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STARific Review: Faith Hill - Cry

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Still riding high with the success of Breathe, her multi-platinum smash, Faith Hill releases her fifth album, Cry. Faith, the small town girl from Star, Mississippi, who took Nashville by storm with her debut single "Wild One," cites Aretha Franklin as one of her musical influences. And, in her newest musical project, Faith takes on the "Queen of Soul," tackling several vocally challenging tunes with exceptional grit. She also enlists several Nashville’s songwriting greats – Matraca Berg, Bekka Bramlett, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Annie Roboff, Anthony Smith, Jeffrey Steele, and more! – and collaborates with Byron Gallimore, Dann Huff, as well as Marti Frederiksen in producing this album (Bekka Bramlett also pitches in on background vocals, and Dann Huff lends his guitar expertise to the project).

The album opens with the spirited FREE, in which Faith unleashes and exercises her musical gifts to their full capacities. Though the title track is a darker song, CRY all but lights up as Faith sings each note with passion and conviction. With its funky melodic lines, ONE has a soul and gospel feel all at once. Its tongue-in-cheek lyrics signal a wakeup call in an effort to prevent any emotional baggage from unloading. This is thoroughly enjoyable track and one of my favorites! Looks like she took the advice of the previous track "Free." Accompanied by a piano and orchestra, Faith sounds very much at ease behind the microphone as she belts out WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN; this track never fails to leave me speechless every time I hear it! BEAUTIFUL opens with a Latin-inspired guitar solo, then breaks into a spoken verse. In fact, only the chorus is sung. Among powerful vocal work and extravagant instrumental arrangements on several other tracks, this is an enlightening change of pace. The disintegrating romance in UNSAVEABLE was indeed as the track’s title indicated. Ironically, at least one party proved savable – the one who gained strength to walk away from a foreshadowed dead end. Love soon fills the air again when lyrics in BABY YOU BELONG infer a timeless commitment between soul mates. Showing a simple gesture of support, IF YOU’RE GONNA FLY AWAY, the rhythmic, gospel-infused tune lends beautiful words of comfort, while helping to lead a lost soul out of the dark and into the light. When two people grow apart, one sees the blessing in a seemingly cruel curse, and confidently proclaims that after everything works itself out, "we both will be STRONGER." Love is a two-way street, and when it shatters two lives, it can’t be pretty. However, IF THIS IS THE END, denial and suppression offer a certain solace, if only temporarily. Distinct electric guitar licks with traces of Celtic influences give THIS IS ME an energetic vibe. Even in this powerful track, some vulnerability seeps through, as Faith sings about insecurities and encourages us to "celebrate who we are" despite what other people think or say. This is a personal favorite. Regret-filled BACK TO YOU and I THINK I WILL make requests for second chances to right previous wrongs. Finally, YOU’RE STILL HERE finds a woman living among memories of happier times when love conquered all. This heart-tugging ballad might just be my favorite from this album!
The music ends here. But, this is where the fun begins! If you stick this CD into your computer, you will find it is enhanced with FaithTV. Fans get a sneak peek into the process of making this album – from choosing and recording the songs to photo shoots and choosing the cover and promo shots – captured on several video episodes of exclusive "behind the scenes" footage.

There have been discussions about which genre Faith’s music falls under. Does it honestly matter? The question should never concern which genre(s) any given album fits (or doesn’t fit) into but rather the quality of it. So then, the question becomes: is this a good album? My answer to that – to say Cry is a "good" album would be an understatement. The music and Faith’s vocal talents speak for themselves brilliantly throughout the entire album. Not only that, but Faith has gone over and beyond to put together this collection of songs, and it is by a long shot the best album she has put out thus far.

CD INFO:

Faith Hill
Cry
Warner Brothers Nashville
Released October 15, 2002

Faith Hill

CD INFO:

1. Free
2. Cry
3. One
4. When the Lights Go Down
5. Beautiful
6. Unsaveable
7. Baby You Belong
8. If You're Gonna Fly Away
9. Stronger
10. If This is the End
11. This is Me
12. Back to You
13. I Think I Will
14. You're Still Here

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