Ranking every song Eric Church has ever released has been on my itinerary since I started this publication. Now, with COVID-19 putting us all in lockdown, I have plenty of time to complete the exercise. The rankings will be released over two parts. Some of the rankings may surprise the reader while others will seem quite obvious. A lower placement does not necessarily mean the song is bad; rather, I’ve evaluated each song in congruence with Church’s entire discography.
72.) “The Joint”
Without a doubt the stangest vibe Eric Church has ever channeled on a song. “The Joint” does feature some clever writing, but ultimately becomes one of the few forgettable songs in Church’s catalog.
71.) “You Make It Look So Easy”
It’s a song that Church wrote before his wedding for his wife Katherine. Ultimately, “You Make It Look So Easy” just seems much too personal for fans to really connect with- something rare to say about an Eric Church song.
70.) “Broke Record”
The twang of “Broke Record” is a lot of fun, and the chorus is a great singalong. I was actually surprised it wasn’t released as a single.
69.) “I’m Gettin’ Stoned”
This may be the first surprise on the list. And it goes to show how deep Church’s discography really is. A live staple, “I’m Gettin’ Stoned,” features Church channeling his heaviest rock side while still maintaining the clever wordplay of the chorus.
68.) “Chevy Van”
Caldwell County EP
A cover of the Sammy John classic, “Chevy Van” finds Church for one of the first times turning to the kind of nostalgia that would later become a refreshing constant in his career as he grew with his music while other artists stayed trapped in their younger days.
67.) “Longer Gone”
The constrast between the verses and the chorus is what makes this song memorable. A cool little groove is an added bonus. Not one of his most memorable songs but still a fun addition to Church’s catalog.
66.) “Livin’ Part of Life”
Sinners Like Me
A huge throwback. “Livin’ Part of Life” will always be a treasured part of Church’s music, but unlike most of the songs off his first couple of albums that grew with him, it sort of quietly took a backseat as Church embraced new sounds and directions.
65.) “Before She Does”
Sinners Like Me
One of the rowdiest, straight-forward rock songs Church would release pre-Chief. “Before She Does” was once a live staple and often opened most of Church’s shows.
64.) “Like A Wrecking Ball”
In his typical straight-forward manner, Eric Church told fans this was about “sex.” Church is not the type of artist to beat around the bush with his writing, especially a love song, and “Like A Wrecking Ball” was about as plain-to-see as a song can get.
63.) “Love Your Love The Most”
Church has come to dislike “Love Your Love The Most” as he feels like it was a song that was clearly released to obtain a radio hit at a point in his career when he was getting desperate. Nonethless, “Love Your Love The Most” is still a solid country love song that sounds so good on the ears.
62.) “Hangin’ Around”
There’s strong Jerry Reed and even Brothers Osborne influence here. “Hangin’ Around” is the complete antithesis of what people once expected Eric Church to record. Which, I suspect, is why he included it on the album.
61.) “Hell On The Heart”
“Hell On The Heart” was released for the same reason as “Love Your Love The Most.” He needed to prove to his record label he could hit on radio; it only reached number 10. Yet “Hell On The Heart” is a catchy little number that fans still crave to hear live- when he feels like pulling it out.
60.) “His Kind of Money (My Kind of Love)”
Caldwell County EP
One of the reasons that Church has maintained such a devoted fanbase through all the shifting of sounds and pursuit of new direction is because he really hasn’t changed the way he writes a song. The songs may change sonically, but clever writing as is found in “His Kind of Money (My Kind of Love)” define Church’s ability to stay inherently grounded in his roots.
59.) “Keep On”
“Keep On” is Eric Church at perhaps his rowdiest. Swaggering, tough, and convicted. Nothing, not even “that cowboy” on a woman’s arm is going to stop in from staying the night.
58.) “Roller Coaster Ride”
What I love about “Roller Coaster Ride” is how the sway and groove of the song mimic riding an actual coaster. Sounds easy to do, but the production of “Roller Coaster Ride” pulls it off well.
57.) “Smoke A Little Smoke”
The song that changed Eric Church’s career. Church’s label didn’t want him to release it, but “Smoke A Little Smoke” rallied his fanbase and centered Church’s live show.
