The short version: “Stronger Than The Truth” just may be Reba McEntire’s strongest single in years.
- Writers: Autumn McEntire, Hannah Blaylock
- Rating: 8/10
The long version: With the return of legends like George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire to the country music format this year, these artists are blatantly telling us fans they don’t need our rocking chairs.
After some middling chart success this decade, McEntire has doubled down to tell fans she’s about to release one of her most country albums to date with her upcoming project, Stronger Than The Truth. Considering that 1984’s My Kind of Country is one of her most well-received albums to date for adopting a similar execution, the pressure was on for the single, “Stronger Than The Truth,” to live up to that promise.
Right from the opening note of the song, you can tell McEntire is well aware this won’t get played on current country radio. Sonically, it sounds like an acoustic number from the ’90s told from a current perspective. The mix is standard stone-cold country, with rich piano, acoustics, pedal steel and fiddle accentuating the mix. In terms of the foundation, the song is absolutely rock solid.
As with the best country songs though, the focus is on the pain underlying it all. As McEntire tells a story of a husband leaving to find a younger woman, you can’t help but appreciate the modern context through which she’s framing the song. I’d call it a metaphor for any legend’s aging days at country radio if it wasn’t being a little too analytical.
With “Stonger Than The Truth” though, there’s not much to say other than it’s a heartbreaking, classic country song. Watching the narrator resort to alcoholism with the self-awareness that it won’t help is just devastating, and McEntire sounds as good as ever, vocally.
The criticisms for this track are minor, but it does suffer a bit from odd framing. According to us, this woman finds out about her husband’s affair from an overheard conversation in the grocery store checkout line, but when that happens, wouldn’t you think the people would know the person they’re talking about is standing right near them? Again, it’s just odd is all. The song’s bridge also could have done better to drive the point home, but as it is, “Stronger Than The Truth” just may be one of McEntire’s best singles in years. It’s the kind of old friend to the genre that’s essentially critic proof, but still devastating to hear all the same.