The fifth (and I’m guessing final) single from Eric Church’s
award-winning (and chart staying – still #10 this week) 2011 release ‘Chief’ is
‘Like Jesus Does’. I was surprised to hear this as it’s not the most commercial
song in the world, being a quiet ballad that doesn’t try to intrude upon your
life if you don’t want it too. It’s easily ignored.
But that’s almost the beauty of it. Previously, the other
singles from ‘Chief’ have been fairly upbeat and rock-infused, for example
‘Drink In My Hand’, ‘Creepin’’ and ‘Homeboy’. ‘Springsteen’ is perhaps an
exception at times but the chorus sells it on a mass scale. ‘Like Jesus Does’
however, waits for you to come to it – it doesn’t shout you down and demand
attention. In this way it intrigues me more, because its understated nature is
perfect for the deep and thoughtful lyrics. It is a song of thanks,
essentially; of how the narrator’s wife/partner loves him so unconditionally it
is almost akin to the love Jesus has for him. That’s a powerful metaphor for
love if ever I saw it. It doesn’t get bigger than that.
As I watched the new video for it on YouTube, I read the
usually juvenile comments that actually raised an interesting point. People
were pointing out their religious beliefs in reference to the song, for example
atheists saying that they still loved the song despite not believing in Jesus.
And I think that’s a valid point. From the title one would assume that it is a
spiritual song, but it rather is a commentary on true love, and even if someone
does not believe in Jesus, they can appreciate the sentiment with just a casual
knowledge of the basics of Christianity. It is universal songs like this that
are often the most successful.
So as for the video, the song has been stripped down to an
even more acoustic version than the studio recording. In fact, the video simply
appears to be Eric in a little booth playing the song on his acoustic guitar.
Nothing else. Okay, it doesn’t have quite the feel and spontaneity of a first
take, Eric’s vocals and guitar work are a little too on point for that
(although the buzzing of the strings and not quite allowing the intro melody to
air out at the beginning adds a little more liveness and authenticity to the
video), but I don’t care. It feels intimate, simple, and even the slightly
excessive reverb on his vocals doesn’t put me off. There’s no different angles, no zooming, it’s
just a solitary camera set up in front of his limited recording equipment. It
feels more like one of those special heart-stopping rehearsals than anything
And that’s what a song like this needs. Listeners can be
transported to a quieter place and the video aids this immensely. I do hope
this song and video gets the popularity it deserves, but I’m almost not sure
Eric and his team care that much. I think the aim of releasing ‘Like Jesus
Does’ as a single was to convince people of his integrity, to show a different
side to him. It certainly reminds me of tracks like ‘Love Your Love The Most’,
and with such an illustrious rock-influenced era in his career, perhaps it was
decided that people just need a little reminder of where his musical loyalty
really lies. I am certainly in no doubt.
You can watch the video here: