Carrie PitzerSix years in between solo projects can feel like an eternity for fans. Each year increases expectations that can often lead to disappointment. While full of emotion, there's no room for disappointment on Reba McEntire's "Keep On Loving … see full wiki
'Keep on Loving You' marks Reba McEntire's first solo effort in six years and the 25th album in her long career in country music. While many popular country acts of today are making music that sounds less like country and more like a fusion of country and pop, what is striking about 'Keep on Loving You' is how it stands a strong reminder of not the 2000s Reba McEntire but of the '80s country star and diva. There are a lot of tracks on here that are pure country with elements of swing, with rarely used fiddles/violins and a lot of twang and sway.
The Good: I enjoyed Reba taking on more upbeat songs. the first half of the release is definitely the strongest because these songs featured something of a new theme for Reba. Instead of the expected heartbreak, heart ache, sad songs she's gotten down to an art, we hear a far more upbeat, fun, sassy Reba McEntire. Some of the songs sound like something the younger artists like Carrie Underwood or perhaps the group Sugarland would cover; on 'Strange' she sings a very upbeat song about getting over heart ache and being stronger at the end of a relationship rather than weak and heart broken; 'I Want A Cowboy' is perhaps my favorite track, with her simply describing her ideal man and getting a bit sensual as she flaunts her sexuality around, something she hardly does in her music; 'Consider Me Gone' may have hints of heartbreak and melancholy but it's very upbeat with a hint of optimism in the face of (yes) a relationship souring. Even with some of the less impressive songs, I enjoyed the old feeling they had because they reminded me of some of her older material and a sound she's not touched much. Lyrically, 'Maggie Creek Road' tells a story and is stylistically similar to 'Fancy'. 'I'll Have What She's Having' sounds very left field with its swing elements, but lyrically it's very tongue-in-cheek and shows off Reba's sense of humor.
The Bad: I really enjoyed the 'new' sound and music that opened the release. Mid-way through, it loses steam with songs that sound as if they were selected in an attempt to inject the expected Reba sad, heartache, facts of life-type songs that have come to define her. 'She's Turning 50 Today' and 'Eight Crazy Hours' are okay, but they tell more of a story than they feature good music. These are songs I feel after a listen, I'd skip over. They aren't horrible but they cause a rather frustrating lull in the middle of the release and the upbeat songs that are the strongest and open 'Keep On Loving You' never seem to make a comeback before the end.
In all, this release will really appeal to those who are either seeking classic country music or are looking for Reba McEntire music that will remind you of her hits from the 1980s and early 1990s. I enjoyed it and even though there are a few snoozers, all of the tracks are worth listening to and this is one of the few releases worth purchasing and adding to your collection.
Tracks to Listen To: Strange, Over You, I Want a Cowboy, Consider Me Gone, Maggie Creek Road