Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Titanic (1997)

Rose: “You’re crazy!”
Jack: “Well, that’s what everybody says. But with all due respect, miss, I’m not the one hanging off the back of a ship here.”

Title: Titanic
Genre: Historical Romance
Year: 1997
Rated: PG-13

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt-Bukater
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson
Billy Zane as Caledon Hockley
Gloria Stuart as Rose Calvert

Plot: An engaged rich girl and a poor artist meet and fall in love on board the ill-fated unsinkable ship.

Tagline: A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.

First Viewing: Summer of 1998, rented on VHS.
Added to The List: Always been there.

It may be the highest grossing film of all time. It may have won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture. It may have properly launched two of our greatest working actors. But the truth is, Titanic isn’t that great. Now, don’t get me wrong. I fucking love this movie, but 12 years later, it’s kind of hard to believe that this movie was once the living end.

I was nine years old when Titanic was released in theaters. All of my friends had seen it and since I was a slave to their social whims, I wanted to see it too, despite having no prior knowledge of the unsinkable ship. However, my mother refused to take me simply because she hated long movies. So it wasn’t until later in the summer of 1998 when I finally saw it when my mom caved and rented it on video.

Neither of us liked it.

This is a reoccurring theme on my list. Movies I don’t like somehow end up there with repeated viewings. Magically, Titanic was shown on HBO a few times and then on the major networks. Slowly…ever so slowly, I fell in love with it and soon I was renting it when renting videos was obsolete. By high school, Titanic had made my list.

All of the movies on my list are there because they resurrect childhood memories or strike an emotional chord. Titanic does neither. Therefore, I’ve decided to use this blog to determine why exactly this romantic epic not only makes my list, but ranks in the top five.

Until The Notebook (gag!) came along, I was certain Titanic would be hailed as the romance of my generation. After all, it contains all the classic necessities:

1. Rich girl (meaning beautiful costumes)

2. Poor boy (meaning full of integrity)

3. Evil fiancée

4. Overbearing mother

5. Historical event full of danger and adventure

The story starts out simple enough. Rose DeWitt-Bukater is a rich debutante on her way to America with her overbearing mother and asshole fiancée. Depressed with her meaningless life, Rose contemplates jumping off the back of the Titanic. Luckily, starving artist Jack Dawson happens upon her and convinces her not to do it.

After saving Rose, her fiancée Cal invites him to dinner in the first class dining room. Jack actually makes an impression on the other rich folks. Afterwards, Jack and Rose attend a third class party. Cal’s valet discovers them and reports back to his master. Both Cal and Rose’s mother Ruth forbid her from seeing Jack ever again.

(P.S. I love this scene!!!)

Jack seeks Rose out of concern, but she rebuffs him. Finally, Rose refuses to accept her life of unhappiness and finds Jack. Then he holds her on the beau of the ship.

Then he draws her in the nake.

Then they have sex in the backseat of a car.

And all though it doesn’t make “any sense,” Rose has every intention of leaving with Jack as soon as they arrive in America. To hell with Cal! To hell with her mother’s debt! And to hell with society! It seems all is well for our two lovers, but alas…tragedy strikes when the Titanic hits an iceberg and all hell breaks lose.

Titanic is a classic external conflict romance. Everything keeping Jack and Rose from achieving their happy ending is caused by outward sources and neither character’s personal weaknesses. Through out the movie, Rose overcomes her slavery to societal rules and defies her mother by breaking her engagement with Cal. Jack never has an emotional conflict. He’s in love with Rose at first sight. Of course, internal conflicts could arise if they had both survived and if they remained together. After all, Rose is used to the sweet life and Jack may feel guilt about not being able to provide for her…

But I digress. Personally, I feel a more tragic romantic scenario is when two people can be together, but refuse to for reasons like “what’s better for the other person” (like at the end of Spider-Man and Casablanca) or a prior relationship/marriage to another person (like in The Bridges of Madison County…and Casablanca) or a needless infatuation with another person (like in Wuthering Heights and Gone With the Wind).

