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Eric Church, ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’ [Listen]

Give Me Back My Hometown
EMI Nashville

Eric Church’s new song ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’ seems to fill in the answer to a question proposed last month through a short series of cryptic videos. The first video promised: “One will rise , one will fall,” and then another indicated the first wasn’t meant as an attack on Taylor Swift. It’s not clear why footage of Swift was used at all, although this new song does explore themes the 24-year-old is famous for singing about. 

So it’s a new single that has “risen” — ‘The Outsiders’ has now “fallen.” ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’ is aimed at an ex-lover, a girl from high school who still haunts Church when he returns home. It’s not clear that he speaks of his former flame, however (Luke Laird co-wrote this song) or if this is the same girl that inspired ‘Springsteen.’ None of that really matters. What’s important is the way the star connects with his fans and the country audience as a whole with this familiar story.

I can hear them goin’ crazy / And up here so am I / Thinkin’ about you sittin’ there sayin’ I hate this, I hate it / If you couldn’t stand livin’ here why’d you take it, take it,” Church sings to close a first verse that describes the atmosphere at a high school football game.

The song’s tone is in many ways similar to ‘Carolina,’ the title track from his 2009 album. The tempo is slow and steady, and the chorus is short and passionate. The way he sings “Give me back my hometown” can be compared to the way he sings “Oh Carolina, calling me home.

High school football, young love and hometown pride are themes more country fans will be able to relate to. Church steers the song right down country Main St., but doesn’t sacrifice lyrical integrity. His images are sharp and colorful, with each word working to add some subtle detail to an picture that’s forming in one’s head.

All the colors of my youth / The red, the green, the hope, the truth / Are beatin’ me black and blue cause you’re in every scene,” he sings to begin an effective second verse.

The most intriguing line is “If you couldn’t stand livin’ here why’d you take it, take it.” “Take what?” one wonders. Church could be describing a very specific set of circumstances, or he could be allowing one into his subconscious like he did on ‘Creepin’’ from ‘Chief.’

“Why did you spray emotional graffiti all over this place I love?” he’s asking. This extra depth is unique to Church’s songwriting. He’s a rare artist who can slide lines like that into a composition without turning the entire production into one big swing and miss.

Why Fans Will Love It: ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’ is much more universally accessible than his last single. The story is relatable, and the lyric is colorful and easy to sing along with.

Key Lyrics: “Every made memory / Every picture, every broken dream / Yeah everything, everything, everything / Give me back my hometown”

Did You Know?: Church graduated from South Caldwell High School in Hudson, North Carolina. His school colors were silver, maroon and white — not red and green as the song indicates. The mascot is the spartan.

Listen to Eric Church, ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’

Next: Top 40 Country Songs of January 2014

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