ALBUM REVIEW: Reba McEntire, For My Broken Heart

If you have read at least two of my blog posts, you will gather that I am from Oklahoma and I love Oklahoma artists. Some of the best musicians have red dirt in their veins. So It’s no wonder that I consider Reba one of the Queens of Country Music. I am extremely proud to call the same state she does home.

This is my second writing over a Reba record. I first wrote a review over her 1986 smash Whoever’s in New England. A classic album that is a must listen for any true country fan. Recently, I found her last album ever issued on vinyl, For My Broken Heart. 

This vinyl was only released through Columbia House. It came out in 1991 when vinyl was beginning to be phased out for cassette tapes and CDs. It is a very rare find, even on the internet. Discogs doesn’t have a single copy for sale, and the last copy on eBay went for $75. I assume you can see my excitement when I found it for $6 at a local record shop.

This is the first album Reba released after the death of over half her band in a plane accident. This album is dedicated to them, which speaks directly to its melancholy tone.

In fact, Reba writes in the liner notes, “It seems your current emotional status determines what music you’d like to hear…If for any reason you can relate to the emotion-packed inside these songs, I hope it’s a form of healing for all our broken hearts.”

For My Broken Heart does not contain any songs to the likes of “Fancy,” “Can’t Even Get The Blues,” or “Why Haven’t I Heard From You.” Instead, Reba opts for more ballad, storyline, emotional pieces.

The album opens with the title track “For My Broken Heart.” This has always been one of my favorite Reba ballads. It’s very symbolic for this album, especially the lyrics, “I guess the world didn’t stop for my broken heart.” Although she was feeling emotional pain, along with many of her staff, and the family and of those who had fallen, the world didn’t stop. The worst thing that could have happened is if the music had stopped.

The next songs tell narrative stories, something I believe Reba is a genius at performing and interpreting. These songs include “Bobby,” “He’s in Dallas,” “All Dressed Up (With Nowhere to Go),” “Buying her Roses,” and “The Greatest Man I Never Knew.”

One of the major staples of this album, which was also an eventual number one, is the powerful story of “Is There Life Out There.” Not only is this a story of a woman wondering what the world has to offer, but it is a message to those affected by the plane accident, prompting them to keep going, and that there is going to be more “out there.”

Then there is “The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia.” This has also been one of my long-time Reba favorites, although surprisingly it only charted at number 12. I feel this is the one song that was clearly recorded to be a commercial success, yet her songs of hope and broken hearts win the biggest spots on the charts.

This has now become one of my favorite Reba albums and, to be honest, initially, I was only interested in the collector’s aspect. Don’t get me wrong. I listen to each album I purchase, and I can’t think of a Reba album I don’t like. After listening to this album, I found a deeper connection woven within its lyrics and Reba’s timeless vocals. It’s an album of sorrow, but most of all, it is an album hope.

In 1985, Reba released an album, Have I Got a Deal For You. Although this album was made 5 or so years later, this album has become quite a deal for me, not only in what I paid but also in what I hear.

Anytime Reba’s dealing, I’m playing.

Published by

Gabe Crawford

Spiritual. Thinker. Music fanatic. Vinyl enthusiast.

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