I digress more…Titanic is a far from perfect movie, even when you ignore the historical inaccuracy and average, simplistic screenplay and concentrate solely on the love story. First of all, you have to remember that the entire film takes place over four and a half days:

Day 1: Everyone boards the ship. (With a four and a half day time frame, you think they’d at least meet on the first day!)
Day 2: Jack sees Rose. Jack convinces Rose not to commit suicide.
Day 3: Jack and Rose take a walk around the ship. Jack comes to dinner. Jack and Rose go to the third class party.
Day 4: Rose rejects Jack. Jack draws Rose wearing only the Heart of the Ocean. Jack and Rose have sex. The Titanic hits the iceberg.
Day 5: The ship sinks. Jack freezes to death. Rose is rescued.

I’ve never been a fan of love at first sight. I don’t believe it truly exists. Generally, I enjoy love stories where the hero and heroine have a solid amount of time to talk and get to know one another. Perhaps that’s why I love Beauty and the Beast so much (but even that movie can be taken as taking place over the same amount of time as Titanic…but that’s debatable).

What’s with me and my digressions in this blog? Let’s just get to the most controversial aspect. The “never let go part.”

So Jack and Rose were actually on the ship as it sank and are separated in the confusion. He finds her and swims her to a piece of floating wood paneling. They both try to get on, but it can only support the weight of one. And since this film takes place in a time when chivalry was not yet dead, Jack lets Rose stay on the wood. Personally, if I had written/directed this film, I would have Rose insist that Jack get on the panel, or have her offer a trade, “You ten minutes, me ten minutes” for example. Of course, chivalrous Jack would refuse, but that one line, that one offer would make the movie all the better.

As they’re freezing in the water and awaiting the arrival of the lifeboats, Rose starts saying her goodbyes. Jack rebuts and makes her promise to survive and go on to lead a full life. Rose agrees. So, after what seems like forever, the boats finally arrive. Rose tries to wake Jack but realizes he’s dead. I love the moment when she settles back down on the panel like she has no plan to get up. She’s lost the love of her life. But then she frantically remembers the promise she made. And vows to “never let go” of that promise. Not him. Not his frozen, lifeless corpse. The promise. I hate when people who saw this movie once, six years ago, make fun of this scene. I defend it. Ruthlessly.

The one final thing I’d like to cover in my epically long winded Titanic blog is the subject of Rose’s virginity. In the scene where Cal first presents Rose with the Heart of the Ocean, he says “There’s nothing I would deny you, if you would not deny me.” Later on, the night after the third class party, Cal’s says “I hoped that you would come to me last night.” All of this is so highly unorthodox. It’s no longer the Victorian era, but in 1912, virginity was still a prized attribute in a bride. All though they’re engaged, I don’t think premarital sex, especially among the first class, was a common practice. Then later in the backseat of the Model T, Jack asks Rose if she’s nervous which I assume is because he assumes she’s a virgin. I hope he wasn’t disappointed. I don’t really see why Cal and Rose having a sexual relationship is necessary and I still don’t know why James Cameron put it in.

I think I’ve finally figured out why I love Titanic so much. Rose had this one four day fling with some random man she met on a ship at age seventeen. But the love touched her so deeply, that she let it affect all the aspects of her life. I mean, she took his name for Christ sakes! And at the end of the movie, we see the picture of her riding a horse in front of a roller coaster in Santa Monica. Rose never considers her love for Jack as a teenage whim. Sure, she probably loved her husband (after all she had to fulfill her promise to “make lots of babies”) but who does she meet in heaven? Who is waiting for her in heaven? (Which raises the question…is there a special section of heaven for Titanic victims?)

Okay…I’ve written four pages on this movie. But I reached my goal in discovering my reasons behind my love for Titanic. It’s not just the wonderful, hauntingly beautiful score. Or awesome costumes. Or Leo’s incredibly sexy portrayal of Jack Dawson (see my list of Top 10 Hottest Movie Characters). It’s Rose’s never ending love for a man “who exists now only in her memory.” Because of which, I have an immense amount of respect for her.

Favorite Screencap:

Fine...judge me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Top 10 Taylor Swift Songs

Yes, I am aware of how premature it is to make a Top 10 list of songs for an artist who has only been popular for a couple years and only has two official albums. But, I’m going to do it anyway. And that is because I love Taylor Swift’s music. It was the summer after my senior year when Taylor’s first single “Tim McGraw” came out. That song exemplified everything I thought summer romance should be. And like others with the romanticism of a thirteen year old, I was hooked.

