Reba McEntire's

"Read My Mind"

This review originally appeared in the November/December 1994 issue of "Beat U.S.A. Magazine."



by: Sandra L. Toney

For a person who owns every one of Reba McEntire's numerous albums or for the person who hears her for the first time on her latest release, Read My Mind, this is one essential collection for every country music lover's library. She is by far one of the biggest names in country music and continues to produce new and exciting albums almost yearly.

Some of McEntire's recent albums, such as For My Broken Heart (MCA, 1991) and It's Your Call (MCA, 1992), contain mostly sad, depressing songs that can break your heart and make you cry. Read My Mind, however, reminds us more of that "sassy" Reba; the same Reba that went to number one last year with the brazen single "Take It Back," from her It's Your Call album. Two such songs on this release have this "sass" that McEntire exhibits with poise and perfection, "I Won't Stand In Line" and the already radio-popular hit, "Why Haven't I Heard From You?" which is a plea to her significant other about the abundance of telephones as she demands an answer to her question, "You can get one in your briefcase, on a plane or in your car/So tell me why, haven't I, heard from you?"

Of course, Read My Mind has its fair share of tearjerkers for those who need a good cry every now and then. Songs like "Till You Love Me," "Everything That You Want," and the title track, "Read My Mind," should effectively start the tears flowing. To keep them flowing, however, listen to "I Wish That I Could Tell You," which has a woman trying to help her lover find a way to tell her goodbye. She attempts in this verse, "How do you choose/Do you hurt 'em with the truth or with a lie/Where do you go to find the courage you know I could never find/I don't know how to help you/I wish that I could tell you how to tell me goodbye."

McEntire goes into controversial territory on one song on the album, "She Thinks His Name Was John," as she reveals a woman dying from AIDS and how only one unfortunate encounter with an unknown man has cost her everything. Singing so profoundly, this passage knocks us to our knees as we feel this woman's pain, "She lays all alone and cries herself to sleep 'cause she let a stranger kill her hopes and her dreams."

As the song unfolds, we learn that this is not a promiscuous woman, but there was once a man she met at a party whom she had a one-night stand with and "She thinks his name was John." We learn an important message from song writers Sandy Knox (who also co-wrote another song on the album, "Why Haven't I Heard From You?") and Steve Rosen about the fatal realities behind unsafe sex. "She Thinks His Name Was John" (destined to be a hit) is an important breakthrough for country music. And, Reba McEntire has enough fans and prominence to bring this deadly subject into the light with compassion and dignity.

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