We're not sure exactly where Faith Hill came from, but suddenly she is everywhere; perhaps the question we should be asking is who her publicist is, and whether Faith and her husband (reported country star Tim McGraw) had to promise said publicist their first-born son in exchange for said publicist's tireless efforts on Faith's behalf. Consider this: You know Faith Hill's face (and her glorious golden hair extensions) from her many commercial endorsements, but can you name one of her songs? (No, the "ba ba ba ba ba, ba ba ba ba ba" Pepsi jingle doesn't count.)
Although it is dismissive of Faith Hill's talents and achievements to say that she's just following the trail that Shania Twain blazed, it's also true. In fact, it's only half the truth, since everything Shania's done, Faith has done better. Shania married a record producer, you say? Faith married a name-brand country singer. Shania performed at the Grammys? Faith performed at the Oscars?. Shania's songs turned up in Notting Hill and Twister and were never heard again? Faith's song "This Kiss" was in Practical Magic and was still in the Billboard Hot 100 a year later. Shania was on VH-1's Divas Live? So was Faith, and she did it only six years after her d颵t in the music biz, compared to the eight it took Shania. Shania endorses Revlon make-up? Faith endorses Cover Girl, and her TV spots don't feature the modified money shot of lipstick getting spooged all over women's lips.
Canny management aside, how does one toothsome yet bland purveyor of middle-of-the-road pop ballads end up singing at the Super Bowl, while another must be content with an hour on Storytellers? We don't presume to know, but we're pretty sure the purveyor's looks may have something to do with it. After Faith's banner year (the highlights of which are enumerated above), her minting as one of People's 50 Most Beautiful seems a touching if not strictly necessary formality confirming what we already know: Faith Hill has gotten where she is today mostly because of her pretty face, and not so much because of the noises coming out of it.
If Faith had been satisfied by her status as a country superstar, Fametracker would have no problem with her success. But when we see a woman who really has no reason to be anything more than a country superstar gazing out at us with her dead eyes from the cover of Good Housekeeping, we feel that something's out of whack. The reason popular music is broken down into narrowcasted categories is to prevent sudden explosion of so-so talent into worldwide celebrity; that's why the country music industry has its own awards ceremony, its own town, and its own idea of fashion and beauty. We non-fans of country music should have been insulated from Faith Hill, but now there she is, taking up space in our brains, because Pepsi thought she should be more famous.
Well, Faith Hill is suddenly a lot more famous than she should be.