I’m really glad that Taylor Swift didn’t fade into obscurity after her first album. And at the rate things are going now, she should have a couple more successful albums before she inevitably switches to adult themes and gets shunned for it. But until then…here are my Top 10 Taylor Swift Songs.

Rank: 10 
Title: Mary’s Song (Oh My, My, My) 
Original Appearance: Taylor Swift (2006) 
Interpretation: Two childhood friends grow to love one another and get married.

Comments: I’ve always had a thing for childhood romance. It’s probably because of “The Wonder Years.” And this song is reminiscent of that show…you know, but a lot happier. I remember this was one of the first Taylor Swift songs I heard on late night radio. I loved the way she portrayed a life-long small town romance. Even though I’ve moved on from that ideal, this song reminds me of what I once wanted.
Listen to “Mary’s Song (Oh My, My, My)” here.

Rank: 9 
Title: “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” 
Original Appearance: Taylor Swift: Deluxe Edition (2007) Interpretation: A girl only feels at ease with one of her guy friends who may be more than that.

Comments: This is an upbeat song that shows Taylor’s versatility. She can write a touching love ballad and then a fun friendship song. This one also romanticizes small town life and feels very honest.

Watch the music video for “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” here.

Rank: 8 
Title: “Our Song” 
Original Appearance: Taylor Swift (2006) 
Interpretation: When a girl claims she and her boyfriend have no song, he says it’s the various sounds of summer.

Comments: This is another upbeat and lively song about the innocence of first love. You put a teenage boy acting romantically in a song, you are bound to have a hit on your hands.

Watch the music video for “Our Song” here.

Title: “Change” 
Original Appearance: Fearless (2008) 
Interpretation: A girl refuses to give up on her dreams because she is certain things will change for the better.

Comments: If there is one thing all Taylor Swift songs have in common, it’s hope. Keep holding on. Don’t stop believing. Tomorrow is another day. These things will change. Certainly, she writes about heartache, but even if some bastard breaks her heart, Taylor knows she’s better off without him. “Change” is not necessarily a romantic song. It can be interpreted as such (like by yours truly) or it can refer to something like sports, which is why this song was featured on the “AT&T Team U.S.A. Soundtrack” for the Olympics.

Watch the music video for “Change” here.

Rank: 6 
Title: “(When You Think) Tim McGraw” 
Original Appearance: Taylor Swift (2006) 
Interpretation: A girl reminisces about a summer love who has left for college and wants him to think of her when he hears her favorite Tim McGraw song.

Comments: Ahh…summer romance in a small town. How many damn songs are there about this topic? So many. Taylor tends to repeat themes, which for folks like me, is fine. All through my adolescence, I wanted a summer love like the one portrayed in this song. Like “Mary’s Song”, this song brings me fond memories of what I once wanted.

Watch the music video for “Tim McGraw” here.

Title: “I’d Lie” 
Original Appearance: Unreleased 
Interpretation: A girl will willingly release information about a guy but will lie if asked if she loves him.

Comments: Okay, here’s another one of Taylor’s favorite themes: secret unrequited love. This also happens to be a favorite theme of mine. This is another upbeat Taylor song in which she is in love with anti-romance friend of hers. Still, the overall mood of the song is hopeful and she will hang on until the bitter end.

P.S. I really don't know what the deal is with song. I found it on Youtube, but it hasn't been released on any official Taylor Swift CD's...which is odd because it's studio quality.
Listen to “I’d Lie” here.

Rank: 4 
Title: “White Horse” 
Original Appearance: Fearless (2008) 
Interpretation: After the ending of her relationship, a girl realizes she wasn’t living a fairy tale romance and will find someone far better than the guy she held in such high regard.

Comments: I’ve been there. In fact, I feel like I could say that about most of the songs on this list (with the exception of the summer romance ones, of course). Interestingly, this song was released on the tails of “Love Story’s” popularity which shows Taylor’s opposing views on relationships. She’s not simply a hopeless romantic spewing references about Romeo and Juliet (Sorry. Lyrically, I don’t like “Love Story”). Anywho, like all Taylor songs, this one ends on a positive note despite dragging fairy tale romance through the mud.
Watch the music video for “White Horse” here.

