In one corner stands country icon Trisha Yearwood. In the other stands pop-country dynamo Kelly Clarkson. Looking at the odds as these two powerhouses step into the ring together, it seems likely that it’ll be a draw between a pair of vocal heavyweights. Rather than throw any punches, however, Yearwood and Clarkson join forces, effortlessly harmonizing on Yearwood’s long-awaited return to music.
The single, entitled “PrizeFighter,” is Yearwood’s first in six years and makes for a perfect return. Her voice is pristine, effortlessly careening over a mid-tempo pop country ballad. The lyrics are an ode to the comeback kid, rising from the ashes and coming back even stronger than before. “Come on comeback kid, Show ‘em how you never quit, You’re gonna rise from the pain…”
“When you’re sweating from the fear / You’re looking it in the eye / Turn the sound of defeat into your battle cry,” the pair sing. “Stakes are down, you’re out of luck / Look at you smiling with a shiner / Standing higher / PrizeFighter.”
The lyrics are inspirational and uplifting, the music simple and sparse but effusively country. This song feels classic Yearwood, yet magically not outdated. The pairing of Yearwood and Clarkson’s voices is pure magic here, and although one would think two women of such vocal prowess would be prone to showboat when paired together, you’d be wrong. In fact, they shine in their subtlety.
While Clarkson is no stranger to the empowerment anthem, she’s especially restrained on this mid-tempo piece of female vocal heaven, her voice a perfect complement to Yearwood’s. Rather than poise the song as a traditional duet, Clarkson simply harmonizes in support, her voice acting almost as an additional instrument rather than a traditional background vocalist. Towards the end of the song, she gets the nod from Yearwood to wail and wail she does, trading a few lines with one of the most influential voices in country music.
“PrizeFighter” was written by three heavyweight writers, Jessi Alexander, Sarah Buxton and Ross Copperman. Together, they’ve crafted a country anthem for a new generation. Just like Clarkson’s pop hit “Stronger,” the track is poised to cross over various life situations and generations. It’ll speak to those who remember Yearwood in her heyday and those who know her as “that lady on the Food Network.”
While the song isn’t an obvious radio hit due to its lack of tailgates and bros, it would certainly be a welcome addition to any country station’s playlist. While you’d be hard-pressed to find a similar song on country radio in the last year, it’s safe to say that if radio can spin Sara Evans‘ “Slow Me Down” then “PrizeFighter” should certainly find a home.
Whether a radio hit or not, the song celebrates the creme de la creme of female vocalists, and for that, we are very thankful.
Listen to Trisha Yearwood and Kelly Clarkson’s “PrizeFighter” below!
Follow me on Twitter @NicolePiering
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