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Eric Church, ‘Record Year’ [Listen]

Record Year Cover
EMI Nashville

Eric Church has never sung heartbreak the same way twice — a streak that remains intact with “Record Year.” The second single from his Mr. Misunderstood album finds him hurting in a whole new way.

Previously his ex’s memory was hiding in the dark spaces of his brain, or she had kidnapped his hometown. He conjured up sympathy for a longneck and used a classic rocker’s catalog to wax nostalgia. “Record Year” is a play on words. This mid-tempo fusion of gospel, blues and country finds Church burning through a waxy heart with albums by Hank, Waylon, Willie and more. He name-checks several.

In describing heartbreak in some new way Church never alienates his audience. Somehow, we all relate. Who hasn’t sunk into their music collection to get over some guy or girl?! Taylor Swift wouldn’t be Taylor Swift if fans didn’t cry their way through her albums.

Musically, the song joins hits like “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Talladega” in being more straight-down-the-middle arrangements. Church and Jay Joyce have released more raw productions, and they’ve buried their messages in a darker swirl of guitars and organ. Radio should embrace this song with more enthusiasm than they did the title track of the album, a five-minute-plus-long outcast anthem that peaked just inside the Top 20.

Listen to Eric Church, “Record Year”

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Eric Church, “Record Year” Lyrics:

“Since you turned the tables on me / I’ve been steady and learnin’ lonely / Keepin’ this turntable spinnin’ / Everything from Jones to Jennings / Slowly plannin’ my survival / In a three-foot stack of vinyl / Since you had to walk on outta here / I’ve been havin’ a record year.”

“I bet you thought before you left / I’d just sit in silence by myself / Turn this house into a jail / Dyin’ slow in a livin’ hell / But love’s got a funny way of keepin’ score / And your leavin’ lit up my scoreboard / I usually make it through side A sober / All bets are off when I flip her over / One bourbon, one scotch, one beer / I’m havin’ a record year.”

“Quarter notes and Hank’s half time / Are poundin’ on this heart of mine / Song to song, I pass my time / With these speakers on ten / Your good-and-gone keeps me up all night / Along with Songs In The Key Of Life / I’m either gonna get over you / Or I’m gonna blow out my ears / Yeah, you’re out there now / Doin’ God knows how, and I’m stuck here / Havin’ a record year.”

“Your leavin’ left me goin’ crazy / I’m countin’ on a needle to save me / I drop it in the groove / And we go ’round and ’round / And down in a spiral / I guess I really oughta call and thank you / I rediscovered Red Headed Stranger / Got down with old James Brown / And found New Grass Revival / If you find your way back, I owe you a beer / For my record year.”

Next: See the Top 40 Country Songs of February 2016

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