If 2003's Pain to Kill was Terri Clark's venture into country-pop, her 2005 follow-up, Life Goes On, is her return to straight-ahead hard country. But there's a difference between this and her last hard country effort, 2000's Fearless -- where that album was devoted primarily to original material, this only has a handful of Clark-penned tunes, all arriving at a cluster toward the end of the record. Since Clark is a strong songwriter, this might initially come as a bit of a disappointment, but she also has a strong ear for material, finding songs that showcase her voice in the best possible light. While the nine professionally written tunes do not stretch the boundaries of neo-traditional contemporary country -- they're firmly within their genre and play by its conventions -- they're also not run of the mill; they're sturdy, memorable, sharply written songs, and Clark invests them with grit, passion, and an appealing swagger. It also helps that the production -- largely by Byron Gallimore but with a couple of cuts by James Stroud -- is lean, clean, and muscular, staying true to the sound of classic country while retaining a bright, fresh sound. The end result may not be as revelatory as Fearless or as risky as Pain to Kill, but Life Goes On is every bit as satisfying as either of those records, acting as further proof that Terri Clark is one of the most reliable country singers of the last decade.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine