Martina McBride, she of the perfect complexion and booming voice, had drifted a little in recent years. Her sound had traveled in a light pop direction. While it was still enjoyable and commercially successful, it was a move away from the path that brought her fame over a decade ago now.
Shine is her tenth studio album and I’m happy to report that the attitude is back. Guitars dominate the musical tracks and her voice; one of the best in country music, remains intact. It all adds up to a powerful album of country/rock and country/pop tunes. It just may be her most consistent release as there are no poor tracks. The public seems to agree as is debuted at number one on the Billboard country charts and number ten on their pop charts.
McBride is now in her early forties and has been a major star since the early 1990s. Songs such as “Independence Day,” “Wild Angels,” “A Broken Wing,” “Safe In The Arms Of Love,” “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” and “This One’s For The Girls” are instantly recognizable to all fans of country music. She makes it all look so easy as her angelic looks belie one of the purist and most powerful voices in country music.
The stinging guitar notes that introduce the first song, “Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong,” propel the album out of the starting gate. This up-tempo country/pop rocker returns McBride to her comfort zone. The first single from the album, “Ride,” plus “You’re Not Leaving Me,” and “Sunny Side Up,” all continue in this vein. They are songs that are inspirational and make the listener feel good even though the lyrics are serious in places.
Even the ballads have a beat to them for the most part. “Walk Away” and “I Just Call You Mine” both make use of some excellent drumming to provide the underpinning as her voice builds and finally soars.
“I’m Trying” runs counterpoint to the other songs as it has a gentle acoustic backing for her sensitive and emotional vocals.
This latest release finds Martina McBride at the top of her game. Shine just takes off so grab a copy and enjoy the ride.