Review: Reba McEntire, “I Keep On Loving You”

I had such a negative reaction to “Strange” that it kept me away from the new Reba McEntire album at first. So imagine my surprise when the second single from Keep On Lovin’ You, “Consider Me Gone”, turned out to be my favorite single from her in thirteen years.

Everything that “Strange” wasn’t, “Consider Me Gone” was:  introspective, self-assured, fully believable and completely adult.  It left me more receptive to McEntire’s music than I have been in a long time, so I eagerly dived in to the title track, which is now the latest single.

While it doesn’t approach the perfection of “Consider Me Gone”, I must say that it’s still a good deal better than the bulk of this legend’s output. It’s really unfair to compare her to the newer acts that dominate the radio. Among the women, only Carrie Underwood is in her league as a vocalist, and she doesn’t have the extra thirty years of life experience to draw upon that Reba does.

That’s why Carrie Underwood makes great music that expresses the twenty-something experience. We need Reba to do the same for the fifty-somethings. When she makes age-appropriate music, she sounds awesome. “I Keep On Lovin’ You” is in that vein, a solid anniversary song that is clearly about a relationship that has already weathered several storms, and even though more are on the horizon, these two mates will keep sailing together.

It’s held back only by a slightly too-slow pace and fairly bland melody, which would be far more noticeable in the hands of a less proficient singer.  The production is subtle, almost completely stripped down at first. Thankfully, there is a warm steel guitar that keeps this one out of coffeehouse folkie territory.  And when her voice begins to soar toward the end, those good, old-fashioned “Somebody Should Leave” goosebumps come rushing in.

Written by Ronnie Dunn and Terry McBride

Grade: B+

Listen: I Keep On Lovin’ You


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9 Comments

Filed under Single Reviews

9 Responses to Review: Reba McEntire, “I Keep On Loving You”

  1. I think what amazes me most about artists like Reba is how they manage to juggle so many artistic efforts, yet continue to perform and put out great music. It takes an incredible level of talent to pull of acting and songwriting/performing (not to mention many others).

  2. ZackNo Gravatar

    I considered this to be one of the highlights of her new album, granted, it took me a while to really like it, but now, I love this song. I would give it a B+ to A-. Hopes this foreshadows the best to come.

  3. Cutting the TreacleNo Gravatar

    “I Keep On Loving You” has way too many cliches for me. But Reba still sings circles around the younger women. And men.

  4. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Completely agree with the review’s main points. I do think this one has an especially unnecessary electric guitar solo in the break. But nice overall.

  5. KNo Gravatar

    Great vocals and production, but the lyrics ruin the song for me; can they be anymore chliche? It’s dissapointing that a legend like Reba creates such bland, forgettable music to keep up with the young crowd.

  6. TomNo Gravatar

    …if there wasn’t such a thing as the perfect mainstream country radio song yet – well, here it is. unmistakably, reba.

  7. GemNo Gravatar

    Reba is just perfect.She makes music that relates to everyone,not just people in their 50′s, 30′s, 20′s, but to everyone… I’m 18 and have all her albums, seen all her movies, and think that it’s great that she does different things. I love every song in her new album and think that “I Keep On Loving You” is amazing. I love the lyrics, the guitar solo, her voice, everything. That is a love song! Reba probably has alot of pressure to keep her fans happy, from 1 to etc. years old… trust me I know, my whole family loves her.

  8. kellyNo Gravatar

    I was just at the Reba McEntire concert in Baltimore on Friday, 1/22. Check out my pictures:

    http://wpoc.com/cc-common/gallery/display.html?album_id=214471

  9. scottNo Gravatar

    There are some who say the song is to chliche but really the song is relatable. The lyrics are what everyone has gone through in a relationship. I thought Strange was a awesome single and a much needed one. You have Martina Mcbride and Trisha Yearwood who came into country music 16 after Reba and she is still outselling them because she has kept things fresh for her fans.

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