Rank: 3 
Title: “You Belong With Me” 
Original Appearance: Fearless (2008) 
Interpretation: A girl in love with the boy next door pleads for him to understand that he belongs with her and not his stereotypical girlfriend.

Comments: And here is the second unrequited love song on the list. Like “I’d Lie,” it’s exceptionally upbeat even though the guy doesn’t notice the narrator. This time it’s because of a girlfriend. An unappreciative girlfriend. I won’t beat around the bush. I love this story line. I always have and I probably always will. The song leaves the ending open, but the music video gives us the ending we all want.

Watch the music video for “You Belong With Me” here.

Rank: 2 
Title: “The Way I Loved You” 
Original Appearance: Fearless (2008) 
Interpretation: Even though a girl is in a steady relationship with a “perfect” guy, she misses the extremes of a past love.

Comments: One of the darker Taylor songs, because it does not contain the tradition happy resolution. Usually, Taylor is portrayed as the wronged girlfriend or hopelessly devoted best friend. She is never the “bad guy” but this song changes that. She remains in a relationship with someone she can never fully love. Because this is off of her second album, I think Taylor’s themes are getting a little bit more mature. This song certainly exemplifies that.

Listen to “The Way I Loved You” here.

Title: “Teardrops On My Guitar” 
Original Appearance: Taylor Swift (2006) 
Interpretation: A girls secretly loves her friend Drew who talks to her about another girl.

Comments: The greatest Friend Zone song of all time. You can quote me. There was no other song before this one that dealt with these particular themes. (Okay…maybe Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best For Last”…but the happy ending disqualifies it). As cutesy and great as “I’d Lie” and “You Belong With Me” are, they are also unrealistic. Because, let me tell you something, there is no hope in the Friend Zone. Although there is some hope in “Teardrops On My Guitar,” the narrator knows it’s in vain, she realizes how useless it is to still have hope, and yet she can’t not have hope. That is the living hell that is the Friend Zone. And, unlike in “You Belong With Me”, the other girl in “Teardrops” is not portrayed as the evil bitch girlfriend. This is nice, because in real life, the other girl isn’t always the evil bitch girlfriend. “Teardrops On My Guitar” is, in my humble opinion, not only the greatest Taylor Swift song, it’s also one of the greatest songs of all time.

Watch the music video for “Teardrops On My Guitar” here.

Top 25 Reba McEntire Songs

I didn't grow up with country, so I missed the huge Reba McEntire pandemonium of the early 90's. It wasn't until the summer of my sophomore year of high school (2004) that I even got into country music. I started watching CMT like I had once devoured VH1. While watching the "100 Greatest Country Music Videos", I discovered the song "Does He Love You?" by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. Before the summer was out, I had bought her Greatest Hits Vol. 2 CD and was hooked. In the years that followed, I collected songs from here and there. By college, I was doing the whole "buy-every-album-so-I-have-every-track" thing. And now, on this cloudy June morning, I am counting down my Top 25 Reba McEntire Songs.
Reba is not for everyone, and I know that. My mother particularly detests her twangy voice. Although many of her songs are pop infused, her voice is very country and should be avoided by those who hate the genre. Still, I love her voice. It is unique and powerful and she is definitely one of my favorite vocalists. Note: As of this moment, I have not heard every Reba McEntire song, so this list is somewhat incomplete. It is subject to change. So really, this is a list of the Top 25 Reba McEntire Songs I've Heard So Far.

Rank: 25
Title: "Am I the Only One Who Cares?"
Original Appearance: Sweet Sixteen (1994)
Interpretation: A fourteen year old girl named Jamie has a disagreement with her mother and talks to the moon about her troubles.

Comments: I definitely think that Reba's voice is better suited for ballads than for upbeat dance hits. Since she has such a powerful voice, she can go back and forth. But personally, I like the slow stuff. That is why "Am I the Only One Who Cares?" is one of the only non-ballads on the list. It's off of her aptly titled 16th album, Sweet Sixteen. It was the first full album of her's that I bought and I was surprised to find that this song was my favorite. It's a sweet mother/daughter song. Trust me, I'm a love song it's truly weird to me that this song outranks other traditional strongly chorused slow songs.

