This is a good cd with minor flaws that, for me as a listener, hold it back from being a true five-star hit. The good thing about this cd is that unlike her past cds of the mid 90s and the 2000s, this is a true country genre cd. Don't be fooled (or scared off) by her duets with Kelly Clarkson and Justin Timberlake who both stick out among the line-up of these country stars. You barely recognize the "SexyBack" singer on "The Only Promise That Remains" which, for me, was one of the stand-out tracks because of the mood it sets and Reba's vocals paired with a much more subtle and serious-sounding Justin Timberlake.
Other stand-out tracks are "When You Love Someone Like That" featuring LeAnn Rimes, "Faith in Love" featuring Rascall Flatts and "Break Each Other's Hearts Again" featuring Don Henley. There's nothing wrong or bad about the other duets but for me as a listener, they all blend and clash with one another for dominance. One of the weaknesses of "Duets" is that where Reba McEntire seemed ready and willing to experiment with her sound in previous albums, it feels as if she's trying hard to pull-off a "country" album. I felt the subject matter of the songs were all very similar as well. They felt like they were either love-ballad types or motivational, such as the Carole King "Everyday People" duet. There's nothing truly ground-breaking or in her country-pop formula found in songs and hits like "Fancy". The mood seems rather somber and tame and I think it'd have been a stronger effort had there been more variety, whether in song types, subject or tempo.
With that flaw that keeps it from being a true "hit", 'Duets' still manages to out-perform and entertain compared to much music that's out there and released today. In all her years in the music business, Reba hasn't lost her edge and manages to keep her finger on the pulse of music. I enjoy "Duets" because she does seem to take a risk by not going for the country-pop formula that she has in later years but for a more traditional country sound that makes you feel as if these duets could have been found on releases dating back to the start of her career in 1977. Definitely recommended and worth a purchase.
Reba collaborates with the biggest names in music on this album. The result is a very entertaining disc. Nobody sings about heartache and the difficulty of relationships better than Reba. She performs duets with Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney Don Henley, and Leeann Rimes. These songs are about the pain of failed relationships. I love the way Reba harmonizes with the talented performers on these tracks. I love the musical arrangement of the track "Does The Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma". This song is about … more
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Country music queen Reba McEntire sounds like she feels at home with a variety of big-name artists, who wisely adapt to her style rather than making her stretch to accommodate them. Perhaps the biggest surprise is her duet with Justin Timberlake on "The Only Promise That Remains," which he wrote for her as an acoustic ballad far removed from most of the music he makes on his own. The power balladry of "Because of You" receives the full diva treatment in its teaming of McEntire with Kelly Clarkson, while Carole King adds some pop buoyancy to "Everyday People" (not the Sly and the Family Stone classic). LeAnn Rimes pays trans-generational homage with opener "When You Love Someone Like That" (which also closes Rimes recentFamilyas a bonus cut). "Does the Wind Still Blow in Oklahoma," a duet with Ronnie Dunn, finds the pair writing as well as singing together, and Vince Gill offers his "These Broken Hearts" for the duet treatment. Faith Hill and Reba wring high drama from "Sleeping with the Telephone," which humanizes the war from the perspective of a soldiers wife whose husband is overseas.--Don McLeese