Album Review: What Am I Gonna Do About You (Reba McEntire)

What Am I Gonna Do About You, by Reba McEntire

Having generally enjoyed the first album chosen for the rankdown for Reba McEntire, the second selection chosen for the rankdown skips ahead in time from 1981 to 1986, and the album that served as a follow-up to a successful album that contained two #1 country singles. Three singles were released from What Am I Gonna Do About You, two of which hit #1 on the country charts (the title track and third single “One Promise Too Late”) while the other one peaked out at #4 (“Let The Music Lift You Up”) which was enough success to keep Reba’s momentum as a major country star going despite releasing a new album every year, which seems to be a punishing pace. Does this music resonate as much with me as the previous album did? Let’s see.

The album begins with “Why Not Tonight,” which shows Reba taking the lead in communicating her interest to a beau who seems a bit reluctant, without being too pushy about it. “What Am I Gonna Do About You” is a somewhat melancholy ballad about the slow recovery from a breakup where one is trying to face up to lingering feelings for an ex. “Lookin’ For A New Love Story” has beautiful strings and a desire to find the sort of fairy tale romance that one has been looking for for a long time. “Take Me Back” is an upbeat song about looking for a second chance to find some love and excitement with someone. “My Mind Is On You” is a midtempo song about a dilemma of a woman who is being pursued by a lot of people, while she wonders how she is going to communicate her own interest in her ex. “Let The Music Lift You Up” is a lively song about the way that music can lift people up despite the distances between them. “I Heard Her Cryin'” is a touching song about how a child’s crying prompts a squabbling couple to recognize the harmful effects of their arguments on their beloved daughter. “No Such Thing” offers lovely instrumentation and a message of lasting love and devotion from the narrator to her man. “One Promise Too Late” tells a story of a woman determined to be faithful to her vows even if she finds another man very attractive, wondering why he wasn’t faster on the ball when she was available. The album closes with “Till It Snows In Mexico,” which again points to the total faithfulness of the narrator for her beloved, using some creative imagery.

By and large, this album follows the previous album I listened to from Reba McEntire whose range tends to focus on love and relationships. Even so, there is definitely some added breadth here as the singer tends to look beyond the two people in the couple themselves to the larger context of their relationships–including the way that dysfunctional relationships affect children, how it is that just because someone is attached does not mean that other people around are not trying to inveigle their way into a woman’s heart, and how it is that communication through music can bridge long distances, a notable thought in the mid-1980’s before the rise of technologies to bridge the distance that we take for granted today. The end result is an album that is pleasing to listen to in terms of its production and also somewhat sobering for its reflection on the larger implications of relationships and choices and commitment.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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