Review – Reba McEntire’s “Going Out Like That” is a Disappointment

reba-going-out-like-that-cover

Hey another comeback single! After reviewing Jamey Johnson’s first new song in several years, I now take a look at Reba McEntire’s first new song in five years. Maybe 2015 will be the year of the comeback in country music. While the return of Johnson is quite big for traditional country listeners, the return of Reba is pretty significant on several levels for the world of country music. First and foremost she’s the biggest signing by NASH Icons so far. The success of NASH Icons becoming a major player has a lot riding on Reba’s new album. Not just NASH Icons either, but the whole getting older artists and more traditional songs back on radio movement. On top of that Reba enters a country music environment that hasn’t exactly braced female artists in recent years.

So Reba as an older, female country artist has a lot resting on her shoulders. This is also her first new material in five years and things have certainly changed in the genre. No pressure, Reba. I’ve been eager myself to hear what new material she has in-store. It would be great to hear Reba back on the radio, as it would mean a lot to a large number of people and most importantly it would probably signify that country music is improving. It’s also nice that this came out right now because there isn’t a lot to talk about and I’m in the writing mood. So without further ado let’s take a look at Reba’s new single, “Going Out Like That.”

Did she deliver with this song? Eh, not exactly. The song is about a woman who just got her heartbroken and now she’s bouncing back from it. It reminds me a lot of the theme of Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender.” The woman is trying to forget about her heartache by going out on the town and partying her troubles away. The mood of the song is quite upbeat and very appealing to radio. It almost has a rock influence to it. I actually have no problem with the theme or lyrics of this song. It’s just a simple getting over a breakup song targeted toward female listeners. The instrumentation is a little bland, uncreative and very adult contemporary sounding. It’s not very country sadly (traditional country nor 90s country).

Reba’s vocals sound good. Except for one big issue I have concerning her vocals. The “echo” effect that is added to her voice throughout this song at the end of the chorus sections and most significantly in the bridge. This is painfully hard to listen to and really ruins the song for me. What makes this even more infuriating is that it’s not even necessary. Once again mainstream country music overproduced a song and ruined it. The only reason it’s added to the song is to make it more appealing to radio and the fickle mainstream listener.

While this song has shot up to the top on the iTunes chart, I expected much better from Reba. I thought of all the older artists she would be one of the last to stoop down to the mainstream country’s level of machines and special effects. If they had just left the special effects out on this song, I would have probably given this a decent grade. Sure it’s nothing new, but it’s not trying to be a deep song that touches your emotions. It’s a feel good, party song. We have enough of those in country music already though. I really hope this is just an anomaly on Reba’s new album and that the rest of it is solid country music. “Going Out Like That” is a pretty damn mediocre song that I would not recommend listening to nor buying.

I can’t believe Reba came back like that.

Grade: 4/10

13 thoughts on “Review – Reba McEntire’s “Going Out Like That” is a Disappointment

  1. Kevin Davis January 13, 2015 / 3:06 pm

    Oh geeze, another reference to “blowing up my phone”! Really? Are songwriters this insipid and uninspired today? It’s also the first line in Sam Hunt’s “House Party,” which is the least problem with that song. Yes, the Lady A comparison is correct. It’s adult contemporary, bland, mediocre, and very forgetful. At best, it could serve as album filler, not a a lead single — much less, a comeback single! This is, of course, a tragedy. Reba still has a strong voice, and she is rightly adored by millions.

    To my mind, the really depressing thing about this single is that Reba, as you discuss in the first paragraph, is the flagship artist for Nash Icon. If this represents the “truer” country side of the format split, then no thanks. This is, to be frank, quite pathetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott January 13, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      Yeah that line is pretty overused and the “echo effect” annoyed me so much with this song that I didn’t even notice that line. Good catch on your part.

      Yes this is quite depressing as a first impression of NASH Icons. I have no doubt though this song will do well on radio and the charts, which is why it was chosen as the lead single. It sucks for traditional country fans like ourselves who were expecting much more. I’m hoping this is just an anomaly on her album, just like “Lookin’ For That Girl” was on Tim McGraw’s album last year.

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      • Kevin Davis January 13, 2015 / 4:48 pm

        Yes, I suspect that it is an anomaly. Even the greats, like Reba, feel the pressure to release a ready-made radio single, which panders to the current lyrical trends and musical form. But, once again, this makes very little sense if she is supposed to represent Nash Icon. You may be right that this will do well on the radio, but I am not sure. There are other, better versions of this same material. Plenty of the diehard Reba fans will like it — but if this is your style of “country” music, then you are far more likely to prefer younger artists like Lady A and Sam Hunt. I could be wrong, and I would be happy to hear Reba on the radio, even if this is it.

