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Country - Released April 5, 2019 | Big Machine Records, LLC

Stronger Than the Truth -- the 33rd studio album from Reba McEntire and the first of secular material since 2015's Love Somebody -- kicks off with "Swing All Night Long with You," a joyous slice of western swing that functions as a manifesto of sorts: unlike the gleaming Love Somebody, Stronger Than the Truth is a pure, unadorned country album. McEntire delivers on this promise, albeit in her own fashion. While she returns to this hardcore sound on occasion throughout the record -- witness the skipping "No U in Oklahoma," so nimble it could've been part of the Texas Playboys' repertoire -- McEntire sticks to the kind of country that made her a star back in the '80s, emphasizing nuanced ballads and well-rendered narratives. Tempos rarely quicken on Stronger Than the Truth -- apart from the two western swing numbers, there's the gilded confidence of "Storm in a Shot Glass," but not much more than that -- but the album doesn't feel soft or meandering. Thanks to the co-production of Buddy Cannon -- a Nashville stalwart who regularly recorded with Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney in the 2010s -- the album feels flinty even when it's tender, a combination that's long been a signature of McEntire's. She channels this empathetic toughness into a series of songs that plays like short stories -- there are tales of dashed dreams, managed expectations, and earned love, along with many other manners of adult concerns -- and that deft, subtle blend of music and message gives Stronger Than the Truth a lasting emotional resonance. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Country - Released October 28, 2008 | MCA Nashville

Only three years after the 35-track, two-disc compilation Reba #1's, Reba McEntire presents a slightly more generous examination of her successful recordings with the three-disc 50 Greatest Hits. But despite being longer, it actually covers less ground chronologically, adding only one new hit since 2004, "Because of You," a duet with Kelly Clarkson, and lopping off the first eight years of McEntire's career. She started out with Mercury Records (which, like MCA, is now an imprint of Universal, its catalog readily available to the compilers), which built her up to the point of scoring two consecutive number-one hits, "Can't Even Get the Blues" and "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving," in 1983. Neither of those tracks is counted among her "50 greatest hits" here; instead, the collection starts with her first MCA chart-topper, "How Blue," from 1984-1985. From there, things progress chronologically over more than two decades, with each hit presented in the order it marched up the Billboard country singles chart. Along the way, a few editorial adjustments are made, at least below the level of Top Five hits. Left out are "Little Girl" (which reached number seven in 1990) and "They Asked About You" (number seven in 1994), while, for instance, "She Thinks His Name Was John" (number 15 in 1994), "Starting Over Again" (number 19 in 1996), and "What If It's You" (number 15 in 1997) are included. Otherwise, however, the album lives up to its title, and in its sheer bulk, it makes a case for McEntire's song choices, which, in addition to proving hits year after year, also enabled her to portray and describe a variety of modern women struggling to get by, sometimes being cheated on, sometimes doing the cheating themselves, but always trying to reconcile love with life's travails. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 2005 | MCA Nashville

It's hard to believe, but 2005's double-disc #1's is the first multi-disc retrospective of Reba McEntire's career, which has had several single-disc sets prior to this. While this, like many similarly titled collections, does not strictly follow the rules set up in its title -- not counting the two new songs that open up each disc here, there are 11 songs among these 35 tracks that did not hit number one in Billboard's country charts -- it's hard to complain about this. After all, #1's includes all of her number one singles, and those 11 hit singles that did not make it to the top spot all were Top Five singles and rank among her best work. Taken together, they make for the best overview of and introduction to McEntire's lengthy, consistent career. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen*

Only the quietly moving "If I Had Only Known" might be considered a tribute to the members of McEntire's band who died in a 1990 plane crash, but the tragedy creeps into McEntire's voice and her song selection. Throughout the album, McEntire dwells on regrets, unvoiced feelings, and missed chances. The best songs aren't the hits "For My Broken Heart" and "Is There Life out There" but a group of evocative story-songs which unfold slowly, leaving loose threads and developing complex emotional undercurrents. For My Broken Heart may be the strongest album of McEntire's career; it's certainly her most heartbreaking. © Brian Mansfield /TiVo

