Not our most controversial single from him, even…
Alfred Soto: Chief is Eric Church’s best to date because he exiled ballads like this, but because Church’s voice always sounds like a backwoods sinner’s in a tent revival he can sneak apostasy into a chorus.
Anthony Easton: Church’s voice is warm and burnished; it seems vulnerable, and vulnerability leaning toward autobiography is something that’s lacking in the genre. The writing is top notch — especially the line about the tent revival — gooey, but not really reflective, and it avoids acknowledging that if she loved you like Jesus does, you wouldn’t be that special, because Jesus loves everyone (this might be a flaw in the evangelical theology more than Church). It’s also worth noting that this is much less an ardent statement of desire than most praise and worship music; the metaphor isolates some of the passion, as metaphors tend to do.
Josh Langhoff: Somehow I doubt Eric’s Jesus woman sees him as poetically as he sees himself — if you’re the one cleaning up, a puking drunk is a puking drunk and crazy broken-winged good ol’ backroad revival heavy-sinned runway-staring has nothing to do with it. On the other hand, there’s gotta be some reason she sticks with him, and whether that reason is her innate virtue or the way Eric’s voice flutters when he sings about the devil, she gets to hear the flutter either way. That and the pedal steel and the high scritchy guitar effect whenever he sings about the devil and everything else that makes this song perfectly understated and chill-inducing — hell, I’d clean up after him at least twice.
Brad Shoup: The vinyl fetishism is a little weird, given that country is one of those bastions of CDs, but this is still a good example of Church’s ability to command attention at a reduced volume. It’s another one of those smart-meets-crazy reception songs, made palatable by expert mixing and some Frisellian steel sigh.
Ramzi Awn: Church’s voice suits a guitar just fine, and the shuffling beat behind him does no disservice. “Like Jesus Does” does a decent job of finding a groove, even if the groove is Jesus’s.
Rebecca A. Gowns: Blasphemous.
Edward Okulicz: Single number infinity from the (very good) Chief LP, and it seems country listeners can’t get enough… maybe it’s how his love songs to women past and present throw in snatches of being love letters to musical heroes. Maybe it’s how he actually twinges the word “can’t” so it rhymes with “ain’t.” I’m most taken with how the oversized conceit of the title (that a woman loves him the way Jesus does: eternally, infinitely) is beautifully fitted to a such humble song.