Published Apr 03, 2019Country music superstar, actress, entrepreneur and everybody's favourite redhead, Reba McEntire, is back on the music scene with Stronger Than the Truth.
It's a collection of songs based on love, being lost and found, and family. This makes sense since, over the last few years, McEntire went through a rough patch with an unexpected divorce, a new love and an overall shift in her life.
The result is another solid album that works in McEntire's favour, by showcasing her signature vocals, but also highlighting her vulnerability, which tends to be a strength when put into song.
In a press release, McEntire, who has since sold over 56 million albums worldwide, said that her process of finding songs for Stronger Than the Truth was choosing tunes that touched her heart, and hopefully the ones of those listening to the album. McEntire also said this album is going back to the music and sound she grew up listening to on the ranch, while also singing at dance halls, honky-tonks and rodeos with her family.
This is best heard with the album's opener "Swing All Night Long With You," and later "No U In Oklahoma," both clearly western-swing inspired songs with fiddles, guitars, piano and steel instruments heard throughout. Think of upbeat swing dancing and two-step, and you get the picture. While these two songs hit a homerun in sounding like classic country songs, they're not what make the album fly.
In a series of sad love songs, the album's lead single "Stronger Than the Truth," a guitar ballad, talks about the pain and sadness of a relationship ending and being the last one to know when you're ex-lover has moved on.
Another heartbreak song includes "Tammy Wynette Kind Of Pain," a slow-tempo guitar and piano song that takes a jab at the classic "Stand By Your Man" motto, with McEntire's vulnerability on full display while singing "Standing by your man, that's a broken plan," and spelling out divorce during the chorus.
"Your Heart" sounds like its coming right out of Spain, with a sultry slowed-down beat from an electric guitar, fiddle, piano and percussion mix, while "Cactus In a Coffee Can" has a hymn vibe to it, with a respective rhythm from a dobro, viola, fiddle and guitars.
Though there are a number of emotional songs on the album, the rawest of them all is "The Clown," with a strong piano and guitar presence that sets the tone as being serious. The song paints the scene of someone telling their significant other they don't love them anymore and describes how the crushed person feels about hearing this news. This is the saddest of them all, with the songwriting easily creating a visual to the story being told.
What makes Stronger Than the Truth stand out is the clean and crisp songwriting; her vulnerability is impeccable and perhaps gives listeners a glimpse of what her life has been like over the last few years.
McEntire is in her own lane and there are not many in the industry who can be compared to her. Perhaps this alone is a good enough reason to listen to the album from start to finish. (Big Machine)