Single Review: Eric Church, “Mr. Misunderstood”

“Mr. Misunderstood”
Eric Church

Written by Casey Beathard and Eric Church

Not sure if he’s misunderstood so much as underappreciated, but that’s beside the point, isn’t it?

Eric Church has made a career out of being an outsider and going against the expectations of the industry, and he tells his biography quite well on “Mr. Misunderstood.”

The trick that he pulls off the best here is choosing his audience, talking directly to that cutup in the back of the class and telling him that he can be just as successful by following the crooked, winding path that Church chose to go down.

As with many of the best Church records, he varies the tempo and musical elements. What starts off as a confessional acoustic piece revs up into a full blown rocker, paralleling the quiet struggle of resistance that eventually became a brazen, fearless success story.

I don’t think we have a stronger male artist in country music right now than Eric Church, at least among the current generation.

Grade: A


  1. I love Church, but it’s getting harder and harder to buy into the outsider/misunderstood act considering he sells a lot of albums, has hits, and wins awards.

  2. The “misunderstood” motif has been Eric’s selling point since his first album. Including the titular track, “Sinners Like Me” included “Guys Like Me”, “How Bout You?” “Two Pink Lines”, “These Boots”, “What I Almost Was”. All of those songs played into that image of someone who doesn’t fit into normal society. Heck, even “Lightning” and “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” have elements of this trope. “Lightning” uses the condemned prisoner and “Hag” has a whole community of outcasts loving a dying genre.

    “Carolina” slide away from that theme, but it returned full force in “Chief” and “The Outsiders.” It is Eric’s MO. His fans love it.
    Besides, a singer can still sing about outcasts and poor folks even after they earn the big bucks and win awards as long as they come across as genuine. Eric has always appeared genuine, be it when he boasts or when he reveals his soft side.

  3. So looking forward to streaming the entire Church album later in the week. I really admire what Church is doing here and what he has done in the past. I love this song. There is a vulnerability and sensitivity to the work of Church that I think sets him apart.
    I don’t mean to get too far off track, but I think this song is very much connected to the overall moment country music is having:
    This country music revolution is being televised.
    With Eric Church name dropping Jeff Tweedy, Kacey Musgraves noting Gram Parsons, and the Stapleton wins at the CMAS, this is that cultural-shifting time.
    With few exceptions (like the always cool Miranda), everyone else at the CMA’s suddenly looked dated and very out of touch with the cultural moment.

    It really is like that moment when Nirvana hit. All the hair metal bands were suddenly finished.

  4. While I never have been an EC fan, this was better than I expected even though I’m not into the music of any of his name drops. The na na na na na ending is weak.

  5. This has been the song I’ve been listening to the most since the album came out. It reminds me a little of American Pie, starts out slow, gets faster with each verse and then comes back to the slow tempo. Great song.

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