Rank: 24
Title: "Because of You"
Sung With: Kelly Clarkson
Original Appearance: Reba Duets (2007)
Interpretation: Not really a duet with two stories, but rather a normal song split into two vocal parts. Two women discuss how a person has effected their ability to love and trust.
Comments: All you music connoisseurs out there know that "Because of You" was originally recorded by the first American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, and released as a pop single. But for Reba's first full album of duets, she teamed up with Kelly to record a country tinged version of the song. This is the only one of Reba's duets on my list to not have a definite story, it's simply a great new arrangement to an already good song.
Watch the music video for "Because of You" here.
Rank: 23
Title: "Till You Love Me"
Original Appearance: Read My Mind (1994)
Interpretation: Your basic “hopelessly devoted” song.
Comments: "Till You Love Me" is not hugely deep or meaningful song. But it has a powerful build and catchy chorus, thus putting at #23.
Watch the music video for "Till You Love Me" here.

Rank: 22
Title: "I’m Not That Lonely Yet"
Original Appearance: Unlimited (1982)
Interpretation: Although a woman is feeling alone, she isn’t lonely enough to go home with a stranger.
Comments: I really love Reba's early stuff. Thanks to Youtube, I have found scads of it. This song is an incredible twangy waltz. It showcases Reba's beautifully without a lot of melismas or vocal tricks. A perfect, simple country song.
Listen to "I'm Not That Lonely Yet" here.
Rank: 21
Title: "You Lie"
Original Appearance: Rumor Has It (1990)
Interpretation: A woman knows her lover is continuing their relationship to not upset his girlfriend even though he is truly unhappy.
Comments: "You Lie" comes at the beginning of Reba's early90's superstardom and is a perfect example of Reba's formula: Saddened woman in failing relationship + power chorus = super hit.
Watch the music video for "You Lie" here.

Rank: 20
Title: "I've Waited All My Life For You"
Original Appearance: Reba McEntire (1977)
Interpretation: A woman pledges her devotion to man she has waited her whole life to find.
Comments: One of Reba's very first songs off of her first album. Recorded at age at 22, this song is typical innocent fair for young country artists of the time. Reba's voice had not yet reached its full maturity and so, like most of her early stuff, the chorus is not stadium worthy. Still, it's a lovely song with a lovely message.
Listen to "I've Waited All My Life For You" here.
Rank: 19
Title: "I Can See Forever in Your Eyes"
Original Appearance: Feel the Fire (1980)
Interpretation: Your basic “lay me down” song.
Comments: Another early Reba song with another classic theme: do me. I suppose by 1980, the country listening public was ready for Reba to declare her needs for a night of lovin'.
Listen to "I Can See Forever in Your Eyes" here.

Rank: 18
Title: "Whoever’s in New England"
Original Appearance: Whoever’s in New England (1986)
Interpretation: A woman is aware of her husband’s affair and wants him to know that she will be waiting when he chooses to end it.
Comments: "Whoever's in New England" is a hugely important song in Reba's career. Despite having released nine other records, it wasn't until this 1986 single that Reba finally became a superstar.This is the first in a long line of songs where Reba plays the wife of a cheating husband, with each heartbreaking moment shown in her first music video. Interestingly, many view this as an answer song to Barry Manilow's 1976 pop hit "Weekend in New England." That song discusses how a man longs to be back in his lover's arms who lives in New England. There is no reference to a wife. To extend the saga, Sugarland made "Stay" as answer to Reba's hit, taking the perspective of the mistress.
Watch the music video for "Whoever's in New England" here.
Listen to Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England" here.
Watch the music video for Sugarland's "Stay" here.
Rank: 17
Title: "For My Broken Heart"
Original Appearance: For My Broken Heart (1991)
Interpretation: A woman mourns after her lover moves out of the house.
Comments: One of Reba's saddest songs. It perfectly exemplifies the hopelessness of those few days after the the ending of a relationship and how the world goes on without giving a damn.
Watch the music video "For My Broken Heart" here.
Rank: 16
Title: "And Still"
Original Appearance: Read My Mind (1994)
Interpretation: After running into a former flame and meeting his wife, a woman realizes that she is still in love with him.
Comments: Along with being the wronged woman, another reoccuring theme in Reba's songs is running into a former lover. And, as usual, there is someone new, dashing all chances of reigniting the relationship.

