Pretty Vacant One

Track by Track: Heart by Eric Church

On Friday, 16-April, Eric Church released 1 of 3 albums from the Heart & Soul collection.

Perfect timing for me as I was heading off to a Rest Reset Yoga Retreat that day. I knew this album would be part of my much needed recalibration weekend of my own heart and soul. Pun intended.

A little album release info:
Heart released on 16-April
& releasing exclusively to his fan club, Church Choir, on vinyl on 20-April
Soul releasing on 24-April

Eric has been releasing tracks from both Heart and Soul throughout 2020 and 2021. He’s released “Heart on Fire“, “Stick that in Your Country Song”, and “Crazyland” in the months leading ups to Heart. He’s released “Break it Kind of Guy“, “Hell of a View”, “Bad Mother Trucker“, and “Lynyard Skynard Jones” for Soul. Each single an antithesis of the one before either in sound, emotion, or lyrics. They’ve been a perfect yin to the yang of each other.

In an interview (below), Eric said he wanted to make his crew and himself “uncomfortable” during the recording process and that it was a daily grind being creative but through that process that he got to finally listen to his own works as a fan. Which as a creative person, I understand, as we are so involved in the planning of a project that sometimes we can lose the appreciation of the work itself.

So let’s dive into the Heart, track by track.

Heart on Fire – Lyrically, this song paints a memory, a flashback of yesteryears when there wasn’t a “real” care in the world. Young love. Young desire. Fresh and innocent. This song takes me back to the sound of Don Henley and “The Boys of Summer” where the song is so descriptive and on point, you see it play it out in your head. With these lyrics, I can see the analog dial of the radio in an old pick up truck my dad use to drive. “…a turned up radio, but the static was heavy. Couldn’t make out any words but ‘take me to the levee…”

Heart of the Night – These lyrics: “…my true north is anywhere I can leave it all behind. Let’s point this thing west into the chest of the still beating heart of the night…” This song is just one of those fuck it and run away songs or refuse to be kept in the box people expect you to be in songs.

Russian Roulette – When I first listened to this song, I was kind of indifferent. Then these lyrics slapped me in the face and into reality. It is a fucking jam.. These lyrics: “…ain’t nothing gonna kill these horses tonight but a song like a bullet from a dashboard light. Gettin’ shot through the speakers both left and right in stereo. Messin’ up my head, playin’ Russian Roulette with the radio. I need a melody without a memory. Take me where I’ve never been…” Damn. Those words connected straight to my heart. I have been there and done that. And the lyrics, “I need a melody without a memory…” stabbed in the chest. There are songs that I will always associate with certain memories and I wish I could listen to them without the memory. That line is the partner to the lyrics from “Springsteen” by Eric…”…funny how a melody sounds like a memory…

People Break – I interpret this song as a song of heartbreaking and broken memories…quiet and poetic.

Stick that in Your Country Song – The anti country song. Is that even a thing? I feel sometimes that country artists fear the power of radio and the fanbase and instead of speaking their minds or writing about what pisses them off or what they believe in, they opt out or opt for silence. This is song is that fuck you to radio and to fans who think artists aren’t allowed an opinion. I fucking love it.

Never Break Heart – I can imagine a parent saying these lyrics to a child. Lessons of the heart.

Crazyland – The more I listen to this song, the more I love it. It’s just brilliantly written and I’ll be honest the first time I listened, I didn’t get the song and then it was like “DUH! I get it now!” And as someone who talks to herself a lot and battles a mind full of anxiety demons, I understood everyone in this song.

Bunch of Nothing – This is a fun little jam. And honestly, these lyrics could be my damn theme song, “…I know a whole lotta ’bout a lil’ somethin’, somethin’ and whole bunch of nothing ’bout that…

Love Shine Down – this is actually my least favorite track on the album. It kind of feels like the odd ball of the collection.

FAVORITE TRACK: Tie between “Crazyland” and “Russian Roulette”

MUST LISTEN TRACK: “Stick that in Your Country Song”