Country - Released February 3, 2017 | NASH Icon

Reba McEntire followed her splashy 2010 comeback Love Somebody with Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, an ambitious double-disc religious album released in early 2017. Divided into a disc of standards and a disc of modern Christian music, the two sides wind up complementing each other not just in aesthetic but in sensibility. All of the ten new songs are very much creatures of their time -- big, glossy productions within the praise & worship mode. In contrast, the ten standards -- while still plenty polished -- are a bit rootsier, with a rousing version of "Oh Happy Day" emphasizing its gospel-soul roots and "Amazing Grace" spare and folky. Each album is satisfying on its own, but when heard in conjunction, the range and subtle skill of McEntire impress. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Country - Released December 6, 2019 | MCA Nashville


Country - Released November 23, 1999 | MCA Nashville

It hasn't been hard to notice that Reba McEntire's usually reliable stream of number one hits has slowed lately. But So Good Together re-examines McEntire's artistry and puts fans back in touch with the Reba we know and love. No one sings emotion better than McEntire, and the relaxed warmth of her voice produces one of the finest vocal performances she's bestowed on listeners since before Starting Over. So Good Together's first release, the introspective "What Do You Say," has been making its way up the charts in glowing Reba style. © Maria Konicki Dinoia /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 1990 | Geffen*

Reba McEntire's break of 16 months between the May 1989 release of her 14th regular studio album, Sweet Sixteen, and her 15th, Rumor Has It, in September 1990 was unusually long for a country artist and the longest for her since Mercury Records, her label at the time, waited over two years after the release of her debut LP, Reba, in August 1977 to issue her second, Out of a Dream, in September 1979. Back then, she was struggling for recognition; by the late '80s, she was country music's biggest female star. In the interim between Sweet Sixteen and Rumor Has It, she married her manager, Narvel Blackstock, released a live album, and had a baby. Meanwhile, the stream of country Top Ten singles from Sweet Sixteen kept her on the radio steadily, and she only took five months off from the road for maternity leave. The break between studio sessions seems to have given her an opportunity to take a fresh look at her recording career. She replaced her regular producer, Jimmy Bowen (who had left his job as president of her label, MCA Records), with Tony Brown, a well-known Nashville figure with a taste for crossover. And, abandoning the move back toward neo-traditionalist country she had undertaken on Sweet Sixteen, she made an album closer to its predecessor, Reba, a contemporary country crossover effort. Once again, the fiddle was gone, and while steel guitar and mandolin were listed in the credits, they were de-emphasized in favor of synthesizers. Musically, Rumor Has It was more of an adult contemporary pop record than a country record, except that McEntire's singing voice retained some of its Oklahoma twang, although even that seemed to have been softened deliberately. The leadoff single, "You Lie," which became McEntire's 15th country number one, sounded like a '50s doo wop ballad, even if the lyrics were typical ones for McEntire in their emphasis on a troubled relationship. Love was also in trouble in the title song, a Top Five country hit, in which the singer suspected infidelity; "Waitin' for the Deal to Go Down," about an impatient bride-to-be ("The ring's still sittin' in a store downtown"); "Now You Tell Me," which repeated the theme of an earlier McEntire song, "One Promise Too Late," a lover waiting too long to declare himself; the self-explanatory "Fallin' Out of Love" (another Top Five country hit); "This Picture"; and "That's All She Wrote." Country fans love to read their favorites' personal lives into the songs they sing, which can be dodgy since country artists so rarely write their own songs, and attempting to do so here would tend to emphasize McEntire's 1987 divorce over her remarriage and motherhood. But some songs did seem to have autobiographical elements. As she had twice on Sweet Sixteen, McEntire co-wrote a song with Don Schlitz, this time coming up with the driving leadoff tune, "Climb That Mountain High," which, while not specific, was full of the language of self-assertion. This sounded like the McEntire who had left her first husband and her Oklahoma home for Nashville. Even more interesting were the two covers of old songs. McEntire reserved her most impassioned singing for her version of Bobbie Gentry's 1969 song "Fancy" (a country Top Ten in this new reading, which it was not when Gentry sang it), a song about a "white trash" woman whose mother, well, pimps her out as an escape from poverty. It was a curious choice for revival from a singer who had suffered accusations of having abandoned her roots personally and professionally, and there was a feisty defensiveness in McEntire's performance. Then there was her version of Jesse Winchester's gently cutting "You Remember Me," in which a musician on the road barges in on an old flame who has become more upper class after dumping him long before. Singing it allowed McEntire to turn the tables on the charges of gettin' above her raisin' and throw the accusation at someone else. Doubtless, she herself would say she simply found a couple of good old songs and recorded them, and that's true, too. But Rumor Has It, like many of its predecessors, was an album that showed Reba McEntire restlessly in transition, never able to forget her past, but never letting that stop her from grasping at the future. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 2007 | MCA Nashville


