Reba McEntire – “I Keep On Loving You”

Blake Boldt | January 11th, 2010

reba-keep-on-loving-youSongwriters: Ronnie Dunn and Terry McBride.

The girl can’t help it. Reba McEntire, like a moth to a fickle flame, is drawn to the warm, welcoming glow of fame. While her fellow 50-something ladies—Patty Loveless and Rosanne Cash, for starters—were practicing their craft without a need for Nashville sheen, Reba recorded Keep on Loving You, an album custom-made for mass consumption. The title track, a bracing ballad from one of the genre’s best voices, hones in on her flock of heartland faithful.

Though she’s amassed a multimedia empire through shrewd risk-taking, Reba has rarely gambled during her recording career. Since 1991’s brilliant For My Broken Heart, she’s shied away from making personal statements, instead choosing to inspire through universal themes. That choice has its costs and consequences, artistically at least, but it’s this everywoman attitude that endears her to a wide audience. She shares in their troubles and triumphs with moving messages worthy of the latest Lifetime movie. Reba McEntire: country music’s populist queen.

“I Keep on Loving You,” is a ma’am-in-command anthem, a song that proves how screwed-up romance really is. It cements Reba’s standing as country radio’s most soothing influence, handing out hard-won lessons wrapped in pretty melodies.

“Loving” becomes something special on the strength of her performance. A modern-day “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” sans the details, it’s a mere sketch of marital trouble. According to Reba, love is a series of “Baby, don’t leave me’s,” “I take it back’s” and “I promise to’s” that string together to build a happy home. With her mama’s words in mind and her Bible at the ready, she pledges allegiance to her man. “Love takes the patience of Job,” she admits, taking tips from the world’s oldest marriage manual.

In the hands of a less-gifted singer, “Loving” could’ve melted into melodrama. With her hushed, no-fuss tone, Reba takes the soft, spare verses and spins her magic with a beautiful blend of regret and resolve. A sweet steel-laced arrangement sounds out her rallying cry: “I keep on loving you.”

The final chorus, though, is an electric frenzy. With a slew of six-syllable notes and—presumably—a perfectly-arched eyebrow, Reba offers her till-death-do-us-part devotion.

On some level, “Loving,” with its mentions of “ups and downs” and “turn-arounds,” serves as a sweet valentine to those adoring fans who’ve stayed true through thick and thin and her network TV show. For now, their flame burns as bright as ever.

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  1. Razor X
    January 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    This is one of the better songs on Reba’s album. I like this one a lot.

  2. Rick
    January 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    The next Reba is here. 13 y/o playing all these guitar parts as well as the beautiful voice.

  3. Shannon
    January 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Love Reba. Don’t necessarily agree that she hasn’t take risks over her career. She’s just the type of singer that could take even a mediocre song and make it fabulous.

  4. Nicolas
    January 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I’m glad this was released, definitely the best choice for a ballad from the album

    And If she releases “Maggie Creek Road” after this, I’ll be REALLY happy =)

  5. Steve Harvey
    January 11, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    She’s just the type of singer that could take even a mediocre song and make it fabulous.
    Unfortunately, she’s chosen to do that quite a bit on recent albums, instead of taking a great song and making it a classic.

  6. Rick
    January 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Hey, who is this “Rick” imposter now posting here! The fact his post was pleasant and did not include an insult to Obamavoters proves that I alone am the real thing! Hey previous poster “Rick”, next time you post here include a last initial or something to avoid confusion with me as I am proudly the most offensive (to Demoncrap voters anyway) regular who posts here! Now you don’t want to inherit that animus do you?

    I have to hand it to Reba for still being able to get major airplay on Top 40 AirHead Country radio stations at age 55! This gal just has a sixth sense about what the current market is looking for. I’m not a big fan but I do respect her talent and staying power in a fickle marketplace.

  7. Steve M.
    January 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Why has the marketing for this album been promoting as Reba? I noticed this on my XM readout where she is listed by first name only.

