My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Trisha Yearwood – ‘PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit’

prizefighterThe initial euphoria I felt upon learning that Trisha Yearwood was finally releasing a new album was tempered slightly by the realization that it would be mostly comprised of her old hits along with six new tracks. After a seven-year hiatus, one would think that fans should be able to expect a full-length album’s worth of new material. The older songs included on PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit, are re-recordings of ten of Yearwood’s best known hits. They are faithful enough to the originals that casual fans will probably not notice the difference, with the possible exception of “XXX’s and OOO’s”, which lacks the double-tracked vocal of the original. These re-recordings are the rare exceptions that can hold their own against the orignals, proving that nearly a quarter-century after her debut, Yearwood can still deliver the goods. That being said, the newly-recorded versions don’t bring anything new to the table and no matter how well done they are, one can’t help feeling a little disappointed that Trisha and her producers didn’t make the effort to find a few more new songs to include on the album in their place.

As far as the new material goes, Trisha shows that she hasn’t lost her touch when it comes to choosing top-notch material. The title track and lead single “PrizeFighter“, which I reviwewed back in September, is the only one of the six new tracks that seemed tailor-made for radio. The collaboration with Kelly Clarkson peaked at a disappointing buy not surprising #42 on the country airplay chart and didn’t enter the main Billboard country singles chart at all. The remainder of the new material seems decidedly less commercial. The best of the group is “I Remember You”, a stripped-down acoustic ballad written by Kelly Archer, Ben Caver and Brad Rempel. Trisha’s sister provides the harmony vocals and the song is dedicated to their late parents. Almost as good is “Met Him In A Motel Room”, a Rory Lee Feek and Jamie Teachenor tune about a young girl, possibly a prostitute, meeting someone for a clandestine tryst. The setting of the seedy motel is juxtaposed with a church in the next verse. It’s not clear whether the girl is meeting a clergymen or a pillar-of-the-community married man, but she is later contemplating suicide in another motel room, when the sight of a Bible on the beside table gives her pause to reconsider.

“Your Husband’s Been Cheatin’ On Us” and “You Can’t Trust the Weatherman” provide a much-needed change of pace after such heavy material. The former is a bluesy number, a departure for Yearwood and reminsicent of something Wynonna might have recorded. It is told from the point of view of a cast-aside mistress who gets her revenge by telling her ex-lover’s wife about his affair with yet another woman. The song was written by Matraca Berg, Marshall Chapman and Jill McCorkle. “You Can’t Trust The Weatherman”, written by Ashley Gorley, Wade Kirby and Bryan Simpson, is a tongue-in-cheek number about a shotgun wedding that eventually finds the young couple becoming a latter-day Bonne and Clyde — and almost getting away with it. It is the most country-sounding of the album’s new songs.

Despite the somewhat disappointing recycling of so much old material, Trisha Yearwood fans are bound to be happy to finally have something new to sink their teeth into. The album can be purchased on CD or downloaded from GhostTunes.

Grade: A

4 responses to “Album Review: Trisha Yearwood – ‘PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit’

  1. Erik North November 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I have to say it is, at the very least, a touch disingenuous of Trisha to put only six new songs on an album, and have the other ten be re-do’s of her previous hits, whether it was because she didn’t own the masters to the originals, or for whatever reason. In fact, I would go so far as to label what she does on this album even dishonest–the sort of plot that the two female artists she admires the most, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, would each have avoided like the plague.

  2. Paul W Dennis November 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Unlike many, I am not necessarily down on remakes, particularly when done as well as these. I find it more dishonest , much more dishonest, to place mediocre songs on an album in order to garner songwriter’s royalties for oneself or one’s favorite songwriters.

    Many of today’s albums contain a lot of mediocre crap , placed on the albums under the guise of “care and feeding of favored songwriters”

    This is a very good album and should be evaluated on its own terms, not on the basis of some real or imagined agenda. There is nothing dishonest about this this album

  3. luckyoldsun November 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    If a veteran, legendary artist wants to re-record his classic hits at a later stage in life, that’s fine. If I’m a Merle Haggard fan, I like the original recordings of songs like “The Bottle Let Me Down” and “Mama Tried” that he made when he was in his 20s–but if he wants to tackle a few of those classic songs on when he’s in his 50s or 60s, with a lot of wear and tear on him, I’m interested in hearing what he does with them.
    But I have no interest in hearing note for note remakes of an artist “impersonating her younger self” as Trisha Yearwood admitted these recordings are.
    The “A” rating seems like severe grade inflation, given the comments that preceded it.

  4. Leeann Ward November 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

    It’s rare that LOS and I agree, but I fully agree this time. I like the new songs, particularly “Remember” and “Hotel”, but note for note rerecordings seem like a complete waste of time, resources and effort. I don’t completely subscribe to it being dishonest or anything that sinister, but I do think that the fans who have been patiently, or not so patiently, waiting for new music from her have a right to be disappointed, since they already have all of her greatest hits.

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