Reba doesn't make the same mistake twice.
It's been a long five years since Reba released a rare clunker of an album, the oddly confusing "All the Women I Am," where she covered Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy" and somehow failed to crack the country Top 20.
That's not going to happen again. Reba's new album, "Love Somebody" (Nash Icon/Big Machine), is packed with every conceivable country pop style that she can conquer.
The first single, "Going Out Like That" -- written by hitmakers Ben Hayslip, Rhett Akins and Jason Sellers -- is a tough bit of twanging country-pop that countless Nashville singers wish they could have snagged. And Reba, who recently celebrated her 60th birthday, sells every line of it, even when she's talking about "a couple new guys blowing up her phone."
While female country singers not named Miranda or Carrie have had a tough time clawing their way into radio playlists clogged with bros, Reba shouldn't have to worry about that. Not only is her album on a label co-owned by Cumulus Media -- which runs dozens of major U.S. country stations, including NASH/94.7 FM in Manhattan -- but pretty much every song here, aside from the meditative chant "Pray for Peace" that closes the album, could be a single.
"She Got Drunk Last Night" is a classic country weeper about liquid courage and making mistakes. She teams with Jennifer Nettles for "Enough," a wrenching duet of two women in love with the same guy. She rocks out Shania Twain-style on "Livin' Ain't Killed Me Yet" and wails all bluesy and Carrie Underwood-like on "Until They Don't Love You."
But it's the pairing of the sleek new "Promise Me Love" and the lovely "Just Like Them Horses" -- which sounds like classic Reba with its no-nonsense Oklahoma inflections and the pauses to gather her breath -- that shows that country's queen is ready to take her throne back.
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Re-establishing herself as the queen of country.