Outsiders. It’ll be interesting to see how this performs on the charts and radio. “Cold One” peaked at #20, but “Talladega” became a #1 hit. “Like A Wrecking Ball” is a song I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re a die-hard Church fan.

Grade: 4/10

43 thoughts on “Review – Eric Church’s “Like A Wrecking Ball”

  1. Raymond February 25, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    I listened to it and meh. I didn’t hate it his voice sounds different and puzzling. This song in my option is way too scattered for my tastes. The lyrics are abysmal but it’s better than Burning It Down. This is trying to be better than that Jason Aldean song but it just barely is overall it’s way too disfigured for me to enjoy but the production I found to be interesting and for that I will give him a 5/10. Hope this does well for him but hey what year for the Friday billboard thing are you planning for. Just curious.

    Like

    • NoahHibiscusEaton February 25, 2015 / 6:35 pm

      I honestly don’t have an issue with the lyrics here, and here’s why.

      With “Burnin’ It Down”, firstly, the lyrics were largely informed by a laundry-list Tinkertoys mode of assembly; in that you have Alabama and Jack Daniels name-dropped in the chorus (undoubtedly so you don’t forget it’s a country song you’re listening to, dammit! 😉 ). Also, the lyrics come across as especially narcissistic in hat Aldean boasts “I’m just doin’ my thing!” and “You love it when I sing!” and the love interest isn’t described in the song. With “Like A Wrecking Ball”, the lyrics don’t come across as ad-libbed and are actually fairly descriptive, and while Church does sing in an “I” as opposed to “We” tone here, at least he doesn’t sound narcissistic and the opening line of the first verse indicates an admission of guilt from spending too much time touring.

      Secondly, in terms of performances, Aldean’s interpretation of “Burnin’ It Down” is utterly lifeless and indifferent. Luke Giordano of This Song Sucks couldn’t have said it better in a review of the same song when he said that as far as sex songs are concerned, it sounds like the equivalent of lying down on a bed with your T-shirt on and (in dispassionate tone), y’know……whatever! 😉 With this song, it may lack teeth and I think it would have benefited from just a little more edge in the production, but at the very least his reading neither undermines nor elevates the material.

      Aldean’s song is simply an abject dumpster fire in that not only was Aldean handed terrible hackneyed lyrics to begin with and disgusting production elements…………but he doesn’t sound like he cares at all, so why should we? Church doesn’t shoot high enough with his reading either, but at least you believe what he is selling.

      Like

      • Raymond February 25, 2015 / 7:21 pm

        Omg you responded to my question. I’m a fan you’re very insightful.
        Like I said it’s better than Jason Aldean but that’s like saying Kelsea Ballerini is a better singer than Raelynn it’s not doing any favors. The theme for me just feels a little too weird and creepy for myself.

        Like

  2. NoahHibiscusEaton February 25, 2015 / 6:12 pm

    Hmmmmm………somewhat different stroke for different folks here (pardon the pun! 😉 )

    Firstly, it’s quite clear as night and day to me that this isn’t a love song and is obviously a song about unleashing pent-up carnal attraction on a lover after a long grueling time away on the road touring. So I most certainly can’t deduct points from this for false advertising in its premise. Church’s intentions here are quite straight-forward and are bereft of subtlety! 😉

    Unlike most song that are simply about sex, I do like that the production doesn’t hit you well over the head with three Stratocasters dialed to eleven and bellowing an ear-splitting wall of sound. Instead, we get a breezy, somewhat understated croon driven by rolling organ……….and it makes what would sound like occasionally questionable lyric on paper actually sound like they have a touch of class compared to his bro-peers.

    Ultimately, though………..this single lacks some teeth that it would make it remotely memorable. Much like “My Eyes” by Blake Shelton and “Save Your Breath” by Josh Dorr……………when you have a song that is pleasant enough to listen to but also is rather lightweight and ultimately forgettable, especially when it’s about lust……………….you kind of have a problem. In contrast, more modern songs like James Otto’s classic “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” and Chris Young’s “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” still hold up as playlist fixtures because while both sounded tailored for radio, Otto inflected a lot of soul into his vocals that you strained to hear anywhere else on the corporate dial at the time of its release, and the latter did much the same as well as flirted with lyrical boundaries without coming across as sleazy. On its own its pleasant to listen to in the meantime, but I don’t even expect this to be a perennial part of his setlists five years from now. It’s just slightly above-average filler that you’re not going to hear aongside Otto and Young’s aforementioned mega-hits.

