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Reba McEntire

If You See Him – 1998 (MCA)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire released her first album 21 years ago, and since then, she has become a major star and force driving the widespread popularity of country. With that influence and notoriety comes higher expectations for each new album, but for the past few, McEntire has fallen short. This is more of the same, unfortunately. McEntire has become less a country singer and more of a light-rock diva.

The end product is a dozen mostly mediocre songs with equally bland arrangements heavy on the piano ballads and "poor me" lyrics. Bright spots include "Wrong Night," probably the most countrified song McEntire has recorded in years, and Patty Griffin's "Up and Flying," a beautiful track. Those triumphs are balanced out by the tremendously overwrought "Forever Love," and "Face To Face," a duet with Linda Davis that tries too hard to be a sequel to their earlier hit, "Does He Love You."

This album sounds exactly like most of what's on country radio today, but that's precisely the problem with it. There's a Reba McEntire out there who can sing the hell out of a real country song. If you see her, tell her we're still waiting.