These days, a grand introduction for Reba McEntire requires the use of very few words. The red-headed country music superstar has created a large and loyal legion of fans and admirers worldwide. Actually chances are if you’re reading this there is no need to go on about the countless gold and platinum studio albums McEntire has recorded, the endless list of mega hits and number one singles, or even mention that she has produced over fifty accompanying music videos. I feel no need to even touch on the fact she has won over 90 awards for her philanthropic and musical achievements. Nope, these days when it comes to your introduction all you need is one word; “Reba!”
Released on Nash Icon Records on 14 April 2015, Love Somebody hit music retailer shelves and online outlets. Love Somebody has become McEntire’s twenty seventh studio album in her musical library. Anticipated by her fans, Love Somebody promises to have a little bit of something for everyone.
The albums opening track and lead single, “Going Out Like That” is an awesome upbeat number. Penned by Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip, and Jason Sellers the song follows a “broken hearted” female character who “ain’t going out like that.” Identifiable, it is a classic pick up and move on song with powerful vocals and production. McEntire released the accompanying video in March 2015 and the single has gained positive traction and reception.
McEntire herself has dubbed “Enough” as the modern-day version of “Does He Love You.” Joined by country music’s Jennifer Nettles, the song compliments the vocals of these two country beauties. “Enough” tells the story of two women fighting for just “enough” love from the same man. A mellow ballad, it allows for both Nettles and McEntire to showcase their harmonic vocals.
I love story telling songs, and “She Got Drunk Last Night” is exactly that. Written by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, the song tells a tale of how sometimes getting “drunk” enables us to make choices we might not make “sober.” The line, “She got drunk last night / drunk enough to call” describes the lead character giving in to connecting with someone she should just avoid. Though the song is a great ballad, it reminded me of “The Day She Got Divorced” from McEntire’s previous album, All the Women Am which was also written by Clark, McAnally, and Mark D. Sanders. “She Got Drunk Last Night” has a similar slow, southern sound and style that works for this particular story line.
“Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet” is one of the most fun songs on Love Somebody. Up-tempo and vocally rocking, McEntire’s performance is on fire for this number. I would love to see her perform this song live. The song touches on how every single day can be a challenge, but “livin’ ain’t killed me yet.” A great pick up and go song; it’s inspiring to know that no matter what happens you can always keep on “livin.” To be honest, if you don’t want to get caught up in the positive lyrics and just want to crank up the volume and roll down your truck windows, this is the Reba song for you.
I am a huge sucker for a good “moving on” song. Most of us endure the end of a beloved relationship once or twice in our lives, and there is that moment when we finally let go and move on. McEntire sums all of those feelings up perfectly in, “That’s When I Knew.” Written by Jim Collins and Ashley Goreley, they musically describe that moment when those lingering “old love” memories finally disappear and you’re ready to welcome in the new. McEntire reaches deep down inside and pulls out some powerful vocals during her performance. As much as McEntire can rock out any country song, it is when she pours her heart into a ballad such as “That’s When I Knew” that make us fall in love with her vocal abilities.
“I’ll Go On” has a very similar feeling, story, and sound to “For My Broken Heart,” which was the title track of McEntire’s 1991 album. The end of a relationship doesn’t always mean the end of the love or connection. Described by writers Ella Mae Bowen and Tommy Lee James, “I’ll Go On” tells the story that a relationship may have ended, but life doesn’t. You still wake up the next day and “go on.”
The third up-tempo track on Love Somebody, “Until They Don’t Love You” has a great opening guitar rift combined with some great musical elements. “Sometimes you don’t love somebody / until they don’t love you” is the main message in this three minute track. McEntire shows off her skills by belting this sassy number. Quick lyrics, and a killer beat, this song is a toe tapper. I caught McEntire performing this song before the album came out. This is a great song live. McEntire kicks ass when she performs this number on stage.
Known for break up and anthemic female songs, McEntire loves to add songs about enduring and lasting relationships as well. “Promise Me Love” is a great relationship song. Often love is not about grand gestures and living above your means. At the end of the day, all we want is to be promised love. “Promise Me Love” is a great song about the simple pleasures of just being in love. A mid-tempo ballad, it is catchy and groovy, a great addition to the album.
The second “Just Like Them Horses” filled my ears, I instantly had goosebumps. There is something haunting and emotionally deep about McEntire’s vocal performance. The song was written by Liz Hengber and Tommy Lee James about a close friend of theirs. McEntire mentions she had performed “Just Like Them Horses” at her father’s funeral. Growing up McEntire was raised with strong values and has quite often commented on her early farm life. McEntire’s connection to the song can be heard in every single note. At one point during the song the song slows and McEntire can be heard taking a deep breath before singing the chorus, creating a strong illusion McEntire is sitting right beside you belting out this heartfelt ballad.
If you have not guessed yet, love is a recurring theme on Love Somebody. The title track “Love Somebody” touches on how everybody just wants to “love somebody.” Country music new comer Sam Hunt joined Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne with writing this track. I loved the mellow groove this song had. It was powerful, but laid back. Keeping with the theme of love, the song goes on to describe how we all want to love and be loved by someone.
Keeping up with the theme of love, “Love Land” is a great love story. Following the two main characters through life’s ups and downs, “Love Land” describes the feeling of going anywhere and getting through anything is easier in “love land.” With a simple ballad arrangement, backed by light strings and a piano allow McEntire to perform this song with vocal ease and emotion.
“Pray for Peace” is one of my favorite cuts off of Love Somebody. Featuring the vocals of Kelly Clarkson and Ronnie Dunn, this simple but completely powerful track was written solely by McEntire. At times when turning on the news, reading the daily paper, or listening to the radio can bring us news of constant negativity and despair; “Pray for Peace” sheds a positive light in the power of prayer. “Praying” for everyone and everything good, McEntire conveys a strong message that together we can all “pray for peace.” No exclusions needed, everyone can simply ask or “pray” for such a humble request, and “there’s power in the numbers of us praying here on earth.” The video released in late 2014 features the support of fans, fellow artists, and public figures all “praying for peace.”
Love Somebody is a great addition to any Reba McEntire album collection. With solid production and well written songs, Love Somebody stands out amongst some of McEntire’s best work. McEntire understands the importance of appealing to each one of her fans. Love Somebody has a strong and prominent theme of love, but leaves tracks for those who need to crank the volume and fly down a highway, or divulge in a sad song or two, or require some musical enlightenment. I really got into the up-tempo songs on this album and found McEntire’s performances to still sound top notch. McEntire’s performance on “Just Like Them Horses” is one of the most sincere and emotional performances I have ever heard from her.
Love Somebody is available at all major music retailers in store and online. 2015 is promising to be a busy year for McEntire with the launch of her brand new cosmetics line, “Reba Beauty” and upcoming performances at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas this June/July/December between scheduled tour dates.