(Polygram Records, 1995)

by Sandra L. Toney

(c)1996 EMOL

In the past few years, Nashville has accepted a new breed of country music singers, namely those of sassy, attitude-driven lady cowgirls such as Terri Clark. Her debut album, titled simply Terri Clark, has been a huge success mainly because of her first single off the album, "Better Things to Do." This song, co-written by Clark herself, tells the story of getting over a broken relationship not by crying or staying in bed because, as Clark sings, "I've got better things to do!" In fact, some of those important things include, "Check the air in my tires/Straighten my stereo wires/Count the stars in the sky or just get on with my life . . ." This song gives every broken-hearted lost relationship victim new hope!

Another single currently rising on the country charts was penned by Clark because a friend was complaining about the woes of marriage. "If I Were You" has Clark feeling that the married woman is a lucky woman as she croons, "If I were you/I'd run back home tonight/Tell him everything's all right/Yeah, I know what I'd do if I were you . . ." I guess she's trying to tell her listeners to think twice before giving up on love and marriage.

Clark's first release exhibits a combination of ballads and catchy tunes that is perfect to listen to whatever mood you're in at the time. Such catchy songs include "When We Had it Bad," "Flowers After the Fact," "Was There a Girl on your Boy's Night Out," and the previous radio-hit, "When Boy Meets Girl," which explains how a boy's life will change when he meets that special gal, "He never polished his boots before/Never thought about what he wore/Never knew he could feel like that/Now there ain't no way he can ever go back."

Of course, "Better Things to Do" is the best song on the album ( and perhaps one of the best songs of last year) but her self-penned ballad, "If I Were You," is a strong contender for second place. Other possibilities of ballad hits include "Is Fort Worth Worth It?" "Tyin' A Heart To A Tumbleweed," and "Suddenly Single."

Overall, Terri Clark's first attempt is a major accomplishment. This talented singer/songwriter has nowhere to go but UP that elusive country music ladder of success!

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