Martina McBride released her debut album THE TIME HAS COME in 1992. It was two songs from her second album, THE WAY THAT I AM, that cracked the Top 10. ‘My Baby Loves Me’ hit #2 and ‘Life No. 9’ hit #6. SHINE (2009, RCA) was her tenth studio album. It peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums Chart and at #10 on the U.S. Billboard 200. It only spent seven weeks on the latter chart. SHINE was produced by Dann Huff and Martina. Martina writes: “Dann...I have loved making this record with you and I have so much respect for you as a musician, as a producer and, most importantly, as a person. Thank you for helping me discover new ground and helping me grow as a singer and as an artist”.
Stephen Barker Liles, Robert Ellis Orrall, and Brad and Brett Warren wrote the album opening ‘Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong’. It is a country/pop tune that offers hope: “It won’t be long baby long/’Til you find somebody new/Come on now/Everyone falls down/Everyone crawls now and then/Then they get up again/You cry if you want to/That’s what we all do/But if you think you’ll never move on/You’re wrong baby”. ‘I Just Call You Mine’ is a great modern country ballad. It finds a gal smitten with a guy: “I fall apart and just a word from you/Somehow seems to fix whatever’s wrong/Ohh, you reach into the weakest moments and remind me that I’m strong/You gotta know/I’d be a fool not to see or even worse to forget/That you’re more than I deserve.../You’re a standing ovation/After years of waiting for a chance to finally shine/Everyone calls you amazing/I just call you mine”. Martina co-wrote the cheery ‘Sunny Side Up’ with Brad and Brett Warren: “Today everything is sunny side up/I’m hangin’ on to happy and pushin’ my luck/You’re lookin’ at a girl who’s lookin’ at the world/And no matter what/Sunny side up (2X)/Yeah, yeah/It seems like everybody’s way too sad/Come on, let’s lift each other up/Look at all we have/Baby, it ain’t so bad”.
Nathan Chapman, Liz Rose, and Jesse Walker wrote ‘Walk Away’. It’s a country ballad about admitting when a romantic relationship is over: “I can read your mind right now/You want me to stick around/But nothing ends if I don’t leave right now/Let me go/Let me walk away, walk away baby/I can’t stay/Let me walk away, walk away baby/I’ll be fine/I will recover/And I will learn to love another/Sometimes goodbye is the hardest thing to say/So I’ll walk away”. ‘I’m Trying’ was originally recorded by Kevin Sharp on his 1998 album LOVE IS. It’s a moving story song about an alcoholic and his partner: “He said ‘I don’t know why I’ve been the fool, but I can tell you this/Not a day goes by that I don’t curse myself and all my sins’/Then he dropped down to his knees/By now they both were crying/He said ‘I haven’t been the man I want to be/But I’m trying’”.
‘What Do I Have To Do’ makes use of The Nashville String Machine. It is a country power ballad of one struggling to get over a former love interest: “I even met somebody who I thought would be the one/To turn me down a new road far enough to finally lose you/This losing game I’m playing, smile I’m faking, road I’m taking/You’ll be waiting, heart still breaking, just keep on praying/What do I have to do?/Where do I have to go?/To get you off my mind, leave you behind, give me a sign/What do I have to do to make me stop loving you?” ‘Don’t Cost A Dime’ is yet another slow song. It includes these quaint thoughts: “It’s a big world to walk through, honey/And if you’ve got love, you don’t need money/You’re gonna get caught in the toughest times/You hold each other and you hold the line/You kiss on the mornings when the sun won’t shine/And that don’t cost a dime.../Climb out of bed and step outside/Look up ahead, it’s all blue sky/You already have what really matters most in this life”.
‘Ride’ was one of three Top 20 hits from this project which made it on to the Billboard Country Chart. This upbeat country song reached #11. It is motivational in nature: “You can hide beneath the covers/Or you can run outside, head up high and carry on.../Life is a roller coaster ride/Time turns the wheel and love collides/Faith is believing you can close your eyes, touch the sky/So shine while you have the chance to shine/Laugh even when you wanna cry/Hold on tight to what you feel inside and ride”. Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson, and Troy Verges penned the real fun, toe-tapping ‘You’re Not Leaving Me’. Here are some of the words: “Go on, pack your suitcase if you want to/Yeah, pitch a fit till your face turns blue/You can say what you want and think what you think/Sit right down and pour yourself a drink/’Cause/You’re not leaving me (4X).../Yeah, you’re my husband and you need my loving/That ain’t gonna change/So keep on big talking/Go on, start walking/Come back anyway”.
‘Wild Rebel Rose’ is a touching song about child abuse: “Wild Rebel Rose/The kids used to tease you/Wild Rebel Rose/Every time they’d see you in those black turtle necks in mid-July/Wearin’ too much makeup ‘round your eyes.../It’s hard for anyone to understand why at sixteen you just up and ran/But they didn’t know you only knew your daddy’s love like the back of his hand/I heard the shots/I saw you hit the door/I snuck in and grabbed the pistol off the floor/Don’t worry they won’t find it, that’s for sure”. ‘Lies’ is a soft song about what else-lies: “Lemons are sweet as honey, usually life is fair/Purple’s a shade of money/And Jesus doesn’t care/Hummingbirds can’t fly backwards/Lovers don’t say goodbye/Saturn has 7 rings and I have never told a lie.../And even though I’m waiting by the phone/I don’t want you to call/I don’t miss you at all/Lies”.
SHINE is a marvelous modern country music album! On it you will find seven slower paced songs and four faster paced. The song topics are varied. They include: happy love songs, positive songs about moving on when a romantic relationship is over, a positive motivational number, sad songs about relationships ending, and a couple of songs about family dysfunction. Additional background vocalists used are: Sarah Buxton, Lisa Cochran, Jerry Flowers, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Harry Stinson, Russell Terrell, and Jenifer Wrinkle. Martina’s vocals are some of the best anywhere and the pictures of her accompanying the CD are beautiful. Fans of the music of Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood should acquire SHINE, which I’m rating 100%. For more info visit: www.martinamcbride.com.