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Album Review: “Shine” by Martina McBride

April 1, 2009

Shine cover3.5 Stars

 

Martina McBride has always had an aura about her of optimism and beauty, which is good because that makes this song of inspirational and uplifting tunes that much more effective. However there lies the major flaw right off the bat to her newest project, Shine is very easily stripped down to simply a project of uplifting and upbeat songs and power ballads, not much of anything more.

That’s not to put this album down. Martina has a true talent for taking any song, no matter how cliche or flawed, and putting her own magnificent feel to it to make it really shine. What fans get on this album is what one would expect from Martina, including the great vocals and the interesting concepts in her ballads. The problem is that somewhere in the mix of tear-jerking and heartbreaking ballads and toe taping and upbeat performance songs, Shine loses a little bit of it’s luster because it really provides nothing new from McBride at all.

The album doesn’t start off too bad. Upbeat anthems like “Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong” and “Sunny Side Up” help start everything off on a positive and inspiring note. Martina jumps right into the action to provide some bang to wake the listener up. However this wake up call doesn’t last very long as the ballads kick in. The concept of love and the loss or lack of pretty much dominate the rest of the project save for a couple songs which leaves a little to be desired and very few surprises along the way.

There are some surprises though. The first single “Ride” is a pleasant and uplifting entertainment song and “Wild Rebel Rose” take the place of Martina’s typical and often very effective tear-jerking story to inspire awareness of an often overlooked individual, a position once occupied by hits like “God’s Will” and “Concrete Angel”. This provides a nice thinking moment deep into the project and veers away from all the “life is good” songs and love and heartbreak ballads that come before it. McBride leaves the album on a high note though, literally, with her magnificent power ballad “Lies”.

Despite these high points, Martina still fails to really tackle much new ground in this project. She provides her usual excellent vocals and a few surprises to spice things up, but in the end the bulk of this album is still an overplayed duel concept album of love and life. Shine doesn’t sparkle quite as bright as it’s name suggests, but it’s not a bad album. The material is relatively good and the production and performance really does keep the listeners entertained, but what makes it fail is its inability to really go anywhere for Martina.

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