Picks and Pans Review: Martina

updated 10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/13/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Martina McBride

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"This One's for the Girls," one of 12 tracks on Martina, sounds as if it could be the theme song for The View. That doesn't bode well for McBride's first studio disc since 1999's Emotion. "She's a Butterfly" and "Reluctant Daughter" also tend to the pedantic, and McBride's penchant for histrionics doesn't make them any more subtle. "God's Will," about an impaired boy, is especially on the preachy side. The romantic rocker "Learning to Fall" changes the pace somewhat. And it comes as a most pleasant surprise when McBride covers "Over the Rainbow," albeit in a strangely truncated arrangement. While many vocalists tend to oversing the song, McBride reminds us that she can be restrained and intelligently evocative when she applies herself. Mostly, though, McBride seems to choose and perform material with the prospective video in mind. One can only hope that someday she shuts herself in the studio with just a good guitar player or pianist and makes an album that way.

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