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LeAnn Rimes

Greatest Hits – 2003 (Curb)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by LeAnn Rimes

At the ripe young age of 21, LeAnn Rimes finally has her first greatest hits plus package, and it shows how over the course of eight years, the former youthful star has crossed stylistic boundaries.

When she released her first song and hit, "Blue," it was an eye opener. First, she displayed great vocal skills in a hard country song from veteran DJ Bill Mack. What was also telling was that "Blue" was never a huge hit on radio that was more conducive to a pop form of country.

Over time, she would venture away from "Blue" to a far more pop sound. That was evident by "How Do I Live" and "Can't Fight the Moonlight," the second and third songs on the package after "Blue," Popmeister Diane Warren penned both, and neither has anything to do with country. Rimes' sound tended to stay big with lots of guitars and drums on early hits "One Way Ticket (Because I Can)" and "Commitment" and later with "Written in the Stars," a duet with Elton John. Rimes also entered a more spiritual side with her album of religious music featuring "On the Side of Angels" and "You Light Up My Life."

For those seeking the hard core country of "Blue" or a fine turn on "Crazy," they are going to be sadly disappointed. Of the new songs, "Last Thing On My Mind," a duet with Irish pop singer Ronan Keating, is pop, while "This Love," which Rimes helped write, borders on country light.

The 19-song release plus 4-song DVD demonstrates the vocal powerhouse Rimes always has been. Her version of "Unchained Melody" is a standout.

Being a prepubescent superstar is never easy, and Rimes could probably attest to that. But the one instrument that has stood the test of time is her exceptional voice. Now if only she could make every song sound like "Blue."