Eric Church – “Homeboy”

Stephen Deusner | March 1st, 2011

Eric ChurchAnd I thought Aaron Lewis had released the worst country song of the year. Eric church’s latest single, however, somehow manages the superhuman feat of lowering the bar even further. Whereas the Staind frontman’s “Country Boy” passively regurgitated every countrier-than-thou cliché without bothering with such niceties as melody, Church’s “Homeboy” is actively, even aggressively bad to the point of insulting, both culturally and musically.

Co-written with Casey Beathard, the song takes the form of a pep talk by a contented rural farmer to a prodigal son wandering astray through urban culture. Church thinks that he’d be better off drinking a beer, baling hay, and hanging out with his high school sweetheart. Some fans and writers have suggested that the song is about the meth blight in rural communities, but there’s nothing in these lyrics to suggest as much (the Drive-By Truckers’ “You and Your Crystal Meth” is a better and braver examination of the issue).

Instead, that first verse makes clear—whether intentionally or not—that hip-hop stands in for all the ills of the world, with Church indulging every outdated generalization about the music, from low-hanging pants to the “tattoo on your neck” to the “fake gold on your teeth.” Such a casual vilification of African American musical culture becomes especially problematic when Church tries to play on the meaning of the title: “You better come home, boy,” he sings, apparently without realizing that “boy” is a racially condescending term.

It might be easier to give him the benefit of the doubt here if the music wasn’t such a leaden, lumpen mess. The song’s a hodgepodge of production gimmicks, none of which make much sense for the sentiments: That harp on the first chorus sounds like it was borrowed from another song altogether (and not a very good one at that), and the bombastic finale stops just shy of a heavenly choir. “Homeboy” crescendos so self-seriously that it topples over into self-parody, as if Church were performing a bad “SNL” sketch.

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  1. [...] jump off a cliff. [...] These reviewers need to take the nipple off there sippy cups and get real. ● - – The 9513 may have ceased publication, but the defensive hit-and-run comments are still [...]
  2. [...] Church “Homeboy” August 9, 2011 • Lillie FishThis review is exactly why we are doing this blog. Eric Church is not cool. His songs are not going to show up [...]
  1. Mike Wimmer
    March 1, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I dont think it’s as bad as “Country Boy”, that still stands as the worst of the bunch to me, but it is my least favorite Church song and quite a let down considering that I have for the most part really enjoyed his first two albums.

  2. Ben Foster
    March 1, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Yes, this is a pretty crummy single, though between this and “Country Boy,” I’d be hard pressed to decide which one is worse. This is not the first time we’ve heard a song praising the joys of the country lifestyle at the expense of the urban lifestyle, but this song just takes it a huge step further.

  3. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Stephen-Your third paragraph is full of assumptions. Sorry you are so easily offended by an accurate depiction of current affairs. You liberals beat everything. Do a study on urban culture sir. You might be surprised. Read the stats. And quit whining about racism everytime someone even hints at thoughts like these.

    By the way, glad someone has the b@#@# to say something about low-hanging pants.

  4. Kari
    March 1, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I like BOTH of the songs from Eric Church and Aaron Lewis. Coming from a rock and rock background they appeal to me.

    In regards to the part about this being about an African American…not so fast. Apparently, this reviewer has not seen what a homeboy of late looks like. This description could fit into any race. The city where I live has it all… Latino, Asian, White, African American.

  5. luckyoldsun
    March 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I agree the song’s pretty awful: It’s a tradition in country songs to try to take down the upper crust.

    In songs like “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down” or “I’ll Catch You When You Fall”, the singer rips into his woman for leaving him and their world behind. Or in “Better Class of Losers,” and “Uptown Downtown,” the singer tries to deflate the upscale world.

    But here, taking on hip-hop just seems to miss the mark. There’s a good idea in there, but the songwriter/singer should have put in a bit of humor/self deprecation. Then it might not have sounded so defensive and clueless.

    Church is a pretty average or below-average singer, so if he starts with a weak song, he’s got nowhere to go with it but down.

  6. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

    @Kari – Welcome! There are some reviewers here that came from a non-country genre background and started writing reviews on country songs, so you are dang welcome as well. Your other comment is spot-on. Pay no attention to liberal dribble. They are always looking to be offended.

    @Lucky – Regardless of yoru other assertions, I don’t think Church is a below-average singer. You may not like his style, but state that rather than make an arbitrary comment like that. I posted recently that I never did like Reba’s singing. However, that is a personal taste issue as she is not “below-average” at all. I simply just don’t like her voice.

    By the way, Church’s rendition of Curtis Lowe on the Skynyrd tribute was very good.

  7. Blake
    March 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

    So, go ahead and do the liberal bashing thing. Now that it’s out of your system, let’s not forget the heart of the argument. This type of song has been done before, and much better. I’ve had to stop listening to some good artists for their ridiculous need to join in on the “My Love for Country is Bigger Than Yours” check. It’s getting ridiculous. Every writer should know that it’s about being country, not telling that you’re country. I have always thought Church was a poser, and this song does nothing to prove me wrong.

  8. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

    @Blake – Your comment about “My Love for Country is Bigger Than Yours” actually has some merit. However, just because it is a trend does not mean we can’t still have it presented in songs. Yes, you can “be” something, but to communicate what it is you normally put it in verse. It is more troubling for me to hear someone sing about something they are not. They are simply hitching their wagon to the current train. Reference Jessica Simpson, etc.

    Your thoughts about Church being a poser probably has to do with the sugject matter os some of his songs, and that takes me to the first sentence of your reply which needs no further comment.

  9. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Sorry for the spelling errors!

  10. stormy
    March 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

    (the Drive-By Truckers’ “You and Your Crystal Meth” is a better and braver examination of the issue).

    Aftermath USA was a better and braver examination of the issue and it was their worst song.

    This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. This has to do with Eric Church attempting something he would do better to leave to people with the talent to accomplish it.
    Also, buying into the sterotyping of rap music as all being pro-gang banger, drugs and hookers schlock has a two fold problem. Firstly, if you are going to criticize something, you need to do your research and know what it is you criticize. In Church’s case he might do well to remember that much of what is known as gansta rap is a chronicle about the life is supposedly glorifies and a commentary on the society that allow such condititions to continue. (“Instead of a war on poverty,” Tupac points out, “They got a war on drugs so they can harass and arrest me.”) Secondly, religating such a large part of African American culture buys into the sterotype that all white country boys are ignorant hicks who lump everyone into sterotypes. Way to represent there Eric.
    Would have been intersting to see him write a follow up/response to Kayne’s Crack Music:
    “We took that s*, measured it and then cooked that S*
    And what we gave back was crack music
    And now we ooze it through they nooks and crannies
    So our mammas aint got to be they cooks and nannies
    And we gonna repo everything they ever took from granny
    Now the former slaves trade hooks for Grammys
    This dark diction has become America’s addiction those who ain’t even black use it.

    Or My Way Home.
    Well, Thanks Eric for reminding me that Late Registration was awesome.

  11. Raven
    March 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

    1. i am not crazy about the song, which stinks because I happen to really enjoy Church’s vocal abilities.
    2. When listening to the song I didn’t really get the whole ‘being about an African american’ vibe.

    This is a rather big let down as I was obsessed with ‘Smoke a little Smoke’

  12. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Like, Kari, I come froma rock ‘n’ roll (well, metal, actually) background, but I think both “Country Boy” and “Homeboy” blow goats. She is right, though: last I checked, there are a ton of white kids in baggy pants, silly tats and grills. Not really seeing the supposed racial angle to this song. Maybe if it were released twenty years ago, when those stereotypes actually did apply mostly to black folks, but not in 2011.

    On the other hand, Eric Church sounds exactly like the character in the song: a middle-aged or older guy completely out of touch with his son’s generation. It’s just your typical parental tirade set to music. Which puts it squarely in the category of “young men making music for people twice their age,” sharing space with the likes of “Small Town USA.”

    And it obviously ain’t about meth. You don’t look to Eric Church or his ilk for subtlety or hidden meanings. If it’s not explicitly spelled out in the lyrics, it ain’t there, with guys like him.

