Thursday, March 17, 2011

Eric Church, "Homeboy"

After going Top 20 with "Smoke a Little Smoke," Eric Church churns out a new single offering that attempts to be inspiring, strains to be clever, and ultimately ends up a step down from all the other one-dimensional anthems espousing the country lifestyle at the expense of the urban lifestyle. 

Eric assumes the character of a rural small town dweller supposedly urging a rebellious youth to readjust his wayward life course.  Though the lyrics briefly mention some cocky behavior ("Heard you cussed out mama, pushed daddy around"), the main focus is on an urban lifestyle, as if hip-hop culture is to blame for all of the evils in the world.  What is the alternative solution Eric suggests?  He superficially asserts that the young man would be better off "sittin' on the gate of a truck by the lake/ With your high school flame on one side, ice cold beer on the other."

It's hard to see what power pick-up trucks, high-school flames, and beer have to keep a young man on the straight and narrow.  In effect, all Eric really says here is "Don't be a city boy.  Be a country boy."  As much as we may love our small-town country life, let's be humble about it - It's not for everybody.  The end effect of Eric's sentiments is nothing more than exalting one culture over another.

Regrettably, the problems don't stop there.  The song is soured further by the way its narrator implores the said youth in a superior, condescending manner, particularly by addressing him as "boy."  As an extra negative, "Homeboy" isn't even pleasing on a musical level, with a cacophonous mishmash of an arrangement serving as an enormously annoying distraction.  Thus, the single not only fails, but fails spectacularly.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)