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Album review: Reba McEntire, "All the Women I Am"

By Allison Stewart

reba mcentireReba McEntire can't often find the right combination on "All the Women I Am." (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Trouble sets in early on Reba McEntire's 26th studio album, "All the Women I Am."

The prefab first single and lead track, "Turn on the Radio," exemplifies her ongoing struggle to find a song worthy of her voice, a song that will allow McEntire, now in her fourth decade of recordmaking, to sound contemporary without sounding like an LOL-ing teenager.

"Turn on the Radio," in which McEntire awkwardly advises a faithless ex to "Try to call/Twitter me/Text until your fingers bleed," is not that song.

McEntire's last album, '09's almost-platinum "Keep on Loving You," proved better at ensuring that McEntire's usual tales of love, abandonment and sticktoitiveness appealed to middle-aged soccer moms without alienating their daughters. "Women" tries harder, with worse results. McEntire and her collaborators aim for Carrie Underwood and too often wind up with warmed-over Shania Twain, and that's when they're lucky.

But when "Women" is good, it's really good: There are torch and twang ballads ("Cry"), up-by-your-bootstraps anthems ("A Little Want To") and musical versions of Lifetime TV movies ("The Day She Got Divorced"). There's also a subtle, fantastic cover of Beyoncé's hit "If I Were a Boy" that's so unfussy it basically replaces R&B instruments with country ones and leaves it at that.

Recommended tracks: "If I Were a Boy," "Cry"

By Allison Stewart  | November 9, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  Reba McEntire  
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Next: Album review: "Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn"


I would have to say that this is the least accurate review I have read of this album thus far. Perhaps it would have been better if it didn't start of with incorrect facts. This is Reba McEntires 34th studio album, not her 26th... Furthermore, it is incorrect and unfair to say that Reba is aiming for "Carrie Underwood" with this record. Reba is a legend in the industry, and has led the way for newer acts like Carrie Underwood. I think if anyone is trying to emulate someone, it is the newcomers trying to emulate her. They can only hope to have as much success as her, with her record sales totaling close to 60 million at this point in her career. This is one of the best collections Reba has released in quite a few years, and I think it deserves a little more respect and credit than this review is giving it. Her vocals are amazing, and better than anything Taylor Swift could ever attempt to replicate. This album is a must have for any country music fan, period.

Posted by: vwbeetle_boy1 | November 9, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Reba is still the greatest country music singer (and arguably the best female singer ever in any genre). She gets the most out of any song worth singing. I'm a Beatles fan second to none but that doesn't mean every track they ever recorded is brilliant. Obviously, some are "better" than others, according to one's tastes and expectations for a particular artist. If you put all the younger wannabees together, they could not begin to equal Reba with respect to her voice, abilities and accomplishments and I think this album has some wonderful performances (I do agree that "If I Were a Boy" and "Cry" are the two best). I'm glad I'm not a music critic, so I don't need to over-analyze. I just get to sit back and enjoy this lady's wonderful voice---for thirty years now and for at least another thirty. BTW, ever hear of another country artist bringing Broadway to its knees? The best is yet to come for this incredibly talented entertainer.

Posted by: royhobbs1 | November 9, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Miss Stewart...while I disagree with your review of Reba's newest album, I respect the fact that the point of reviews such as this is to offer your opinion. What I do not respect is the fact that some of the facts in your article are incorrect. For example, this is Reba's 34th album...not 26th. If you feel the need to voice your opinion, atleast have the professionalism to research your facts to ensure your article is accurate. An artist as legendary as Reba McEntire deserves your respect, whether you like her music or not.

Posted by: brettster82 | November 9, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry!! I disagree with this review. What a ridiculous statement about Carrie Underwood. I don't think so! I don't think Reba cares to sing through her nose like Carrie. I love Turn on the Radio and Reba can text,twitter me anytime. My 74 year old mother twitters faster than her 21 year old grandson.
Favs on the CD: Cry, A Little Want To, All the Women I am

Posted by: llyoung | November 9, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Stewart: You have completely discredited yourself as a distinguished journalist. Your lack of knowledge and respect for Reba McEntire is obvious and makes you look ignorant. A woman of her stature and success deserves more respect than your Carrie Underwood "wannabee" article gives her. Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift only dreams of being as successful as Reba. All The Women I am is a true country CD. Obviously, your taste of country music is that or Carrie and Taylor. Well, here is a newsflash. They are not country. Their music is not true country music and does not even deserve to be in the same category as that of Reba McEntire. While Cry and If I Were a Boy are two great songs, The Bridge You Burn and All the Women I am are two of her best works. It is clear that you are unfamiliar with McEntire's previous albums and it shows by your blatant disrespect in your article. Your ignorance of Reba McEntire's album and career history should disqualify you from ever being able to write on her again. I think you should probably stick to reviewing "pop" albums, because apparently thats what you think country is.

Posted by: alliej11 | November 12, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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