  13. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 10:42 am

    All right, it’s a brother, not a dad, but it amounts to the same. And I’m guessing some people mistook “mess” for “meth” in the second verse.

  14. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 11:13 am

    @Stormy – You don’t think Eric is talented?

  15. Noeller
    March 1, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I think I’ve been the most vocal, staunch supporter of EC on this blog over the years. Loved “Sinners Like Me”, liked “Carolina”, but this supposed lead single………I just don’t know what to think. The production is the real capper — it’s just so horrendous, especially in the first chorus, that it distracts to the point of annoying.

    I don’t have as much of a problem with the lyrics as some seem to, but the production on this is a fabulous mess.

    I maintain that Eric Church, on a stool with a guitar, stands up to just about anyone in Nashville today, but when you start getting into this weird kinda Rock/AC mess, things really go askew.

  16. Ryan
    March 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I don’t know what you guys are listening to, but as far as me and my friends go, and thousands on youtube, it’s an awesome song.

  17. stormy
    March 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I think he has a decent voice, but until he can come somewhere close to Drunken Angel, I Wish It Would Rain or Waco Moon, he should leave such subject matters to Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell and Todd Snider.

  18. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I can go along with that. The production is so bombastic, it draws the attention away from the lyrics, so you don’t get the “full story,” such as it is, but only hear stuff like about pickups by the lake and high school flames and beer. You sort of miss out on how big brother’s left to tend the farm as the parents are getting too old, while little brother is off pretending to be T.I. or something.

    The oly racial aspect is our wayward son being called “snow” in the first verse, as in “snow white.”

    But that’s more analysis than this song deserves.

  19. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    @Ryan: Yeah, dude, you and your buds have got the whole YouTube Army behind you. Fearsome!

  20. Jon
    March 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    @Fizz Seems like you are blaming the record for your own deficits as a listener. I don’t like the song or the record, but I didn’t have any problem understanding what it said the first time around.

    On the other hand, I agree that there’s no good reason to read a racial slant in the song, and it’s particularly wrongheaded to come down on the use of “boy,” which is not (that’s N-O-T) addressed to an African-American (unless the narrator and his brother are African-American, which considerably change the complexion of the whole song, eh?), and therefore not racially condescending in any respect.

    @Luckyoldsun is right to locate this record in a country tradition, but he’s misidentified the particular one. It’s not about “deflating the upscale world,” it’s about reminding a friend or family member who’s moved to the city that his or her roots are down-home. A comic slant on it can be found in the old “Stuck Up Blues,” a more sombre one in Larry Cordle & Larry Shell’s “The Fields Of Home” or Mark Springer and Roger Murrah’s “Where Corn Don’t Grow” – both songs that I guess @Fizz would dismiss as ““young men making music for people twice their age.” Maybe someday he’ll figure out that that’s actually a pretty decent description of the way country music worked for a long, long time, and in some respects still works.

  21. Andrew
    March 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I’m an Eric Church fan and I think hes very talented. Hes got a lot of great songs but I don’t think this one falls into that category. However, I do like it. The production drowns out the words too much and the message could be delivered better. Its a lot better than most of the crap that’s out there these days.

  22. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Well, Andrew, I guess that just speaks more to your inferior listening abilities. Blaming the record and all. Anyway, that’s “how country music works.” Right, Jon?

  23. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    @Stormy-Subject matters have nothign to do with one’s talent. That is like saying Hellywood has more of a right to put forth liberal ideas because they are famous.

    @Noeller-Obviously some have never seen the youtube video of Eric’s Opry performance, on a stool, with a guitar singing “Lightening”. A remarkable performance.

  24. Andrew
    March 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Bow down to the all mighty fizz, the only opinion that matters.

    As of you all thinking there is nothing wrong with the hip hop world/way of life – go sit in a classroom in an inner city school and see if that’s how kids should be acting or striving to be like their rap star heroes. If you haven’t experienced it, you should and then your opinion might change.

    Waynoe – that “Lightning” performance at the Opry is damn good.

  25. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Hey man, I thought the same as you. I was just having a little (more) fun with Jon’s post, is all.

    Look, I went to a racially-diverse public school, I get what you’re saying, but stupidity listens to all kinds of music.

  26. Noeller
    March 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    For the uninitiated, here is Eric Church performing his self-penned “Lightning” on Opry Live:

    Do yourself a favour and check it out — this dude seriously does kick ass, with the right material.

  27. Waynoe
    March 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    @Noeller – I should have posted it in my earlier comment. Thanks for doing so.

  28. Stormy
    March 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Subject matter CAN if an artist doesn’t have the talent for writing songs about certain matters nor the the vocal delivery to make the song convincing. For example, Brad Paisley is very good, but I doubt anyone would really buy into him shooting a man in reno just to watch him die.

  29. Kyle
    March 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I think that what this song is TRYING to say actually hits home in some ways. The reality is, a ton of teenagers in the rural south are closer to the character in this song than the singer in “Small Town USA”, despite what CMT would have you believe. People always want to be what they’re not… it’s an insecurity thing.

    But not only is it kind of an oversimplified version of the issue, the production makes it completely unlistenable to me. Church must be really into Collective Soul these days or something…

  30. Jon
    March 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I think that what this song is TRYING to say actually hits home in some ways.


  31. Jon
    March 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Subject matter CAN if an artist doesn’t have the talent for writing songs about certain matters nor the the vocal delivery to make the song convincing.

    I never believed that Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, nor did I ever believe that he was the kind of guy who might have done it. I guess he didn’t have the talent for writing songs about certain matters nor the vocal delivery to make the song convincing, because after all, if I didn’t find it convincing, how could anyone else?

  32. Fizz
    March 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I never did either, Jon, but Cash was able to play the role convincingly, maybe because he didn’t paint himself into a corner by being somebody who did only one or two kinds of songs. Paisley is already too widely knwon as kind of a goofy, harmless guy.

    I always loved Cash’s way of likening murder and prison songs to collecting rare coins and antique guns: “The coins aren’t to spend, adn the guns aren’t to shoot. But it’s fun to sing about those things.”

  33. Rick
    March 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Noeller said: “I maintain that Eric Church, on a stool with a guitar, stands up to just about anyone in Nashville today, but when you start getting into this weird kinda Rock/AC mess, things really go askew.” I agree with you on this one.

    When Eric does acoustic sets on the Grand Ole Opry they are always top notch and he really shines. When he tries to act like a rabble rousing rebel outlaw rocker his music tends to sound like sh*t. This song is a definite example of the latter…

  34. Jon
    March 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    @Fizz If you don’t believe that Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, and if you don’t believe that Cash is the kind of man who would do such a thing, then what does it mean to say he “was able to play the role convincingly?” Because you’ve just told us that you weren’t convinced.

  35. Jessica
    March 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Whoever said Eric church has no talent is insane. I’ve seen him live three times abd he’s an excellent performer that really puts his heart into his performances and truely feels the music he’s singing. Not to mention his band is very talented as well. ! It’s very annoying to me how people always have to make everything about race. It’s not my favorite EC song but I never took it as him talking abt African Americans. I assumed whoever the home boy was was a white kid trying to be something he’s not and forgetting his routes. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but it makes me laugh when ppl are so quick to jump on these blogs and rip ppl apart. Erics music is real and from the heart, and if you ever went to a show you’d feel it too.

  36. Noeller
    March 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    @Rick — I can dig it. When you take away from the song itself by trying to create too much “noise”, you lose something in the finished product.

    Production is ruining music………??

  37. Melody
    March 1, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    What are you smoking haha lol. I love love love EC and this song. Stop reading tso much into it. It’s a great song.

  38. Roger
    March 1, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I keep hearing how great this guy is and I have not heard it at all on the songs they release to radio….

  39. Noeller
    March 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    @Roger — if you’re using radio singles as a basis for good music, then you probably haven’t heard a good song in a really long time. And I say that as a radio programmer!

  40. Jessica
    March 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Radio sucks!

  41. idlewildsouth
    March 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    I personally think it’s a pretty clever idea. I could use a little less in the production area, but other than I really enjoy it.

