Written by Eric Church and Jeff Hyde
“Record Year” is cleverly written, intertwining turns of phrase with musical references that will satisfy everyone from the casual country fan (Red Headed Stranger) to the scholarly one (New Grass Revival.)
But what makes it a great song and a great record is that its cleverness is in service to its heartfelt sincerity. This is what Church gets right that so many other artists and writers get wrong. The feeling comes first, and its a palpable one of heartbreak and loss. The concept of using music to deal with that heartbreak is built around the feeling, and that makes all of the difference.
Even when he gets ambitious with the wordplay – I particularly enjoyed “I’m counting on a needle to save me” – the conceit doesn’t overwhelm the raw emotions being expressed. This is a smart guy using his wit to describe a very real heartache.
“Record Year” casts music as salvation, silver lining, and sanity all in one. It is easily among the strongest singles of 2016.