Well, I guess persistence pays off. Three albums into his career, Eric Church has been slowly ascending in the ranks. Though his singles and albums often went gold, he had yet to peak above #10 on the country charts or hit Top 40 on the Hot 100 until this past year. Not unlike the similar path followed by Miranda Lambert, he’s done it by mostly sticking to his guns: besides “Love Your Love the Most,” Church has never been one to pander. His songs all have that distinctive Jay Joyce production matched to Church’s gruff voice and way with words, and even the weaker songs such as the aforementioned “Love” still stand out in some way.
“Creepin’” finds Church once again in his wheelhouse, thanks in no small part to the production. Maracas and shakers against a simple, swampy guitar riff and an unusual “bom bom bom” vocal riff. A filter on Eric’s vocal in the first half of the first verse. Banjo on the second half. A soaring, belted-out chorus. A second verse and chorus laden with power chords and snare drums. Searing guitar solo. A “Break it down, down, down, down…” bridge with Eric’s voice distorted. A return to the acoustic, percussive feel of the opening verse. More loud snare and banjo. There are so many interesting sonic ingredients going on here, all fitting together without making the song feel schizophrenic, and — more importantly — without distracting from the lyric. Interesting similes such as “Like a honeybee beatin’ on my screen door / I got a little buzz and my head is sore”, “Like ivy crawling up a hickory tree”, and “Kinda like molasses in late December” tell of a lover “creepin’” her way into a man’s heart and head. All around, it’s an extremely interesting, entertaining listen.
2012 really seems to be a great year for music. I can’t remember the last time that so many singles had so many different sounds and styles to offer. In this modern musical climate, it’s no wonder Eric Church has finally risen to hitmaker status, as he was always ahead of the curve in sounding like no one else. “Creepin’” certainly sounds like nothing else in all the right ways, and it should have no difficulty finding its way up the charts.