Eric Church’s second album, Carolina, opens with a rush of big-guitar riffs and pounding drums, arena-rock style. Church starts singing through his issues. He’s overworked, stressed out and in bad health. Then, in a mighty hook of a chorus, he reveals the crux of his problems and why he lacks concern for his other concerns: His heart has been shattered, yet still he stands, so what else can happen to him? He paints a bleak picture of his life without her (“She turned this house into a tomb / Ghosts rattle in every room”) while still channeling a survivor’s mentality, a trick that gels perfectly with the tuneful, boisterous music.
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