Without a doubt, Eric Church’s 2014 album The Outsiders was an all-around success for him. It easily reached #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, is certified platinum and as of September has sold over one million copies (a feat that is becoming rarer and rarer in today’s world of music). Not only was the album a commercial success, but received plenty of critical acclaim too. It was even nominated for Best Country Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. So it’s no surprise to see Church and his label elect to release a sixth single from the album, despite this being a rarity for an artist not named Taylor Swift. This sixth single is “Roller Coaster Ride.” It follows the previous single “Like A Wrecking Ball,” which peaked at #11 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. And just like that single, I’m once again perplexed by the sound of this new single.
“Roller Coaster Ride” starts out well enough with the sound of a catchy, steady drum beat. It’s not country, but makes for a nice rock sound. When the chorus kicks in, the song goes straight pop with a hint of rock thrown in. The instrumentation in the chorus is mainly a synth guitar and tambourine. Towards the latter part of the song, Church tries to pull a Sturgill and go psychedelic, but instead it just feels half-baked and thrown in for the hell of it. The one part of the instrumentation I did like in this song though was the dark piano interludes that shows its head throughout. If only there was more of that and the drum play with some steel guitar thrown in, this song could have actually been something interesting.
The song itself is about a man who is dealing with his feelings and thoughts after being dumped by a woman he loved. He compares it to a roller coaster ride, which I guess is alright. But I can’t help but remember that Luke Bryan released a similar single just last year titled “Roller Coaster.” It just feels like a lazy comparison to me. Similar to “Like A Wrecking Ball,” I feel once again Church could dig deeper as a songwriter and give something more. The two main complaints I have with The Outsiders and now both of Church’s last two singles are the instrumentation and the songwriting. I’m glad this is most likely the final single from that album, so we can finally move onto something else from Church because I’m getting sick of dissecting music from The Outsiders.
And I want to take a moment to say something to Eric Church fans. Every time I write something about Church and criticize him, you come after me like I’ve just thrown your first-born into the Grand Canyon. There’s no need for this anger. If you enjoy “Roller Coaster Ride,” good for you. Don’t get your underpants in wad because somebody doesn’t have the exact same opinion as you do. If you want to disagree, that’s cool too. But in a respectful manner, just like I respectfully reviewed this song and every other piece of music on this site. Now as for “Roller Coaster Ride,” I find it to be not much of a country song and very much a pop-rock song. Overall the song just has a weird cohesiveness about it and that makes it hard for me to get into it. This song has a few good things going on, but a lot of weirdly bad stuff too. “Roller Coaster Ride” is pretty mediocre and you’re not going to miss much if you don’t hear it.