Written by Deanna Bryan, Liz Hengber, and Sunny Russ
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
October 30, 1998
Reba’s final No. 1 single of the nineties.
The Road to No. 1
Reba McEntire’s final two No. 1 singles of the decade came from her studio album If You See Him. This second release followed the landmark multi-label collaboration with Brooks & Dunn that provided the album’s title.
The No. 1
Reba McEntire had successfully diversified her portfolio by this point of the nineties through supporting roles in theatrical films and leading roles in made-for-television movies. “Forever Love” served as the title theme for one of those television films, with a plotline involving a woman waking up from a coma to discover her one true love has moved on.
I think that the song works independently of the film, even if it’s not one of her stronger ballads overall. Reba simply isn’t a pop singer, and when she goes down that road, she ends up holding back vocally because her country twang is front and center when she belts.
Toward the end of “Forever Love,” you can hear that signature sound of hers trying to break through. As with “Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands” from the Starting Over era, this song is so much better in its live iterations where that sound does break through. She got a standing ovation at the 1998 CMA Awards performing this song. Seek out that version if you can.
The recorded version is fine, but is ultimately beneath Reba’s considerable capabilities.
The Road From No. 1
If You See Him is still the most recent Reba album to produce four top ten singles at country radio, a feat also accomplished by Rumor Has It and Read My Mind. “Wrong Night” and “One Honest Heart” both went top ten. The lead single from her final studio set of the nineties, So Good Together, was “What Do You Say.” It went top five and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video.
We will see a lot more of Reba McEntire when we cover the 80’s, the 00’s, and even the ’10s.
“Forever Love” gets a B-.
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