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Faith Hill - Cry (Warner)

When an album opens with the lyrics "I had it tough when I was just a little kid", you know what to expect. If this weak attempt to pull on the heartstrings doesn't get you, then perhaps the closing words on the albums thank you list will do the job, "God Bless America! God Bless America!!!" The statement made even more ridiculous with the excessive use of exclamation marks. As if the singer's involvement in the all-American Pearl Harbour wasn't a strong enough mark of patriotism, Faith Hill feels the need to reiterate her national pride. If fourteen tracks of philosophical enlightenment aren't satisfying enough then you will be happy to know that the CD is specially enhanced, containing footage of the artist's studio sessions and world-tour.

The lyrical content has the depth of a puddle. Is the singer being ironic when she sings, "What would you say if I said something strange that made a difference? What would you do if I did something out of the blue that made this world a better place? I think I will"? The album cover shows Faith Hill bearing a striking resemblance to Britney Spears and the similarities don't end there. Both have songs by the title 'Stronger' and both like to express their religious beliefs, "I try to love Jesus and myself", sings Faith Hill in the sweetest reverential voice she can muster.

The albums preoccupation with love and relationships verges on neurosis. The whole album has a very Ally McBeal feel to it. What amazes me most is the fact that it took four people to produce this album, including the artist herself. With four people collaborating on an album, you would expect a better offering than this.

Laura Brown

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