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Martina McBride

Emotion – 1999 (RCA)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Martina McBride

A few years ago, women were hailed as the next great thing of country with the Carpenters, Yearwoods and Hills leading the way in the heretofore male-dominated field.

Like their sisters of yesteryear who also morphed from a more straightahead country beat, they have opted for a far more glossy, pop sound with some country overtones. But Martina McBride's latest could just as easily fit a pop or adult contemporary format. McBride fell victim to this too as her career progressed upwards. The difference is that she puts her own tattoo on the song with her full-bodied voice. Co-producing, she doesn't always go over the top vocally. Far from it, helping create mood (or maybe just consult the album title) and variety.

McBride fell victim to this too as her career progressed upwards. The difference is that she puts her own tattoo on the song with her full-bodied voice. Co-producing, she doesn't always go over the top vocally. Far from it, helping create mood (or maybe just consult the album title) and variety. In fact, she takes chances. The closing "The Uncivil War," penned by Gretchen Peters of "Independence Day" fame, about family turmoil closes with a penny whistle. The catchy hit "I Love You" veers decidedly towards McBride's pop leanings, almost entirely divorced from country. A chunk of the album falls in the same category. What doesn't are the lyrics. McBride adopts the woman as strong person persona in several songs. "Love's the Only House" confronts social and economic issues.

While one would hope for a more distinctive country sound, McBride's brand of pop country at least has some meat.