Watch the music video for "And Still" here.
Rank: 15
Title: "He Wants to Get Married"
Original Appearance: It’s Your Call (1992)
Interpretation: A woman describes a man who holds marriage in the highest regard and wants it for himself but not with the narrator.
Comments: This is one of those great songs that was never released as a single, therefore made the album purchase totally worth it. You have to listen to the entire song to get the full meaning. As Reba describes this non-commitmentphobic man, you think the song will end with him proposing, but instead, he doesn't think she's good enough.
Rank: 14
Title: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"
Original Appearance: For My Broken Heart (1991)
Interpretation: An epic tale of a young woman who’s brother is convicted of murdering his unfaithful wife even though it’s his sister who is the murderer.
Comments: Classic country song. First recorded in 1972 by Vicki Lawrence, Reba blows that version out of the water. A powerful, epic song needs a powerful, epice voice and Reba delivers. This is a wonderful example of why covering classic songs is can be the right choice.
Watch the video for "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" here.
Rank: 13
Title: "If You See Him/If You See Her"
Sung With: Brooks & Dunn
Original Appearance: If You See Him (1998)
Interpretation: A married couple tell a go between that they both still love one another but refuse to confront the other.
Comments: The second duet on the list...and technically the first real duet. In my mind, duets should tell two different stories and express the feelings of two different people. In this song, both of the parties feel the same things, and tragically refuse to admit it to each other. As the listener, we take on the role as the go between and become a part of the story.
Watch the music video for "If You See Him/If You See Her" here.
Rank: 12
Title: "She Thinks His Name Was John"
Original Appearance: Read My Mind (1994)
Interpretation: The story of a woman who contracts AIDS from a one night stand.
Comments: This must be the most depressing Reba song of all time. In the early 90’s, AIDS was just beginning to leak into the public view. The song garnered much media attention because it features a “normal” woman and not a homosexual man, a drug user, or a promiscuous woman or prostitute. Country music is particularly known for making statements on current issues, which is why this song was so famous. In this song, AIDS is finally portrayed as a dangerous threat to everyone.
Watch the music video for "She Thinks His Name Was John" here.
Rank: 11
Title: “Face to Face”
Sung With: Linda Davis
Original Appearance: If You See Him (1998)
Interpretation: The wife and the other woman confront one another and discover it is neither of their faults and rather the husband’s.
Comments: This is a sequel song of sorts to 1993’s “Does He Love You?” In that song, the wife (Reba) and the mistress (Linda) know of each other, but have never met. This song (assuming it is a sequel) is their meeting. The two characters are forced to realize that other isn’t just the homewrecking slut or the frigid bitch wife. They are both humans with feelings and the characters are forced to reckon with that. Ultimately, they decide they are better off without the man.

Listen to "Face to Face" here.
Rank: 10
Title: “Fancy”
Original Appearance: Rumor Has It (1990)
Interpretation: A destitute mother pushes her young daughter into prostitution, a life in which she flourishes.
Comments: Reba McEntire’s signature song. Like “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Fancy” is not a Reba McEntire original. It was originally recorded in 1969 by Bobbie Gentry, but Reba has since claimed it as her own. Her powerful voice and epic arrangement turn it into one of the classic country story songs and classic music videos.
Watch the music video for "Fancy" here.

Rank: 9
Title: Every Time You Touch Her
Original Appearance: Whoever’s in New England (1986)
Interpretation: A woman begs for her man to think of her even when he’s with another woman.
Comments: This may be the only song in which Reba plays the role of “the other woman.” This song is open to interpretation. Certainly, the man is with two women, but it is hard to tell who the narrator is. She believes the man to be in love with her, and using the other woman for sex. This may be a one sided precursor to “Does He Love You?” This is a beautiful, simple song with only guitar accompaniment.
Listen to "Every Time You Touch Her" here. (P.S. sorry it's so shitty!)

Rank: 8
Title: “Somebody”
Original Appearance: Room to Breathe (2003)
Interpretation: A man realizes a waitress at his diner is the one for him.
Comments: “Somebody” is one of the only happy, upbeat songs on my list. It was still a new hit when I started listening to country, which probably has something to do with it. Plus, I love the optimistic outlook and the theme of “sometimes what you’re looking for is right beside you."

