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Album Review

Martina McBride, ‘Eleven’

By Stuart Munro
Globe Correspondent / October 10, 2011

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Martina McBride’s new release comes with a simple title loaded with multiple signifiers: It’s her 11th album, containing 11 songs, being released on the 11th day of October (begging the question: Why not on 11/11/11?). McBride upped her songwriting contributions for the album - at least a co-write on six tracks - but the results come across as scattershot and uneven: a little ersatz reggae here (“Always Be This Way’’), an adult-contemporary ballad there (“Marry Me,’’ a duet with Train’s Pat Monahan), some light soul, garnished with horn patches, that treads on easy-listening territory (“Broken Umbrella’’). There’s modern commercial country, too: the shopworn nostalgia of “Summer of Love,’’ the classic sentiments of “When You Love a Sinner,’’ and the gorgeous murmur of “Long Distance Lullaby.’’ And there are a couple of songs that are stock-in-trade Martina: the bemused, driven-to-drink parental perspective articulated in “Teenage Daughters,’’ and “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,’’ a song about a woman facing cancer that will be the inspiration for lighters held aloft and raised arms slowly waved in arenas across America for years to come. (Out tomorrow)

ESSENTIAL “When You Love a Sinner’’