My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Steve Rosen

Album Review: Reba McEntire – ‘Read My Mind’

reba read my mindToward the end of the 1980s, Reba McEntire began moving away from the hard traditional country sound that made her a star and an industry favorite.  As the ’90s dawned, gone were the fiddle-laden numbers on a Reba album and they’d been replaced by slick electric guitar-driven ballads.  Some point to this as the artistic demise of the singer, others like myself, see this as the point where Reba came into her own and began reaching for the stars, taking country music to places it had rarely, if ever, been before. Records like Rumor Has It and It’s Your Call laid the ground-work for this sort of full-on pop-country album, but hadn’t taken the concept to the extreme that Read My Mind does.

With this album, we find an artist at her peak, both creatively and commercially.  These songs might not have the instrumentation that’s expected of a country album, and Reba’s trademark twang is notably missing on several tracks, but we find the songstress tackling topics of falling in love, saying goodbye, awkward encounters, the plight of the single woman, and even the taboo subject of AIDS, among others.  It’s basically a set of universal songs against a backdrop of adult contemporary tracks.

A sort of electronic keyboard opens the album before an easy-listening sax takes over on the clever ‘Everything That You Want’, signaling from the very beginning that this isn’t going to be your typical country album.  Though the production is layered on this track, the different elements come in at various intervals and make for an interesting listen.  The romantic ‘Read My Mind’ follows, which finds the shy narrator wishing the man she admires could just read her thoughts and save her the chore of putting those feelings into words.  With its warm melody, it’s one of the most romantic songs in Reba’s catalog.

Read My Mind was released in April of 1994, just as country music was at its commercial apex.  It bowed at the #2 position on the country albums chart and the Billboard 200.  Over the course of the next 12 months, the album would spawn 5 singles, 4 of which made it to the top 10, with 1 topping the charts.  During the singles’ respective chart runs, the disc managed to sell 4 million copies.

The album’s lead single is the snappy ‘Why Haven’t I Heard From You’, which rose to the #5 position on the country singles chart, partly driven by one of the busiest music videos ever, complete with a team of male and female dancers. The song itself is still a radio staple and concert favorite at Reba’s shows.

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