Songwriters: Eric Church and Marv Green
The lead-off track from Eric Church's 2011 album Chief starts with what is probably my favorite lyric on the whole record:
Like a honeybee beatin' on my screen door
I got a little buzz and my head is sore
From my bed I can feel the sun
Lord 'round here the mornin' comes
Apparently, the night before was a bit of a long one, and the sun isn't doing much to help the situation. "Creepin'," to place it under a genre umbrella for simplicity's sake, is certainly a rocker, but there is a really sweet banjo lick that comes in during the first few seconds of the song that sounds cooler and meaner than any banjo lick Keith Urban or Rascal Flatts has recorded, and it compliments the "honeybee" line quite nicely as it just sort of buzzes around in all its resonating honey-starved glory.
The song is about the inability of the narrator to get over a former flame; her memory keeps "creepin'" up on him, and a byproduct of her departure is that he can feel the lonely and hear the crazy just a-creepin'. He's on the brink of breaking down and he reaches for the bottle in hopes to forget. But the bottle, in classic Haggardian fashion, only brings back more of her memory, only magnifies the pain:
Head to the future, run from the past
Hide from the mirror, live in a glass
What dreams forget the whiskey remembers
Kinda like molasses in late December
Most people can relate to having the painful memory of a past love follow them around unrelentingly, and just when you think it's let you alone, there it comes to haunt you again. The lyrics to "Creepin'" certainly convey that pain, but the song's generally loud and upbeat nature and the subtle splashes of lyrical humor--while not necessarily sending out blue-sky vibes of positivity and hopeful rays of sunshine--at the very least suggest that eventually everything will be alright. That is, unless he simply chooses to live with strong drink and his ex's memory as constant companions, which, in the narrator's own pounding head, might seem to suit him just fine as long as there's a good sad song ringing out from the jukebox.
The production here is crystal, and as I've mentioned about the entirety of Chief previously on this blog, the drums truly sound excellent on "Creepin'" (the snare actually sounds angry). Here's to hoping Church continues his rise in popularity at country radio, as his presence fills a void that would otherwise just contain more same-sounding sentimental country-pop. Two back to back number one singles with "Drink In My Hand" and the mega-hit "Springsteen" would almost surely seem to indicate that continued trajectory. Though I didn't understand (much less appreciate) Church and his appeal at first, it has since become quite clear to me that he's about as good and different as mainstream country music gets right now.
*this review edited and expanded from a review on this blog from late 2011 found here
Here's an interview of Church talking about "Creepin'" backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.
Rolling Stone premiered the dark and--well, a little creepy--music video for "Creepin'" yesterday, along with an interview where Church discusses the song and video, his five CMA nominations, and Levon Helm, among other things. An excerpt:
The "memory train" line ["Thought I found my way out of this pain/ Only to find your memory train"] is really about this guy who's haunted by a ghost of some sort; she's the main female character. What you don't know is she's the one feeding the coal that makes this train get crazier and go farther and take him back through all these memories. It looks like we're robbing the train but we're stopping the train.