        Honestly, I expected more wisdom from Reba. She is in full control of her career. She has the money and resources to do whatever she wants, unlike all of the struggling women in Nashville trying to find a break. Lee Ann Womack has demonstrated how it is done — how to mature and stay relevant in all of the right ways. I have far more latitude with younger talent, especially women, who will likely have to sacrifice some of their artistic integrity for the sake of being heard at all. But, Reba has no excuse. On the plus side, I can scarcely think of an artist (at least, in the past 30 years) who has not disappointed us at some time. It’s human nature, and I trust that Reba has far better in store for us.

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  2. Noah Eaton January 15, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    I completely agree with the verdict, though I would actually argue the music is what I consider the best aspect of this track while the lyricism is its worst.

    As a preamble, I have to honestly say I am completely unsurprised we got this as a lead offering. If we’re being fully honest with ourselves here, McEntire was already trending toward pandering to a youthful listening demographic with the lead single (and secondary single) from her previous 2010 release “All The Women I Am”. That single, “Turn On The Radio”, also found her pandering to trendy tropes of the time: most notably Twitter, texting, DJs and Chevy trucks. Top all that off with the fact Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert were already producing chart-topping kiss-off hits like “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It”, and it’s quite clear that single choice was predicated on sheer marketing more than anything else (though it’s easy to understand why they felt it would work).

    *

    Still, that’s by no means excusing the painful disappointment “Going Out Like That” is: especially on the lyrical front.

    Now Kevin Davis has already touched up on the “blowin’ up her phone” lyric: which is shameless pandering in itself. But what surprises me most of all is the second verse that shockingly hasn’t even been touched on yet here:

    *

    “She’s got her hands up dancin like the floors on fire,
    yeah she’s the hottest thing in here…”

    *

    Firstly, Reba copies and pastes a cliched line first used to death in watered-down EDM pop circuits. Then, she shamelessly refers to this female subject as a THING.

    I expect that kind of behavior from most of your dime-a-dozen bro-country swilling male artists. But from a female veteran of the genre like Reba? Uggghhh, that’s painfully discouraging.

    Then, finally, she sings “She’s smiling while she’s throwing back shots.”………thereby reinforcing this alarming and irresponsible idea that alcohol is the only effective means of escapism or resolve from heartaches. There’s no nuanced hint of consequence to celebratory drinking here, just as Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender” failed to articulate (even though “Bartender” at least got the tone right in that it has an eerie-sounding solo in its bridge).

    Musically, however, “Going Out Like That” isn’t bad. Sure, the production is a bit dull, but at least it is suffused with notable licks of steel guitar and acoustic guitar that set it apart from Music Row’s obsession with Stratocasters cranked to eleven (at least up until the chorus) and paint it convincingly country-pop.

    All in all, yeah, I’d rate this somewhere between a 3/10 and a 4/10. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and give it 4/10, as much as her singing “She’s the hottest thing in this place” alone makes me cringe.

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    In spite of this dud, I have high hopes that this will prove to be an outlier on her new album just as “Turn On The Radio” and “If I Were A Boy” were outliers on “All The Women I Am”. Even while pandering with singles from her previous album, the album as a whole proved McEntire still knows how to deliver such chilling, cut-right-to-the-bone fare as well. “Somebody’s Chelsea” even got released as a single and while it tragically bombed, it was one of the best radio singles that year, and “The Day She Got Divorced” and “When You Have A Child” also proved she still hasn’t lost that touch when she puts her heart to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott January 15, 2015 / 8:30 pm

      That is a good point about her last album having singles that pandered to current trends, so perhaps this shouldn’t have been such a big shock to everyone.

      Another great point about the lyrics. The voice altering pissed me off so much that I didn’t even give proper attention to how terrible these lyrics are. The “hottest thing” line is straight up garbage and sexist.

      Yes I expect at least a few good album cuts. She’ll have some more pandering songs too I’m sure. I really expect this to be similar to fellow Icon artist Ronnie Dunn’s album last year or Brad Paisley’s Moonshine in the Trunk. It will try to play to both sides and unfortunately that hardly works. We’ll have to wait and see.

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  3. Better Than You January 22, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Terrible mediocre and poorly written review. Lemme not come back to your flop website.

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