    I’m giving this a strong 5 to a light 6, and I’ll be generous and go with the latter here (perhaps because I’m in a good mood). I won’t change the station if it comes on, but then again I won’t be reaching for the dial to crank it up should it come on either. It’s just a “Decent enough!” 0 score.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zack February 25, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    Huge 0 from me. There is nothing about this song that is appealing about this song at all. Really its a personal opinion as I think all sex songs are overrated. This song is like “Burnin It Down” bad for me.

    Like

    • Josh Schott February 25, 2015 / 8:31 pm

      Yes I agree with that sentiment. Sex songs are almost always cheesy or dumb.

      Like

    • NoahHibiscusEaton February 26, 2015 / 2:39 am

      Marvin Gaye would like to have a word with you! 😉

      *

      I have an alternate take on sex songs.

      The reason why I think they usually fail to stick the landing is because they’re too me-centric. They unilaterally are spoken in the first person and there’s a lack of reciprocity. You don’t hear the other’s point of view conveyed whether it be giving or receiving (or both). There’s just too much “I” or “me” and not enough “we” when I hear songs centered around sex on the radio dial. Worse still, a lot of songs centered around sex in popular music seem more like bragging along the lines of “Hey, look at me! I’m going to spill the highlights of my awesome sex life to y’all!” than actually coming across as an emotionally and spiritually satisfying experience for the narrator(s) and subject(s).

      Granted this is all coming from the lips of someone whose main work is in sex education and advocacy with sex-positive tattoos. And I’ll also admit that I find the music that best gets me and friends in the mood tends to be instrumentals in the vein of jazz, Buddha Lounge and Acid Arab. That said, I can think of plenty of examples of sex songs that work for me even still:

      *

      Marvin Gaye: (There’s many, but the most obvious one is “Let’s Get It On”)
      Sade: (Gosh, she has many)
      Roberta Flack:”Feel Like Makin’ Love”
      D’Angelo: “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”
      Terranova: “Plastic Stress”

      *

      Just a few that pop in my mind.

      I will concede that, in my opinion, country music has failed to produce as many meaningful sex jams because, historically, country music has been behind the curve compared to most other genres with regards to sex-positive topics and themes.

      It doesn’t mean it has to remain this way. One slight trend I’ve been noticing is female artists singing about no-strings-attached casual sex encounters. That’s refreshing to hear because cultural stereotypes often suggest only men desire casual sex. But with Kacey Musgraves recording “It Is What It Is”, and Katie Armiger recording “One Night Between Friends” for example, that’s sight evidence sex-positive themes are increasingly percolating into country songwriting circles.

      Like

  4. bob February 25, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    I agree with your review but I have to admit that I’m not an Eric Church fan. I don’t like his vocals. Maybe some of his songs I’d like if recorded by someone else. For me the vocals are a big factor in whether of not i buy a song or an album. For example, I didn’t care much for Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”. Then I heard Brandy Clark sing it at a show and i loved it. Hope she records it someday.

    Like

    • Josh Schott February 25, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      Believe me I understand this. I feel the same way about Church and Lambert. Their voices are not pleasing to my ears and I find myself not liking their music as much as others. That’s also why I rated them lower in mainstream artists ranking last year.

      Like

    • NoahHibiscusEaton February 26, 2015 / 2:53 am

      Understandable.

      I personally don’t mind Church’s nasal twang. I get where some can’t help but feel he exaggerates his twang as do many fellow country singers (Jennifer Nettles has always been polarizing for exactly that reason)………….but when I hear him talk in interviews, it’s clear he has a distinctive accent that doesn’t sound well off from how he sounds on tape.

      I’m not bothered by it. He doesn’t have a lot of range much like Jason Aldean, but I think he does an instinctually good job at knowing how to use his monotone to his advantage and still wring out some attitude on some tracks and emotion on others. Much like Aldean proves he is capable of selling songs that require dropping that stoic stance like “Don’t Change Gone”, “Tryin’ To Love Me” and “Church Pew or Barstool”, Church accomplishes the same here and there with “Lightning”, “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” and “Sinners Like Me”.

