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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Trisha Yearwood

Greatest Hits

Review by Gary Hill

Greatest Hits releases are always sort of an odd bag of music. For one thing, many times the songs don’t work together as well as they do on their original releases. Also, you get the “hits,” meaning the catchy, fairly middle of the road music that doesn’t stretch the boundaries much. This means that they are always good releases, but seldom great. They frequently suffer quite a bit from a monolithic soundscape. Well, this is actually one of the better Greatest Hits discs. Yearwood’s music is diverse enough that even a collection of hits avoids becoming boring or stale. Truly there are no bad tunes here, and quite a few great ones. I really like this one a lot and I’m generally a hard sell on country music. Although, I should caveat that by saying that I think country music should be country music – not pop delivered with cowboy hats and boots and a little twang while a rapper adds his textures to the R & B backdrop. Yearwood will not get accused of that at all. Her music for the most part falls firmly into the country genre, but at times has some elements of jazz and balladry like Celine Dion.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.


Track by Track Review
She's In Love With The Boy
When this cut first launches it feels rather like some pop rock dittie. Once the vocals and auxiliary musical elements join, though, we’re into a mid-tempo country balladic piece that’s got a lot of spirit.
Like We Never Had a Broken Heart
Based in slower, more sedate modes, this is a pretty ballad that works quite well. Interestingly enough the arrangement on this track at times reminds me a bit of Elton John.
The Woman Before Me
This one comes in with a piano based ballad motif. The vocals join to reinforce and augment this musical conception. As it moves out into the chorus it takes on a more energized sound, but overall the general musical structure holds for the course of the piece.
Wrong Side of Memphis
This bluesy little number is very cool. It’s got a lot of grit and swagger. It’s one of my favorites on the CD and has such a great honky tonk texture.
Walkaway Joe
This is a sad sounding piano based ballad. I know - sad country music – who would’ve thought – that’s about as unusual as depressed blues. On a serious note, the arrangement, lyrics and delivery all work together well to create an exceptionally emotional and moving experience. This is another highlight of the disc and might be my favorite. The piano on this one gives more of an Elton John leaning at times.
The Song Remembers When
At first glance at the title I thought Yearwood was covering Led Zeppelin. Alas, such is not the case. What we get is another ballad, a very story based one. The lyrics paint pictures quite well with their words. I like this track a lot, too. While the overall approach doesn’t differ greatly from the piece that preceded it, this has a gentle sense of empowerment to it and feels a lot different than “Walkaway Joe.” It’s definitely another standout.
XXX's And OOO's (An American Girl)
Here we have a bouncing, bounding tune that’s fun. It’s got a bit of a bluesy, gospel sort of texture at times.
Thinkin' About You
The song structure and overall motif on this track is rather generic. In fact, were it not for the impassioned delivery, this bluesy number would linger in mediocrity. As it is, it’s not a great song, but it’s very good.
Believe Me Baby (I Lied)
This song is good, but a bit generic. It’s rock/gospel meets country approach doesn’t differ much from the rest of the disc and the performance isn’t as exceptionally powerful as the track before. That said, the chorus is extremely catchy.

Everybody Knows
This one rocks out a bit more and works better than the last track. And it manages to do that while not really breaking the overall mold in terms of musical stylings. That’s quite a feat and this is a real standout piece.
How Do I Live
This is an unusual track. It’s essentially a ballad, but it’s also quite hard rocking. I guess you could say it’s kind of like Trisha Yearwood does Celine Dion – at least the more energetically powerful of Dion’s work. This is quite a strong track, although it’s probably the least country music on display here. We even get a smoking saxophone solo as it shifts out more towards jazz.
A Perfect Love
Here we got some southern rock and roll meets country on this energetic number. It’s a fun one and reminds me quite a bit of something from Shania Twain. The guitar solo (while not earth shattering) is very tasty.
There Goes My Baby
At first glance, so to speak, this one feels a bit like a pretty standard slice of the bluesy country that makes up a lot of the CD. The thing is, though, this has a lot of roots rock and roll in the mix ala Buddy Holly and Roy Orbisson. It’s a nice combination that works quite well and elevates the track into the upper half of the disc.
Powerful Thing
Bouncy and fun, this roots rock meets hoedown number is a strong one. It’s probably a bit too twangy for some listeners, but if you overlook that (assuming it’s a negative for you) you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. As the song says, “It’s a powerful thing.”
I Would've Loved You Anyway
Here we get another potent balladic number that feels almost more like rock music than country. It’s a good song, but the formula is getting a little overdone by this point. Besides, by definition half the songs on an album are “not as strong” as the rest of the disc. This probably lands in the lower end, but mostly because it struggles without a unique identity – not from any real weakness.
Just a Cup of Coffee
Java addict that I am I have to love any song that has the word “coffee” in the title. I know, so from here on out every up and coming band wanting a great review at MSJ is going to title a track something with coffee in it! This is a stripped down, homegrown cup of country balladry that works quite well. It stands out a bit just because it’s a change of pace and it’s delivered with a lot of sincerity. In truth, this is one of the strongest cuts on the whole set.
Nothin' To Lose
This one is a hoe down turned jazz influenced. It’s fun and another highlight of the disc. I can’t imagine a stronger way to end the set.
 
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