Country Strong | Soundtrack

Sony (2011)
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  January 11, 2011
1.0 1.0 Stars

 01142011_CountryStrongGP

This steaming pile of songs is emblematic of the state of mainstream country music — all artifice, no heart, calculated anthems written to formula and meant, like the film itself, to do no more than capitalize on the genre's current success and rob its undiscriminating fans. Of all these cliché-packed numbers, the worst, including the title track (the disc's obligatory ode to Middle American values), are sung by Gwyneth Paltrow. Like many of today's country hitmakers, she acts the role of artist but fails to deliver anything resembling the real goods. Her performances aren't bad, they're simply pointless, as she capably warbles lines like "The world tried to break me/I found a world to take me/Home" in "Coming Home" and other generic Nashville arrangements. Tracks by Sara Evans, Lee Ann Womack, the insufferable Trace Adkins, and breathing stick figure Tim McGraw are painful for their lack of character; the plastic sentiments are summed up by titles like Evans's "A Little Bit Stronger" and the Chris Young/Patty Loveless duet "Love Don't Let Me Down." The drinking songs — Hank Williams Jr.'s "Thirsty" and Ronnie Dunn's "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" — offer the only traces of humor and humanity in this insufferable enterprise.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ronnie Dunn,  More more >
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