From the opening power chords of the funky "Free," Faith Hill is making a soulful pop-country statement, with the emphasis overwhelmingly on the pop side of the equation.

From the opening power chords of the funky "Free," Faith Hill is making a soulful pop-country statement, with the emphasis overwhelmingly on the pop side of the equation. That said, Cry is a confident effort, with Hill laying claim as queen of that segment of the country landscape. The set tilts heavily toward R&B divahood on songs like "One" and "Unsaveable." Producer Byron Gallimore delivers hits via synth-laden, multi-layered midtempos and soaring, if sometimes bland, ballads. Hill also delivers impressive vocals on the gospel-tinged "Stronger." Over the course of 14 cuts, the record gets a tad repetitive, with nary a fiddle or steel break within earshot, but given Hill's high profile and a big promotional push, expect platinum sales and megahits at radio.—RW

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