My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Consider Me Gone’

RebaIt’s difficult to review the new work of an artist who has enjoyed great longevity without making comparisons to the artist’s vast back catalog. After being largely absent from the country music scene for most of the past decade, doing Broadway and making a sitcom, Reba McEntire has finally turned her full attention back to country music. After nearly a quarter century with MCA Records, she inked a deal with the Valory Music Company late last year, which has led to a lot of speculation about the impact this change would have on her music.

The first two single releases from the new project suggest that she has chosen to play it safe, which is slightly disappointing but not totally unexpected. At age 54, she is past the age where female artists are usually put out to pasture by country radio. “Consider Me Gone” is typical of the type of song Reba released in the 90s. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, on the heels of 2007’s commercially successful but artistically disappointing and heavily pop-leaning Reba Duets album. This is by no means a traditional country record, but the fiddle is featured prominently as the song opens, a welcome change that suggests that she’s more interested in winning over (or back, as the case may be) country fans instead of pandering to the adult contemporary market.

The song’s message is another variation on the “If you’re not in it for love, I’m outta here” theme, and that’s where comparisons to the back catalog come into play. We’ve heard this message before from Reba with songs like “How Was I To Know”, “Lonely Alone” and “It’s Your Call”, all of which are better songs than this one. That’s not to say that “Consider Me Gone” is a bad song; it should fit in nicely with country radio’s current demands, and Reba’s vocal performance, as always, is stellar. The problem is that it doesn’t add anything new to this oft-visited theme and it doesn’t hold its own against the tremendous McEntire catalog. Reba’s claim to fame earlier in her career was that she helped to revive traditional country in the 80s at a time when the genre had become too pop-oriented and stagnant. And then in the 90s when everyone else was going back to traditional country, she bucked the trend again by switching to  softer, more pop-sounding material. Now in 2009 when the genre has once again become too pop-oriented and stagnant, it’s a shame that Reba has chosen to go with the flow, instead of making a bolder statement with a song that might have helped pull country music out of the doldrums.


Grade: B-

Songwriters: Steve Diamond, Marv Green

Here’s an unofficial fan-made video incorporating footage from past videos:

19 responses to “Single Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Consider Me Gone’

  1. J.R. Journey August 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    If she could succeed at radio with traditional-sounding music, Reba is definitely in a position where she could take country music in a new direction. But Lee Ann Womack is having trouble getting airplay, and she’s the only female really trying to go in that direction. Reba is not the ‘automatic add’ for radio that she was 10 years ago, so she does need to win back some fans first.

    This is a great song IMO – sounds like vintage 90s Reba to me.

    • Razor X August 4, 2009 at 12:21 pm

      You’re right — she has to struggle to get airplay like nearly everyone else. But she’s in a good position because she really doesn’t need it. She’s got a loyal fanbase that will buy her albums even if they don’t hear new music from her on the radio. She might not sell as many albums without support from radio (although the Duets album did pretty well and didn’t get much airplay aside from the lead single), but she should be able to sell enough to make a profit for herself and her label.

      Dolly proved that she can sell albums without help from radio; Backwoods Barbie outsold Lee Ann Womack’s album, for example. There’s no reason that Reba can’t do the same. She just doesn’t want to. She seems to very much want to still be part of the mainstream, compete with the younger crowd and have #1 hits and platinum album sales. I think at this stage of her career, her priority should be to work on her legacy, which is in serious peril. She needs to try and get back some of the critical acclaim that she had in the 80s.

  2. highwayman3 August 4, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    This song in particular is alright for me, what bothered me the most is the disappointment in most of the other songs from the new album after previewing them on her site. ‘I Can’t Get Over You’ sounds like it was found on the cutting room floor after a Rascal Flatts recording session, while others left over from a Kelly Clarkson session. To me, it didnt sound like a natural evolution, it sounded like a frantic attempt to sound young and current. Then with those type of songs mixed with the last track, with a Texas swing sound, in a way is like Bob Wills adding ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ to one of his records.
    For me, She’s lost a bit of respect with this, I guess it’s like Nirvana making a pop ‘boy band’ record to stay current. However her legacy will always hold up. An artist is always remembered for the best music they put out, nobody’s thinking about Elvis’s or Michael Jackson’s weak years after their gone.

