Classic Albums Revisited: Why Faith Hill’s ‘It Matters to Me’ Still Matters
Released in Aug. 1995, It Matters to Me was Faith Hill's sophomore record, following on the tails of her highly-popular breakout, Take Me As I Am. While all artists fall under pressure after a smash debut, the stakes were especially high for Hill.
Although the Mississippi native was still a new face in the scene, she'd already left her mark on the genre's history. Her single "Wild One" had just landed her in the history books as the first female country artist in 30 years to have a Billboard No. 1 for four consecutive weeks — but she was ready for more.
More is what she gave them. Her second record, It Matters to Me, has sold over four million copies and landed in the top five of Billboard's Hot Country Albums chart upon its release. If "Wild One" was Hill's indoctrination to 90s country radio, album tracks like "Let's Go to Vegas," "It Matters to Me," and "Someone Else's Dream" proved that she was there to stay.
That spring, Hill would embark on her first tour with fellow country newcomer Tim McGraw. Before the year was over, the two would be married, starting the very beginning of their story as one of the genre's most impressive power couples.
Although It Matters to Me represents a pivotal time in Hill's career, its status as a marker of achievement isn't the only reason the record continues to hold significance today. Nor can its importance be solely tied to the rise in 90s country nostalgia, though the recent craze certainly helps.
Instead, what makes the album such a classic is Hill's assertiveness heard on every track: These are twelve songs about the everyday lives of ordinary, regular women, and Hill sings the hell out of them, declaring each and every story as deserving of attention. She was setting records for female country singers that hadn't been touched in decades, all the while telling women's stories in her songs in a way only she could.
Hill's selection of songs is all the more meaningful now, in an era where neither men nor women on country radio are making music that compassionately considers the struggles and joys of ordinary domestic life in the way Hill famously did.
It Matters to Me is full of tracks that feel lived-in and relatable. In "Someone Else's Dream," she sings about "daddy's little girl," who spent her life making other people happy but is now ready to set out on her own. Later, in "A Man's Home is His Castle," listeners meet a diner worker named Linda who wants to leave her abusive husband but can't gather the resources to do so.
Certified four-times multi-platinum by the RIAA, the success of It Matters to Me proved Faith Hill's innate sense of artistry and ability to connect with listeners. It also serves as a reminder that there historically has been an audience for complex and compassionate music on country radio.
Whether she's singing about the homemaker who quit her own job to support "Mr. Successful" on "I Can't Do That Anymore" or the wife who feels rejected by the coldness in her marriage on the album's title track, Hill is telling listeners, "this matters to me." It's an act of generosity, opening up a space to embrace our dreams, our faults, and human experiences without apologies.
Faith Hill, It Matters to Me Track List:
1. "Someone Else's Dream" (Trey Bruce, Craig Wiseman)
2. "Let's Go to Vegas" (Karen Staley)
3. "It Matters to Me" (Ed Hill, Mark D. Sanders)
4. "Bed of Roses" (Jaime Kyle, Will Rambeaux)
5. "A Man's Home Is His Castle" (Ariel Caten)
6. "You Can't Lose Me" (Trey Bruce, Thom McHugh)
7. "I Can't Do That Anymore" (Alan Jackson)
8. "A Room in My Heart" (Sunny Russ)
9. "You Will Be Mine" (Rob Honey)
10. "Keep Walkin' On" with Shelby Lynne (Karen Staley, Tricia Walker)