October 29, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Song Remembers When

Current Status
In Season
Trisha Yearwood
We gave it a C+

So far, nothing about Trisha Yearwood’s career has been typical. Her first single, ”She’s in Love With the Boy,” shot to No. 1, her first two albums went platinum, and she already has a custom fragrance from a cosmetics company. Guess she was too hot not to cool down. While her last album, the thrilling Hearts in Armor, signified the arrival of an extraordinary song interpreter with a voice along the lines of Linda Ronstadt’s, her follow-up, The Song Remembers When (MCA), is as airless as a year-old balloon.

Worse, it seems to reveal a terrible secret: For all her emotive strength on the meditative power ballads (”The Nightingale,” ”Lying to the Moon”), Yearwood, a former demo singer, may not really know who she is when she gets behind the mike. Except for ”If I Ain’t Got You,” a neo-rockabilly charmer, the entire album is a clone of Ronstadt’s stiff parlor-performance period, right down to her cover of ”Mr. Radio,” a song Ronstadt did in 1982. Art over passion is always risky business. But Yearwood should remember that in country music—even that which is filtered through Southern California pop—it can also be sudden death. C+

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