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Eric Church “Talladega”

Eric Church “Talladega”

I was listening to Eric Church “Talladega” the other day, and thought it would be perfect for a song analysis: it has great imagery, strong writing, clever puns and a subtle but strong rhyme pattern that compliments the theme.

Then I realized someone had already written a great analysis using a quick and simple 7 Step Process others might want to know about!

I asked Amanda Williams of Songpreneurs.com if she would lend her analysis to SongChops as a resource for the community.  She gracefully agreed.  Enjoy!

 

Guest Song Analysis Eric Church “Talladega”

By Amanda Williams (@AmandaCWilliams)

 

Eric Church “Talladega”

Songwriters: Eric Church & Luke Laird

 

 

Song's Unity Statement
What is the song about as a whole, including its theme?

 

The singer reflects on a trip he took as a young man with his friends to Talladega motor speedway. By the end, Talladega has become a metaphor for eternal youth and happiness, and the song’s theme is coming of age and the passing of time.

 

Main Characters & Key Incidents
Who’s the speaker? Who are the main characters? What are the big events that happen?

 

Main Characters

Singer – raised as working class, likes cars, whiskey, All American teenager grown up and missing the good old days

Billy – friend – similar to singer
Rockin’ Randall – allusion to Hank Williams Jr. (used as a simile)

Talladega – land of dreams, escape, nostalgia, good times

 

Key Incidents

 

  • Set setting – “summer before real world started”
  • Fix and clean up Daddy’s Winnebago
  • Five best friends drive to Talladega
  • Party in Talladega
  • Looking back – cherish the good old days
  • Going back in his mind – nostalgia

 

Rhyme Scheme
 You’re looking for the end- and internal rhyme patterns.

 

  • Very sparse in this song. Lots of soft or close rhyme – keeps forward momentum of line instead of stopping the movement like a pure rhyme can do.
  • Lots of close inner line rhymes, especially at the end of chorus and bridge.
  • Almost no rhyme in the second verse – makes it work through the melody.

 

Literary Devices Used
Write down any strong imagery, repetition, personification, metaphors, similes, etc.

 

  • Figurative language used to set the scene – doesn’t directly tell that the boys are young, but uses detail to establish the fact.

E.g. “summer before the real world started” and “get to go” – asking permission, also “Winnebago” was a popular car during a certain time in history.

  • In chorus, use of action verbs “-ing” helps increase speed and momentum of the lyrical rhythm. Keeps action happening in the present tense.

Use of multiple meanings of words “turning up” – could be radio, glass; “slowing down” – cars, pace of life.

  • Use of Talladega as a metaphor for glory of youth eternal.
  • Simile – “like a storm, time rolls on.” Compares passing of time to a storm, implies that times aren’t always as good as they used to be.
  • Verse two – dialect “most days in life don’t stand out” – common to southerners.
  • Verse two – same lines – generalization followed by specific examples – “life’s about those days that will [stand out]” – “like Rock and Rando getting rowdy shooting Roman Candles.”
  • Alliteration – same line above “r”
  • Repetition and rhyme in bridge, shoulder to shoulder (rhymes with October) and over, and over, and over.
  • The last line of the verse leads into the chorus without stopping the motion.

 

Opinion Of The Song
Do you like the song? Dislike the song? Or are indifferent? What are your reasons why?

 

I like this song a lot because it seems so simple, but the theme and message is timeless.

Also, I like the harmonic and melodic hooks used in this song.

 

Effect Of The Song On You
How does it make you feel? What does it make you think about? Is there a connection made?

 

This song is not likely to have a lasting effect on my life, however, for guys who can relate to this story, it might cause them to have some realization about the deeper meaning of friendship and appreciating what you have when you have it.

I read some comments on the Vevo video that support assumption.

 

Main Take Aways
  • You can use specific, personal details in a song as long as you make it relatable to everyone through a broad theme.
  • Use action –ing verbs in the chorus
  • Strong melody and harmony can take the place of rhyme in certain cases
  • Close inner line rhyming couplets make strong, hooky lines

 

Eric Church “Talladega” Lyrics

Note: internal rhyme  (yellow) , end rhymes  (blue) , other device  (purple) 

VERSE

It was the summer before the real world started and the deal was we would get to  go ,
if we cleaned it up, and got it running, Daddy’s old  Winnebago 

Wing and a prayer down  65 ,
Five best friends on four bald  tires ,
I can still see Billy smiling, when we finally  made it  . . .

CHORUS

To Talladega, boys raised up, whiskey in your  glass ,
Here’s to turning up,slowing down and cars that go real  fast ,
We were laughing and living,  drinking  and wishing,
And  thinking  as that checkered flag was  waving ,
Sure would like to  stay in 
Talladega

VERSE

Like a storm, time rolls on, you can’t hit pause as we just  did .
Most days in life don’t stand out, but life’s about those days that  will ,
Like  Rocking   Randall , getting  rowdy ,
Shooting  roman  candles at the  man  in the  moon ,
‘Til the Alabama sun was  breaking  . . .

CHORUS

Over Talladega, boys raised up, whiskey in your  glass ,
Here’s to turning up,slowing down and cars that go real  fast ,
We were laughing and living,  drinking  and wishing,
And  thinking  as that checkered flag was  waving ,
Sure would like to  stay in 
Talladega

BRIDGE

When the winds go cold and it blows  October ,
I think about us shoulder to  shoulder ,
Like those cars my thoughts roll  over  and  over  and  over ,
In my mind

CHORUS

Tonight in Talladega, boys raised up, whiskey in your  glass ,
Here’s to turning up,slowing down and cars that go real  fast ,
We were laughing and living,  drinking  and wishing,
And  thinking  as that checkered flag was  waving ,
Sure would like to  stay in 
Talladega

Songwriters: Eric Church & Luke Laird

 

amanda williamsAmanda Williams, whose songwriting credits include “She’s Tired of Boys” co-written with Garth Brook on his latest album, is the owner of Hillbilly Culture LLC.  She not only maintains an online teaching program for songwriting and music business development, but also conducts seminars and conferences. Consider joining her community of songwriters and music business professionals, aka Songpreneurs, at Songpreneurs.com!





3 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing that analysis. It was very insightful.
    I will have to give it a try.

  2. Hi, Linda. Thanks so much for posting this! As an additional footnote, one of our songpreneur community folks, Rebekah Gilbert found a place online where “Rockin’ Randall” was listed as a nickname for Hank Jr.

    I’m thinking that the lyric I consulted to do this analysis was wrong, and that the line is actually “Rockin’ Randall getting rowdy,” which makes sense in an “all my rowdy friends are coming over tonight” kind of way.

    So, the analysis would change to reflect that “Rockin Randall” is one of the characters, not Rock and Rando as is listed above.

    Thanks again for posting.

    • A great analysis – thanks for creating! Noted: I’ll make the change on the analysis above.

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