    • Razor X August 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm

      I think that depends on what one considers to be her best music. In the 80s Reba built her reputation as one of the driving forces behind the New Traditionalist movement. That has, by and large, been squandered by her slow but steady drift towards pop. I’m not saying that I don’t like any of the music that she’s done since then; on the contrary, I happen to like a lot of it. But it has been a long, long time since she’s enjoyed the kind of critical acclaim she had in the 80s. She needs to put out an evergreen record at this stage of her career and not worry so much about radio.

  3. Caroline August 4, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I really don’t like most country music. I’ve never really been a fan. I’m a Reba fan. I have been for about a year. I don’t know her entire catalog of music, but I’ve gotten a good start (around 230 songs). For my tastes – I don’t like her 80s music more or less than her 90s music or the music she has done in the past decade. It’s different, as I would expect music from different time periods to be. My likes and dislikes tend to be toward individual songs as opposed to entire albums. The playlist on my iPod that I have on shuffle constantly has about 119 Reba songs ranging from her Mercury days thru to Strange. I guess I’m just not a person that listens to a song and says, “It’s about heartache, but it isn’t as good as And Still.” I love it, I like it, I don’t like it, or I hate it. I either listen to it and keep it on my playlist or I don’t. And right now I am loving the previews for Keep On Loving You. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve heard so far (Invitation Only and QVC). While I’d love for Reba to be competitive on the charts, I’m not very concerned with that. People (critics, radio, audience) will like what they like and not like what they don’t like. So will the Reba fans. I’m excited to hear the whole album so that everyone can really make up their own minds.

  4. JD August 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Seriously, people? This is the type of music that Reba was recording back in the 80’s. Reba’s career is not in peril and it never will be. She has done more for country music than today’s artists will ever dream about. I’ve been a Reba fan since the mid-80’s and though her music has somewhat changed over the years, I know it’s because an artist the caliber of Reba has to change with the times. Country music is not what it used to be, but Reba is. Her “Room to Breathe” album and upcoming release, “Keep On Loving You,” have both suggested that Reba has once again found that spark that made her the best in the business. If you don’t like her new music, then don’t listen to it, but don’t say that she isn’t the Reba of old. Her last 13 studio albums have all sold a million records or more …EACH, and I would bet that today’s artists would give anything to achieve such a feat! Again, country music hasn’t changed Reba, but rather Reba has changed it…for the better!

  5. Joe August 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Look at you, Razor X, throwing down the gauntlet!

    As a fan of Reba’s since the mid/late 80s, I absolutely agree with everything you’ve written here. Most poignantly these words: “I think at this stage of her career, her priority should be to work on her legacy, which is in serious peril.” So, so true.

    Yes, when Elvis and Michael Jackson passed we all looked toward their greatest recordings but their legacies each require acknowledgment of a very sharp creative “denouement” — to put it delicately.

    The music/radio/album-sales industry is unconcerned with an artist’s oeuvre, except when it can be exploited, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When an artist of Reba’s creative diversity (from the western swing of the Have I Got a Deal For You album to cover songs of the Supremes and Patti LaBelle) so visibly scratches and claws to ring the bell at this late stage, it makes me wonder about my commitment as a fan.

    I’m genuinely hoping for the day when Reba truly lets loose with her vocal on an album the same way she did on “If You See Him.” While perhaps not the best collection of songs, I dare you to listen to the entire album and not consider that she’s singing as freely and openly as ever. Whether it was radio, or a record label, or what, there has always been a marked difference between the restrained vocal recording and the unyielding live vocal performance. I’d love to hear that unrestrained soaring swooping diving twirling acrobatic voice on a studio album.

    … NOT on just another single designed to be a big radio hit that, at this point in her career, will be lucky if it even makes the Top 10.

    • DErd January 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      So Joe, How do you feel now about “Consider Me Gone” being the number one for 3 straight weeks? ‘Lucky if it even makes the Top 10’ huh?

  6. Razor X August 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    The production on If You See Him is a bit slick, but it’s a pretty decent album. Things have gone downhill considerably since then. So Good Together had some good moments, notably the Melba Montgomery-penned “Roses”, but wasn’t a great album. Room To Breathe was better but still uneven and had its share of filler. And Reba Duets was a hot mess.

    As for my comment about her legacy being in peril, she had four great years in the 80s (1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987) where she was on a roll artistically. But since she’s spent the better part of the last 20 years doing crossover music, I’m afraid that’s what she’s going to be remembered for, rather than the stellar work she did in the 80s. That could change if she starts doing roots-oriented music again, but I don’t think that wil happen until radio shuts her out altogether. That day may not be as far off as we thought; I’m amazed that “Strange” failed to crack the Top 10.

