Eric Church — “Creepin'”
Like a rattlesnake’s trademark warning, Eric Church’s new single “Creepin’” starts off like a spare, swampy threat. With only an acoustic guitar and a tangle of vocal effects, Church sets an ominous tone for a love story fit for a Louisiana voodoo queen.
Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the artist’s patented country crazy comes out, plowing full force through a wall of banjo, electric guitar and drums with a high-octane chorus: “Head to the future, run from the past /Hide from the mirror and live in a glass /What dreams forget the whiskey remembers /Kinda like molasses in late December.” But the slinky, dirty crescendo makes the singer’s rocking blow-out even more enjoyable.
It’s a fantastic ride and an unlikely success. The number of directions the song attempts can be overwhelming, tied together only by a string of colorful, interesting verses about the effect of love on one’s sanity. Like Church himself, it can be over the top – by the song’s end, his distorted plea to “Break it down, down, down, down…” is grating – but consistently entertaining.
“Creepin’” is Church’s most ambitious single since “Smoke a Little Smoke,” both songs sharing a need for speed and inventive country instrumentation. As mainstream darlings Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift push the envelope at country radio with edgier singles like “Good Girl” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Church has managed to broaden the industry’s horizons in a very different direction. And while he has always experimented in a genre uncomfortable with change, Church has never pushed boundaries further than on his latest album Chief. The eclectic take has resulted in his two highest-charting singles to date, as the peppy “Drink in My Hand” and soft, piano-tinged “Springsteen” reached Number One.
An excellent addition to his storied live shows, “Creepin’” continues Church’s tightly crafted knack for modern, experimental country music. And like its title suggests, it’s another example of how that brand of music can slowly worm its way into a listener’s head and heart.
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