  8. Nicolas
    January 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Reba McEntire is now referring to herself simply as Reba the way I imagine Madonna or somebody does – she’s iconic and the last name isn’t needed at this point

  9. Steve M.
    January 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I personally think its a bit pretentious.

  10. stormy
    January 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Madonna probably referred to herself as Madonna because Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone Penn Ritchie would be a bit of a mouthful. Somehow I don’t think Reba has that problem.

  11. Zayn Jones
    January 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Steve M: I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot. Enough said about that.

    I LOVE this song. She sounds amazing. I miss the old-school Reba “whine.” I think it’s amazing that decades after her first number one single, she is still topping the charts :)


  12. Zayn Jones
    January 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Ahhhh!!! I haven’t said enough about it! Pretentious? Really? She is doing it to be less wasteful!!!! Why waste ink on printing her last name?? Everybody knows her last name!!! Saving resources isn’t pretentious! Haha! That was a joke, btw.. The “green thing” was a joke.. Not the part about you being an idiot.

    I love country music!!


  13. Nicolas
    January 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Sorta how I feel on it… I mean, who is going to go “Reba? Reba who? Which one?” – There’s only one Reba

  14. Steve M.
    January 11, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    What zayn, I was cut to the quip, twice. Its still pretentious whether you are Cher or Zapata.

  15. Razor X
    January 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Why has the marketing for this album been promoting as Reba? I noticed this on my XM readout where she is listed by first name only.

    It’s been just Reba for over 20 years now.

  16. Steve M.
    January 11, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Hmm, her older catalog shows the full name. Still, I hope she isn’t taking career advice from those who brought us great one name acts like Charo and Gallagher. It worked for awhile for Sigfried and Roy until they proved that you really can’t tame a tiger.

  17. Waddy
    January 12, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I have a sneaky feeling that the success of this song might just prove a prelude to Hall of Fame induction later this year…

  18. RebaMcEntireFan
    January 12, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Reba hasn’t used her last name on her official studio releases since 1987.

  19. Josh
    January 12, 2010 at 8:08 am

    She’s taken risk??? I am unsure if I follow that correctly because I read her own biography she written during the 1st half of her music career and she seems pretty much tame and respectful. For the life of me I can’t see Reba being “shrewdy” on anything as compared to Garth Brooks whom we all know is a business expert on marketing from his career choice as a young lad. Can someone enlighten me as to the attachment of Reba and shrewd?

  20. Josh
    January 12, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Also, it’s nice to see that Reba and the Brooks & Dunn duo are great friends since she’s dipped into Dunn’s catalogue of songwriting. I wonder still what it would’ve been like if I actually attended their concert pairing together.

  21. Alan Reid
    January 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Her albums have only been listing her as Reba, without mention of her last name since 1988’s “Reba” album… followed by “Sweet Sixteen” “Reba Live” “Rumor Has It” and so on… how very observant of those of you who decide to start calling it pretentious now, just because she’s 55 and dares to have another hit record. Really?

  22. NashvilleRealityCheck
    January 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Reba(last name not needed for the past 2 decades) can wrap that beautiful, expressive voice around a much lesser song and make you listen, on this Dunn & McBride gem she shines like the star she is.

    Steve M…. how is this honest, real life look at love pretentious? Oh..You must be thinking of the warble voiced, look alike assembly line, female vocalists we’re being force fed by the music row record company sales machine.

    Rick(the obnoxious one)..please don’t use this music review site to express political barf.Their are lots of other sites dedicated to tearing this country in half for that purpose.


  23. merlefan49
    January 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of Reba’s Maybe some back in the early 80;s but that’s it.

  24. Mike R
    March 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I think this is a great song – simple, but direct. You have to give her credit for sticking around as long as she has, while most of her contemporaries have disappeared. Whatever the reasons are for doing this, talent? shrewdness? commercially driven? starpower? She has done so, everyone – young and small – know who Reba McEntire is.

  25. nicole
    November 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    i love reba and her music every time i hear any of her music i cry. expecially ” i keep on loving you.”

  26. nicole
    November 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    she is a beautifull person and an excellant singer

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