The Freelance Mentalists.
Monday, February 23, 2004
 
Some Albums Are the Very Over of Rainbows

Martina McBride: Martina (RCA), 2003

Oh she wants SO BAD to build up a new world of love! Martina's pretty blue eye is gazing up at heaven on the cover and all the songs are gazing up at heaven too, at a country city on the hill. She starts by describing it in "So Wonderful" (walking barefoot to the neighbor's house, having a piece of pie with Mrs. Mayo, watching the kids at the rope swing down by the Caley River) and then building this fortress strong with her man, complete with a yellow brick road, in "City of Love." In Martina's lovely world, the disabled kids teach us all how to appreciate our lives, and we're all "Learning to Fall"--not into Satan's clutches, mind you, but in love.

Oh yeah, girls are treated good in this city, too. They're butterflies, they're spunky whether thirteen or twenty-five or forty-two (lyric of the album: "Livin' on dreams and Spaghetti-Os," it doesn't get much better than that in this vale of tears), and the slutty girls still get to wear white at their weddings (where, exactly, DON'T slutty girls get to wear white? I've been to plenty of country weddings and they ALL wear white and we ALL don't care). Daughters love their mothers and want to be reconciled with their fathers, who may or may not be God.

Martina salts the bird's tail by ending with "Over the Rainbow," which is where she's looking on the cover and where she's looking in her heart in order to have such a vision of such a perfect place. It IS the perfect place, although probably only because it doesn't exist. And it's probably mostly white and mostly straight, and Mrs. Mayo doesn't have to turn no tricks to pay for those blueberries in her pies, but that's not Martina's fault.

Because, of course, this is country music: Martina McBride didn't write any of these songs. I don't know how many of them she actually chose, how many she actually heard before hitting the studio. But this is a wonderful place she's building, here, a beautiful citadel against evil and heartbreak and illness and death and soul-crushing sexism, and I believe in it FOR her, because she wants it SO BAD. So I believe in the purity of her voice and the purity of her blue eyes, it MUST be the purity of her heart that makes her sound and look that way. Why oh why can't I.
 
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