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Mark Wills

Loving Every Minute – 2001 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Mark Wills

On his fourth album, Mark Wills finally goes for far more of a country sound than the material that gained him airplay. His debut produced such syrupy hits as "Back At One" and "Don't Laugh," but the magic seems to have disappeared since. So might as well fix what doesn't work. This isn't hard core country, but at least there's fiddle, pedal steel and country-flavored guitar .

Not everything quite fills that bill. The closing "I'm Not Gonna Do Anything Without You," a duet with Jamie O'Neal, clearly is country light. "Love Can't" is lightweight lyrically. and "I Hate Chicago" doesn't quite cut it lyrically either. And "In My Heaven" is too much of a feel good song about the perfect world.

Wills sings well enough, though O'Neal outdistances him on their duet. The album clearly is a step forward for Wills, but given his musical change of pace, he may more a man seeking a musical identity that pushing the envelope.