Eric Church

What Critics Have To Say About 'The Outsiders'

February 20, 2014

The Outsiders Album Review Notable Quotes

“. . . not just the most consistent male country star of his generation but one of the brightest lights in any genre.” --Jody Rosen, New York Magazine

The Outsiders, is, in keeping with the pattern, his best yet; it’s also his most blustery, with the guitars and the outlaw swagger turned up, as the poet said, to eleven.” --Jody Rosen, New York Magazine

“He's the most exciting, sonically fearless singer in Nashville.” – Rob Harvilla, SPIN (February cover story)

“The guy who hates the term "outlaw" and still gets it all the time. The guy whose imminent fourth album, The Outsiders, is so audacious and sprawling and electrifying and ridiculous that he almost convinces you he still is one. The guy even people who don't like country like; the guy everyone else loves, unless he has (inadvertently, he would insist) insulted you personally, which is always possible. The guy so divisive he's a uniter.” – Rob Harvilla, SPIN (February 2014 cover story)

“On his fourth studio album, he could have copied the formula, or dialed it back to court uptight country-radio programmers. Instead, the North Carolina singer-songwriter made a record that's weirder, louder – and even more badass.” – Will Hermes, Rolling Stone

The Outsiders — the still-rising star's most brazen, brilliant disc yet, and the first great album of this year — challenges country's chart-dominating pickup polishers, drawing on riff-wagging rock and early Beastie Boys-style beats.” – Nick Catucci, Entertainment Weekly (Grade A)

“Eric Church is developing two separate and distinct personalities that seem to wrestle each other in a glorious battle royal on his fourth and best album, "The Outsiders.". . . songs that embrace the breadth and history of country music while ignoring those conventions to explore far afield. Managing this trick requires a delicate touch, and Church and producer Jay Joyce push the limits while maintaining a balance that leaves a little something for everyone.” – Chris Talbott, Associated Press

“. . . self-proclaimed country outsider Eric Church is secretly the savior of a long-dead brand of rock and roll.” – Steven Hyden, Grantland

“‘The Outsiders. was improbably perfect, like a unicorn rocking sunglasses and tight jeans.” – Steve Hyden, Grantland

“The Outsiders is precisely the record that will sell Eric Church to those who haven’t already realized he’s the rock star they’ve been waiting for.” – Steve Hyden, Grantland

  • “Eric Church is working on a level that few other country artists of his generation can touch.” – Ken Tucker, NPR

“On his fourth studio album, the terrifyingly creative The Outsiders, Eric Church pulls off what so many before him have tried: successfully merging the bedrock sounds of country music (plinking banjo, crying Dobro and a Hank Williams twang) with those of seemingly disparate genres like rock, heavy metal and especially R&B to create an utterly unique product.” – Joe Hudak, Country Weekly

“Eric Church made two strong albums in the aughts, but his compelling 2011 release, Chief, announced that the contemporary country singer-songwriter was a force with which to be reckoned. The reckoning continues on the superb follow-up The Outsiders.—Sarah Rodman, Boston Globe

“He’s a singer of rough attitude, but his voice can move gently..” – Jon Caramanica, New York Times

The Outsiders (4 out of 4 stars) steps far outside country music’s safety zone: It’s adventurous and outrageous, full of metallic guitars and funky country skronk but also expresses vulnerability and pain.” – Brian Mansfield, USA Today (Album of the Week)

“Church is using his expansive music to say something about the complexities (and the contradictions) of modern manhood.” – Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times

“The 36-year-old singer's decade-long slow rise has made him as flexible as he is determined. The greatest thing about The Outsiders is its range, both in sound and in the stories he tells.” – Ann Powers, NPR

“. . . there are times on his fourth studio album when the country outlaw makes like the Boss of Nashville.” Chuck Arnold, People Magazine (3 ½ out of 4 stars)

"You wouldn't catch Kim Kardashian at an Eric Church show because there's an element of danger. Throw them in the pit, and they'll be torn apart." – Bob Lefsetz

The Outsiders features fewer pyrotechnic-ready fist-pumpers than Chief. In their place are tunes like ‘Talladega,’ a melancholy ode to whiskey-soaked nights at the NASCAR track, and ‘Like a Wrecking Ball,’ an Al Green-ish ballad about wild sex.’” -- Patrick Doyle, Rolling Stone

The Outsiders isn’t just a headbanger’s ball.It has Tusk-magnitude ambition.” -- Michael Robbins, Spin Magazine