Reba McEntire – “When Love Gets a Hold of You”

Blake Boldt | April 14th, 2011

Reba McEntireSongwriters: 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.

Thumbs Up

  1. Ben Foster
    April 14, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I can’t say I really cared much for this one. It seems kind of bland to me, both musically and lyrically.

  2. Joe
    April 14, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I love it. It’s been a highlight of mine since the album was released. The drum and guitar on the intro don’t seem to hit hard enough, though, like the band did it on the performance at the ACMs. Reba’s band performs consistently better than the recordings, I’ve noticed.

  3. Thomas
    April 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

    …a solid top-forty radio single that has got reba and another hit-song written all over it. on the plus side: it’s rather catchy – on the negative side: it’s nothing memorable.

  4. Fizz
    April 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Cougar alert!!1

  5. Rickster
    April 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I want to see this song do really well so Jon Randall and his wife Jessi Alexander can earn so big money to help fund their own band 18 South! That remainds me, 18 South needs to get back on Music City Roots now! (lol)

    April 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Agreed on Jon & Jessi comment. Great talent. Unfortunately, I will probably not listen as I simply can’t bear Reba’s voice. Just a personal preference and no indication of what I think of her talent. Just can’t stomach her voice.

    18 South deserves some type of platform to bless us with their exceptional talent as well.

  7. Nicolas
    April 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Love this song, and it should do well on radio too. Good choice, Reba.

  8. Steve
    April 14, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I like this one, reminds me of something that would have come out in the mid 90’s

  9. Noeller
    April 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I don’t love this, but I don’t hate this either. I will say that I’m just really REALLY glad “If I Were A Boy” tanked hard. (Along with Brown Chicken Brown Cow, I feel I’m now 2/2 in begging for mercy from the “single” Gods…ha ha)

  10. jhomes87
    April 14, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I really like this song. This is one of my favorite Reba singles in years, so I definitely agree with the review. Maybe not a classic, but a solid base hit indeed.

  11. Code
    April 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

    This is vintage reba in my opinion and i love it!

  12. Steve
    April 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    This is a much better single choice than ‘If I Were A Boy’. It sounds like a summer song and she does justice to this song. I have liked everything Jon Randall has written, especially the song he sang with Lorrie Morgan – ‘By My Side’. This song should become a summertime big hit.

  13. Travis
    April 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    This song really sticks in your head. I really love Reba’s voice. She really sours on this one.

  14. Eh
    April 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Kinda typical from Reba, pretty bland and unmemorable. Surprise us.

  15. Matt B
    April 16, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    She did and radio reacted with a collective ‘meh.’

  16. Code
    April 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm


    She surprised you guys with turn on the radio and if i were a boy, and hardly any reviewers liked them. Reba just cant seem to win with you people can she.

  17. Steve
    April 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    That’s true, when she tried something different, everyone complained. Now that she has gone back to her standard type of song, it’s not original enough. Yes, this is not the best song of all time, but it is quite good and does sound like her 90’s hits, especiall the ones from ‘What if It’s You?’

  18. Steve
    April 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    It’s on the charts now, debuting at 55 on Billboard

  19. Code
    April 19, 2011 at 6:51 am

    This song is doing really poorly on the charts

  20. Occasional Hope
    April 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Isn’t that a bit premature? It’s only just been released.

  21. Thomas
    April 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    …the combination of your nick and your question is kinda hilarious, o.h.

  22. Steve
    April 19, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    It’s way too early to decide how it will do. It could climb slowly, it’s just new. It’s doing really well on Country Aircheck and Country Activator. As soon as some other stations pick it up, it should pick up.

  23. Jessie
    April 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    All the Women I Am was a stronger track, but this is better than the first two releases off the album. I wish she would have spent more time and delivered quality songs on the album instead of rushing things for If I Were a Boy

  24. Steve
    April 22, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I think once this songs starts getting played more, it will do fine. It won’t climb quickly, but that’s OK as long as it hangs on. I hope ‘Somebody’s Chelsea’ gets released next, it’s an amazing song, better than the other 3 singles.