      My whole family can’t stand “twangy vocals” in general, and I can tolerate them better than many. But I acknowledge why it just doesn’t resonate to others.

      Like

  5. KuFan March 18, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    This explains why he chose the lyrics he did within this song. I honestly don’t feel like this song is overproduced. It’s actually relatively simple in the way he plays it. Maybe it’s overproduced on the actual record, but I don’t hear that at all. I’m a fan of Eric Church because his originality is out of this world when all I hear on country radio are songs about tailgating and hot girls. I much rather hear a well-written song such as “Like A Wrecking Ball.”

    I respect Eric Church because he doesn’t really take what other people think into consideration and I think this plays into his originality, a different sound, and his lyrics. He’s a brilliant songwriter, in my opinion, and I think his voice is somewhat different and odd but I have grown to enjoy his music more and more now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diane G. July 31, 2015 / 10:35 am

      I’m a 60 year old woman. Since hearing Eric Church’s ‘Wrecking Ball’, I have done something I would have never believed that I could even tolerate. I put this song on individual repeat. This is – oh, I’m guessing – week #2 (maybe 3). I listen to this song over and over – day and night – unending . It only gets better each time. I’ve never been an Eric Church fan – because he simply hadn’t caught my attention -until now. I’m going to share something that apparently many of the “critics” don’t know. Eric Church understands that women need and want genuine love; we also need and want pure, raw sex. Both of these elements of a relationship are vital. Church has us given both. Wrecking Ball delivers the second – he even gives it to us in this way: “you’re about to get something from me, (Church) you don’t realize how very much you need – so, Baby, step back and get ready. It’s going to be hard, but you’ll only want more, and more . . .
      Love it, Eric Church! You/your talent is unbelievable, refreshing and exciting. Thank you for sharing your gift of music with the world.

      Like

      • jodyjo August 1, 2015 / 12:46 pm

        I think the good things you and I get from the song are elusive to the male critics. 😉

        Like

  6. Amanda April 11, 2015 / 10:23 pm

    Like a Wrecking Ball is probably the most sexiest song I’ve ever heard! I LOVE it. Love the whole Outsiders album. Of course, I’m a huge Church fan. I love that he writes his own songs and puts his original spin on everything he does. It’s not mainstream country and that’s what makes it unique! A++ from me!

    Like

  7. jodyjo July 22, 2015 / 12:34 am

    As a woman, a life-long country music fan, and a lukewarm Eric Church fan…
    This song is HOT HOT HOT!
    Not a thing wrong with it.
    The dusky voice, the heart-beat intro music, the raw hunger and near-violent intensity expressed in the lyrics…
    Who needs Bolero? 😀

    Like

  8. Jordan Roberts (@JordanRoberts87) July 23, 2015 / 3:34 am

    Can someone please help me find the song/artist im looking for! Like A Wrecking ball sounds soo similair to another song ive heard before with that echoy voice .. same tempo same style.. I cant put my finger on it and I cant find the answer anywhere!.. please e-mail me if you think you know who i’m talking about JRoberts03@shaw.ca

    Like

    • ThisGirl July 28, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Idk about the voice but it sure reminds me of “Whiter Shade of Pale” – They stole the organ bit from it. it’s not exactly the same but it’s the most iconic part of the song so it probably reminds you of that. I have a little bit of an issue with this in county music these days. It’s one thing to sample, it’s another to just steal the most iconic part of a classic tune and make an alright new song out of it knowing it will do well because the old songs were hits (I’m looking at you, Thomas Rhett, with Crash & Burn ripping off “Chain Gang” and Little Big Town with Girl Crush ripping off Unchained Melody.) All that to be said, I didn’t love “Like a Wrecking Ball” at first but now I think it’s alright. I’ll listen to it now and then – mostly b/c my husband travels & I get it. lol.

      Like

  9. Josh Schott August 18, 2015 / 10:54 am

    Hahahahaha! You and the other middle aged women bitching about this review need to grow thicker skin. And comparing this song to an all-time classic like “Lets Get It On” is downright laughable. Eric Church has nowhere near the talent of a legend like Marvin Gaye and probably never will. But hey if you find cheesy rock ballads passing itself off to be country, good for you. It speaks to how much taste you and your significant other have….not very much. LOL! Have a nice day.

    Like

Comments are closed.