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Faith Hill – a mix of pop and country. It’ll never work. I’m the kinda guy that likes a bit of Counting Crows, trance music, Eminem and a nice bit of Andrea Bocelli. Note there was no hints of a liking for pop/country in that lot, so I was really not looking forward to this experience. Either I am really drunk and out of my mind, or I must be exploring my feminine side a little more as I didn’t repel from this album like I was expecting. It better be some form of brain trauma anyway as I don’t want to have to move to Carolina and change my name to Cletus.

Cry
The Album
Dunked in sugar and served up so sickly sweet that my speakers are practically leaking syrup, Faith Hill’s latest album Cry gets its DVD-Audio release. The cover features a sultry stare from this southern belle and the inner sleeve features her getting soaked to the skin in a close fitting black top. After seeing this I started to wonder what market she’s actually aiming herself at, perhaps it is not just the girls of America that get down to a bit of Faith Hill at the local discothèque? Perhaps the guys are in there too getting down to the funky tunes (more than likely just after the girls though). Enough ramblings about that though. If you asked me to name a tune by this songstress I wouldn’t be able to (unless one is called Cry which is the album title (checks). Ok that’s a lie, other than Cry I couldn’t name any). I think she might have sung the theme song for the incredibly popular and well respected Pearl Harbour, but to be honest I am not really fussed.

The album opens with a dance song called Free. Instantly it is easy to hear that Warner have again excelled themselves with this surround mix. The percussion is piped to the rear speakers, as is part of the main guitar and a small amount of vocals. The percussion is off set so that one beat from one instrument comes from the left, and a beat from a different instrument comes from the right, while all the time the vocals and main instruments jump from the front three speakers towards the listening position. The closing backing vocals are also bound to the rear speakers making again the enveloping music experience I require from my shiny DVD-Audio discs.

Cry
The title track starts to show off not only Faith Hill’s vocal talents, but the clarity of the recording and the DVD-Audio track, as does the ballad When The Lights Go Down. It’s easy to picture an arena at night, Faith on stage singing her heart out and a load of country fans holding their lighters up creating a golden glow. Yes this is pretty sickening stuff and yet I’m not turning it off yet am I, so it must be doing something right. The track Beautiful has spoken verses and a sung chorus. Her dusky and seductive voice’s clement tones offer such mawkish lines as " And how you tell me that my name, tastes so sweet on your lips". Even so, the music is written well and the chorus is a nice contrast in style to the spoken lyrics. The backing vocals (" Feel like I could fly") from the rear speakers during the chorus are great. How do people with only “CDs” manage these days? So as you can see, I actually liked this album a lot, which means the guys that work at this site are bound to give me a lot of grief, but I am going to stand my ground and while I never ( not in a million years) would have considered even listening to this let alone buying it I am glad I have sat through it (several times now).

Cry
Extras
The main extras on this disc consist of videos. The first is entitled Studio Sessions and shows the lady in the studio mixing one of her tracks. Presented in 4:3, but letterboxed the video quality is adequate for this concept. It is good to hear her sing live as she really can. She talks to the band and the producer about what key to sing in. She knows her stuff. After this is the video for the Photo Shoot for the album cover. Picture a blonde getting soaked in the rain and you’ll get the gist of the start of this two minute video. The letterboxed 4:3 video for Cry follows on from this. More wet clothes and wet hair feature. Maybe she just likes the water? Surprisingly enough we get this in Dolby Digital 5.1, which is nice. It would have been easy for them to just use the stereo mix but that’s what I am starting to like about these Warner discs. They are prepared to go the extra mile.

Finally there is an Interview with Faith Hill dissecting the music and the video for Cry. So that’s the photo shoot, video, video shoot and interview all about one track which is great as you get to see it from all angles. All interlinked, these extras have a lot more purpose this way than if they were all focused on different tracks. Also, again Warner includes a 1536 Kbps DTS audio track for the album. Obviously the mix is the same as the Dolby Digital and the DVD-Audio tracks however, the audio quality is superior to the Dolby Digital version. If you haven’t got a DVD-Audio player yet, I’d recommend you check the DTS track out over the Dolby Digital one.

Cry
Overall
I think I need to go and dig out some thrash metal to cleanse myself, and try to make myself feel less “fruity” after enjoying this disc so much. Yes its pop-tastic, and yes I guess that makes me sad, but it’s a fine effort from Faith Hill and while it won’t go storming up the charts here, it will sit nicely in my collection. However, I’ll have to wait for the wife to go out before I put it on.


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