Faith Hill's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Faith Hill
 Kevin Winter/ACMA2013/Getty Images for ACM

Faith Hill performs onstage during Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night presented by the Academy of Country Music at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 8, 2013 in Las Vegas.

Faith Hill broke onto the country scene with her debut single in the fall of 1993, and it wasn’t long before America fell in love with the young talent. Soon, country radio was on board, playing one hit after the other. With each release, it seemed that Hill’s stature in the business grew. Her storybook marriage to Tim McGraw made headlines in the fall of 1996, causing the star of both artists to rise.

In 1998, Hill aimed for the crossover market for the first time with “This Kiss,” and the results were a hit that proved to be one of the most memorable of the year. That would have been the crowning moment for any artists’ career, but one year later, the seductive “Breathe” went even further up the charts, peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and topping the Hot Country Songs chart. The singer has remained a fan favorite, teaming up with McGraw for another successful collaboration with the recent “Speak To A Girl.”

We took Hill’s solo hits -- it would be easy to include the McGraw duets -- and were reminded of just what an impressive performer she has been on her own over the years. Her catalog is a mixture of pop sheen and down-home charm that has always been a winning combination to her fans. Here are 10 Faith Hill songs that have stood the test of time.

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10. Faith Hill - "Cry"

Fresh off the multi-platinum sales and cross-over chart success of "Breathe" and the singles from it, Hill stayed in that vein with this stellar showcase for her vocals. Interestingly enough, the song failed to hit the top 10 on the country charts, but continued her success at Adult Contemporary radio, netting a chart-topper -- as well as a Grammy. The 2002 single remains one of her most remarkable performances of any style.

9. Faith Hill - "Someone Else’s Dream"

Songwriters Trey Bruce and Craig Wiseman penned this early Faith Hill song about a woman who was growing restless about her life and living it the way that she wanted to -- and not the way that others thought she should live. You get the feeling that the lyric was one that she strongly identified with while growing up in the prophetically-named hometown of Star, Missississpi.

8. Faith Hill - "Piece of My Heart"

It took a great amount of courage on the part of Faith Hill to issue the cover of this rock and roll classic as her second Warner Brothers single in the winter of 1994. However, she wasn’t the first to cover the song made famous by Janis Joplin during her Big Brother and the Holding Company days in 1968. As iconic as Joplin’s version was, that one wasn’t the first. The song was actually recorded the first time by Erma Franklin the year before. Hill took the song and made it shine with a '90s country sound, introducing the title to a brand new audience.

7. Faith Hill - "Mississippi Girl"

Big & Rich’s John Rich co-wrote the song specifically for Hill, who cut the track for her Fireflies album in 2005. The song, about her not forgetting her small town roots, returned her to the top of the country charts for the first time in five years. The song made mention of Hill’s acting success in such films as The Stepford Wives.

6. Faith Hill - "Wild One"

The song that introduced Hill to audiences struck a chord with young women everywhere who wanted to live life on their own terms -- and break free from their parents’ tight clutches. But, even though the song wound up helping to make the singer a household name, she wasn’t the first to record the song written by Jaime Kyle, Will Rambeaux, and Pat Bunch. In fact, the original recording wasn’t even by a female vocalist. The song was originally cut by Zaca Creek, a band on Giant Records in 1992. One year later, the song found it's rightful home, becoming the first Faith Hill song to top the charts!

5. Faith Hill - "Let Me Let Go"

Though we didn’t include any collaborations with husband Tim McGraw on this list, as it would take away from her great solo work over the years, there are some other notable vocal partnerships in the Faith Hill catalog. She recorded “I’ve Got This Friend” with Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart on her first album, and no less than Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill added his unique vocal touch to the harmonies on this 1998 chart-topper.

4. Faith Hill - "This Kiss"

Hill had won the heart of country audiences already, but this 1998 hit proved to be her first taste of success on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 7. The sentiment -- comparing the feeling a kiss gives you to a wide variety of dazzling heights -- definitely won fans over, making her a huge star in the United States and beyond. And, it’s hard to dislike a song that has the word "centrifugal" in it!

3. Faith Hill - "Breathe"

With her crossover appeal already in place, Hill cemented her place in country and pop music with a career-defining ballad performance that still smolders with a sizzling sensuality that still stirs emotions after almost 20 years. And, that doesn’t even take the scorching video clip for the song, which definitely inspired the masses -- of both genders!

2. Faith Hill - "The Secret of Life"

Chart or sales-wise, it might not rank as her biggest hit. But, one of the most unique performances of Hill’s career came as the result of this 1999 single about the wisdom of a bartender. She peppered the track with a wry sense of humor that came across when she told the story of a conversation about the mysteries of our existence. Songwriter Gretchen Peters -- who herself recorded the song first in 1996 -- definitely nodded with approval of this performance.

1. Faith Hill - "It Matters to Me"

The difference between Hill’s first and second albums were vast -- simply in terms of her delivery. She grew immensely as a vocalist by the time the title cut hit radio in the winter of 1995. The Faith Hill song had a little more polish and shine than any of her singles from Take Me As I Am, and fans noticed the difference. This song showed a vocalist that had just began to find her way as a song interpreter, and the rest would be HER story!