Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn, “If You See Him/If You See Her”

“If You See Him/If You See Her”

Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn

Written by Tommy Lee James, Jennifer Kimball, and Terry McBride

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

June 27 – July 4, 1998

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

June 19 – June 26, 1998

Two of the best singers of the genre come together.

The Road to No. 1

At the time, the 1997-1998 co-headlining tour of Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn was the top-grossing country tour of all-time.   The superstars would perform together throughout the show, and closed with a powerful cover of the Cindy Walker standard, “You Don’t Know Me.”  Rather than release a studio version of it, they found a new song to record instead.

The No. 1

There was an unprecedented marketing push behind “If You See Him/If You See Her.”  They released new albums on the same day with a bonus CD if you bought both of them.  MCA and Arista teamed up to work the song at radio together.  A theatrical music video found a way to cleverly include Kix Brooks as the guy who both Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn are confiding in.

From a marketing perspective, they got everything right, and the effort was warranted on paper.  After all, Ronnie Dunn and Reba McEntire are two of best singers to ever record country music, and both of them were at their peaks as vocalists.

There was only one problem, and it was a fatal one: the song is a dull and monotonous bore.

It’s too slow, it lacks a hook, and it seems to only exist so Reba and Ronnie can do some vocal acrobatics.  The only thing noteworthy about any of it is that Reba stretches “him” to six syllables at one point.

A complete waste of time and talent.

The Road From No. 1

McEntire’s next single from If You See Him, and Brooks & Dunn’s next two singles from If You See Her are all No. 1 hits, and will be the final nineties No. 1 singles from both acts.

“If You See Him/If You See Her” gets a D.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Kenny Chesney, “That’s Why I’m Here”

11 Comments

  1. As for the song, I like the melding of their voices but it’s like… nothing happens in the song?

    I think the album by Reba was the first I bought of hers, either that or a compilation. I still play the CD and love Forever Love, After All This Time, Wrong Night, Heart Hush (possibly my favourite of her deep cuts, certainly top five) and her duet with Linda Davis Face To Face – it almost works as a sequel to Does He Love You.

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  2. I am thrilled to re-visit the number one hits from the eighties. That’s when I first feel in love with country radio as a seven year old kid. The 80’s get treated unfairly and harshly by many country music historians. I think we will smile when we are reminded of, or meet again for the first time, the many incredible artists and songs from that decade.

    As for this song, I have always loved the weariness of the song. What others hear as monotonous and directionless, I hear as desperate exhaustion, quiet obsession. I love the conceit of using the conditional tense to speculate about what could happen, and what both narrators wish would happen. Of course, they know the partners in this conversation will absolutely see the other person. The catch is everyone but the two principals here, have moved on. The songs sounds like it doesn’t go anywhere because Reba and Ronnie are still hopelessly stuck on one another. It all works wonderfully well to my ears.

  3. Kevin. I’m really looking forward to the “Every Number One In The Eighties.” Knowing how the charts were, then, it is a HUGE undertaking!! Thank you.

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