Country - Released January 1, 1994 | Mercury Nashville

Country singing star Reba McEntire was born and raised in Oklahoma, so Oklahoma Girl seemed a fitting title when producers began putting this album together, picking songs that covered a lot of McEntire's early career. This album is a must-have for any McEntire fan, and for almost any country fan at all. Oklahoma Girl is a solid two-disc offering. Each disc carries 20 tracks, a total of 40 songs in one buy. The first disc holds numbers such as "A Cowboy Like You," "Right Time of the Night," "The Blues Don't Care Who's Got 'Em," and "Tears on My Pillow." Some of the songs on disc two that fans probably remember the best include "I'm Not That Lonely Yet," "Can't Even Get the Blues No More," "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving," and "Pins and Needles." Unless you have all of McEntire's early works, you'll probably find a number of tunes on this set that you are missing -- including a few previously unreleased tracks. This is a great way to get a good country collection started with one purchase. © Charlotte Dillon /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 1987 | Geffen*

Recorded as McEntire went through the process of divorce from first husband Charlie Battles, it's understandably heavy on songs about breakups and the uncertainty of the future, "The Stairs" -- about domestic violence -- is particularly moving. Despite her personal pain, she still holds out hope in "Love Will Find Its Way to You." © Tom Roland /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 1986 | Geffen*

In the field of country music, where most artists are not also songwriters, there is a constant search among the Nashville publishing houses for that one song that will not only catapult a singer to the top of the charts, but also define a career. After a slow build lasting nearly a decade, Reba McEntire became an established country star in the mid-'80s, winning the Female Vocalist of the Year award from the Country Music Association in 1984 and again in 1985. But she had never had even a Top Ten LP on the country charts, and her successes seemed to vie with her failures in a back-and-forth pattern. She had turned to the new traditionalist style with her 1984 album My Kind of Country, and seemed to have hit on a theme of embodying the emotional conflicts of women with "Somebody Should Leave," a song from that disc that went to number one. But Have I Got a Deal for You in 1985 missed the mark. Whoever's in New England, which followed in early 1986, was a bull's-eye. The first reason was, of course, the title song, written by Kendal Franceschi and Quentin Powers, and sung by McEntire with the clenched emotion that the lyrics required. Against a stately ballad setting, the singer embodies the character of a Southern wife whose husband is, it seems to her, taking more business trips to Boston than he really needs to. Her surprising response is to tell him she thinks he's cheating on her, but that "when whoever's in New England's through with you," she will be waiting for him. The singer's sense of martyrdom is both unbearable and irresistible, and Franceschi and Powers achieve the added effect of casting the story in a South vs. North context. A mere 121 years since the end of the Civil War, that's a subtext that remained compelling to Southerners. "Whoever's in New England," which quickly soared to number one on the country singles charts (and later won McEntire her first Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance), was reason enough for the album named after it to be considered a triumph. But producers McEntire and Jimmy Bowen surrounded it with other material of a similar ilk, female-oriented ballads like "You Can Take the Wings Off Me," "I'll Believe It When I Feel It," "I've Seen Better Days," "If You Only Knew," and "Don't Touch Me There" that explored women's emotional turmoil as they tried to navigate the troubled seas of romance. In "If You Only Knew," for example, a single woman counseled a married one that, however rocky things might get, having a husband was infinitely better than being alone as she was. And in "You Can Take the Wings Off Me," a woman submitted to seduction rather than continue to be a chaste angel, but not without a somewhat solemn and mournful feeling about it. (Either of these songs could have been a chart hit on its own if released as a single.) McEntire and Bowen threw in some up-tempo material for contrast, beginning with the frisky honky tonk number "I Can't Stop Now"; leading off the LP's side two with the cheery cheating song "Little Rock" (another number-one hit); and providing the requisite Western swing romp with "One Thin Dime." But it was the big ballads that were at the heart of Whoever's in New England, and they sold Reba McEntire to her female country constituency once and for all. The singer who'd never had a Top Ten album before went straight to number one with this one. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Pop - Released January 1, 1993 | Geffen*