56.) “That’s Damn Rock and Roll”
“That’s Damn Rock and Roll” is a wild ride through what rock is. And what it isn’t. Church drops plenty of references to legend after legend; alluding to Elvis as “a hip shakin’ devil on the stage in Tupelo” is particularily memorable.
55.) “Young and Wild”
A fun, rockin’ look back on Church’s younger days.
54.) “Higher Wire”
The guitar riffs on “Higher Wire” really make the song what it is. Coupled with Church’s falsetto, and it’s bit of a shock to the ears. But listen a few times, and it begins to stick.
53.) “Cold One”
“Cold One” features Church’s typical clever songwriting, weird instrumental breaks, and just enough relatability to be released as a single.
52.) “Jack Daniels”
One of the more classically country songs Eric Church has recorded. “Jack Daniels” is made a bit more special in the live setting as it provides ample opportunity for Church and the band to connect with the audience.
51.) “Without You Here”
“Without You Here” would have been a great choice as a single. Sonically similar to “Hell On The Heart,” Church sounds lonesome and melancholy despite the cheerful production.
50.) “What I Almost Was”
Sinners Like Me
The song begins with what I’d consider one of the most memorable riffs Church has included on a song. It’s instantly recognizable to lifelong fans. Church tells the semi-autobriographical story of how he wound up “puttin’ in time on 16th Avenue/pouring out my heart for tips on a stool.”
49.) “My Heart’s Got A Memory”
Caldwell County EP
The entire Caldwell County EP just sounds so good on the ears. “My Heart’s Got A Memory” is a solid, early career breakup song that finds Church somewhere between his future Chief direction and his Carolina and Sinners Like Me sounds.
48.) “Record Year”
Clever songwriting. References to his musical heroes. Instant radio potential so it could be released as a single. Songs like “Record Year” allow Church to still get as weird as he wants.
47.) “Heart Like A Wheel”
When he wants, Eric Church can get as soulful as Stapleton. “Heart Like A Wheel” isn’t quite Southern Rock, but it’s got enough of a blues influence to lean that direction.
46.) “Country Music Jesus”
“Country Music Jesus” was released at the dawn of the birth of bro-country and became a rallying cry for those looking for more substance in their music.
“Homeboy” is still guaranteed to be one of the best songs played live at any Eric Church show. The story is poignant as Church desperately sings for a wayward family member to find his way back home to his roots.
Eric Church, more so than any artist around today, grew with his music. The wild, carefree man who once recorded “Keep On” is not the same as the guy singing about coming to his kid’s bedside as he worries about monsters. Both versions of Church are cherished, but it’s meaninful for the fans to see an artist grow as he builds a family and comes to understand the nature of today’s dangerous world.
43.) “Chattanooga Lucy”
“The only place on Earth I know/it get’s hotter when the sun goes down.” Time and place is so important for a country song, and when a listener hears that line, well, he or she is taken directly there.
“Creepin’” is not only one of the greatest opening tracks for an album in country music history, but it can also lay claim to featuring the best music video Church has recorded.
I’ve said it time and time again; Church has remained grounded throughout his entire career. From changing sounds and musical directions, he’s always stayed true to himself. And those ideals are laid bare in “Solid.”
40.) “Guys Like Me”
Sinners Like Me
A good time, rollicking honky tonker of a tune, “Guys Like Me” finds Church singing about beers on Friday after work and being grateful for the woman who love like-minded men.
39.) “Kill A Word”
An important song for the times in which we live. “Kill A Word” reminds us all that the simplest of words can cut someone to their very soul.
38.) “Like Jesus Does”
“Like Jesus Does” is a modern-day outlaw anthem, similar in respects to the Bob McDill-penned “Amanda.” Sparse guitar, authentic vocals. “Like Jesus Does” is a classic country love song.
37.) “Ain’t Killed Me Yet”
A straight jam. “Ain’t Killed Me Yet” doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. The guitar riffs are simple. The theme is familiar. And yet it’s something every single one of us has gone through. A definitive Eric Church song.
36.) “Mixed Drinks About Feelings” featuring Susan Tedeschi
“Mixed Drinks About Feelings” is a barroom weeper. Church usually sings about heartbreak in a more contemplative fashion, but here we find Church in the moment, dealing with the immediate aftermath of love gone wrong. Susan Tedeschi’s feature turns the song into so much more.
Part Two coming soon!