My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Going Out Like That’

reba-going-out-like-that-coverWhen the announcement was made that Reba McEntire had signed with Scott Borchetta’s Nash Icon label, I ran across an article where she said she thought she’d already made her final album (2010’s The Woman I Am). Brochetta, who’s Valory Music Co. label released that project, had apparently been courting McEntire for years, trying to convince her to return to the studio. The results of that begging should be out this spring.

My hopes are high for the project. Ever since she made her comeback in 2009 I’ve longed for McEntire to revisit the magic of What If  It’s You, her 1996 return to form after years of dabbling in a brand of theatrical country that turned her into a cartoon character. Save a song here and there, that obviously hasn’t happened. If this first taste of the new music is any indication, the long wait continues.

“Going Out Like That” is nothing more than a product aimed at gaining maximum airplay, a business decision where quality is the last thing on everyone’s minds. McEntire and Borchetta have forgone the grand artistic statement in favor of positioning the 60 year old for history making success by playing the mainstream game.

That being said, “Going Out Like That” isn’t without its charms. McEntire has never been one to show her age and with her trademark voice still in top form, that isn’t happening now. And while the indistinctive arrangement, produced by Tony Brown, relies too heavily on layers of electric guitars and sounds as though it was created by a computer, it does have a brightness to it that I kind of enjoy. It also doesn’t hurt that the song feels far more structured than “Turn on the Radio.”

In addition, it’s far from the worst country radio has to offer. Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip, and Jason Sellers have crafted a lyric that steers clear of positioning McEntire as a ‘female bro’ obsessed with trucks, dirt roads, and drinking. And I still have hope for the album, which will probably have some good songs, as her weakest recordings usually do.

That doesn’t excuse the fact McEntire and Borchetta are banking on emotion manipulation by taking advantage of the fans hoping for the return of substance on their radio. Even worse, the track continues McEntire’s trend of tarnishing her groundbreaking legacy by her refusal to act her age at a time when she should be showing the younger generations how it’s done.

“Going Out Like That” also doesn’t bode well for the Nash Icon brand, which has Martina McBride and Ronnie Dunn on board as well, because it positions the label as a shameless mainstream entity and not the platform for genuine artistic expression everyone hoped it would be.

No matter how you look it, McEntire’s long awaited comeback single is a colossal waste of everyone’s time and energy. I’m so done giving artists a pass when they’ve released a product in place of a song. We’ve been taken advantage of for far too long by an industry’s mainstream sector being more concerned with numbers and profits than artistic integrity. There is a way to meet both objectives simultaneously, but “Going Out Like That” obviously isn’t it.

Grade: C-

11 responses to “Single Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Going Out Like That’

  1. Stan Zorin January 14, 2015 at 11:35 am

    What do you mean by “theatrical country” ? Pretentious ? Dishonest ? Fake ?

    • Jonathan Pappalardo January 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      No. I was referring to “Take It Back,” “Why Haven’t I Heard From You,” and much of the Starting Over album specifically (look at the music videos, too. She’s shimmying around a court room and living it up in a beauty parlor. Both are highly choreographed and wouldn’t be out of place in a Broadway musical – she’s also an actress, so this isn’t entirely out of character for her.)

      None of this material is dishonest or fake, just over the top and theatrical. The two singles and Starting Over album are entertaining as hell, so I’ll give her pass on any pretentiousness she may have displayed with them.

      Luckily it wasn’t the driving theme of Reba’s 90s output. She had an outstanding run with the other singles from Read My Mind and abandoned the trend completely in 1996.

    • Stan Zorin January 26, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Theatrical in this context means – silly musical acts, unrelated to lives of the common people.

  2. Stan Zorin January 14, 2015 at 11:51 am

    For a moment I was upset when I read : “It also doesn’t hurt that the song feels far more structured than “Turn on the Radio.”” I thought you are taking a potshot at Kellie Pickler’s “Turn on the Radio [and Dance]” These songs really cannot be compared. Reba’s song is markedly inferior.

  3. travis January 14, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    This song took a few listenings to grow on me. I had hoped for a more artistic approach myself. However, I cannot fault Reba on giving mainstream radio one more shot. A solo hit at her age, no matter how bad the song is, is still one for the history books. Quite frankly, if it becomes a hit this will be something that will go down in Country history as female artist have traditionally been pushed aside in their lower 40’s. A 60 YEAR old female with a hit on radio, why that has been unfathomable. I for one support Reba, and wish her many more years or hit making success.

    • Jonathan Pappalardo January 14, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      I’m with you all the way, Travis. I just wish Reba and Nash Icon could’ve achieved this history making objective with a track that wasn’t so blatantly structured for mainstream appeal. That world doesn’t exist anymore and likely never will again.

      • travis January 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm

        I’m hopeful that Reba’s album will have a lot more to look forward to. I look at this single as a necessity to get back in radios grace. I think, or shall I say pray, that the rest will be top notch 90s Reba and radio will embrace the less mainstream once this new song puts her back on the map.

  4. Razor X January 17, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    I could not agree with this review more. While far from the worst thing on country radio, it is far beneath Reba’s talent. I would call it a disappointment but that would suggest that I had been hoping for sometihing better and I’ve long since given up hoping that she will record anything worthwhile. She is my all-time favorite female singer, so it hurts to say that, but it’s the truth.

  5. Michelle (Aussie Girl) January 26, 2016 at 1:23 am

    I disagree this is one of my favourite tracks off the album sure it’s more pop than country but I think it’s a great song and it’s great to have Reba back on Country radio again. The video clip has just been nominated for a CMC (Australia’s Country Music Channel) video of the year and I will be voting for her for sure.

  6. Stan Zorin January 26, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Good review. Truly this song is a piece of Nashville dross.

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