Country - Released January 1, 1984 | Geffen*

When Reba McEntire switched from Mercury Records, the label that had developed her from being a 19-year-old singing the national anthem at a rodeo in 1974 to back-to-back number-one country hits in 1983, and moved to MCA as of October 1 of that year, the idea was that the new company was going to take her to the next level, outright superstardom in country music. Instead, her career hit a speed bump with her first MCA LP, Just a Little Love, produced by Norro Wilson, who, like Jerry Kennedy, her Mercury producer, wanted to take advantage of her vocal range by having her sing a wide variety of material, but succeeded only in giving her a fuzzy image with record buyers. MCA next brought in Harold Shedd, the hot producer of Alabama, for the follow-up to Just a Little Love, but McEntire was dissatisfied with the songs he brought her and with the pop sweetening he applied to the tracks initially, and she went to the new company president Jimmy Bowen, who told her to go ahead and find her own songs and cut them her own way. (Shedd retains his producer credit, no doubt for contractual reasons, but it's in name only.) That might have been a daunting prospect to another country singer, but McEntire was paying attention to the charts, and she realized that the country-pop of the urban cowboy era in country music of the early '80s had given way to the new traditionalism of Ricky Skaggs and George Strait, and she shrewdly decided to jump on the bandwagon. She got a new song from country legend Harlan Howard ("Somebody Should Leave," co-written with Chick Raines), but instead of making the rounds of the Nashville publishers, she rooted around in her record collection and came up with songs from old LPs previously recorded by the likes of Ray Price ("Don't You Believe Her," "I Want to Hear It from You"), Carl Smith ("Before I Met You"), Connie Smith ("You've Got Me [Right Where You Want Me]"), and Faron Young ("He's Only Everything"). In the studio, she and Bowen banished the strings that had played a big part on Just a Little Love and her Mercury recordings in favor of hard country arrangements dominated by the fiddles of Johnny Gimble and Mark O'Connor and the steel guitars of Sonny Garrish and Doyle Grisham, with Jerry Douglas' dobro also having a pride of place. Then she sang this collection of country shuffles as if she were Patsy Cline back from the grave. The result was the breakthrough she was looking for. "How Blue," the leadoff single, went to number one, followed by the irresistible "Somebody Should Leave," a characteristically direct Howard story song about an impending divorce a couple was studiously avoiding, as the female narrator put it, because "He needs the kids, and they need me." McEntire, who grew up on a ranch in Oklahoma and spent her summers traveling to rodeos with her father, a professional cowboy, had no trouble investing this material with a sense of authenticity, and the old songs were simultaneously familiar-sounding and yet not actually well known. My Kind of Country vaulted her into the ranks of the hottest performers in country music, circa 1984. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo

Ambient/New Age - Released February 3, 1987 | Geffen

Merry Christmas to You is (naturally) a traditional Christmas album for Reba McEntire, mostly featuring textured acoustic guitar and light percussion (several selections were arranged by McEntire). Alongside tender holiday classics like "Away in a Manger," "O Holy Night," "Silent Night," and "On This Day," she reaches deep into her song bag for "The Christmas Guest" by Grandpa Jones. © John Bush /TiVo

Country - Released October 23, 2001 | MCA Nashville


Country - Released December 7, 2018 | Big Machine Records, LLC


Country - Released February 10, 1986 | Mercury Nashville


Country - Released January 1, 1992 | MCA Nashville

McEntire possesses one of the most undeniably emotional voices in country music -- one well-phrased word in her Oklahoma accent can start hearts breaking. The overwhelming number of ballads on It's Your Call take maximum advantage of that talent, especially on "Straight from You" and "The Heart Won't Lie," a duet with labelmate Vince Gill. While It's Your Call may have the same intensity of emotion as the double-platinum For My Broken Heart, it lacks similar depth -- taken as a whole, these songs make McEntire sound like a victim, a role she no longer plays well. The ballads leave few places for McEntire's strength of character, and the bluesy "Take It Back" and "Go Down Easy" only serve as breaks in the despair. McEntire showed her best on For My Broken Heart; while she's not holding back here, only casual or partial listeners will be moved as much. © Brian Mansfield /TiVo

Country - Released January 1, 1985 | MCA Nashville

The Best of Reba McEntire contains 10 of her biggest hits from the early '80s, which were all recorded for Mercury Records. These hit singles -- including "(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven," "Today All Over Again," "I'm Not That Lonely Yet," "Can't Even Get the Blues," "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving," and "Why Do We Want (What We Know We Can't Have)" -- represent the first songs where McEntire truly found a voice of her own. Occasionally, Jerry Buckler's productions are a little too sanitary, but McEntire overcomes any overly-commercial flourishes with her gritty, gutsy vocals, and the best of these songs are as good as her finest moments for MCA. © Thom Owens /TiVo