Single Review: Martina McBride featuring Pat Monahan, “Marry Me”

Honestly, I was never a huge fan of this particular Train hit.  The lyric has a few interesting lines, but I couldn’t help but find it a bit schmaltzy and heavy-handed.  Plus it’s like he just met this girl in a cafe, and he’s already getting ready to propose marriage?  I would probably have liked the song better without “If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe.”

So it figures that Martina McBride reworks it into a duet with Train frontman Pat Monahan (after having joined Train for an episode of CMT Crossroads), and I can’t get over how cool they make it sound.

Martina sings the first verse and the first chorus.  Pat sings the second verse and second chorus.  They split the bridge down the middle, and then finally we hear both voices blended together in harmony on the final chorus.  And you know what?  The two of them actually sounds pretty great together.  It may seem like a simple reworking, but it totally changes the way I hear the song.  We get to hear two different perspectives, and then in the harmonized final chorus, it’s as if we’re finally hearing two people come forward with their feelings for one another, after having previously kept such feelings to themselves.  Nothing about this collaboration feels gratuitous – It really does feel like a reinterpretation that adds a new layer to the song.

It’s also worth noting that the acoustic country-meets-coffeehouse-pop arrangement will provide some pleasant respite from the typical country radio bombast.  Overall, this is a strong single choice for McBride, coming on the heels of her first Top 10 hit in half a decade “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”  It’s one of the many interesting moments on an album that found McBride musically reinvigorated, and that ranked as her best effort in years.

Of course, it’s still the same lyric that I had previously raised an eyebrow over, but sometimes the ideal vocal treatment transcends a song’s lyric.  At the end of the day, it’s the committed, deeply felt vocal performances, not to mention the soft-burning chemistry between the two vocalists, that makes “Marry Me” a memorable record.  Better still, the McBride reworking of “Marry Me” displays a level of unexpected creativity that more mainstream country hits need.

Written by Pat Monahan

Grade:  B+

Listen:  Marry Me

Be Sociable, Share!

9 Comments

Filed under Single Reviews

9 Responses to Single Review: Martina McBride featuring Pat Monahan, “Marry Me”

  1. KentNo Gravatar

    I agree. Martina brings some life into this song that wasn’t there in the original.

  2. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    You’re right – making this into a duet shifts the focus of the song considerably. I don’t know that I’d call this a classic, but it certainly is quite good

  3. I wouldn’t call it a classic either, but I do enjoy it a great deal.

  4. bobNo Gravatar

    I never heard of Train before so today was the first time I listened to the Monohan Marry Me solo version. So far, I would agree that the duet is better. I still prefer Martina’s duets with Raul Malo (Feels Like Home) and Jimmy Buffett (Trip Around the Sun) but this new one may grow on me.

  5. TrishNo Gravatar

    This song is so freaking boring!

    What ever happened to Martina McBride? No wonder she hasn’t had a number 1 song in over a decade.

    I used to love Martina but she is no comparison any more to younger artists like Taylor, Carrie, and Miranda.

  6. Jake JNo Gravatar

    It’s a step in the right direction.

  7. In my opinion this single is great.

  8. Erik the PinkNo Gravatar

    She’s going to sing this at the ACM’s while someone actually gets married? I expect that from Wynonna but not Martina. I would, however, be interested to see her sing something (“Strawberry Wine”) as the couple does the deed.

  9. Noah EatonNo Gravatar

    This was neither love nor loathing at first listen to me.

    I enjoyed Train’s original record, and I agree Martina McBride adds more to this in a way it actually resembles a divide being bridged……….a call being responded to………as opposed to an euphoric kind of longing in Monahan’s original soliloquy.

    It appears, if earlier articles are any indication, that Train have two country songs on their forthcoming album “California 37″. including one they consider “a potential career song” titled “Bruises”. I always thought Train could easily make a run for country radio if they wanted to, and it really seems they are intending to attempt just that this go-around (they did release a “country version” of “Hey, Soul Sister” about a year and a half ago, but who kept count?)