“Heart” and “Soul” Review

Story posted May 8, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Cade Miller

“Heart”

After a two-year hiatus, Eric Church is back with the new release of a collection of albums. His first album of the group is “Heart.” This being a group of albums, Church has to start off string to keep the listeners interested.

Church is known in the country music world. His 2006 debut album, “Sinners Like Me,” had three single hit the Billboard country charts. From there on, Church has had a name in the genre and has remained a relevant singer-songwriter.

Since then, Church has had very successful albums like his “Chief” and “Mr. Misunderstood.” This album, “Heart,” fits into his collection perfectly. He is known for the excessive use of electric guitar alongside the country music beloved acoustic guitar.

Starting off the album is “Heart on Fire,” and there couldn’t be a better taste for the rest of the songs. With the use of the eclectic guitar, powerful drums and epic piano, the song couldn’t scream country more. The song makes listeners tap their feet and rock their heads.

Church has fallen easily into the country music industry because of his twangy vocals. “Heart on Fire” puts a Church fan right into his prime. They are reminded of exactly how great he is. He represents the country genre to a T.

Next song, “Heart of the Night” is the polar opposite of “Heart on Fire.” A much more laid-back song that grips the soul, Church has always been very good at switching emotions on a dime and really making the audience feel that. With “Heart of the Night,” the album has already been on different sides of the spectrum, from blasting drums to acoustic guitars, and it’s only song number two.

The following songs “Russian Roulette” and “People Break” remain in the laid-back feel much like “Heart of the Night.” These are great pieces of work but are just average songs. Not too much, but also not enough.

Then the album takes a turn. “Stick That in Your Country Song” take listeners to the back woods- fast. This is a much more aggressive song compared to the last songs. Going from talking about love and feeling good with life, he’s now venting about underpaid teachers and military in America.

This topic is out of the blue for any listener. The song was released in June 2020, so maybe listeners did have enough time to hear it on the radio and wonder where it came from. Compared to the other songs, even “Heart on Fire,” “Stick That in Your Country Song” is totally abnormal for this album and does not have a clear place in this story the album is trying to tell.

Back on track with the heart theme, “Never Break Heart” pulls audiences back into the great feelings Church can give you with his vocals and music. Talking about how it’s okay to cry and sometimes life just stinks, Church relates to an audience of simple people, something some celebrities can’t do. He sympathizes and relates in the beautiful masterpiece of a song.

“Crazyland” and “Bunch of Nothing” have a relationship much like “Heart on Fire” and “Heart of the Night.” Completely different energies come from these songs. One being on the slow and mellow side, the other is one that could be played in a barn party. Artists who can pull off this transition are limited. Church does it with ease.

The last song of the album is “Love Shine Down.” An ending to an album can’t get better. This single almost has a beach feel — very chill with sound played by a guiro is out of the country music norm, but a great touch from the songwriter.

“Heart” is a great piece of work. With the wait of two years, Church did really put thought and effort into his music.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Never Break Heart”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: N/A


“Soul”

Even though the two were made by the same artist, “Heart” and “Soul” are completely different stories.

“Heart” has many songs with the word heart in them. “Soul” is the opposite. Not only does this album not have the title name in songs, but the music is much different — still country but much calmer.

“Soul” has much more of a church sound. The song “Look Good and You Know It” starts off with Church venting his loud and powerful vocals, with a choir in the back. It sounds as if the listeners stepped right into a fun church on Sunday morning.

“Bright Side Girl” puts the listeners right on the beach with the soft strum of the guitar. It’s a very soft song altogether. Elegant vocals and that guitar are just what Church needs to make a masterpiece.

“Hell of View” is very similar to “Bright Side Girl,” but this song is much more upbeat. At this point, “Soul” is coming together to form songs that hit the soul. The album may only consist of nine songs, but he does show all his potential.

“Bad Mother Trucker” does seem abnormal for this album though. Much like “Stick That In You Country Song” in “Heart,” this song is booming and radiant. Not a bad song at all, on the contrary. But with all these soft songs, “Bad Mother Trucker” sticks out like a sore thumb.

And finally, “Lynyrd Skynyrd Jones” puts the audience right back into the slow and calm tempos and vocals.

Church did venture out to the slower side of country music. The sister albums are much different but both tell great stories. Church has created wonderful pieces that will go down in country music history.

6/10
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Look Good and You Know It”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: N/A

Cade Miller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email
cam7095@psu.edu.