Matt On Music: Eric Church and Eric Paslay

I didn’t mean to review two albums by EMI Nashville. Maybe they just have a monopoly on country musicians named Eric.

Eric Paslay’s debut album has been getting good reviews from country music magazines and may lead to a fine career.

But Eric Church’s album, one of the most acclaimed albums of the first couple months of 2014, is the main attraction here. After his great 2011 album “Chief,” “The Outsiders” has been completely overhyped. The hype seems to have worked, though, since it currently has an 86/100 on Metacritic.

Eric Church: “The Outsiders” (EMI Nashville) He’s trying really hard to rock, but nothing here rocks as well as “Creepin’” and “Homeboy” from his last album, “Chief,” including “That’s Damn Rock and Roll,” his attempt at an AC/DC track. Meanwhile, the completely offensive “Dark Side” (“All you thugs and ugly mugs dealing drugs and making noise/You can kill each other all you want but if you touch my little boy”) and “Devil, Devil” (“If you make it she’s your savior/If you don’t she’s a whore” he sings of Nashville, as if the two words are antonyms) make me wonder if the “Homeboy” detractors had a point. Elsewhere, he’s just boring. Grade: C PLUS

Eric Paslay: “Eric Paslay” (EMI Nashville) He’s not the wannabe you’d expect someone whose name reads like a mixture of Eric Church and Brad Paisley to be – the closest he gets to ripping off either of them is “Never Really Wanted,” which has a melody that sounds kinda like Church’s “Springsteen.” The praise this is receiving from country publications astounds me, though. None of these songs are notably bad, but I’d expect an album that’s gotten an A from Country Weekly and a five-star rating from Roughstock to be a little more risky. As it stands, though, this is a listenable, albeit typical, country debut. Grade: B

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