Sara Evans | Stronger (Sony Nashville/ RCA)

She lacks vocal variety and expansion; there’s nothing unique about her songs.

I hadn’t heard of multi-platinum country singer Sara Evans before now, but her sixth studio album, Stronger, makes me want to know more about her. On this album, Evans describes the state in which she finds herself after the curveballs of life have been thrown—a little bruised, but resilient and always hopeful.
The first song on the album, “Desperate,” highlights how we all desperately need, want, and seek love. Evans sings about the everyday choices with which we are faced, and even though they are important, they’re not as important as being loved. “A Little Bit Stronger,” the album’s first single, tells the story of how a relationship has come to an end. Instead of internalizing the hurt and remaining frozen in time, Evans chooses to grow and move past it. She declares, “Even on my weakest days / I get a little bit stronger.”
Evans bares her heart on “My Heart Can’t Tell You No,” as she struggles with loving a person who is in love with someone else and tries to resist the half-assed attempts to maintain a friendship. “Anywhere” presents an upbeat, finger-snapping rhythm with guitar and banjo complimenting the motto that, with love, “we can go anywhere.”
Slow, melodic guitar strums introduce us to “Alone,” one of the most emotional and honest tunes on the album. Evans wants to forgive the man she loves (yet again), but it doesn’t come easily. “I left you this message so you’d know / that sometimes loving me just means leaving me alone.”
Instinctively my head begins to bob up and down and my feet begin to tap as Evans belts out the chorus of the very country “Ticket to Ride.” Still, I notice that unlike Carrie Underwood or the Dixie Chicks, Evans is very much a traditional country singer. She lacks vocal variety and expansion; there’s nothing unique about her songs. The lyrics are the only thing that keeps me interest in finishing the album, because they are so meaningful and revealing. This is still the case with the final songs, “What That Drink Cost Me” and “Life Without Losing You.”
With 10 tracks, Stronger is about preserving and re-inventing our identities as we through experience love: the heartache, the bliss, the struggles, and the forgiveness. In this way, at least, Evans taps into universal experiences that we cannot deny. C | Ashley White

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