Martina McBride Waking Up Laughing

Ridiculous-number-of-awards-winning country superstar Martina McBride has a very frank voice and a penchant for straightforward storytelling. But for all of her earnestness of delivery, it is difficult to take the consistency of her pain seriously. These are songs about serious subjects: abuse, love lost, pregnancy and divorce. However, it feels like they are about these concepts in abstract — there is little nuance, little depth. The heroines of her sob stories are as thin as the paper they’re created on and as brief as the songs themselves. In part, it’s just overkill — with 11 songs and a scant handful of ideas between them, her mostly perky delivery somehow becomes… emo. This isn’t to say that the album is unredeemable — there are a few really nice tunes, when taken separately. "Love Land,” particularly, paints a musically beautiful picture of a woman with more than two dimensions, with a soul as well as a song. (Sony BMG)