Reba, arguably the most powerful female voice in the country music genre, has released her twenty-seventh studio album, “Love Somebody.” On this past week’s Billboard Country Update (4/20/15), Reba’s first single, “Going Out Like That” sits at #31 on the country airplay chart. Although women are relatively scarce in today’s country radio climate, Reba is a legend in her own right and won’t be ignored as she has a consistent fan base. “Love Somebody,” essentially is the theme of the album as each song is about love in some way. From the upbeat songs like “Going Out Like That” and “Until They Don’t Love You” to the sentimental ballads like “Just Like Them Horses,” this album has a song for every emotion.
The album opens with the current single, “Going Out Like That.” This song is a great introduction into the album as it sets a tone for what’s to come. Although much of the album is ballad heavy, there are songs like “Going Out Like That” on this album. The auto tune is somewhat audible to my ears throughout this song but I don’t think it takes away from Reba’s voice. Reba and her team made the right choice when pushing this as the single because it’s an uptempo song that will connect with country radio listeners. This song leans on the “pop” side in terms of instrumentation and country radio is in this phase as we speak. There’s nothing magnificent here lyrically, but it’s a good opener to the album.
The next song, “Enough,” is a power ballad with two strong female voices: Reba and Jennifer Nettles. Nettles is a strong vocalist who didn’t see much success with her debut solo album. I feel like “Enough” could fare well on country radio with Jennifer’s name attached to the song. The reason her solo album didn’t do much on country radio was because it didn’t sound like anything being played on country radio. “Enough” is just a beautiful song, lyrically, emotionally, and instrumentally. After two relatively strong songs, “She Got Drunk Last Night,” although not a favorite track of mine, is instrumentally and vocally, beautiful. I didn’t enjoy the song because I felt like the story had been used before. Reba’s voice really shines on this track and I enjoy it well enough.
The next song, “Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet,” is a high-energy song about overcoming all the obstacles that are experienced throughout a lifetime. It’s a different side to Reba as much of the songs before this were ballads. Reba’s vocals are spot on in this song and I believe this song could make a dent on the charts if it were released as a single. “That’s When I Knew” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s a beautifully sung ballad. It’s as simple as that. The story being told in this song is so heartbreaking and just beautifully crafted. I think that’s why I enjoy this song so much. “I’ll Go On” is another strong ballad. Its lyrics are simple, but it sells heartbreak with Reba’s vocals. She’s so emotive and that’s hard to achieve especially when country radio is the total opposite during today’s time.
“Until They Don’t Love You” has to be a single at some point. This song is sassy and Reba’s voice is perfect for this song. I really enjoyed the originality in the lyrics (A-B-C-D, 1-2-3-4) and the instrumentation really matched the amount of sass in this song. This is a song I can hear on country radio and jamming to with the windows rolled down. It’s fun and catchy. “Promise Me Love” is another ballad that I would label as a favorite. It’s more upbeat than the previous ballads. I would really love this to be a single but I’m not sure it’d be successful on country radio. That’s a shame because it’s a beautifully sung ballad and the instrumentation is surprisingly upbeat for a ballad. The next song is “Just Like Them Horses.” This is the song that Reba sang at her fathers funeral. What a beautiful song…lyrically and vocally. I can’t imagine how a live performance of this song would affect other’s emotions because hearing this song gives me goosebumps. It’s well-written and Reba’s voice makes this song so emotive and heart wrenching.
“Love Somebody,” is the title track and it’s a co-write with Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osbourne. Hunt is going to catch some listener’s eyes but make no mistake, this song is a great addition to the album. It’s upbeat and catchy. The instrumentation is incredibly contemporary and this song would make a great single at some point. Reba’s voice shines here as she has to hit her upper register at points in the song. It’s not a lyrical masterpiece but it’s better than most songs on Hunt’s debut album. “Love Land” is a song originally sung by Martina McBride. Listening to both songs side-by-side, you may not notice a difference. I didn’t either until I realized Reba was singing this song in third-person. McBride’s version was sung in first-person. Reba’s vocals are tremendous here and I kind of wish the album ended here because the next song is kind of the “dud” of the bunch. “Pray for Peace” is the last song and I don’t really know why they included this song on the album. It’s literally the same line being recited over and over again. The only good thing about this song is the instrumentation. Did you hear the bagpipes? It’s definitely something absent from country radio which makes it a unique song, but it’s just kind of there for me and doesn’t really have a message that had an immediate impact.
Although this album was ballad heavy, I hope listeners take the time to listen closely to the lyrics because this album is lyrically, a masterpiece, in my opinion. There are some amazing tracks on this album and I can only hope Reba finds some success on country radio.
Please listen to the album below and respond with your feedback! I’d love to hear from you!