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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Waking Up Laughing' (RCA)
Artist - Martina McBride

After 16 million in sales and 22 top 10 singles, some artists might be afraid to tinker with success and tempt fate. But not Martina McBride! While I know many fans enjoyed "Timeless", I thought that was a huge waste of Martina's talents. Not to mention, I hate that old formulaic same-same stuff they did back in the day. She made it tolerable to hear, but I'm glad to have her back doing what Martina does best and I (personally, of course!) enjoy most.

I know there are a lot of idiots (sour grapes journos!) that take a pen (keyboard!) and trash people just for the sake of trashing people, and normally I don't let it get to me. But one recent review (in a nameless magazine) actually had the gall to call this a snoozefest. And I'm skeptical as to whether that reviewer has even heard the album after complaining that Martina "screams"?!

Martina has a beautiful voice with an incredible range that she uses both powerfully and softly on this album. In fact, this is her most tender album with beautiful maturity and emotion. The vocals are mastered with terrific warmth and clarity. Anyone reading that magazine review who has ever heard Martina knows to dismiss that review completely. Hopefully someone reading this review who isn't as familiar with Martina will clearly see the truth and buy this wonderful new CD without hesitation.

I recommend listening to this loud enough that you can really hear the vocals, since Martina did a great job with production. She extracts every ounce of emotion in these songs. My favorite track is one that normally I wouldn't like because I don't usually enjoy songs with an irregular tempo. The last track, Love Land, is just beautifully done. It doesn't really rhyme for most of it, and as I mentioned the tempo is very irregular. It's almost like a freestyle poem with music playing in the background. But it's a bittersweet story with an ultimately uplifting message, sung with control and passion. "Anyway" is pure Martina, and is also one of my favorites.

There are so many good songs (though at only 11 tracks it's a bit short) that it's easier to pick my LEAST favorite. "Beautiful Again" is still a decent performance, but the music is so not my style, more bluegrass and a little singsongy for my taste. She sings it well, I just can't give it more than 7 out of 10. Every other track for me is 9.5 to 10 out of 10!