  25. Code
    April 24, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Steve, the song is doing terrible, i wish you and many other reba fans would stop trying to deny that. It’s at #59 on the mediabase country chart with a measly 66 spins TWO WEEKS after its add date. TOTR was in the top 40 and BOTH i keep on loving you and If i were a boy were in the 40-45 area, 2 weeks after their add dates with over 300 spins.

    See the difference, it seems now that sara evans is back and a lot new younger and hotter female artists are breaking through that radio is getting tired of reba. Its just such a shame that her radio career is ending as she enters the CMA hall of fame.

  26. luckyoldsun
    April 24, 2011 at 10:18 am

    “Its just such a shame that her radio career is ending as she enters the CMA hall of fame.”

    I think Reba’s doing better by that standard than every other artist in the Hall, save for George Strait.

  27. Barry Mazor
    April 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Mainstream radio often seems not to want anybody who’s been around 5 years, let alone 25. Just too old for the room y’know..

  28. Steve
    April 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I diasgree, remember ‘Love Needs A Holiday’, it only made it to #60, and then her next single was ‘Because of You’ which went to #2. Sure, ‘If I Were A Boy’ was a mistake, but let’s wait a little to see how this does. It’s not burning up the charts, but could easily be a slow climber.

  29. luckyoldsun
    April 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    There have been damn few artists–and no females in country music before Reba–who’ve had substantial hit singles after 50. Kitty, Tammy, Loretta, and Dolly were all pretty much done by their late 40s. (Loretta Lynn might have had a #19 record at age 51, but that’s about it.)

    The men have obviously had more leeway, with Eddy, Jones, Willie, Conway, and Strait all having consistent chart action into their mid-50’s and artists like Hank Snow and Kenny Rogers having one-shot smashes at 60 or so.

  30. Lynn
    April 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I think this is a very good song. Age should have nothing to do with singing. The radio stations should play the song. It doesn’t matter if the DJs like it or not. It is the fans that want to hear it. I contacted my local station about Boy and they said they didn’t add it because they liked Turn on the radio better…duh? Play her music. She works hard and she damn sure sings better than a couple of the newer artists. Just my opinion but you people seem to diss her every chance you get.

  31. Code
    April 25, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Steve, the song has been less than 40 spins for the past week, that’s not good.And the only reason Because of you became a hit after love needs a holiday is BECAUSE of kelly clarkson, it’s foolish to think otherwise.

  32. J.R. Journey
    April 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I think you hit this one just right. This is better than the first 2 singles from the album, but it’s pretty meh by Reba standards, or maybe it isn’t anymore.

  33. Steve
    April 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    It did move up from 55 to 48 on Billboard this week, something positive. Hopefully, it will hit the top 40 in a couple of weeks and then more stations will pick it up. It really is her best single since ‘Consider Me Gone’.

  34. Matt B
    April 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    It is going to go AT LEAST top 30 most likely Top 20 and then Top 10. It just got a bunch more adds today too. I don’t think Radio has any problem w/playing Reba – given the right song.

  35. Steve
    April 26, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    How do you find out that it got adds? That’s good news, this single has to be a hit.

  36. jhomes87
    April 27, 2011 at 2:39 am

    @Steve, this site shows how many adds songs get on Mediabase.

    Reba got 8 this past week. That’s not what I’d call a lot of adds, especially for someone of her caliber. New artists are getting just as many, if not more. But I do like Reba’s song. I think it will go at least top 30 but we’ll see if it catches on from there. Reba fans might just have to endure a slower climb.

  37. Steve
    May 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Went to number 47, but up six to number 52 on mediabase.

  38. Matt
    May 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

    More crap from reba.when is she going to accept that she’s past the age to try to be Carrie and Kellie and just retire?

  39. Steve
    June 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I wouldn’t call it crappe, it’s in the Top 40 now.

  40. vicki
    June 10, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Speaking of Kellie, I love her new song “Tough”. That’s the music Kellie needs to stick with

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