Sara Evans



by Shamus248 CONTRIBUTOR (121 Reviews)
June 10th, 2024 | 4 replies

Release Date: 06/07/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The uneventful return of one of country's most underappreciated stars

Sara Evans was a quietly steady hitmaker in the country marketplace of the 2000s. Her plaintive, slice-of-life storytelling ability made for some of the more fun and memorable additions to the mainstream country canon of the time, including the irresistible "Suds in the Bucket." She also churned out one of the genre's best breakup anthems in recent memory with 2010's powerful "A Little Bit Stronger." She never amounted to quite the commercial success of her contemporaries (Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and, briefly later on, Taylor Swift), but her strong and recognizable pipes allowed her to be a contender on the country charts for a lot longer than most who journey to Nashville can dream of.

Unbroke is Evans' first collection of new material in seven years, and while she's certainly faded from relevance in the pop country landscape, her artistic acuity remains fairly solid. Now at 53 years old, her voice is still as sturdy and capable as it always was. When she occasionally falters, it's more often endearing than not. The personality in her delivery still timbers and sways, like on album opener "Pride," where the shakiness in her voice is fitting for the lost love depicted in the lyrics. She nails some nice runs on the chorus. This opening stanza doesn't really have a crescendo to it, but its crisp production helps make for an inoffensive and easy-to-follow narrative structure.

The tacitly expressive "21 Days" immediately follows. While its predecessor is a bleaker analysis of a relationship gone sour, this one is much more lighthearted and even a bit self-deprecating, albeit less thematically significant. "Cleaning Out Your Closet" reverts back to the former sensibility, where Sara chronicles the process of parting ways with the things they left behind. 'White tees,' 'every lie you ever said,' it's a dated cabal of imagery box ticks. She explores this a bit further on the stripped back "I Want To Be Wrong," where Sara puts forth a stirring vocal performance. While the sense of conflict (wanting to move on but still being in love) she feels proves quite tangible, it seems like she's not running it to its logical conclusion. "Friends tell me I deserve better, and the biggest part of me knows it's true," she admits. The title track "Unbroke", the penultimate offering here, also brings Evans' voice to the fore. She tackles the brevity of life and it's another archaic trope, but her versatile and palpable voice, and the glassy guitars, elevate an otherwise mundane composition.

Unbroke is a pleasantly innocuous footnote in the current country vicinage. Hearing Evans' voice again honestly feels like catching up with an old friend. It's a safe, familiar place. But the album can be frustrating at times. Most of the concepts present seem like the millionth retread of a song so many in the pop country environs, Evans herself included, have already tried their hand at. It's not at all dissimilar to her past material, which is reason enough to check it out and even enjoy it. But it somewhat suffers from a lack of resolution. There's no 'a-ha' or surprise slant to anything. It is competently produced, and well-performed, so I won't complain too much.

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user ratings (3)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
June 12th 2024


Lovely review. Never listened to a great deal of country but this sounds interesting, will czech

Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2024


Album Rating: 3.5

definitely peep some of her past material

"A Little Bit Stronger" is a moving ballad and her CMT Crossroads show with Maroon 5 is also pretty great

June 15th 2024


Album Rating: 3.0

This is a great review. If only her album matched it. Still, it’s pretty good.

Contributing Reviewer
June 16th 2024


Album Rating: 3.5

appreciate you taking the time to read and listen C:

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