  42. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Somehow, Jon, I have this sneaking suspicion that if I had said I didn’t “believe” Johnny Cash had shot a man in Reno to watch him die, you would then respond by saying he’s just playing a role in the song, and why do people want their artists to only “sing what they know,” and that’s not how country works, and all the rest of your usual bullshit.

  43. Bill
    March 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

    For those of you that only listen to radio and have never seen a live EC show…

    Go here –

    Click “Preview”

    Watch the free songs and let me know if there is anyone in country performing with that much heart and energy.

    He ain’t no pretty boy, actin’ tough, I can assure you of that.

  44. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

    @Fizz You missed the point. What makes you say Cash didn’t convince you (or, if you prefer, make you believe) that he was or could have been a sociopathic murderer, and at the same time say that he was able to play the role of a sociopathic murderer convincingly (or, if you prefer, believably)?

  45. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Cash the man vs. the voice singing the song. Quit playing ping-poing with my posts.

  46. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I’m just trying to understand how you can contradict yourself so glaringly within the space of short paragraph: Cash’s voice convinces you that he could be a murderer but you aren’t convinced he could be a murderer.

  47. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Do you think Anthony Hopkins himself could be a serial killer just because he played Hannibal Lector so well? Does Alice Cooper have to be the maniac in real life that he is onstage? What about someone like Stephen King?

    It’s pretty simple if you for once don’t try to overanalyze it: Cash is playing a character in “FOlsom Prison Blues.” It desont’ mean anything about the man himself.

  48. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

    @Fizz You’re still missing the point from every angle. Never mind.

  49. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 10:55 am

    And you’re missing MY point! As usual.

  50. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

    No, I understand what you’re saying. It’s just not responsive to what I was asking about, hence “missing the point.”

  51. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

    In that case, maybe you need to stop concentrating on what YOU’RE saying and telling other people what they meant and why it’s wrong, put away the fine-toothed comb, shut up and listen.

  52. Barry Mazor
    March 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

    ON this Cash versus Brad versus what, Mighty Mouse in His Pajamas as cold blooded killer-singer kerfuffle. There’s such a thing as “casting.” Some works for a part, some–not so much. Any film or TV director would get that.

    And there is no doubt whatsoever that in any kind of pop music the image and the sense of the personality makes a difference to audiences as to what they’ll buy as “from the artist.” There are differences in singing style as to how MUCH a singer assumes or portrays that “I” in the song, or is relating a story–all legitimate. And how a performer is “read” can evolve over time, especially with age, or bulk, or new “gravitas.” But these perceptions of the singer, and the relation to the song, have always mattered in this field.

  53. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Which was all I was getting at to begin with, and in the nearly half-dozen times I tried to rephrase for Rain Man here. In “Folsom Prison Blues,” Cash sounds like “someone” who might have actually done the deed, as far as playing a part, but that it never extended to where I thought Cash, the man, actually did it, or needed to do it, to sing a song and play the part convincingly.

  54. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Rain Man

    Love the ASD “jokes,” Fizz; you are truly a big man.

  55. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Not to me, he doesn’t. So if he doesn’t to me, how can he to you? It’s almost like there’s some kind of interaction between singer and listener that falls into the subjective, rather than objective range. Like there’s something that one could call by some handy phrase, like – just to come up with a brand new one off the top of my head – willing suspension of disbelief.” Who’da thunk it?

  56. Stormy
    March 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    March 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm #Subject matter CAN if an artist doesn’t have the talent for writing songs about certain matters nor the the vocal delivery to make the song convincing.

    I never believed that Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, nor did I ever believe that he was the kind of guy who might have done it. I guess he didn’t have the talent for writing songs about certain matters nor the vocal delivery to make the song convincing, because after all, if I didn’t find it convincing, how could anyone else?

    But did you belive the protagionist of the song did it?

  57. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Like it or not, that’s what discussing anything with you feels like.

    And why must you always point out when something is subjective? We all know that, it goes without saying, you don’t need to belabor the obvious, etc., etc.

  58. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    The protagonist of the song didn’t deliver the vocal; Johnny Cash did. “Convincing” means either that you flat-out believe that the guy or gal singing the song did or is capable of doing what the song says s/he did, felt or is capable of feeling what the song says s/he felt, etc., or else that you are willing to suspend your disbelief and participate in the fiction (unless, of course, it’s not a fiction). And whether either of those things happen is not solely the responsibility of the singer.

    Which is the point that some people around here – Barry not included – appear to have a hard time grasping.

  59. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    And why must you always point out when something is subjective? We all know that…

    In the first place, I only point it out from time to time, when it presents itself as central to a discussion (as in this instance). That happens from time to time because, contrary to your assertion – or is it a theory? – “we” regularly show signs of not knowing that. At all.

  60. FizzFizz
    March 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    “The protagonist of the song didn’t deliver the vocal, Johnny Cash did.”

    <—-Jeeeee-zus CHRIST!

  61. FizzFizz
    March 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    “We” regularly show signs of not knowing that at all.
    <—-And that's subjective too.

  62. luckyoldsun
    March 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I finally got Alan Jackson’s Freight Train album when it came up on Amazon for under $5, so I just heard it for the first time.

    I have a hard time buying his “Hard Hat and a Hammer” persona now, based on the fact that I know that he’s a multimillionaire and travels first class and buys (or gives away) cars and boats and planes or whatever on a whim.

    I don’t have that problem when I hear a new recording from Willie or Hag or Jones. Maybe all of their accidents and surgeries and bankruptcies and arrests make them seem more human.

  63. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Whoa, FizzFizz, you think Jesus Christ delivered the vocal on “Folsom Prison Blues?”

  64. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    “We” regularly show signs of not knowing that at all.
    <—-And that's subjective too.

    No, that’s an ironclad fact.

  65. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Invoking the name of J.C. was my version of your famous “*facepalm*.” And no, it’s not an ironclad fact, because it’s based on your perceptions of others. Because when I all you Jon The Omniscient, I’m being sarcastic; omniscient you ain’t.

  66. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Invoking the name of J.C. was my version of your famous “*facepalm*.”

    Wow, that flew right over your head, didn’t it?

    Stormy’s statements – which were what I was responding to in the first place – have to do with vocal delivery; characters don’t deliver vocals, singers do. Therefore, her subsequent question: “did you believe the protagionist of the song did it?” is either nonsensical or can only be answered, in whichever direction, by reference to the singer – either the vocal delivery exclusively, the singer’s image and persona exclusively, or some combination of those.

  67. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    What went right over my head? The attempt of a person with zero sense of humor to be humorous?

    Hold on, I’ll try it again. “Whoa, you think Jesus Christ delivered the vocal on ‘Folsom Prison Blues?'”
    <–Hahahahahaaaaaa! Whoooo-EE! *thighslap, tearwipe, bellyclutch* That's a hot one there, Jon! Stand back ladies and gents, this kid's on fire!

  68. Noeller
    March 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I can’t believe we’ve gone 67 posts deep with you two having an internet “long-cock” contest.

    Put it back in the pants, boys…let it all go.

  69. Stormy
    March 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    March 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm #The protagonist of the song didn’t deliver the vocal; Johnny Cash did. “Convincing” means either that you flat-out believe that the guy or gal singing the song did or is capable of doing what the song says s/he did, felt or is capable of feeling what the song says s/he felt, etc., or else that you are willing to suspend your disbelief and participate in the fiction (unless, of course, it’s not a fiction). And whether either of those things happen is not solely the responsibility of the singer.

    Which is the point that some people around here – Barry not included – appear to have a hard time grasping.

    No, it means that the person telling the story is telling it in a compelling way.

  70. Jon G.
    March 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    “I guess he didn’t have the talent for writing songs about certain matters nor the vocal delivery to make the song convincing, because after all, if I didn’t find it convincing, how could anyone else?”

    “Not to me, he doesn’t. So if he doesn’t to me, how can he to you?”

    That’s a startling lack of empathy. It seems contradictory to be defending subjectivity one minute and saying that your way is the only way the next. And according to you, even if that’s not what you meant to say, that’s what I interpreted you as saying, so that’s what you said. If there was any irony or sarcasm in your posts, I didn’t catch it. And you may argue that conveying such things is not the sole responsibility of the writer, it sure as Hank isn’t the sole responsibility of the reader.

