Top 10 Martina McBride Songs
Martina McBride has seen great success in her career. Since signing with RCA Nashville in 1991 and making her country music debut with The Time Has Come in 1992, McBride has recorded 13 albums, been nominated for 14 Grammys (not to mention countless other awards) and sold over 14 million records.
Because of those achievements, it was a big feat to narrow her discography down to only 10 great songs, but here are The Boot’s picks for the Top 10 Martina McBride tunes.
Sometimes we need a little reminder of all the blessings in our lives. If you’re ever having a day when things just aren’t adding up the way you’d like, listen to McBride’s hit “Blessed,” on which Carolyn Dawn Johnson sang backing vocals. In it, she lists what she’s most blessed by in life, singing sweetly, “I thank God for all I’ve been given / At the end of every day / I have been blessed.” The song’s theme of gratitude resonated deeply with fans: “Blessed” was McBride’s fifth No. 1 single.
“Valentine” was originally recorded by Jim Brickman, for his 1997 album Picture This, with guest vocals from McBride, and it later appeared on her record Evolution. “Valentine” is a classic McBride song; backed by elegant piano playing, her vocals shine in this tender ballad, a love letter put to a melody. It’s a song not just for Feb. 14, but also for a regular day because when you’re in love, you can find romance in every day. The song was a hit in multiple genres, peaking at No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
“Wild Angels” was McBride’s first No. 1 hit, the genesis of many more to come. The song is the title track of her second album and nods to the fact that love is beautiful — but also very hard. McBride sings of “Wild angels / Watching over you and me” after making it through tough times with her love. One could argue that McBride sounds like an angel herself as her vocals carry the uplifting song.
“Still Holding On”
Recorded by Clint Black and McBride, “Still Holding On” was released in 1997 as the first single from Black’s Nothin’ But the Taillights album, and McBride later included it on Evolution. The lyrics evoke deep emotion, the singers reminiscing over a love that’s doomed — but still so dear: “Even when my arms are empty, darlin’ / I’m still holdin’ on to you.” McBride and Black were duly rewarded for their efforts, with “Still Holding On” receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals in 1998.
McBride co-wrote “Anyway,” the lead single from her gold-certified Waking Up Laughing record, with country duo the Warren Brothers; it was her first time co-writing one of her singles. The song is based on an inspirational poem that Mother Teresa favored. Key lyrics include: “God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good / When I pray, it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should / But I do it anyway.” ‘Anyway’ was eagerly received and nominated for Single of the Year and Song of the Year at the CMAs, as well as for Country Recorded Song of the Year at the Dove Awards.
“This One’s for the Girls”
If there was ever an anthem for women of all ages, “This One’s for the Girls” takes the cake; it resonated wildly with females of all generations. In the tune, McBride sings about the difficulties of being 13, living on your own for the first time and watching time etch wrinkles into your face — but she tells them all that they’re beautiful. Plus, McBride’s daughters Delaney and Emma and country singers Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Faith Hill all sing backing vocals on the song. Its catchy melody still rings true today.
“A Broken Wing”
In 1997, “A Broken Wing” was the first single from Evolution, and it later became McBride’s second No. 1 song. It deals with a particularly emotional subject: a woman in an abusive relationship. The woman “loved him like he was the last man on Earth” and “bore her heart to him, telling him all about her dreams.” But what she received was scorn, shame and a man who simply “loved to make her cry.” Fortunately, “A Broken Wing” has a happy ending: The woman in the song becomes empowered, escaping from the grips of her husband and inspiring hope and strength in any female listener.
“I’m Gonna Love You Through It”
“I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” from McBride’s Eleven record, hits home for many listeners. It also requires a box of Kleenex with each listen. The song takes fans into the story of a 38-year-old woman, who is battling cancer, and her husband, who is committed to standing by her. He is her rock, comforter and strength — the one who keeps her afloat when she feels like she’s drowning. The lyrics paint a powerful picture, with the husband saying, “When you’re weak, I’ll be strong / When you let go, I’ll hold on / When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes.” “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” deservedly earned McBride a Grammy nomination for Best Solo Performance, and the touching music video featured real-life cancer survivors like Sheryl Crow, Robin Roberts and Hoda Kotb, plus cancer activist Katie Couric.
One of the most emotional ballads we’ve heard, “Concrete Angel” brings the story of a young girl being abused to life. McBride’s gorgeous vocals are tender yet passionate, despairing yet incredibly hopeful. This song holds much weight in its words, and McBride does it justice. “Concrete Angel” went to No. 5 on the charts, and its rise also brought an incredibly important issue to the ears of country fans.
“Independence Day” is one of the crowning achievements of McBride’s career. Although it did not reach the Top 10, it wasn’t due to fan disinterest in the song; rather, radio programmers objected to the subject matter of domestic abuse and the questionable way the subject of the song (a mother) dealt with her abusive husband. Even though it didn’t see chart success, “Independence Day” won Video of the Year and Song of the Year at the CMA Awards and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song and Best Country & Western Vocal Performance — Female. Though controversial, in 2002, “Independence Day” was ranked at No. 2 on CMT’s 100 Greatest Videos in Country Music.