    • Joe August 11, 2009 at 12:15 am

      EXACTLY.

      The songs on those albums from the 80s play well back-to-back. You get the impression there was an intention to create a cohesive collection of songs intended to be played together. Reba’s most recent albums (“So Good Together” and “Reba Duets” in particular) seem more a collection of songs culled together for the sake of creating a saleable … widget. And, unfortunately, Reba seems to find that admirable. In promoting this new album she’s been proud to submit that there are so many different musical styles represented. That’s not a good thing.

      And yes, even during the Garth era, what with the glitz and glam, the flash and pop of her (admittedly impressive) high-tech shows, the label consistently offered it by more than a handful of publications — those who’ll someday define an artist’s legacy — was “Vegas-style” … and I still don’t find that a compliment.

  7. Meg August 7, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Guess I’ve got to disagree with you on this one Razor. I don’t think Reba’s legacy is in peril or that this song doesn’t hold its own.

    Frustrates me that the golden standard of country music has to fit such a narrow list of specs. I think her legacy is going to be the musical stories she’s told, the people she’s inspired, the hearts she’s helped heal and the sheer enjoyment she’s given as a vocalist and entertainer across genres in addition to the amazing vocals and the diverse catalogue of great songs. It would be a shame if Reba didn’t continue to explore and delve into different styles and yet, amazingly, bring that country heart and sensibility into everything she tries.

    The landscape of rural America is dramatically different than it was 30+ years ago. Technology and media mean that small town and country life has been influenced in many, many ways. What speaks to people in the country is different across generations — perhaps more than it’s ever been. I think that’s reflected in country music as a whole. But one of the threads of continuity across generations of country music is “story.” And Reba is the consumate story teller. Even if she’s not singing a story song, the character whose song she is singing comes alive.

    Reba literally plays the characters in her songs and this one’s no exception — strong, don’t-take-me-for-granted, I’m-not-going-to-settle — and her vocals drive it home on this one. (Musically, a highlight is her high note on one of the later phrases! Gets me every time!)

    As she’s said in recent interviews, she was attracted to different strong-woman songs this time, and younger arrangements (in part thanks to Kelly). So she gives them a try, and nails them to the wall!

    I don’t think Reba picks music solely on the basis of what will sell or what will get played at radio. I don’t doubt that figures in, but I do think the songs she picks are songs that speak to her emotionally and that she feels will speak to others. It’s a formula that’s worked for her for years.

    Personally, I’d love it if Reba did a “roots” album, but I think I’ll probably like, if not love, whatever she does as long as it’s something she’s excited about and is invested in.

    Duets, for example, was great (definitely not a hot mess) because of how she played off each partner, not to mention the gems of songs on it (how could anyone think that the Don Henle duet, “Break Each Others Hearts Again” or the Ronnie Dunn duet “Does the Wind Still Blow in Oklahoma” contributed to a hot mess??). Talk about songs with stories and characters facing adversity…Because of You, Sleeping With the Telephone, When You Love Someone Like That, Every Other Weekend, etc.

    Anyway, you got me all fired up Razor! 🙂 Obviously a thought-provoking review that sparked my opinions! Thanks!

    • Razor X August 7, 2009 at 9:50 pm

      It would be a shame if Reba didn’t continue to explore and delve into different styles and yet, amazingly, bring that country heart and sensibility into everything she tries.

      No one is saying that she shouldn’t delve into different styles. But what we’ve seen for nearly 20 years now is an almost constant movement further and further into pop and further away from her roots. Is it really asking too much that she do a real country album just now and then?

      I don’t think Reba picks music solely on the basis of what will sell or what will get played at radio. I don’t doubt that figures in, but I do think the songs she picks are songs that speak to her emotionally and that she feels will speak to others. It’s a formula that’s worked for her for years.

      I have a really hard time believing that the same woman who insisted on being allowed to do “her kind of country” at a time when it was not at all fashionable or considered to be commercially viable, has now done a 180-degree turn and loves acts like Rascal Flatts, who she’s been plugging in recent interviews and on Twitter. We gave Sara Evans a pretty rough time lately when we discussed her latest single which most of us felt was sub-par. It’s only fair to hold others, including Reba, to the same standard.

