Mark Wills - And The Crowd Goes Wild
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And The Crowd Goes Wild (Mercury, 2003)

Mark Wills

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

With his latest, Mark Wills stands up for the underdog on the title track, feels pity for the brokenhearted through the words of "He's A Cowboy" and salutes hard working truckers with "Prisoner Of The Highway." It sure reads like a guide to being all things to all people.

But instead of acting as a sincere communication with the world's increasingly diverse music fan universe, it actually plays out like a paint-by-numbers attempt to touch all the basic country music demographic groups. And since Wills didn't have a hand in writing a single track here, one gets the distinct impression that marketing, rather than inspiration, played the largest part in this album's song selection. Wills is not a bad performer; he's just not anything particularly special. Aurally, this is a collection of Nashville-colored soft rock, for the most part. The album closes with "Singer In A Band," which exposes some of the myths of pop music stardom. At one point, its lyric compares singing music with the dangerous jobs of NY firemen on 9/11 and states: "But when it comes to heroes/know that I'm just a singer in a band." Yet while it's true that singers aren't exactly superheroes, many have accomplished much more with their entertainment platforms than Mark Wills has done here. To which the crowd goes, 'blah.'

CDs by Mark Wills

Familiar Strangers, 2008

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