Like Waking Up Laughing before it, Shine promises a far more upbeat album than Martina McBride intends to deliver. It’s almost disappointing, as McBride can be a burst of positivity when she sets her mind to it, with deliciously upbeat treats like “Safe in the Arms of Love” and “Happy Girl” to her credit.
There are a few songs in that vein this time around. “Ride”, the infectious first single, open with a “Yeah!” that would make Shania Twain proud, and McBride belts the song with eager intensity. Equally charming is “Sunny Side Up”, which was co-written by McBride herself. It’s the closest thing to “Walking on Sunshine” that we’re ever likely to hear in country music.
The best of the upbeat material comes late in the album. “You’re Not Leaving Me” is McBride’s most convincing rocker to date, all fiery conviction and stubborn will. You can almost hear her furrowing her brow and putting her foot down, stopping her weak-kneed partner in his tracks.
But a few of the other uptempo attempts falter because they don’t strike the right tone. The jangly “Don’t Cost a Dime” is almost Beatlesque, but the banality of the lyrics make it an unconvincing attempt at boosting the morale of those dealing with hard times.
The lyrics are stronger on album opener “Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong”, but the song never gets off the ground. With a faster tempo and a more energetic production, it would have been far more effective.