Watch the music video for "Somebody" here.
Rank: 7
Title: “Every Other Weekend”
Sung With: Kenny Chesney
Original Appearance: Reba Duets (2007)
Interpretation: A divorced couple with joint custody only see each other every other weekend when they trade children and refuse to tell one another they’re still in love.
Comments: “Every Other Weekend” is very much like “If You See Him/If You See Her” in the sense that it’s about two people who are too proud to admit they still love each other. Perhaps it’s even a sequel song. And if it is, it shows that unexpressed emotions can torture you forever.
Watch the music video for "Every Other Weekend" here.
Rank: 6
Title: “I Still Long to Hold You Now and Then”
Original Appearance: Out of a Dream (1979)
Interpretation: A woman sees her lover again and is taken aback when she realizes she still wants him.
Comments: Another
reunited lovers song. This one, however, does allude to there being a new woman, so the possibility of starting it up again is there. As an early song, it has a simpler vocals and arrangement, but still is awesome.

Listen to "I Still Long to Hold You Now and Then" here.
Rank: 5
Title: “Don’t Touch Me There”
Original Appearance: Whoever’s in New England (1986)
Interpretation: Spurned by love, a woman allows her date to touch her everywhere but her heart.
Comments: This song feels like it’s from one of Reba’s earlier albums, just for its simplicity. But rather, it’s on Whoever’s in New England. It shows the transition from gentle songs into her huge ballads.

Listen to "Don't Touch Me There" here.

Rank: 4
Title: “I Know How He Feels”
Original Appearance: Reba (1988)
Interpretation: A woman sees her ex-boyfriend with his new woman and regrets ending their relationship.
Comments: The last of the lovers reunited songs. This one is a little different because we learn that Reba herself is the one to blame for the end of the relationship. This one also has no actual interaction between the narrator and the ex, mostly because he is caught up with his new girlfriend.

Watch the music video for "I Know How He Feels" here.
Rank: 3
Title: “How Does It Feel to Be Free?”
Original Appearance: Heart to Heart (1981)
Interpretation: A woman calls her ex-lover shortly after their break up to see if he’s feeling the same way as she is.
Comments: I’ve finally discovered why I like Reba’s earlier slow songs. Her voice doesn’t overpower the message of the s
ong. “How Does It Feel to Be Free?” for example, is sung so simply, you feel the sadness of the narrator. She’s too depressed to put any real effort into singing the song. Of course, Reba is so good that her “lack of effort” makes the song all the better. (This is one of the reasons I like Karen Carpenter so much, but more on that later…much later.)

Listen to "How Does It Feel to Be Free?" here.
Rank: 2
Title: “She Wasn’t Good Enough For Him”
Original Appearance: So Good Together (1999)
Interpretation: A woman stays in a physical relationship with a man even though he has no desire to have a real relationship with her.
Comments: I love songs told from a third person perspective. They’re so rare. They feel less biased, too. I think I love this song so much because I witnessed an actual situation like this where a guy friend of mine basically used this girl for sex even though he knew she was in love with him. The sick part was that I found myself in a similar situation with him even after witnessing this. There are very few songs that deal with this subject and lucky for me, Reba has one.

Rank: 1
Title: “Does He Love You?”
Sung With: Linda Davis
Original Appearance: Reba McEntire’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1993)
Interpretation: The wife and her husband’s mistress wonder who their man really loves.

Comments: Okay…was there really any doubt in your mind what number one would be? I referenced this song like 3 times. Of course, the first Reba song I ever liked is my favorite. I love it because, like so many other Reba songs, it deals with one of my favorite themes: the other woman. For the first time (maybe ever) we are given a sympathetic look at the mistress. Believe me, I’ve looked for other songs, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Sugarland’s “Stay.” This shows that both parties are in pain, not just the wronged wife. “Does He Love You?” proves that there is no winning side to this battle. One woman has his heart, the other has his loins, and neither has his mind. Which would you rather have? This song perfectly portrays the hopelessness of love triangles. Due to its “movie within a movie” music video, the song became famous on CMT and an instant country classic.

Watch the music video for "Does He Love You?" here.