Sara Evans, fam­ily cre­ate new Words; Fos­ter the Peo­ple comes back

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST / TELEVISION -

B Sara Evans Words Born to Fly

Many mu­si­cians say their work is deeply per­sonal, but Sara Evans may have taken that a step fur­ther in her new, im­pres­sive al­bum.

The coun­try star in­vites her 14-year-old daugh­ter to sing on “Mar­quee Sign,” gath­ers three sib­lings to con­trib­ute har­monies on “Night Light” and sings about her old­est son go­ing to col­lege in “Let­ting You Go.”

Such moves can feel ma­nip­u­la­tive, but not here. Evans brims with con­fi­dence and uses her ap­peal­ing voice on a batch of very strong songs.

Team­ing up again with co-pro­ducer Mark Bright, Evans co-wrote three of the al­bum’s 14 tunes and taps top-notch tal­ent, in­clud­ing Pis­tol An­nies’ Ash­ley Mon­roe, The Isaacs’ Sonya Isaacs and Grammy win­ner Hil­lary Lindsey on oth­ers.

Evans has also picked some songs that show off a wilder side, like the in­tensely lusty “I Don’t Trust My­self” and a shim­mer­ing cover of The SteelDrivers’ ode to a bad breakup, “Long Way Down.”

Stand­outs in­clude the hard-driv­ing, cross-over stun­ner “Mar­quee Sign” (“I wish you were a pack of cig­a­rettes/’Cause you would’ve come with a warn­ing”), the poppy “Rain and Fire,” the world-beat friendly “Div­ing in Deep.”

It’s hard to imag­ine any­one else breath­ing so much life into the ti­tle track, a del­i­cate slip of a song, and Evans shows off stun­ning vo­cal con­trol on “All the Love You Left Me.”

Hot tracks: “I Don’t Trust My­self,” “Mar­quee Sign,” “Words” — MARK KENNEDY, The Associated Press

B Fos­ter the Peo­ple Sa­cred Hearts Club Columbia

Fos­ter the Peo­ple’s stun­ning smash sin­gle “Pumped Up Kicks” seemed to sur­prise ev­ery­one in 2011 — in­clud­ing the band.

The Cal­i­for­nia group’s re­sponse to cre­at­ing a smart, catchy an­them that many peo­ple mis­un­der­stood was to put out the more straight­for­ward fol­low-up al­bum, Su­per­model.

With its third, Fos­ter the Peo­ple is back to us­ing catchy mu­sic to de­liver more com­pli­cated, pumped-up ideas.

The first sin­gle “Do­ing It for the Money” is a clever start, con­sid­er­ing how the moody R&B sin­ga­long de­clares they’re “not do­ing it for the money.” “I Love My Friends” has the same feel as “Pumped Up Kicks,” as singer Mark Fos­ter sings, “We’re a dis­as­ter, yeah, you know it’s true” over an ir­re­sistible groove. “Pay the Man” com­bines dark lyrics and light melodies, while “Harden the Paint” moves be­tween dreamy dance pop ar­range­ments and spare trap grooves.

The most am­bi­tious is “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” which jumps be­tween lush dance pop and the blunt­ness of Yeezus-era hip-hop. Fos­ter piles on a stream of stark images, from “Got my hands up in the air, I’m say­ing I can’t breathe” to pre­tend­ing “one day we’ll be the great­est of the Gats­bys” in the verses. In the cho­rus, he prays for a so­lu­tion, though that didn’t go so well for the late Sex Pis­tol Sid Vi­cious (who over­dosed on heroin) and his girl­friend Nancy Spun­gen, who was mur­dered in the Chelsea Ho­tel.

The al­bum is well-crafted, but it does feel that the band is pulling its punches at times.

Hot tracks: “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” “Do­ing It for the Money” — GLENN GAM­BOA, Newsday (TNS)

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