It's not often that country music is portrayed on the big screen, and the 2010 film Country Strong featuring Tim McGraw, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund is one of the most recent examples. The motion picture follows fictional country star Kelly Canter, played by Paltrow, as she tries to rebuild her career after struggles with alcoholism. Naturally, a movie about country music must feature excellent music, and Country Strong delivers with tunes sung by Paltrow, most notably "Country Strong," as well as by McGraw, Meester and Hedlund. The official soundtrack also features tracks from other country artists such as Trace Adkins, Ronnie Dunn, Sara Evans, Chris Young and more.
One of the most compelling scenes of the movie is when Hedlund and Meester, whose characters Beau Hutton and Chiles Stanton are engaged in a romantic relationship, come together onstage to sing the passionate tune, "Give In To Me." In the film, Hedlund's character invites Meester's character to sing the song with him. She reluctantly agrees and onstage chemistry follows.
This scene also doubles as the song's official music video. While the pair seem to be falling in love in the clip, their relationship got off to a rocky start, as Hedlund's character Hutton wrote off Stanton as nothing but a "Country Barbie." Hedlund once told CMT that the scene showcases the evolution of these characters and their relationship.
"I think it's the subtext of what the characters are feeling that helps to speak the emotion of the relationship," he said in a 2011 interview. "At the same time, it shows people that Leighton's character, Chiles, isn't quite what you thought she was when she's singing these more pop-country songs -- or in Beau's words, "bubble-gummy." Then he gives her a chance to finish writing the song, and write the hook, and it turns into something like this. I think that's really the start of their relationship."
"Give In To Me" was originally written by Nashville songwriter Billy Falcon, his daughter Rose Falcon and Elisha Hoffman. The track is a slow and soft love song about giving into love, and the movie version of the song showcases Hedlund's deep and smooth vocals combined with Meester's sweet country tone. While Hedlund and Meester's version of the song is featured in the movie, their version does not appear on the Country Strong: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack released in September 2010. The soundtrack does, however, feature a version of "Give In To Me" recorded by country icon Faith Hill and produced by Jay Joyce.
Hearing Faith Hill's version of the song was a big deal for some country fans at the time, as it was the first non-Christmas song Hill had released since 2007's "Red Umbrella" from The Hits album. Although it was not released as a single, Faith Hill's "Give In To Me" reached No. 56 on the Billboard Hot 100. Hedlund and Meester's version was later released on a follow up soundtrack titled Country Strong: More Music from the Motion Picture. The movie version of the song also charted, reaching No. 76 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Hill followed up "Give In To Me" with a cover of OneRepublic's "Come Home" in 2011 and a 2012 single called "American Heart" that was set to appear on a new studio album titled Illusion, which was never released. Hill's version of "Give In To Me" has since been pulled from streaming services, but Hedlund and Meester's version can still be found.
The Country Strong song, "Give In To Me," is not to be confused with Michael Jackson's song of the same name, co-written by Jackson and Bill Bottrell. The King of Pop recorded the song for his 1991 studio album, Dangerous, which also features "Dirty Diana" and "Beat It." Jackson's "Give In To Me" features Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who can also be seen in the music video, which was shot during the singer's Dangerous World Tour. The music video can be found on Jackson's video albums, Dangerous - The Short Films and Michael Jackson's Vision.
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