As I’ve made the case before, a good compilation must have a strong focus and concept about what it is trying to accomplish. Is it trying to be a definitive collection that captures the scope and breadth of an artist’s career? Is it attempting to collect rarities and odds and ends, serving as a supplement to the studio albums that rabid fans already own? Or is it just plain trying to collect the big hits, to be the CD that casual fans buy to get all of the songs they know from the radio?
For Faith Hill’s first domestic compilation, the title says it all: The Hits. Along with the obligatory three new tracks, The Hits is just that: a carrying case of nearly every signature hit that Hill has to her credit after fourteen years and more than twenty-five million records sold.
All of the big hits are here. Her huge crossover hits “Breathe”, “This Kiss”, “The Way You Love Me”, “There You’ll Be” and “Cry”, and her huge country hits “Mississippi Girl”, “It Matters to Me”, “Wild One”, “Piece of My Heart” and “Let Me Let Go.” What’s missing? Not very much, if you’re using the standard of huge hits. “Like We Never Loved At All” and “If My Heart Had Wings” are the only big ones that don’t make an appearance.
As for the new tracks, they fit in perfectly with the mood of this collection. “Red Umbrella” is a catchy pop confection in the vein of “This Kiss”, and “Lost” revisits the power ballad nirvana of “Breathe.” An interesting addition is a live performance of “Stronger”, which showcases Hill’s bluesy vocals so well that it makes any claim that she’s a studio creation seem laughably ludicrous.
I would’ve loved more moments like that, such as the rumored inclusion of live versions of “Cry” and “Piece of My Heart.” Early track lists also featured the brilliant “Stealing Kisses”, which was a minor hit last year, and “When the Lights Go Down”, which I still consider one of her finest moments on record.
But this isn’t The Very Best of Faith Hill or The Definitive Collection. It’s The Hits. From start to finish, it documents Hill’s amazing run to date as one of the biggest hit-makers of her generation, and for those who haven’t kept up with her studio albums and are craving some Faith, their money will be well-spent here.
Buy: The Hits