Eleven by Martina McBride

Eleven’s numerical-based title means this: It’s Martina’s 11th studio album, released Oct. 11, and it features 11 tracks. (The 15-track special edition, available only through Target, musses up the concept a bit, of course.)

Despite its otherwise unrevealing title, Martina’s album, as usual, is about songs: masterfully sung, well-crafted ones (she co-wrote six) that reflect her life and personality as well as her desire to connect with and encourage listeners. Taken song by song, this batch can seem disconnected at times, but the individual strengths are plentiful.

Now working alongside Tim McGraw producer Byron Gallimore, Martina successfully explores buoyant, reggae-flavored fare and soul-tinged, horn-fueled offerings and revisits message-oriented turf on such cuts as the insightful and sobering “When You Love a Sinner,” about a relationship severely tested by alcoholism.

Only a singer of Martina’s assured style could elsewhere toss off the comic line I think I need a drink and not seem contradictory. It’s all life, and Martina, with her unforced country-pop sensibility, gets it all to add up on Eleven.


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