After the release and subsequent CMA performance of Eric Church’s single “The Outsiders,” anticipation for his upcoming album The Outsiders rose among not only country music fans but music fans in general. Folks are excited about a country singer who surrounds himself with a raging brigade of guitars. With the album set to be released Feb. 11, Church debuted “Give Me Back My Hometown,” the second single and first music video. “Give Me Back My Hometown” is softer fare than “The Outsiders.” The video, directed by Peter Zavadil, is a stylized introduction of the characters Church will examine in the album. It cuts between scenes of a wasteland funeral, a conniving blonde lady threatening, “You’re gonna do this my way,” and an Aviator -clad Church rolling through an underpass, traveling through the wasteland. It’s all very confusing.
While the winding tone of the song matches the video’s style of cross-cutting, the lyrics are often hard to place within the workings of the video. More of the story still needs to be told. “Give Me Back My Hometown” has a similar nostalgic feel to his summer anthem “Springsteen.” While “Springsteen” is mostly wistful, though, “Give Me Back My Hometown” has more of a pleading edge to it. At the two minute mark, Church turns to camera and hammers home the refrain, demanding that they or we “give [him] back [his] hometown.”
Church is an interesting country star. He doesn’t wear a cowboy hat. He wears Aviators. He doesn’t make a big deal out of drinking beer. He admits that Jack Daniel’s often kicks his ass. His biggest hit is named after a rock star (“Springsteen”). Maybe “Give Me” is dark and confusing, but unlike the music of his frolicking Florida Georgia Line counterparts, it’s confusing in a lot of the right ways.