Reba McEntire sat out the first half of the current decade, spending time concentrating on a new television show, the sitcom Malibu Country, which lasted the 2012-2013 season, before signing with Nash Icon, an offshoot of Big Machine, for her new album Love Somebody. Stakes were relatively high for Reba. She still was one of the biggest stars in country music but a five-year hiatus is a long time for anybody, particularly in a format that no longer favors either longevity or females.
Given this environment, it’s not a surprise that she chose to play it safe, doubling down on the carefully crafted Music City pop that was her stock in trade, but changing her style just enough to signal she was not out of touch. Tellingly, those slight changes are the tunes that resonate here; the Brandy Clark/Shane McAnally tune “She Got Drunk Last Night,” “Love Somebody” co-written by McAnally, Sam Hunt, and Josh Osborne, even the Jennifer Nettles duet “Enough.”
Elsewhere, Reba McEntire serves up the expected in typically solid style: with flair but no flash, serving the song while steering all attention to her. If Love Somebody isn’t a complete knockout, it is, nevertheless, welcome: Reba does what she does so well, it’s a pleasure to have her back.