I’ve gotten so used to being bored by mainstream country music that listening to “Little White Church” was a bit of a jolt. Thematically, it’s essentially the country spin on “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”, though it could hardly be called derivative.
I’m having trouble singling out what I like about the song the most. First, it’s refreshing to hear those harmonies again, which quite frankly make Lady Antebellum sound like amateurs in comparison. But the instrumentation is just as fresh as the harmonies. They both zig when you expect them to zag. Hand claps appear out of nowhere but don’t sound out of place. There’s a guitar riff before the final verse that just sounds so frickin’ cool, but before you can fully digest it, the vocals are back and suddenly incorporating a dry whisper. It sounds pretty frickin’ cool, too.
And how about the lyrics? A woman refusing to allow her man to “ride the gravy train”, quipping that “I might be cheap but I ain’t free.” It’s hard to imagine a more audacious rhyme than pairing up “no more chicken and gravy” with “ain’t gonna have your baby,” though I’d be happily entertained by attempts to beat it.
A few more records like Laura Bell Bundy’s and this one, and country radio just might get interesting again.
Listen: Little White Church