On her 11th album, “Eleven,” country star Martina McBride attempts to break free of the country mold that has dominated her career.
The cheery track “Broken Umbrella” calls on a joyous brass section and is the least country-sounding song on the album. Changes like these make the new release shine as McBride takes risks and ignores the standardized themes of the country-pop canon.
The album’s rock-flavored opener, “One Night,” features fun, upbeat guitars, bounding percussion and playful lyrics. “Always Be This Way” incorporates reggae and Auto-Tune, without a hint of slide guitars or banjos to be found, which comes as a welcome surprise in the genre.
Despite these fun toe-tappers about young romance, the rest of the album repeats McBride’s traditional, worn-out sound and is predictable as if she is cautiously testing her newfound pop style instead of diving into recreating herself as an artist.
2.5 stars out of 4.