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Reba McEntire lives up to her iconic vocals as 'Love Somebody' is released

After 40 years in the music business McEntire produces an album that is as iconic and memorable as her first release.

Reba Love Somebody
(Photo courtesy of Big Machine Records)

After almost 40 years in the music industry, Reba McEntire released her 27th studio album, “Love Somebody,” this Tuesday.

At this point in her career, McEntire has the ultimate freedom. It seems to me that she can produce anything she chooses without question. With a star on Hollywood Boulevard a record for the most Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist awards, and even had a self named sitcom, she’s an untouchable superstar.

However, even with this unwavering title, McEntire produced a brilliant album after five years of silence.

Each tune showcases McEntire’s powerhouse vocals impeccably. After listening to the album, I went and listened to a McEntire throwback song, “Fancy,” just to see if her voice had wavered over the years. It didn’t come as much a surprise that since 1991 when McEntire released this hit, her voice has remained the same.

Each track on the album follows the classic country form of managing to tell an entire story in a manner of three minutes, which is my favorite trait of this genre. It’s the sort of music you listen to when you want to jump into another setting and analyze lyrics, bringing more to the table than the all too frequent tracks you hear on the radio.  

The album’s title track has less of a country feel, and seems like she is conforming her timeless sound into the new, edgy style that is carried throughout country radio today.

Quite a few other tracks seem to be doing the same thing, as one lyric uttered in the first track on the album is “blowing up her phone,” which I found to be a little awkward. When listening to an artist such as McEntire you come to expect, and even want the old time country feel reminiscent of George Strait or Garth Brooks. McEntire did this new genre well, but it definitely took a few listens to appreciate.

Interestingly enough, the title track has three different writers, one of them being up-incoming soulful country heartthrob, Sam Hunt.

The track “I’ll Go On” also contained a writer that I am a fan of, Ella Mae Bowen, who provided the cover of “Holding Out For a Hero” on the 2011 version of “Footloose.” I was a nice feeling to know that I was listening to the words from two artists I am quite fond of whilst being able to appreciated McEntire’s iconic voice.

In addition to star-studded writers, Jennifer Nettles, of the hit duo Sugarland, contributed her vocals to the track “Enough.” With two such iconic, powerful female vocals coming as one, I was a little weary that one would overpower the other. However, the ladies complimented each other well, making it my favorite track on the album.

Although the contemporary feel of the album takes some getting used to, this iconic country star produced an impeccable album that has it all including story-like lyrics, powerhouse vocals and a diverse array of songs. Even after four decades in the business, McEntire is as on top of her game as she has always been.

Comments? Tell the reporter at dpharias@asu.edu or follow @dpharias on Twitter.

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