    Suspension of disbelief plays a big part in all performance-based art. However, like in a film or play, some actors are generally perceived as better at maintaining that willful illusion. Sure, there’s wiggle room for individual analysis within that – everybody will likely never agree on anything artistic. And that’s what (I think) Fizz is saying here. He listens to a Cash song, and for those few minutes, he can believe that the voice he hears is that of a killer without the spell being broken by lack of nuance or an otherwise clumsy delivery. In the back of his mind or when the song is over, logic and what he knows of the celebrity will tell him this is unlikely – unbelievable – untrue. But during the song, Cash is a killer. Maybe not to you, but to him. And that’s what subjectivity means.

  71. Waynoe
    March 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    What I am taking from some comments here is that a singer can sing about being a country boy because it is the convincing presenation that matters. Hmmm. Kind of knocks the whole “don’t sing about being country, just be country” thought down to the ground dosen’t it?

  72. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Actually, Waynoe, I take the whole “don’t sing about country, just be country” as more a reaction to people who do a lot of that type of song, as a way of saying “show us, don’t tell us,” or that the artist maybe “doth protest too loudly.”

  73. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    If there was any irony or sarcasm in your posts, I didn’t catch it. And you may argue that conveying such things is not the sole responsibility of the writer, it sure as Hank isn’t the sole responsibility of the reader.

    Fair enough.

    But during the song, Cash is a killer. Maybe not to you, but to him. And that’s what subjectivity means.

    Exactly; same singer, different listeners, different results. According to Stormy, though, such a thing isn’t possible, because it’s all in the writer’s talent for writing about certain matters and the singer’s vocal delivery – a view which, in one way or another and to one extent or another,, underpins a lot of comments around here, FizzFizz’s protests notwithstanding.

  74. Masterful
    March 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve known Eric for several years, and I’ve never heard anything remotely racist from his mouth. He loves people, and he loves playing, singing, and writing music. The song has a cool progression, catchy lyrics, a play on words with “Homeboy” and “Home, Boy”, and a story. Most songs on the radio have some type of play on words. This song is nothing more than a modern day prodigal son story. How better to depict that a country boy has gone awry than to say he’s tattooed up in baggy clothes and hanging out with a rough crowd on mean streets?
    I went through a phase like that. In my case I pierced my ear and started smoking and wearing caps backwards. My older brother had “talks” with me all the time to try to get me to quit being something I wasn’t. He was concerned about me because I wasn’t acting like he was used to. We are caucasian and my family called me “boy” all the time.
    You’re going to try to play the race card and say that Eric wrote in the lyric “boy” to be condescending to black people? Talk about over-analyzing.
    By the way, if you want to be taken seriously, you might consider not stating your opinion as fact. It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but don’t pretend it is the written word of God.
    “that first verse makes clear—whether intentionally or not—that hip-hop stands in for all the ills of the world”…really?
    The lyrics are as follows,
    “You were too bad for a little square town,
    with your hip-hop hat and your pants on the ground
    I heard you cussed out momma, threw daddy around
    ‘fore you tore off in his car”
    How does this blame all the ills of the world on Hip-Hop?

    Sounds like his problem is that his kid brother has lost respect for everyone but himself, cussing out his parents and stealing their car, wearing “rebellious” clothes (to that culture), and leaving home. Who wouldn’t have a problem with this type of behavior?

    Your review is pathetic. Like the song or not, don’t make it into a racial issue / political statement.
    Freaking grow up.

  75. Masterful
    March 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    By the way, here’s a quote from Eric regarding the writing of “Homeboy”. . .
    “Once you craft the idea, what tied it together was the chorus,” says Eric. “I like to sit down and let the song take you somewhere. We all hear the term ‘homeboy’ … and the brother pleads with him to come home before mom and dad go home, or to a kind of heaven. When you’re a songwriter and think about those different ways to use “home,” that’s what moves the song along.”

    That really sounds racially motivated, doesn’t it? How about doing a little bit of research before you show your ignorance? It would perhaps make you look a little more like a real journalist.

  76. Andrew
    March 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Amen Wonderful. Great post.

  77. Fizz
    March 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Where did Stormy say it was “all in the writer’s talent and the singer’s vocal ability?” For somebody who’s always so painstakingly careful about everything, you jump to a lot of conclusions.

    As for Eric’s buddy, while i agree the song isn’t racially-motivated, whether people want to admit it or not, the idea of the kid brother turning into a “wigger” is something that might just appeal to a segment of the country-music audience. And the wordplay of the song title is based on that premise, so it’s not like he could be rewritten into, say, a biker or something.

  78. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    @Fizz Not only did she make that point in this discussion – I quoted her comment when I replied to it in a post to which you replied – but she has made it time and again in discussions that took place even before you found The9513, never mind since. I don’t blame you for not reading every discussion hereon, nor for not remembering everything you read, but you might want to avoid acting as if you’ve read and remembered it all.

    The argument Stormy made that I responded to was that Church lacks the talent as a writer to write convincingly about certain subjects and as a singer to sing about them; that is a point which puts all the responsibility on the writer and artist and none on the listener, and she underlined it by dishing up the hypothetical instance of Brad Paisley’s lack of believability – despite being “good” – were he to sing “Folsom Prison Blues.” And that post was in itself essentially a reiteration of a similar statement she’d made earlier in this discussion: “This has to do with Eric Church attempting something he would do better to leave to people with the talent to accomplish it” – namely, write and sing convincingly about certain subjects.

    But it is obvious that some people here disagree; they find him convincing. So who’s right? Stormy? Or them? Or does it, you know, depend in some way on the interaction between song and artist and listener? What’s your theory, Fizz?

  79. Stormy
    March 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Alternately, its possible for different people to have different opinions and for all of us to be right.

  80. Jon
    March 2, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Then it’s clearly about those different people and not about Church, in which case your statements about him were incorrect. Or were you just theorizing that his vocal delivery is unconvincing when it comes to certain subjects?

  81. luckyoldsun
    March 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I just listened to the song again and changed my mind on one thing. It’s not an attack on hip-hop or black Americans. It’s an attack on a white kid who’s trying to act like what he’s not. So the reviewer is really out of line in basically accusing the writer/singer of racism.

    That being said, I still don’t care for the record.

  82. Kyle
    March 3, 2011 at 1:49 am

    “That really sounds racially motivated, doesn’t it? How about doing a little bit of research before you show your ignorance? It would perhaps make you look a little more like a real journalist.”

    Eaaaasy now. He never said it was racially motivated. He actually said the opposite, that Church was “apparently unaware” that “boy” has historically been a racially condescending term.

    I agree with you that the song isn’t racist or inappropriate, but you’re doing the same thing to reviewer that you accuse him of doing to Church.

  83. luckyoldsun
    March 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Writers use what’s commonly called “rhetoric.” Every halfway intelligent American knows that “boy” is taken as an insulting/condescending term to black adults. So just because the reviewer throws in a word like “unaware” does not mean that he believes the songwriter, or singer, or producer et al were literally unaware of the word’s connotation.

    The whole tenor of the review–and the reason it’s attracted so much commentary–is that the reviewer in fact does insinuate that the song is racist.
    Maybe the fact that he mentions something about “casual villification of African American musical culture” has something to do with it.

  84. stormy
    March 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Jon: Crazily enough I was simply expressing an opinion. One that I understand had the unmitigated gall to differ from yours.

  85. Jon
    March 3, 2011 at 8:45 am

    An opinion cast in the form of a statement of fact, because a teacher told yOu once that opinions are best expressed in a way that renders them indistinguishable from assertions of fact. Maybe you should take another class.

  86. stormy
    March 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Jon: Other people seem able to tell that I am expressing an opinion. Perhaps the flaw is with the reader rather than the opinion. Or are those other people wrong?

    March 3, 2011 at 10:03 am

    This song is a rip off of larry platts pants on the ground. A 6 year old could have writted these lyrics.

  88. Fizz
    March 3, 2011 at 10:04 am


    March 3, 2011 at 10:08 am


  90. Waynoe
    March 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

    @Countrymusicsucks – Are you in school yet?

