Seven years after stepping out of the ring as a champion, Trisha Yearwood is stepping back in as an underdog. With a pantheon of hits under her belt, she returns somewhat of an unsuspecting comeback kid, fists raised and ready, not one to be overshadowed by either the current bros of country music or her own husband, Garth Brooks. Rather than return with an album jam-packed with new tunes determined to ride a trend, Yearwood returns with an album of new and old that truly packs a powerful punch.
“This album was about bringing together the songs that show what I’m all about,” says Yearwood, speaking about PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit. “These are the classic songs that people fell in love with and the new songs that show “what’s next.” When you come to the shows, its a mix of favorites with a few new ones that people are coming to hear and sing along with.”
The album opens with the title track, Yearwood’s tour de force duet with Kelly Clarkson that showcases two of the best female singers in any genre of music today. While the song may be languishing at country radio (It is by two females not named Carrie and Miranda, should we be surprised?), it’s truly an underrated gem. Other new songs include the moody, yet driving “End of the World, the up-tempo “You Can’t Trust the Weatherman,” and the tender “I Remember You.” The latter features Yearwood’s sister, Beth Bernard, on background vocals, a surprise from Garth to Trisha for her 50th birthday. (Cue the awwws, please.)
The final two newbies here are “Your Husband’s Cheatin’ On Us” and “Met Him in a Motel Room.” The two exemplify the dying art of the story song, with “Met Him in a Motel Room” telling the story of forlorn woman finding God, while “Your Husband’s Cheatin’ On Us” tells the story of two women being cheated on by the same man. Both songs are excellently crafted by their writers (Rory Feek and Jamie Teachenor on “Motel” and Matraca Berg, Marshall Chapman and Jill McCorkle on “Husband”) and even more flawlessly interpreted by Yearwood.
It’s interesting to note that despite the presence of Yearwood’s biggest hits on the album, she didn’t rely on her laurels and simply pop in old tracks or even settle on remastering them. Instead, she challenged herself and her musicians to sing and play the songs identical to the originals for a re-record and the end result is superb. In fact, if not for the familiarity of certain tracks, it’d be impossible to decipher what songs were previous hits from the newbies in Yearwood’s catalog.
On PrizeFighter, Yearwood shines as an exquisite interpreter, her voice unrivaled by the majority of her peers and her story-telling second to none. What’s most impressive here is the fact that the old songs don’t sound outdated, while the new songs don’t feel out of place alongside the likes of “Walkaway Joe” and “She’s In Love With the Boy.” The new songs truly whet our appetite for more new music from Trisha Yearwood, and despite stepping back into the ring as an underdog, Trisha Yearwood truly achieves a knock out with PrizeFighter.
Watch Trisha Yearwood perform “PrizeFighter” on Good Morning America.
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