Review - Fireflies by Faith Hill
Fireflies, Faith Hill’s latest offering, is a CD filled with beautiful songs. The best of which are “Mississippi Girl,” “Like We Never Loved At All” (both co-written by Rich) and “Dearly Beloved.”
The CD opens with the very upbeat and catchy “Sunshine And Summertime.” It’s a real toe-tapper, but it lacks any kind of real substance. It’s message seems to be that everything is all right with the world if we all just make new friends and keep close to them. If Up With People were still around today, they would probably adopt this into their repertoire.
One of the few other up-tempo songs on this CD is “We’ve Got Nothing But Love To Prove,” another peace, love and happiness song worthy of the Up With People repertoire. A bit of sizzle here, but little steak.
Substance on this CD comes from “Like We Never Loved At All” and “Dearly Beloved.” “Like We Never Loved At All” is a slick pop-country duet with Hill’s husband, Tim McGraw, which puts one in the mind of the Tammy Wynette and George Jones duets of the 1970s. It is the vocal centerpiece for Hill’s voice on this CD, the one song where she is able to exercise those beautiful pipes of hers. The melody soars and the passion sizzles in this one. However, if it weren’t for McGraw’s distinctive country twang, there would be little about this song that marks it as a country song. It could play just as easily on pop stations as country stations.
“Dearly Beloved” is the only truly country song on the CD, a bluegrass-styled commentary on the current state of love, courtship and hastily arranged marriages. This one does what every really good country song should do: attack contemporary social issues with wit and humor. It reminds me of the Dixie Chicks’ “Earl Had To Die.” It’s a shame that today’s country stations, so concerned with gaining and maintaining the emerging crossover audience, probably won’t play this fun little song in favor of the glitzed up, slick pop-country “Like We Never Loved At All” and “Mississippi Girl.”
Coming from Faith, “Mississippi Girl” is a much more believable autobiographical tune than “Jenny From The Block” sung by Jennifer Lopez. Unlike J Lo, we believe that Faith really lives her offstage life the same way she would if she were nothing more than a housewife in Star, Mississippi. We regularly see Faith appearing on interview shows wearing her “old ball cap” and we know that she is authentic when she sings this. Kudos to John Rich for capturing the real Faith Hill and giving her a song that only she can sing.
As for the rest of the CD, it is a collection of truly beautiful songs that are, unfortunately, unmemorable. That much beauty gets lost among the rest of the beauty. This is a CD overloaded with pretty folk singer ballads, none of which has the soaring vocal melodies that are a hallmark of Faith Hill’s career. Although I have played this CD numerous times, I couldn’t tell you much more about the remaining songs because they don’t stick with me the way “Mississippi Girl,” “Dearly Beloved” and “Like We Never Loved At All” do. Even the hippie songs, “Sunshine And Summertime” and “We’ve Got Nothing But Love To Prove,” have standout phrases that stick with you after you’re done listening. However, the majority of this CD plays like a collection of Indigo Girls B-sides. The producers would have been better off taking all of these beautiful ballads and spreading them out over several CDs and putting a few more up-tempo and memorable songs in their places on this one.
Faith Hill has two very important things going for her: goddess-like looks and a heavenly voice. Goddess-like looks don’t play through the speakers, so she is best off focusing on powerful up-tempo country and pop power ballads that showcase her heavenly voice with soaring melodies and passionate lyrics rather than pretty, but unmemorable art songs. Fourteen songs, overly weighted toward the pretty, was about four songs too many for this CD.
*** out of *****