    @Fizz-Beat me to the punch.

    @Stormy – Not that I enjoy agreeing with Jon, but if a left-wing singer put out a song dissing bible-thumping Christians, would your assertions be the same?

  91. Fizz
    March 3, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Well, Stormy, since Jon already showed us the fault lies with the reader or listener, and since it’s one of his ironclad facts, I guess we knwo the answer to your question.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The in depth conversations on this post about such an ignorate song makes me laugh.

  93. Waynoe
    March 3, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Why? Does the song offend your crowd?

  94. Fizz
    March 3, 2011 at 11:11 am

    You calling somebody else “ignorate” is what made ME laugh. But I’m easily amused.

  95. Fizz
    March 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Sorry to get too in-depth for you, but that’s how these things often end up. Then it turns out all we’ve been screaming about for two days is the difference between opinions and facts. Certain parties can’t pick up on it unless the former are preceded by the words “I think.” Jon would make a lousy Sherlock Holmes: no deductive-reasoning power or ability to infer.

  96. Jon
    March 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Lovin’ the spelling flames from chronic offenders.

  97. Masterful
    March 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Country Music Sucks:
    With a name like you have, your credibility is somewhat squashed before you even say anything. It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    Case in point…”The in depth conversations on this post about such an ignorate song makes me laugh.”

    It’s highly ironic that you misspelled the word “ignorant”, don’t you think? Furthermore, you don’t need an “s” on the word “make”. The conversations make you laugh…they don’t “makes” you laugh. Your use of improper grammar while calling the song “ignorate” makes ME laugh.

  98. Kyle
    March 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm


    That wasn’t my take – I read as the review just pointing out an awkward choice of words that could be taken the wrong way – but I could be wrong.

    Like I said, I don’t think it’s a racist song. For one thing, isn’t the assumption that baggy pants and violence towards one’s parents is a “black” thing racist in itself? I’m pretty sure that has nothing inherent to do with one’s race, and is perfectly fair game for commentary. Just because something is generally associated with a certain race doesn’t mean it’s racist by definition to criticize it.

  99. Fizz
    March 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    It’s just one ‘f them things. Most of us realize the song isn’t racist, but for every person who thinks it is, there’s another one who likes it because he thinks it’s a song about wigger-bashing. Which, of course, it isn’t.

  100. donna
    March 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Why should people be so negetive, I love this song and is so cleverly written with the sign of the times written in each verse. “Come on home…boy”

  101. jake
    March 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    after reading all the bull about eric and arron songs i hope colt ford comes out with one about whining about music or wait there is one of those and i believe there is a find involved but still if colt re does it you will have something else to talk about in back to your whispering winds and waterfall music leave us all americans to ours

  102. jake
    March 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    thats go back to your waterfall music

  103. Kelby
    March 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    This is the worst article I have ever read. You will never see me on this website again after this crap. Great song Eric!! Waiting on the new album can’t wait!!

  104. Waynoe
    March 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Kelby – Stay around. There aren’t many of us politically incorrect folks on here.

  105. Masterful
    March 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    There’s a great writeup about Eric in “Country Weekly” entitled HOMEBOY.

    Quick, someone call the NAACP, the Black Panthers, and the Rainbow Coalition about this obviously racist magazine. (End Sarcasm)

    Here’s a couple of quotes from which maybe the so-called journalist who wrote this crap-ass “review” could educate himself in order to better perform his job.
    Hope you enjoy.

    From Country Weekly, March 7, p.40:

    “…Musically it’s a journey; ‘epic’ is the best word that I could use to describe it. It’s a story about two brothers. My co-writer coaches football and he heard this kid look at one of his buddies and say, ‘come on, homeboy.’ And Casey said, ‘Even though it’s a slang term, it would be interesting if we actually separated it and made it ‘home boy’ and actually talk about two brothers that kind of go their separate ways. One stays in a small town and works and the other kind of goes off and runs the streets. We both know people who have done that. And to give a third variation, at the end of the song we used the parents looking for the brother to come home before the mom and dad are called ‘home, boy’. So there’s three different uses of that title. I love songs that musically go places.”

    See how Country weekly gives a little background on the writing process, the writers, the inspiration, and what the song is about? Even though this article isn’t a review of the song, it does a much better job of reviewing the song in an unbiased manner and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions, positive or negative.
    I’ve drawn my conclusion about this author…he has a pre-conceived opinion about Eric Church. Nothing Eric does is going to be good in his opinion, and that’s fine with me. I don’t need your reviews, and Eric (with his first ACM awarded just last week!) doesn’t need your fandom. There are millions of us who support him.
    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  106. Marissa
    March 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Oh my goodness.. some of you people need to get a life instead of trying to convince other people to hate a song simply because YOU don’t like it. I personally like it, and I’m not going to take offense to other people saying they don’t… I probably wouldn’t like THEM either so I don’t have to worry about listening to the ba-womp-a-womp bullshit music they probably listen to anyway.

  107. Marissa
    March 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    and word up to my fellow Eric Church fans. Oh wait, is it politically incorrect to say word up…?

  108. Stormy
    March 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    1. The CW article did not review the song at all.
    2. Can you use epic unironically to define your own work?
    3. Its not politically incorrect to say word up, just dated.

  109. Jon
    March 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    2. Can you use epic unironically to define your own work?

    If you know the what the word’s noun form means, sure, why not?

  110. jan
    March 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    My daughter went to a concert at Rupp Arena in Lexington KY. SHe was on the floor of Rupp and she took all kids of pics of Eric Church, one she was totally freaked out by, she posted it on facebook it shows him singing, but what is eerie is you can see him self as a shadow sitting and watching his self sing, now how strange it that, they took the pic on Digital camera and believe me it is something, a real ghost of himself watching himself sing, the image of EC had the same thing he had on that night singing, the cap, sunglasses, all except the chains, OH YES it is him when you look at it you can tell it is EC. Check it out on twitter and facebook it is starting to roll like a snowball, it is the strangest thing I have ever seen. You have to see the picture, it is hard to explain so you need to really, really check it out..freaky.

  111. Chris N.
    March 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    The use of hip-hop slang is so widespread now that it certainly isn’t racist in itself when white people use it. You see serious news analysts regularly throw around words like “dissed,” and it doesn’t mean anything except that the word has been absorbed into the larger culture (as so many African-American ideas are).

    That said, yep, this song is one long dog-whistle.

  112. Chris N.
    March 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    I’ll refer Jan to a precept that I have long found handy in such cases:

  113. Jon
    March 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    That’s handy in a great many cases.

  114. Waynoe
    March 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Wikipedia makes everyone smart. Well…

  115. Masterful
    March 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    “1. The CW article did not review the song at all.
    2. Can you use epic unironically to define your own work?”

    In my post I said, “Even though this article isn’t a review of the song”. If you were responding to me, Perhaps you should have read what I wrote. I didn’t say the article was written as a review. My point is that it does a better job of reviewing than this biased article upon which we’re posting. It gives more background, inside information, and storyline of the song than this “review” did. Not to mention the infinitely superior journalistic professionalism.

    Regarding the useage of “epic”, Eric was talking about the story of the brothers, and their journey, not his songwriting ability. You are mighty argumentative to be so wrong, aren’t you?

  116. Roman
    March 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Im from the country and let me tell ya.. thats way we do around here just like eric talks about…and apparently 215000 other people agree on take your suits and ties and batman tighty whiteys and whos prolly never had to whipe own ass and toss em aside and get some boots and jeans and try working outside ur lil box for 1 day and actually earn a living..

  117. Anna
    March 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    It’s a true country song. People are swaying from Americas country roots and people are finding trouble in the cities(I’m not saying good stuff doesn’t also come from the cities because it does) however the song is simply expresing the change from the good hearted country boy to a troubled ‘gangster’. I don’t think anything racial or harmfull was intended other than maybe sending a message to the ‘gangsters’ that they should change there ways and yes they do need to pull their pants up and change.

