My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Daily Archives: September 10, 2010

Classic Rewind: Janie Fricke – ‘She’s Single Again’

Single Review: Sara Evans – ‘A Little Bit Stronger’

It’s been five years since Sara Evans released a full-length studio album or had a Top 10 hit. She seemed to be getting back on track artistically with 2005’s Real Fine Place, only to falter again with the four new tracks that were included on 2007’s Greatest Hits package. Last year’s “Feels Just Like A Love Song” died at #59 and dropped off the charts entirely after only two weeks. The album which “Feels Just Like A Love Song” was to have led was delayed and is now more than a year overdue. That’s a career slump by almost any measure. For her comeback, Evans needs to knock one out of the park with a record that is strong, bold, catchy and memorable. Unfortunately, none of those terms applies to her new release “A Little Bit Stronger”.

I had hoped that Evans would take advantage of her sabbatical from the airwaves following the failure of “Feels Just Like A Love Song” to reassess her career and get back in touch with her roots. But instead of changing directions and trying something different, she’s offering up more of the same. “A Little Bit Stronger” was written by Hillary Scott along with Luke Laird and Hillary Lindsay, and it’s possible that Evans thought the link to Lady Antebellum would garner some attention from radio programmers. That seems like a long shot considering how mundane both the lyrics and melody are.

“A Little Bit Stronger” is about a woman who is getting over a bad break-up, a theme that has been revisited countless times in country music. But unlike such classics as “‘Ti I Can Make It On My Own” or “For My Broken Heart”, “A Little Bit Stronger” never allows the listener to feel the depths of the protagonist’s pain. All we’re told is that she brushed her teeth, drove to work and is feeling a little better now. Likewise, it lacks the spunk of other getting-over-you songs such as Tammy Wynette’s “Another Chance” or Evans’ own ‘Cheatin’.

A catchy melody can make up for dull lyrics, but unfortunately the melody here just plods along until reaching an almost bombastic stage at the bridge with some over-the-top electric guitar riffs along with some traces of pedal steel that seem to have been thrown into the mix as an afterthought.

A Little Bit Stronger’ was produced by Tony Brown and will appear on the soundtrack album to the upcoming film Country Strong starring Tim McGraw and Gwyneth Paltrow. It is also supposed to appear on Evans’ next studio album, now slated for an early 2011 release, though it is unclear whether this is the same album that was supposed to have been released last year or if a new album has been recorded in its place. Either way, “A Little Bit Stronger” inspires very little confidence that Sara Evans’ career is once again on track.

Grade: C-

Listen to¬†‘A Little Bit Stronger’.