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Album Review

Lavishly produced and packaged, Cry marks the continued ascent of Faith Hill from the lowlands of down-home authenticity to the heights of pop superstardom. Though plenty of Nashville A-team players back her up, the sound they churn out has almost nothing to do with country music. Riding a tide of massed synthesizer textures, sweeping orchestral strings, thundering drums, rock guitar licks, and melodramatic dynamics, Hill strives for the biggest possible gestures in her performance. The results are the kind of glitzy fireworks normally associated with Star Search or American Idol, in which the lyrics take a backseat to raw exhibitionism, and only the most cursory nod is made toward country lyrical convention. ~ Robert L. Doerschuk, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Grossly Underrated

So maybe it isn't country and maybe it is a little too slick and polished, but the fact remains that this album includes, bar-none, the best vocals of Faith Hill's career and, arguably, some of the best vocal moments pop music has ever seen. Faith Hill, an artist largely unafraid to reinvent herself with each consecutive record, infuses 'Cry' with traces from countless different genres, dabbling in pop to funk to gospel to spoken word to - yes - a little bit of downhome country. But throughout all the experimentation, Hill's voice absolutely SOARS to the stars. She hits notes country stars never even dream of tackling on songs like 'Unsaveable', 'Back to You', 'Stronger', and the title track, proving she's got the stuff to belt with the divas of legend, amongst the likes of Whitney, Mariah, and Celine. And to top it off, she reins it all in at the end with the lovely, subdued, lullaby-esque ballad 'You're Still Here', showing just how much control she has over her instrument. No, not her instrument... Her bazooka. If you want to look at Faith Hill in a completely different light and see just what she's capable of, you need to get this record.

A Tour de Force and Incredibly Underrated Masterwork

From the opening bars of "Free" you are instantly put on notice that Faith had cut loose from the bonds of being pigeonholed as a "country" artist. No, this is NOT a straight ahead country album. Forget that, its not even a pop-country album. Cry is a rock album with blues soul, R&B horsepower and country lyrical sensibilities. That very fact led it to be rejected by country radio (no surprise) and the only reason it sold as many copies as it did is that the title cut was an excellent track and because Faith spent all the fan base capital she had built from the monumental success of Breathe and put it into this project. And thank goodness she did; Cry is an example of what happens when an independently thinking and talented artist is so successful that they are basically handed the keys to the candy store and allowed to do whatever they want. At its core, Cry is a concept album; the concept revolves the central ideas of sorrow, loss or redemption from those two things with many (such as When the Lights Go Down, One and Back to You) dealing with all of them. Lyrically the album is just stellar; the songwriting is concise, visual and down to earth-you can relate to the subject matter. Vocally, Faith has never sounded better and I doubt she ever will again; this type of music suits her voice perfectly. Her vocals are pushed into the mix just the right amount by Dan Huff so that when she sings the lyrics you can hear her voice dripping with the emotion. She has always had an incredible vocal range, but she knows enough not to overkill with it, which makes it all the more effective on tracks like Back to You where at the 2:30 mark she TAKES OFF after 2:29 of low key buildup and nails you with it. Musically, wow; words escape me. I personally feel this is one of the most well produced mainstream albums I have EVER heard. I own, literally, over 2,000 albums across a broad spectrum of music and listen to them on Ultimate Ears Customs which allows me to hear the music as close to what the artist hears in the studio as is possible and the music on this album is unreal. The instrumentation is multi-layered and diverse; every song manages to have its own unique identity musically and does all of this without sounding busy. I can hear drum rolls start on the left and complete on the right, one guitar pulls in somewhere in the middle and a second plays off to the right. Great care was obviously done with great care and it makes listening to the album pure joy. In the end, Cry did not get the overall everyday recongnition of its predecessor because it lacked huge hit singles but, as is often the case, what is not always the most accessible to the masses is often the best music. It also got dismissed because Faith was classified (and still is to an extent) as a country artist and this wasn't a country album. That is a pity because, when I sit back and look at my collection as just a fan of music, I rank this among my favorite 20 albums ever. It is a lyrical, instrumental and vocal masterwork that should not escape your attention. If you are in a position to do so I HIGHLY encourage you to add this album to your collection-I guarantee you will not be dissapointed.

WOW

one word: FABULOUS!!

Biography

Born: September 21, 1967 in Jackson, MS

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the biggest female country stars of the '90s and 2000s, Faith Hill also took advantage of the inroads Shania Twain made into pop territory, becoming an enormous crossover success by the end of the millennium. Of course, Hill's movie star good looks certainly helped her cause, and her much-celebrated marriage to fellow country star Tim McGraw gave her career an extra kick of glamour...
Full Bio

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