Songwriters: Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Ryan Tyndell
This is easily my favorite Eric Church single to date – which, for a song built around a Bruce Springsteen namedrop, is saying a lot.
Like the masculine version of Taylor Swift’s “Tim McGraw,” “Springsteen” connects its narrator’s musical hero with memories of a loved one from the past. Far from leaning on empty cliché phrasing, “Springsteen” is full of little details – vivid, beautiful, instantly relatable details. As Church wistfully recollects a romanctic encounter from the days of his youth, he walks us through the night’s happenings, and wonders if his old flame ever thinks of him when she hears that old Sprinsteen tune. He constructs surface-level imagery in such a way that it connects to the underlying emotions, thus supplying color to the lyrical vignettes instead of presenting a black and white template. That’s what brings the song to life, and makes it something that we as listeners can actually feel instead of just hear.
And that arrangement! The light percussion and piano sounds subtly cool, and different from the typical country radio fare – openly nodding to The Boss’s own musical stylings, while maintaining enough restraint to avoid becoming a distraction. Church ties the whole package together with his authentic, lived-in vocal delivery, finished off with some darn near haunting whoa-oa-oas as the song reaches its end, making for a deliciously addictive listening experience.
More of this please, Chief!