Review: Martina McBride, “Ride”

Martina McBride previews her forthcoming album with “Ride”, a high-energy single that surrounds one of her typical positive messages with atypically aggressive production.   This is worth hearing for the guitar work alone, but stick around for McBride’s best vocal in a long time.

Rather than alternating between a breathy whisper and a full-out belt, McBride gives the song a straightforward performance that’s rough around the edges in all of the right ways.  She hasn’t sounded this authentic and grounded since her Wild Angels album back in 1995.   By not pushing quite as hard for the big notes, she makes a greater impact using less power.

Best of all, she sounds like she’s really singing again, interpreting a lyric instead of showcasing her vocal chops. If the rest of the new project is up to this standard, we may be in for McBride’s best album in more than a decade.

Grade: A-

Listen: Ride


  1. I heard this on the radio, and I said, “Wow this sounds like Martina, but I don’t know this song. I wonder who it is?” Then the announcer said it was Martina’s new single and I laughed out loud! People calling in didn’t like the song, but I personally love it. A good up-tempo Martina song is rare, Waking Up Laughing didn’t really have any.

  2. This is the most radio-friendly song that Martina has released in years. Good on Martina, since she had indicated she was looking for radio-friendly fare (with substance, she added). I actually do think she is pushing it a bit on the chorus, but she still sounds better than most. I think Dann Huff overdoes the chorus overall…the background vocals are wasted and there is a bit of instrumental muddiness there, too.

    But it’s actually the lyrics that bug me most. The platitudes are unfortunate, but I could look past them as long as there was a central image built and maintained. And for the most part, the roller coaster ride image is maintained. But there are some weird departures, like “and love collides.” What does love collide with, and why is anything colliding on a rollercoaster ride? Also, the line about shining while you have the chance to shine doesn’t match the central image.

    That said, I got quite the giggle out of “hold on tight to what you feel inside,” a line that works amusingly in the context of the whole roller coaster ride bit.

    It’s a solid comeback single from Martina that makes a strong statement about her determination to reclaim her place on country radio. It should appeal to a young female demo, which will likely help its commercial prospects. And it doesn’t feel preachy, unlike “Anyway,” (which I found to be didactic and almost offensively glib in its treatment of theodicy). I would rate this one a B for its hooky charm, and hope for more mature lyrics in other songs from the album.

  3. I really am in the minority here, but I’m not at all impressed. So many of her other songs have been so much more interesting than this.

  4. I think her songs and albums have only gotten better since day one in ’92 and that it’s not her fault that country radio and fans abandoned her when she put the artist part of being an artist to good use.

    Sure she could’ve made her follow-up albums since 1999, EVOLUTION 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on, but making the same album over and over is already done by artists like Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith and ect.

    I’m glad she’s not riding off and calling it a career because that would be a huge loss to country music! Welcome back Martina, but to me you’ve never been gone!!! :)

  5. totally agree with Johnny S. :)

    Martina is one of the best country singers out there right now and i believe that “Ride” is a great song. as long as she is haveing fun singing it that’s all that matters. it doesn’t matter what people think of her. she is doing what god is leading her to do and she is following her heart so you go girl!

  6. I’m disappointed. The vocal is fine, but the song is lyrically uninteresting, so the overall song doesn’t work for me. I’d give it a C.

  7. The song is heavy on the electric guitar but I like it. Martina minimizes the belting, which is a breath of fresh air coming from her and one of the main reasons why I enjoy the song. (I have always disliked her upbeat songs because all she did was belt in them.) And the other reason is because it has a good melody.

  8. The best part of this song is the guitar solo. The rest is unbearable for me to listen to. McBride will never top her Timeless CD or her work with The Chieftains.

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