  118. Stormy
    March 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Todd Snider sums up the whole “Gansta’s Need to get a job and earn a living” theory well here:

    poor kid probably never had a chance to give a f*
    wouldn’t know good luck from a debutant
    he’s gotta find a way to be steve mcnair or young buck
    or he’s just tough luck looking for a prison to haunt
    and you can f* getting any kind of job you want
    unless you really want to work in a fast food restaraunt
    and who wants to do that? do you want to do that?
    i wouldn’t trade that for my crooked hat
    or my gang or my gun or my waist full of pagers
    for a job deep frying s*, for richer teen agers
    if that’s where it’s at and no one’s gonna help
    how you gonna blame a man for helping himself
    there’s a war going on that the poor can’t win

  119. Masterful
    March 9, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Todd Snider does a good job at summing up the attitude of entitlement some of these lazy ass Americans show. Basically, since nobody is going to give them handouts, they’d rather gangbang, rob, steal, and deal to get what their “owed”. wrong answer. They aren’t owed anything at all. They have the opportunity to earn it, just like me, but they aren’t owed a thing.

    There’s a war going on that the poor can win if they get off their lazy asses and work. I’ve never been wealthy, but I work hard, at two jobs, and I make ends meet for my family. Glad to say I’ve never stolen a dime, received any type of handouts, or done anything illegal to provide for my family.

    Everyone wants to be a victim. It’s pathetic. Nobody is being held down in this country. If you can’t make something of yourself, given all the opportunity in this land, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

  120. Alan
    March 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I understand where the reviewer is coming from ,but what people dont understand is that being country “redneck”/”hillbilly” is a culture and a way of life. Eric Church is country to the bone. The guy is from Boone, North Carolina and he really appreciate traditional country values too. Eric is tired of seeing people going ghetto thinking they are bada** people like Eric are as real as it gets and they respect their family and peers and are hard working honest people. They dont “hustle” or shoot each other..I am country like Eric is and from what I see it, he is just singing about what he believes in, which is the theme in a lot of his songs. Nowadays, there arent too many artists doing that, and i think its refereshing too see that. Many people from the city will be against this very catchy tune, but I guess you have to be country to get it..I dont see any problem with writing and singing about what you believe..thats what makes Eric Church REAL He represents a way of life in which I believe in too, a way of life that was common until this country went straight to hell

  121. Alan
    March 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    also, the song is not targeting African Americans at all..hes talking about a relative or friend that is probably white acting ghetto and Eric doesnt like would a black guy like it if his brother turned into a rednecK??? these people that review these are just straight up liberals…SORRY real country music is not about liberal crap listen to Waylon or MErle Haggard they stand for what they believe in

  122. Waynoe
    March 10, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Quite frankly, I like this song and do not care if it is targetting some type of group. Does not change my opinion. When you drive down the street and some slothing foot dragging pants-down-at-the-knees-underwear showing person slumbering along with no where to go and all the time to get there, Church’s words express how many of us feel.

    Some of us do not show our ass, we work it off. ‘Bout time others do the same.

  123. luckyoldsun
    March 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I can’t help but chuckle in that Waynoe and his enemies seem to be interpreting this song in exactly the same way.

  124. Waynoe
    March 11, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Lucky – Glad to have brought some happiness to you today.

  125. drifter
    March 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Horrible article. Take the song for what it is. Good country music!

  126. Embri
    March 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I’m not too impressed with this authors idea of good music, because I happened to like Aaron Lewis’ new song, and I really love Eric Church’s new song. I’m not here to argue with anyone because we all know what opinions are, and we are entitled to our own. I just personally LOVE Eric Church and his new song. He’s from NC and thats good enough for me!!!

  127. John
    March 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Did you even listen to the song? Nothing in your article, lyrics wise matches the song. Maybe you should “listen” to one more time. Definitely a thumbs down on this article!

  128. Dutch
    March 17, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Case in point, I am a Black man who loves his country music more than any hiphop or pop record. When I saw the youtube video posted by Nashvillefan. I respected country even more. His video related to family trying to fit into the strains of today’s society and getting caught up and causing stress and pain to their family. It also points out that mistakes in life are made and realizing those mistakes and taking ownership, is all that matters. This video is far from racist(my opinion) because today more and more people of all races wear their clothes off their butt, sell drugs, and runaway from home. I think the pundits tend to categorize this video as being more than it is. This is a fun song. A true song! And i’d welcome a video with blacks and whites in it depicting exactly what his lyrics speak!

  129. bill
    March 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    ” Church thinks that he’d be better off drinking a beer, baling hay, and hanging out with his high school sweetheart.” ….better than weed and a welfare check

  130. SBlades
    March 20, 2011 at 12:33 am

    …I’m going to go ahead and chime in here…though it’s against my better judgement. I’ve read some of the author’s previous reviews of Church’s music…it’s clear that he is not a fan. To each his own I suppose…it’s your loss…

    …there is nothing remotely rascist about this tune…you don’t have to live every line that you write to craft a good song…it’s about the folks you’ve met…those you know…those you don’t…how you perceive and translate into song the things that go on around you…

    …this particular song is my eight year old son’s very favorite…let me break it down for you the way he sees it…I always ask him what he thinks a song means when he really likes it…this is what he had to say about HOMEBOY “there is this guy that wears his hat silly and his pants too big who is mean to his parents…he leaves home and does some bad things…his brother tries to talk him into coming home and being good before his parents die because he loves him”…that, my friends, is diretly from the mouths of babes…I assure you that I have heard this song more times that any of you could imagine, as every single time we get in the car he asks that it be played over and over and over…as for me…I think it’s another brilliant play on words and after a few listens I was thinking…”that Church Boy has a monster hit on his hands”…as for the musicians…well, they almost couldn’t get any better than that…more banjo…HOMEBOY.

  131. Tammi
    March 20, 2011 at 11:37 am

    *Agrees with SBlades–and everyone else who is supporting this song and Eric Church* …COMPLETELY.

  132. James
    March 29, 2011 at 1:48 am

    Don’t have much to say about this “review” but it is always fun to listen to what people who have no idea what real country music really is have to say about a true artist like Eric Church. Sorry he isn’t lameass Rascall Flatts or Taylor Swift

  133. Stormy
    March 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Yes, because TS and RF get so much love here.

    How is he “more country” than Matraca Berg?

  134. Barry Mazor
    March 29, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Stormy, here’s how it works for a lot of people, too many, I’d say:

    “What I like–that’s country. What I don’t–not!”

  135. Amanda
    March 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Aaron Lewis’ song sucks. Out loud. I didn’t like “Homeboy” when I first heard it, but it is my new favorite. Much better than the Band Perry or Sunny whatever. I think that you’re reaching just a BIT w/ the racial stuff. And I’m biracial. Boy can be taken as a derogatory term, but it strikes me that he’s talking to a younger brother and calling him boy by virtue of the fact that he’s younger and he’s SOUTHERN. Besides that, he’s not saying the country is better than the city. He’s saying, “Come home before you get yourself in trouble. There’s nothing wrong w/ living a quiet life and by the way, do it for your family because we’re worried about you.” Did you listen to the song at all?

  136. Bob
    March 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I have seen Eric Church a few times, all in small places like bars or small concert halls. He is awesome, rockin’ as hell!

    This song, eh, not so good.

    I will say though, Sinners, and Carolina are the two best albums that I have. The only thing that can even come close to them is Garth Brooks Double Live…

    He’s doing too much for the labels and radio, stay away from that shit. Country music is what punk was in the 90’s, starting to get bad and has been for a while with too many idiots trying to be
    “counrty”. They’re all just fags with a flannel shirt, most probably havent even used a shovel.

  137. Waynoe
    March 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Check out the live Opry acoutic version of this song. Church is, in my opinion, one of the stronger vocalists of the last three years.

  138. tona
    March 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    This song is awesome it brought tears to my eyes the very first time i heard it.I see nothing raicial about it i actuitly realted it to my sons singing it to my older son i had never heard of eric church before this song and can’t wait to hear more.

