When it comes to country music royalty Reba McEntire is as close as you get to the reigning Queen. The 60-year singer and actress has enjoyed a lengthy career in the business and still knows how to pull in a crowd. Over her career to dates she’s achieved an incredible 40 number one singles and the majority of her albums have been certified at least platinum. She last released an album in 2010 (All The Women I Am) and five years on from that she’s just released her 27th studio album Love Somebody.
On its US release Love Somebody shot straight to the top of the Country Charts giving Reba her 12th number one album. It also debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 highlighting the huge crossover appeal the singer has. Preceded by the single Going Out Like That, which opens the album, Love Somebody is essentially a collection of ballads that plays to Reba’s strengths and ignores the current sound that’s dominating country.
The defiant Going Out Like That marries Reba’s vocals with a rockier edge as she delivers the story of a woman who is overcoming adversity and getting her life back. It’s a buoyant start to the album and one that paves the way for many stories of love and loss. For the record Reba has selected songs from the most talented songwriters in Nashville including Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, Ashley Gorley and Sam Hunt.
She Got Drunk Last Night has a deceptively gentle melody but the lyrics tell the struggle of a woman who uses alcohol to hide her misery. Reba’s vocal on the track is beautiful and it’s a definite highlight on the record. Elsewhere Reba celebrates her longevity with the uptempo Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet, laments the passing of a relationship on the heartbreaking I’ll Go On, and finds the strength to move on on That’s When I Knew.
One of the finest moments on the record comes on Enough featuring Jennifer Nettles. The two women turn in powerful vocal performances and when they come together its magic. Lyrically the song talks about being led on by a man who is half in, half out of a relationship and you can hear the emotion in both vocals. Another highlight is the gorgeous Just Like Them Horses, a song that Reba sung at the funeral of her father, which is one of Reba’s finest vocals on the record.
Love Somebody is a solid effort from Reba and it’s nice to see her recording music that’s authentic to her rather than trying to chase the current sound in country. Reba may not have written most of the material on this record but she is a gifted storyteller that sells the emotion in every song. It feels like a very personal record and there are plenty of songs on here that should do well on country radio. Love Somebody is Reba’s finest effort in years.