Reba McEntire – “When Love Gets a Hold of You”
Songwriters: Jessi Alexander, Gary Nicholson and Jon Randall
Country audiences didn’t seem to care for all the women that Reba is. Her awkward remake of Beyonce’s 2008 R&B hit, “If I Were a Boy,” stalled out at No. 22 on the singles chart last month.
The third single from her latest studio album, All the Women I Am, looks to erase the memory of that poor chart performance. “When Love Gets Ahold of You,” with its spaghetti western-meets-Pulp Fiction vibe, will likely stand out in the crowd of loud summertime anthems.
The ominous arrangement is spiked with a series of elongated guitar licks, an appropriate choice for the material. On “When Love Gets a Hold of You,” Reba rhapsodizes about the most universal of emotions–love–and the improbability of stopping it in its path. Her infatuated man friend tries in vain to fend off her advances: “Before you have your first cup of coffee/You’re gonna pick up the phone and call me.” With each zinging shot at her future beau, the steel guitar wraps around the melody and weakens his resistance.
In her confident way, Reba expresses this sentiment as both a promise and a threat. Her friendly tone turns more forceful in the chorus, where her Oklahoma twang curls across the lyric just a little more. “It’s just a matter of time,” she sings. “It’s gonna hit you right between the eyes.” All the while, she sounds certain that she’ll get this eligible bachelor off the market. A supporting cast of harmony singers echo her thoughts in the song’s coda, almost mocking the man’s insistence on staying single.
While it won’t hang in the rarified air of Reba classics such as “Whoever’s in New England” or “Is There Life Out There,” “When Love Gets a Hold of You” is a solid base hit for the Hall of Fame singer.
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