  139. Matt
    April 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    As someone who has a distaste for radio country like Toby Keith,Reba,Tim McGraw,Darius Rucker and Taylor Swift; I prefer to listen to underground country like Hank Williams III,Bob Wayne,Those Poor Bastards,Joey Allcorn,Nellie Wilson and Rachel Brooke,I do thouroughly enjoy Eric’s music.
    I think your review is waaaayyy off the mark.When I first heard the song I saw it as the narrator seeing a friend trying to be “gangsta” and leaving behind the small town life.I don’t see it as racist at all and I’m personally sick and tired of people pulling the race card.You obviously just didn’t like the song and tried to throw out every negative thing you had to justify it.If you don’t like the song,just say so.

    There is one part I do agree with though and that is about Aaron Lewis.”Country Boy” is a blatant ripoff of the great Hank Williams Jr.’s “A Coutnry Boy Can Survive” and Aaron is trying to salvage what’s left of his music career since no one has cared about Staind since 2005.

  140. Waynoe
    April 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I think Eric is a breath of fresh air. Maybe not all the song selections, but his ability cannot be denied. This song gets better everytime I hear it and I’m glad he had the b#$$! to put it out and not care what the politically correct crowd cares. Deep down, the subject matter of the song has crossed many of our minds. I believe he is in the top 30 now with it.

  141. Seth
    April 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I am gonna start by saying all of you bashing Eric’s music, have no taste and should probably talk about something you know a little about, not country music. This whole discussion has been hypocritical, you are bashing an artist for “bashing” urban culture but your only examples of this are just bashing rural culture in return. I hate to see such a refreshing artist be bashed like this. I think before you tear him down you should go see one of his live shows and if you don’t scream the songs back at him you should check you pulse.
    In closing, PULL UP YOUR DAMN PANTS!!!

  142. Tripsbattack
    April 5, 2011 at 12:39 am

    As reluctant as I feel to add to an already angry, long, and unproductive thread, I have to agree with those commenters who have pointed out the reviewer’s apparently complete misinterpretation of the lyrics… Not only are there no racial implications in Church’s song, it’s hardly a “a pep talk by a contented rural farmer to a prodigal son” – it’s a plea from a desperate, concerned man to his younger brother to come home. And again, far from another corny attempt to “out-country,” Church’s lyrics acknowledge the difficulties of rural life (“ain’t a glamorous life, but it’ll keep you out of jail,/not worry us all to death,”) though he does present it as a more desirable alternative to estrangement from family and incarceration in the city. For those reasons I think the lyrics are even unusually poignant, a more accurate portrayal of the real influences that tug at poor Southern boys, than in most commercial country.

    I’ll confess, I also like the song itself, though I’ll readily admit I can see why so many say it’s overproduced and basically terrible. I know I have bad taste in music… but I like what I like [shrug]

  143. MR. ROBERTS
    April 5, 2011 at 7:33 am

    @TRIP – Don’t assume you have bad taste just becasue you like a song the critics do not. Actually, this song is more “intelligent” than origianlly percieved. Some sit back and say, “You know, that’s what I was thinking but didn’t want to say it.”

  144. Brian
    April 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Well we know which “contributor” has Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift on their IPod hit list…. The song is about a brother who’s lost his way trying to live the MTV lifestyle. Nothing more nothing less. Stop trying to look any deeper! Good song great artist!

  145. mommy23
    April 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Okay guys, it is a song. We all have a right to our opinion no matter what that opinion is. Eric Church, whether you like his new song or not, was not assuming a racial position on this one. You can be of ANY race and act just as the subject of this song. The point of the whole song is simple. Get off the streets, do something worthwhile with your life. Work for a living. Don’t be ashamed of what you have even if it seems paltry to some. And by the wasy, the “snow” in the first verse is referring to snowing someone, hoodwinked, fooled, tricked you, gotcha…. no racial connotation there. Listen to the song for what it is. A call out to any one who might be headed down the wrong path. Whether they are living in NYC or BFE.

  146. ian austin
    April 24, 2011 at 3:59 am

    JESUS, JESUS, JESUS… do you all believe in Jesus. Eric Church is a true AMERICAN who stands for what our founding fathers stood for. If you are progressive or a FLAMING LIBERAL please go back to Russia, or europe for that matter, and live under the dictatorship that is socialism. there is a reason Eric sings this song, and its not about color, you idiot who wrote this article. Its about doing the right thing. it just so happens that doing the wrong thing coincides with everything this song talks about, mistake, maybe. ill let your socialist ass be the judge.

  147. Jazzy
    April 26, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I love this song – it fits my two sons 2 a T !!! Both bin n the “urban” lifestyle n both have suffered greatly for it :((( Now the older is back in our littler hometown, married, couple babies, working a “real” job n tryin 2 keep it straight @ 34yrs after WASTING much of his life so far on the gangsta, ie saggin pants, gold teeth, etc. way of living … my middle son, however, is still playin n needs 2 come HOME, BOY bfore he goes HOME 4 good n a box off the streets !!! BTW, our family is WHITE …

  148. rodeoan20
    April 27, 2011 at 9:38 am

    personally, i love this song. and i would much rather be drinkin and makin hay than walking around with somebody who wears their pants around their ankles. thank you eric, for voicing the TRUE opinions of TRUE country guys and gals!

  149. sam-I-am
    April 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Well thank ya’ll very much. I have just wasted an hour of my time reading a bunch of crap. Thank you to Noeller for the “Lightning” shortcut, I loved it. OMG did you hear the verse,”a devil guards the door”? Does that mean prison cops are devils? Did you hear him,”as that boy lay there dying I dropped my pistol on the floor”, was that a racial comment? What’s his name, Stephen Dusher, you should lighten up and come home boy. I’m gonna go outside-boy and do some chores-boy and then call up my homeboys. Let’s all lighten up:) I like what I like too[shrug]

  150. Fred
    April 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Stephen Deusner, Eric Church is on tour with Jason Aldean, You have no idea what your talking about!

  151. Jay
    May 8, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I personally like this song and like his music. I think the author (Stephen M. Deusner) was offended because he might have fake gold teeth:) But what would I know? I’m just a dumb, college educated southerner who happens to like country a little more than hip hop. Did I mention that I have all my teeth too?

  152. Christina
    May 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Stephen M. Deusner you have no idea what you are talking about. Being from the south is not just words in a song or a region in our country but it is a way of life. This song be it the lyrics or the musical arrangement leave goosebumps on the bodies of everyone who listens to this song and can associate with it. This is song is great! Eric Church has been so underrated for years now. I love all of his music and I have seen him in concert numerous times! He is so talented and he can sing homeboy to me anyday!!!

  153. Ben Milam
    May 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    i’m gonna miss all you turds telling me what to think and like.

  154. Dr. No
    May 12, 2011 at 10:26 am


    Did you survey everyone that can listen and associate with the song to see if goosebumps actually did form on their bodies?

  155. Jack
    May 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

    This dude is a Pitchfork hipster who shouldn’t be reviewing country music.

  156. Cam
    May 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I feel like everyone who has left a negative comment about this song should jump off a cliff. It’s always a racial thing. He had none what so ever to be racial in this song. He writes all of his songs, not like most pop, rap, rock, and even alot of other country artist that have someone else write their songs and they just sing them. This man has some balls. And he says more than once that he does not do this career to make money or win trophies. He does it for the fans. Maybe you all should go to one of his shows. The best entertainer to hit the stage for a long time. And just liek he says in his song ” Lotta boot Left To Fill” about other artist- ” You sing about Johnny Cash, THE MAN IN BLACK WOULD HAVE WOOPED YOUR ASS”….These reviewers need to take the nipple off there sippy cups and get real.

  157. Brett
    May 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I think its funny how a music reviewer, in this case Deusner, portrays the song as being racist, etc., when in fact he comes off as more of a racist because he is associating all of this with African American culture, which leads me to believe he is an idiot. Music in general would be better off if we had more artists like Eric Church who writes from personal experiences and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Unfortunately, upfront honesty stings most to those people who are sensitive and not comfortable with their own lives.

  158. Hoosier
    May 16, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I definitely think the song is racist. Its not even subtle in its racism and its ignorance. I like “Smoke a Little Smoke” but this song is awful. Not sure if Church is intending to be racist or if he is just so ignorant that he doesn’t realize how bigoted he sounds. Either way, this song is an abomination.

