Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gwyneth Paltrow, "Country Strong"

Jeff Bridges struck Oscar gold with his portrayal of a washed-up country singer, and now Gwyneth Paltrow is throwing her cowboy hat into the ring.  She will soon hit country radio with the title song to her upcoming film Country Strong.

My prediction:  Fans will embrace it.  Critics will pan it.  Country radio will ignore it.  On one hand, "Country Strong" nearly collapses under deadweight lyrics.  The theme is simple:  She's country, she's strong, and she's proud of it.  But to her credit, she does manage to dodge some of the pitfalls that have made similarly-themed country songs so painfully annoying.  "Country Strong" is pleasantly devoid of wild Guitar Hero licks and drum machines, featuring a nice fiddle instead, as well as background vocals from Vince Gill and Patty Griffin.  Gwyneth displays notable vocal talent, actually singing instead of just screaming at us.

It's very pretty to listen to, and it will be a pleasantly inoffensive distraction to hear while the credits roll.  But "Country Strong" is not an artistically relevant contribution to country music.  The nicest thing that I can say about "Country Strong" is that it's listenable.  But the best country music thrives on being, not just listenable, but memorable, which this is not.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

HEAR IT (Studio clip)

To hear the full song, click "Cool New Music"