My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Sara Evans – ‘My Heart Can’t Tell You No’

Two thoughts immediately spring to mind while listening to Sara Evans’ new single: this is a fairly weak lyric built around a mushy sentiment, but man, do I like the sound of it. Country artists don’t have the best track record for cherry-picking the pop and rock catalogs for songs worthy of reinterpretation. (See: Alabama’s arid remake of ‘N Sync’s “God Must Have Spent a Little More Time On You” or Lonestar’s “Walking In Memphis”, among countless others.) So, of all the 80s pop  hits Sara Evans could have wrapped her majestic pipes around, it’s discouraging she chose this 1988 Rod Stewart cut, but encouraging that she’s reworked it to more than resemble country music.

Gone is the 80s synth-pop sound of the original, replaced instead with tasteful country flavor where steel guitar flourishes and warm harmonies frame Evans’ pitch-perfect vocal performance.  Her tendency to wring the highest notes for more than they’re worth has always been a flaw in her singing, no matter how accurately she nails them; fortunately, those moments here are short.  Judged only on its sound, this is Evan’s finest single release since “Cheatin'”.  But listen closely to the lyrics, and you’ll see that’s not the case.

The first verse finds her begging her lover for mercy, leading up to half a good chorus – the first 3 lines are pretty strong – before finally declaring she wants him to stay away in the song’s shouted second verse.  But that leads her right back to the catchy, but confusing, chorus where she again decides she can’t tell this guy no.  Talk about your mixed messages. Slathering an obvious pop melody with country instruments often makes for a pleasing sound effect, which is the case here, but as Alan Jackson might say “this song’s got a broken hook, and I know they’ve been using a cut-rate thesaurus ’cause the adverbs have backed up into the chorus. Now the verses are runnin’ on verbs that are way too weak.”

Grade: C-

Listen here.

4 responses to “Single Review: Sara Evans – ‘My Heart Can’t Tell You No’

  1. Razor X June 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    This is probably my least favorite track on her album. Very boring, plodding song. C- is just about right.

  2. Occasional Hope June 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    The whole album was so disappointing for me.

  3. Nicolas June 14, 2011 at 2:50 am

    I love this song quite a bit. Although, I think Anywhere was the more obvious country radio summer smash. Hope this does well though.

  4. NeilCody August 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Written by Dennis Morgan, released in 88 by Rod
    Stewart who took it to a top 5 hit, recorded and un-released by Eddy Austin in 2005, re-recorded and released by Sara Evand 2011. Wait till you hear the just released version by Eddy Austin.

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