1: My Baby Loves Me
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Reviewed by Adrian Marks
Martina McBride is apple pie. She's Sunday pot roast and the girl next door. With eyes as blue as her Nashville-tinged voice is clear, McBride embodies American made music -- Southern style -- as purely as anyone ever has. And just in case you had any doubts, her label has rolled her long-awaited greatest hits album in as many stars and stripes as the package can hold. Actually, it looks pretty good on her. Just in case you still had any doubts, give the album a listen. You won't have to get past the third track -- "Independence Day," her breakthrough hit from 1994's The Way That I Am -- to hear just how made-in-America McBride can sound.
Though "Independence Day" is clearly a song about domestic violence, the title and even some of the lyrics seem to offer yet another layer of meaning at present.
Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
In a career that thus far spans only a single decade, McBride has built a reputation recording highly emotional songs beautifully. Though she's not a writer, she seems to have the ability to wrench all available emotion from other people's songs. And thus we've been treated to songs like "A Broken Wing," from 1999's Evolution, a song that deals with emotional abuse,
With a broken wing, she carries her dreams
McBride pulls just as much emotion out of upbeat tunes as she does more introspective numbers. "Wild Angels," from the 1995 album by the same name, is a spirited love song with intelligent lyrics that invites you to dance:
Between the perfect world and the bottom line
"I Love You," included on the Runaway Bride soundtrack, is deliciously happy though, in honesty, it skates dangerously close to not being country at all. The hooky, poppy beat bears a closer resemblance to bubblegum than anything that demands the attendance of a steel guitar. Still, it's clearly Martina sounding as though she has a smile in her heart. You can't help but smile along.
Along with the 14 "hits" on this greatest hits album, McBride has included four new songs. If "When God-Fearin' Women Get the Blues" sounds like "old-timey" country music, there are more than a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is certainly the background vocals of Dan Tyminski, the lead vocals of the Soggy Bottom Boys from the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Rachel Proctor, Rick Ferrell-penned "Where Would You Be" is destined to be a new country classic. All of the elements are here: a tragic end-of-love song delivered in McBride's heartrending soprano.
"Concrete Angel" is another of McBride's signature societal hurtin' songs. The concrete angel in question is a child who is the victim of emotional abuse:
Somebody cries in the middle of the night
The rock-laced "Blessed" includes guest star quality background vocals by Carolyn Dawn Johnson. Though the lyrics render someone that sounds a lot like McBride -- a happy person enjoying and appreciating a good life -- the upbeat tempo and 4/4 time is pure rock 'n' roll. An interesting departure.
McBride's first greatest hits album is a delight. A well rounded album, it surprises me now to think that this talented singer has only been in the public eye for 10 years.
The Sharon, Kansas native was born Martina Schiff and her youth included singing with her father's charmingly named band, the Schifters. In 1990 the young Schifter moved to Nashville with her soundman husband John McBride. Here the budding chanteuse took the time-honored path to fame by waiting tables while she cut her demos. She didn't have to wait long however. She released her first album, The Time Has Come, in 1992. | October 2001
In a career that thus far spans only a single decade, McBride has built a reputation recording highly emotional songs beautifully. Though she's not a writer, she seems to have the ability to wrench all available emotion from other people's songs.