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Music: Martina McBride
A country hit-maker of The Nineties and early-mid 2000s, known for her big soprano voice and constant themes of female empowerment.

Born Martina Schiff in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, McBride got her start in a family band, before moving to Nashville in 1991. She sold merchandise for Garth Brooks before signing with RCA in 1992. Although none of the singles off her first album made much of a dent, she got her first Top 5 hit in 1993 with "My Baby Loves Me", off her second album, The Way That I Am. The album also included one of her most famous songs, "Independence Day", a controversial song about domestic abuse as seen from the victim's daughter's standpoint.

1995's Wild Angels brought her to the top of the charts for the first time with its title track, but other singles from it were not as succesful. Starting with 1997's Emotion, McBride began moving to a more pop-influenced sound, which netted her first crossovers in "Valentine" (featuring pop pianist Jim Brickman) and especially the #1 hit "A Broken Wing". This album also certified triple-platinum in the U.S., and it set the tone for her material to come: slick production, themes of empowerment and "big" issues (many of her songs deal with abuse, illness, and the like), and of course, full-force soprano belting.

McBride's hot streak continued through 2004, including additional #1 hits in "Wrong Again", "I Love You" (her longest-lasting, at six weeks), and "Blessed". She also topped the AC charts in 2004 with "This One's for the Girls". After a 2005 detour to traditional-country covers on 2005's Timeless, she continued scoring lesser degrees of hits into 2010, when the underperformance of her Shine album led to her leaving RCA in favor of Republic Nashville. Her only Republic album, Eleven, fared little better, so she moved to Kobalt to release another covers album, Everlasting, in 2014.

Albums:

  • The Time Has Come (1992)
  • The Way That I Am (1993)
  • Wild Angels (1995)
  • Evolution (1997)
  • Emotion (1999)
  • Greatest Hits (2001)
  • Martina (2003)
  • Timeless (2005)
  • Waking Up Laughing (2007)
  • Shine (2009)
  • Eleven (2011)
  • Everlasting (2014)

Tropes present:

  • Abusive Parents: Present in both "Independence Day" and "Concrete Angel".
  • Age Progression Song: "This One's for the Girls" addresses girls aged 13, 25, and 42.
  • Album Title Drop: "How I Feel" drops the line "When I wake up laughing…"
  • Cerebus Syndrome: From the late 90s onward, almost everything she did was a dead-serious "issue" song along the lines of "A Broken Wing". Among them: "Love's the Only House" (a general message of comfort to people in need), "Concrete Angel" (child abuse), "In My Daughter's Eyes" (self explanatory), "God's Will" (about a handicapped kid showing her how to love), "Anyway" (a vaguely religious-themed empowerment anthem), and "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" (breast cancer). Even when she does do an uptempo, it's almost invariably big, anthemic and life-empowering ("Ride", "Wrong Baby Wrong"), about domestic bliss ("Blessed", "I Just Call You Mine"), or both ("This One's for the Girls"). This is also an example of Issue Drift.
  • Chronological Album Title: Eleven
  • Common Time: Averted with "A Broken Wing", which is in 12/8.
  • Downer Ending: Yeah, that girl who's a victim of child abuse in "Concrete Angel"? She dies in the middle of the song. But hey, she gets an angel statue for her gravestone!
  • Early Installment Weirdness: On her first three albums, her sound is a lot more country and less polished, and the belting is downplayed or nonexistant.
  • Incredibly Long Note: At the end of "A Broken Wing": "Man, you oughta see her flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…"
  • Melismatic Vocals: From about "A Broken Wing" onward, she seemed determined to let you know that yes, she is a soprano. Admittedly one with a big range — that song has her going as low as F♯3 (the F♯ below Middle C), a note that not many sopranos can hit.
  • Mixed Metaphor: In "Ride":
    Life is a roller coaster ride
    Time turns the wheel and love collides
  • Rerelease the Song: "Valentine", a duet with pianist Jim Brickman, was originally released only to pop radio in 1997, but after it got some airplay on country stations, it was re-sent to country in 1998.
  • Retraux: Timeless was deliberately recorded as an homage to 1960s and 1970s country, with less polished production to make it feel more authentic.
  • Self Empowerment Anthem: "This One's For The Girls"
  • Something Completely Different:
    • A covers album of 1960s and 1970s country songs, Timeless, released in 2005.
    • Starting in 2007, she began writing some of her own songs instead of relying on other songwriters.
    • "Teenage Daughters" (the lead single to Eleven) had her singing in a higher, chirpy, thinner voice that almost sounded like Taylor Swift.

Jennette McCurdyCountry MusicReba McEntire

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