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Cry a lot for Faith Hill

Country Standard Time Editorial, November 2002

When Faith Hill first popped up into our country consciousness, it was thanks to songs like "Wild One," "Piece of My Heart," the hit for Janis Joplin's Big Brother & The Holding Company and "Take Me As I Am." The Mississippi native enjoyed great success with these songs all within a one-year period almost a decade ago.

Her videos had a decided country edge to them with Hill sporting jeans and boots. The entire gestalt of what country was about circa mid-1990s.

But somewhere along the line, Hill - and she certainly has not been the only singer - veered more and more away from country music.

That is never so apparent as with "Cry," her brand new disc that was the best selling album in the entire country for at least its first week out. As a result, of course, "Cry" also was number one on the country album charts.

But if you listen to the album, it's quite hard to hear why anyone would consider it country. For some reason, Hill said in an interview that she thought the music included several songs that country listeners could latch onto.

Now, this has nothing to do with the quality of the album - Hill by and large sings very well and puts out vocally - but it's hard to imagine anyone who knows their country music confusing this with the real deal. There's pop, soul and some rock there, but country?

The title track, which is the first single, has made it onto the top 20 of the country charts. This is clearly a case of programmers deciding to play the music because it's by Faith Hill, not because it's by country artist Faith Hill.

Hill, of course, is absolutely entitled to sing and play whatever music she prefers. It's her career, and that's her decision. Who knows? Maybe she'll tire of the diva idea and instead head back to the country.

But please don't confuse the music on "Cry" with country. And for that, her country fans can cry a lot.