“Stronger Than the Truth”
Written by Hannah Louise Blaylock and Autumn McEntire
“Having me another won’t make the clock rewind. But I’m drinking every drop, knowing what I’m looking for I’ll never find.”
Reba McEntire is following up her Grammy-winning gospel collection with some of the purest country that she’s ever done, and if “Stronger Than the Truth” is any indication of what the album has in store, she’s gunning for the sound and substance of the new traditionalist albums that made her a superstar in the nineteen eighties.
What’s different this time around is her age. Singing a line like the one above while drinking away your pain has a deeper resonance. Yes, she’s been left before on record. Many of her finest recordings ever document the pain of a long-term relationship dissolving. But when she sings about a marriage dying now, it has a potency that even Reba herself couldn’t deliver thirty years ago.
That’s because the wife being left in “Stronger Than the Truth” isn’t being betrayed by the love of the last decade, but the love of a lifetime. The violation of that trust being broken, and the helplessness that accompanies it, are only heightened by McEntire’s bare and vulnerable vocal: “The only thing I can do is pour a glass and pretend that this pain is gonna end.”
Reba’s powerhouse vocals gave her classic breakup hits an underlying layer of confidence and resilience. There’s none of that here. Just unyielding heartache in the wake of the ultimate betrayal.
It’s as sad and lonely a record as I’ve ever heard.