07/06/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT
Reba (MCA Nashville)
Even those country fans not enamored of Reba's histrionic singing may enjoy this unusually lively album. A major reason is the tangy title song performed with Brooks & Dunn. Another enjoyable change is the up-tempo "Forever Love," which provides instrumental space for Reba's backup musicians, especially steel-guitar player Paul Franklin and keyboardist Jimmy Nichols. Not that Reba's huge corps of romance-oriented fans won't find something to admire. "I'll Give You Something to Miss," for instance, is an effectively glib, angry-lover song: "I'm gonna catch my breath, I'm gonna count to ten/I'm gonna leave you wonderin' when you'll see me again." Reba may have lost her "McEntire"—putting her in the same category as such hype-centered uninominal divas as Madonna
, Cher and Charo—but she has gained career momentum; she will next sing on an album inspired by Steven Spielberg's animated religious movie The Prince of Egypt. Our Reba isn't just a simple Oklahoma girl anymore; but change, like travel, can be broadening.
Bottom Line: Smaller name, but talent as large as ever