Album Review: Terri Clark – ‘How I Feel’
March 10, 2011
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Terri Clark’s third album, released in May 1998, found the singer at the apex of her commericial success, but also at the peak of her ability to balance commercial considerations with showcasing her talents as a writer and interpreting the traditions of country music. Working exclusively with producer Keith Stegall this time out, Terri wrote or co-wrote half of the 12 songs here. How I Feel continued her run of platinum-selling albums, and was her second top 10 on the Country Albums chart.
The lead single ‘Now That I Found You’, a sweet-sounding testament to – you guessed it – finding the love of your life, sailed to #2 in the US and Canada. Then it’s back to her now-signature rowdy-girl sound for the album’s second single, and Clark’s first chart-topper. The spitfire in Terri’s voice on ‘You’re Easy On The Eyes’ is befitting of the biting lyrics.
‘Everytime I Cry’ peaked just outside the top 10 at #12, and featured a music video depicting spousal abuse. Though the lyrics don’t get into specifics one way or the other, the song was heralded for its message. A fourth and final single failed to make any headway, but deserved an audience nonetheless. ‘Unsung Hero’ sings the praises of appreciation of one who ‘works their magic quietly’. What starts out as a quiet, almost-acoustic production eases into a choir-filled bombast of sound half-way through, contrasting the simplicity of its message.
With most of the singles stacked on the first half, the second half allows Clark to showcase her music muscle a bit. My favorite from the set is ‘Getting Even With The Blues’, one of several songs from the writing team of Clark with Tom Shapiro and Chris Waters. Clark pours on her smokiest vocal to this elegant honky-tonk ballad in the piano-bar fashion. Likewise top-shelf are a punchy take on Kim Richey’s quintessential break-up tune ‘I’m Alright’ and the shuffling country sound of ‘This Ole Heart’.
Other tracks don’t come together so well. ‘Not Getting Over You’ is more in the contemporary mold, slowly morphing into a power ballad. Perhaps the layers of production are added to mask the fact that the lyrics are pretty weak and unsubstantial. This may also be the case with tracks like ‘Till I Get There’ and the almost-title-track ‘That’s How I Feel’.
Despite a couple of missteps, mostly sound-wise, How I Feel would be Clark’s strongest set of songs to date.
Buy it from amazon.