Waking Up Laughing

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March 30, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

After a roots detour in ’05 with Timeless, Martina McBride was drawn to tackle slightly grittier fare upon returning to her AC-crossover forte. Waking Up Laughing neatly adds some country-rock fiber to her usual sunniness, even if a few songs flag. ”Anyway,” one of 2007’s great singles, sets country’s most powerful pipes against moody strings, ”Heart of the Matter”-copping guitar riffs, and a tough lyric that acknowledges the potential futility of even the most unswerving love and compassion. It’s the year’s most optimistic song, or the most fatalistic…or, remarkably, both.

Waking Up Laughing

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Waking Up Laughing

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