Faith Hill’s Cry is nominated for Country Album of the Year – it’s good but there is nothing “country” about it, baby.
The comely Faith Hill’s Cry also treads far from the beaten path of traditional country, but in the somewhat daring direction of R&B. The title track is a big, breathy soul ballad that shows off Hill’s impressive lungs, but also veers uncomfortably close to bombast. Hill, who has won four Grammys, displays a surprising hard-edged funkiness on “Free,” which has absolutely nothing country about it, but if it doesn’t bother the country faithful it sure doesn’t bother me.
“One” and “If You’re Gonna Fly Away” find smoky R&B grooves that would fit perfectly well on a Beyonce album, “Beautiful” has a Latin-influenced subtlety that Twain missed in a similar attempt, “Back to You” is an effective rock-oriented power ballad. Though a bit heavy in the ballad department for my taste, this is a very good album that is country in name only, and as such, I think it’s unlikely to take the country album award, but stranger things have happened: Jethro Tull once won the metal Grammy.
Portions of this story originally appeared here.