This album is the benchmark of Reba McEntire’s Career. Her album Whoever’s in New England was her 10th studio album. It was her first to reach the top spot on the Billboard Country Album chart and later that year she won CMA’s Entertainer of the Year.
Now, before I fully indulge in this review I must reveal my bias. I am a HUGE Reba fan. I always have been and always will be. I am extremely proud to say that she is from Oklahoma and I believe she is the queen of modern country music. I’ve seen her twice in concert, and plan on going every time she’s within a 100 mile or so radius from me.
Whoever’s in New England is the essence of what true country music should encompass, both in content and musically. The album is comprised of mostly sad songs, but also some jolly breakup songs as well. The content includes how the man went out on her, she’s gonna take him back, she’s leaving him, she’s rushing into a relationship, etc. The only thing she left out was the horses back home in Stringtown.
I’ve decided to do a track by track rundown of this record because I took notes on each song and they are all great.
Track 1: “Can’t Stop Now.” This song explains how Reba has rushed into a relationship and that now the “love we made has a life of its own.” The song is traditional 80’s country with a classic country twang. I don’t two-step well, but I would really like to give this track a try.
Track 2: “You Can Take The Wings off Me.” This song explains how one is losing their innocence and I will say no more. I look at Reba like I look at my mom.
Track 3: ” Whoever’s in New England.” Legendary. This song has been a long time favorite of mine. I can’t resist it. It crosses genres. My favorite line “When the icy wind blows through you remember that it’s me, that feels the cold most of all.” And, o my, that high note at the end, strums my heartstrings every time. This was the first song she made a video for. Recently in concert, she was showing a montage of her videos and she quipped, “Look at that hair!” Did I also mention this song went number one?
Track 4: “I’ll Believe it When I Feel It.” This is a nice soft country song that I would also like to two-step too. McEntire talks of a man leaving her and how her friends say she will have “it” again with another man, to which she replies, I’ll believe it when I see it. I love the drums during the chorus and their crescendo effect.
Track 5: “I’ve Seen Better Days.” This is a beautiful breakup song. She even says a rainy day with him holding her is better then what she is feeling now, a little ironic. McEntire provides a nice prayer at the end of the song.
Open. Flip. Side B.
Track 6: “Little Rock.” This is a happy little ditty about divorce. She talks about slipping off that “little rock” on her finger because “there’s more to life then what I got.” This song went number one. It portrays the character of a strong woman, willing to take her life back in her own hands, even if they don’t have any diamonds on them.
Track 7: “If You Only Knew.” This song takes on a different twist. It’s a breakup song but through the lens of friendship. McEntire explains how her friend comes to her, envious of her single life. She then reveals that it is not what it’s cracked up to be when you’re “always in control.” She encourages the young damsel to “put your anger down, turn around, and go back home.”
Track 8: “One Thin Dime.” This song is classic country. It is upbeat and talks about a breakup. Although, she is not bitter for she states how she will always be there and is one thin dime away. I’m assuming “one thin dime” refers to what they call pay phones. I’m still getting used to the rotary at my house.
Track 9: “Don’t Touch Me There.” This is a ballad about a person being slightly afraid to dive into a relationship. She says he can hold her hands, kiss her lips, wrap his arms around her, and run his fingers through her hair, but there’s just one place he cannot touch, her heart.
Track 10: “To Make That Same Mistake.” This is another fast two-step breakup song. It’s a great end to the album, considering it opened with rushing into a relationship and now she just hopes she can make that same mistake again, which would be falling in love. A great conclusion to a landmark country album.
There is one word I use to describe Reba’s voice: gold. Her voice has been never changing since the late 1970s. Her vocal ability is unparalleled with her contemporaries. I have personally witnessed this in her live performances. Her performances are high energy, with sprinkles of red dirt. She has made her state proud.
So I am still trying to figure out who exactly could hate this album. I mean even if you don’t like Reba, you have to admit it’s legendary. If not you can probably just move, to New England preferably.
The first Reba video…