      I should also add, that back in the 80s, Reba was very, very critical of other artists who were recording crossover music. She even went as far as to say that she was the only female recording country music at that time. I found that quote in Billboard years ago — I think it was in a January 1990 issue that did a retrospective on the 80s. The quote is from 1984 or thereabouts. I don’t have the magazine anymore and I have searched online many times for that quote but haven’t been able to find it.

      Duets, for example, was great (definitely not a hot mess) because of how she played off each partner, not to mention the gems of songs on it (how could anyone think that the Don Henle duet, “Break Each Others Hearts Again” or the Ronnie Dunn duet “Does the Wind Still Blow in Oklahoma” contributed to a hot mess??).

      I’ve said in the past that the Ronnie Dunn duet was the one great track on that album. There were a couple of others that weren’t bad, but overall this is the most uninspired collection of songs that she’s ever released. It was way beneath her capabilities and not at all what I expect from her. Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. You aren’t alone in your opinion because the album did very well commercially.

      As for “Consider Me Gone” — it’s not a bad song. I’d have given it a much lower rating if I thought it was. But the whole thing just has a whole “been there, done that” feel to it.

      • Erik August 8, 2009 at 7:27 am

        The worst moment on Duets is the Trisha Yearwood duet. That two musical godesses can come together and make such a snoozefest is beyond my understanding.

    • Michelle Aussie country girl February 14, 2017 at 3:38 am

      I agree with you there Meg I love how diverse Reba’s music is.

  8. highwayman3 August 8, 2009 at 12:18 am

    The beef I got with her these days is how hard she is trying to stay young, and its distracting for me and weird, the clothes she’s wearing, the work she had done on her face, the younge, pop style music, the endorsements and association with Kelly Clarkson, and Rascal Flatts. When she’s been respected all these years as the queen of country and class, is now subjecting herself to the young Disney esque trends of radio, To borrow and remix a line from a Patty Loveless song, ‘I won’t commit this day to memory, this ain’t the Reba that I know’ Instead of releasing an album that channels the Flatts and Clarkson, why not release an album that showcases the best of what country music can be, an album that shows experience from a 20 year plus veteran, rather then an arguable wearker album then the latest Swift, and Underwood outing. Nobody’s complaining about respected artists like Yearwood, or Loveless. Reba’s name should be beside them in respect to their latest offerings but its not.

  9. Joel November 21, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Overall, nice song. The female model in this video is a typical MISS Pageant contestant with nothing more to offer than her looks and talent. She was flogged by one of the pompous judges using the pageant for a power trip and perhaps a spice to his marriage. Her “boy toy” boyfriend is simply filling a void for her. She’s easy on the eyes but he would rather be playing baseball. The video uses the color “red” on her lips as well as the steering wheel to convey a sense of power. Reference MISS SARAJEVO by “The Passengers.”

  10. Pingback: Year In Review: J.R. Journey’s Top 10 Singles « My Kind Of Country

  11. Joe January 4, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Reading this can be compared to listening to the teacher on Charlie Brown… “mwaw mwaw mwaw.” I hear you talking but you’re repeating the same criticisms I’ve been hearing about Reba for the last 20 years. She has always had her critics. The albums some of you sanctify now received mixed reviews when they were released…except for a couple from the early to mid 80’s. I remember reading the reviews…especially from the 90’s. I think the biggest problem for most of you is that she cuts against the grain of what you wish her to do or sing. That’s ok. Everybody gripes but Reba continues to have success. If Reba had kept putting out record after record of the same stuff from the 1980’s, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Reba’s career would have peaked then and she would have faded into the woodwork 15 or 20 years ago. The fact that she changes with the times and lets her music evolve is what has kept her on top. Also, her focus on non-music endeavors was a very shrewd move…I believe it greatly expanded her fan base. She is selling much more than just about any other female artist her age…certainly more than any other female country artist in her age bracket. She has plenty of time to go for the master artistry and I would imagine that has been accounted for in her new contract with Valory. They have a vested interest in Reba getting awards as it continues to burnish her image overall. However, it doesn’t have to come with every single album. Commercial success with most of the albums on the contract should allow Reba room to really work it musically without having big expectations of mainstream commercial success for an album or two. I think Reba wanted to come back in a big way and she has certainly done that. I say give the next album or 2 a chance and she just might surprise you. I heard that Cher had a quid pro quo agreement with her record label in the 90’s. They wanted a hit & she wanted a broad platform to launch music that she just wanted to record. The record label got a huge hit, Believe, and Cher got subsequent albums which were less successful as I’m sure they expected.

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