  159. Matt
    May 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

    @ Hoosier-

    Racist? Are you serious?

    How can you really be THAT ignorant? I’m assuming you have at least a little intelligence,please use it and listen to the song again.

  160. Jen
    May 28, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    As someone who is watching her son live out this song, it is hard for me to sit here and listen to you bad mouth it. This song is about the generation coming up that has no regard for life, love or the pursuit of happiness except in the 5 minutes of self gratification they can find. There are no consequences for them and with the government more than wiling to hand out my hard earned dollars to anyone who wants it, this is a perfect example of what is going on today in the world.

    If you are fortunate enough not to be able to relate to the song, count yourself lucky. If you can relate to the song, then my prayers go out to you and what you are going through, because it is not easy.

  161. Imnotaracist But
    June 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

    The reviewer is spot on. The presentation of hip-hop culture is one-sided, shallow and superficial — “gold teeth,” low pants, and a “neck tattoo.” The song then moves on to suggest that participating in this culture, which everyone here concedes is ubiquitous and “everywhere,” succeeds in taking the brother away from “home” and turning him into a “boy,” a pejorative address for African American males. If it is everywhere then participating in it wouldn’t do that. This song suggests that there is only one right way to be — that there is some “home” that a person belongs in because of their racial identity. Hip-hop culture might be an okay home if you’re black but not if you’re white. You can only be white (and therefore black) by adhering to a certain set of cultural stereotypes. This is RACIST! Musically, the song is ridiculous with its crescendo of pleading to the “brother” to become properly white again.

    No, the song doesn’t call anybody the N word. But racism isn’t always interpersonal.

  162. Karen G.
    June 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I like the song. Period.

  163. Kyle
    June 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Honestly, What do you not understand? This song is not about race. You (the writer of this horrible article) are ignorant. Look around and I bet you see every ethnicity that has someone looking like that which is depicted in the song. The song is more about making something out of yourself than being some street trash. I find people who have their ass hanging out of there jeans/shorts way more offensive than this song.

  164. Kyle
    June 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

    By the way he is saying go back home boy. Maybe you should actually listen to the entire song and pay attention. You might would know what the song is about and not make yourself look like an idiot.

  165. Lisa
    June 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

    okay first off ,yall are just ctitisizing him because he’s different . Sure the name “homeboy” is a weird name for a country song but its unique and different ya know ? no other country singer/writer will name their song that . the title is also perfect for the song . the song is really good too . it talks about this kid who went to jail . it maybe a dumb story to write about in a song but is all you listen to the lyris ? what about HOW he sings it (which by the way was really good) how about the music part ? the guitar part is amazing , I love it especially the picking at the begining . so just cause hes different doesnt mean he needs to be critisized . So um . Leave Eric alone . Good job Eric (:

  166. kristy peddy
    June 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    When did “boy” become a racial slur? Dear Lord..has it really come to this? I Love the song and he is talking about a guy who has tatoos on his neck (never a good thing) and trying to get his brother to come back home. I don’ think it is as deep as people are making it out to be.

  167. Songisracist
    July 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Kristy Peddy – Boy has been used as a racial slur in the United States at least since the time of slavery: it was used by white slaveholders toward adult black males as a means of diminishing their status.

    The idea that “boy” can be used as a racial slur is hardly some new PC sort of invention. It goes back hundreds of years.

    The idea that “boy” is used racially in the song is further given credence by the other racial stereotypes that Church invokes in the the song.

    If Church wanted to talk about getting his “brother to come back home” Chuch should have done so without all the racially loaded phrases and stereotypes.

  168. Alex C.
    July 16, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I could personally point out and destroy every single point of your argument about this song. However, I am not going to show you the same respect as I have on other blogs because clearly you’re not a big fan of respect. Laughing at how bad this song is? Really? Yeah. That’s probably why it keeps rising on country music charts. You can have your “Disney” country if you want. Keep listening to Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts and hoping Miley Cyrus makes it big in country music. Johnny Cash would roll over in his grave if he read some of the things you have to say. Church is an innovator, trying to bring country music back to what it should be. Back to the days of Willie, Waylon, Merle, Hank, and Cash. Should have known Foster was going to jump on here. It’s like one of you copy and pasted the other’s blog. Demeaning hip hop culture whether intentionally or unintentionally huh? Grow up. The song doesn’t come off that way at all. People who think it does just half listened to it probably like you. Unfortunately you actually had to write about it. It’s not your fault though. You probably were just so excited about a new keith urban song and ready to praise it for being the greatest piece of music ever written that you couldn’t even make it through the first verse of this song.

    By the way, if you’re not going to put down correct lyrics don’t put quote marks around it. The word better is not even in the song. So if you can’t even quote the chorus right then how am I suppose to take anything you say about the song with any sort of significance. Your representation of the song is so utterly laughable that it can’t even be taken as legitimate criticism. I hope you continue to have a smile on your face while Church’s songs keep rising. Clearly he is gaining popularity which means he’s doing something right. I don’t even think you should be writing about this genre because last time I checked this is country music.

  169. Unknown
    July 20, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Personally being a musician and also someone that comes from the south that has grown up in such a time that is referenced in this song, I say Church nailed it to a T. Problem is you get to many people that can’t appreciate an artist that calls it how he see’s it, myself and our fans have personally understood every word and it’s meaning in this song, and in all honesty if most poeple have spent just a fraction of a second growing up rural, backwoods, farm boy or whatever title you would like to put on it, you may understand it to. Church, keep up the good work and WE will still continue to include this on stage amongst our numerous hits of originals as we tour from coast to coast. In closing, quite being haters and try to form opinions with your minds open, it may get you further in the future.


  170. adak alvarez
    July 23, 2011 at 3:43 am

    I swear, reviewers these days don’t know what REAL music is. I think you guys just write reviews to get paid, not caring what goes into them at all. Get off your butt and to do something productive in your life.

  171. Paul W Dennis
    July 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

    ADAK – nobody on this site wrote for the money – this was a fan site

  172. Donnie
    September 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Well here it is, if you people writing this trash about Eric Church wont the truth then listen up. I grew up in Ohio near Youngstown,like EC songs says pants on the ground,hip hop,fake gold on your teeth.this part of ohio is full of drugs and violence by all races because of this culture. And if you dont act or dress hip hop you get beat up or worse. So now who’s being a racist??? So i’ll go on being who everyone knows i am,and who i choose to be. And like EC lyics says this “Homeboy”and im a white male did come on home to Palestine ,WV where i can be who i am. Great song and singer who sings a song about a white boy caught up in this hip hop mess society thats running this great country in the ground. Just remember “a Country Boy can survive” and ERIC CHURCH just telling them how it is rock on homeboy !!!

  173. Carlton
    September 10, 2011 at 10:18 am

    This song is judgmental and negative. It has masked language that may not be directly racist but we all know what he means and who he’s pointing at. And from such fine christian/williamson county country boys that wrote this. Eric Church sights Willie, Haggard, and Kristofferson as heros. They would never write or sing such backwards ass redneck songs like this. And by the way, Elvis Presley dressed and sang like the african american musicians that influenced him and he was ridiculed and judged by good ole’ boys like Eric Church.

  174. Paul W Dennis
    September 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Carlton – if you’re not smart enough to know the difference between “cites” and “sights” you’re probably not smart enough to be able to judge if something is racist

  175. Cody
    October 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    First of all, he says “come on homeboy”. You and you alone believe he says “you better come home, boy”. This leads me to believe you’ve never even listened to the song, just read a country hater’s article and created your own to get attention. Secondly, “boy” is something you say to your son,someone younger, or any friend your close to. Of course you obviously didn’t grow up in a rural area or anywhere in the south for that matter. Now most importantly, you have many awards earned by Eric Church to argue with my friend. Why does it even have to symbolize so much to you? The lyrics are exactly what the song means! The white boy obviously related to the man as either a cousin or a brother according to the lyrics is not a symbol for some black gangster. The stereotype yes, but saying he’s black? Not really. Try actually listening to the song or at least look up the lyric so at least one of your points make sense.

  176. Cody
    October 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Yes, I know there’s a couple spelling errors. I’m extremely infuriated by this.

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