Martina McBride's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Martina McBride
Kristin Barlowe

Martina McBride

2017 marks twenty-five years since Martina McBride first broke onto the scene with "The Time Has Come." In the years that have passed since 1992, the singer remains one of country music’s most respected and revered vocalists, with a range that continues to wow both fans -- and her fellow artists.

With a knack for the power ballad, it makes sense that there are quite a few moments on this list of essential Martina McBride songs that showcase her way with a slow song, but she can also speed up the tempo in a very effective manner. If you don’t believe us, check out her live version of Pat Benatar’s "Hit Me With You're Best Shot." Here are ten moments of her career that showcase both her amazing vocal talents – as well as her wide-ranging versatility!

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10. Martina McBride - "How I Feel"

This 2007 single from Waking Up Laughing didn’t try to re-invent the wheel. It was simply about that adrenaline rush that you feel when you’re around that special someone. The mid-tempo release was the perfect single for the summer of that year. Sometimes, one needs not overthink things in terms of connecting to an audience. This was one of those times.

9. Martina McBride - "Love's The Only House" 

Musically and lyrically, this 1999 top ten hit was a little bit different than most of McBride’s recorded output at the time of its’ release. The lyrics detailed a woman observing a wide variety of people in life and their struggles, and urged the listener to look after those people who were in their life. The instrumentation definitely made this song stand apart from the rest of what was on the radio at the time, with some tasty harmonica licks from co-writer Tom Douglas.

8. Martina McBride - "I'm Gonna Love You Through It"

After a five-year absence, the four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year returned to the top ten on the singles chart with this power ballad about a woman going through treatments for breast cancer -- and the man who stands by her through the dark period. Co-writer Sonya Isaacs knew the lyrics first-hand, as her mother, Lily, is a survivor of the disease.

7. Martina McBride - "Blessed"

Perhaps the most simple entry in the Martina McBride song catalog came with this 2001 single that showed the singer giving reflection on all of the great things in her life. The video for this tune kept things all in the family, with two of her daughters appearing in the clip along with her and husband John. Their youngest, Ava Rose Kathleen, can be excused from not being in the video -- as she was still four years in the making.

6. Martina McBride - "Whatever You Say" 

Ed Hill and Tony Martin provided the lyrics for the singer to give a winning vocal performance on in this 1999 single. The singer desperately wants to stay in the relationship, but at the end of the day, her decision rests completely on how he handles the situation. Fans will hear the exquisite harmonies of fellow hitmaker Sara Evans on the track.

5. Martina McBride - "I Love You"

In the summer of 1999, this light and breezy song received a major lift when it was included in the film Runaway Bride. The song, which also appeared on McBride's disc Emotion, achieved her highest career ranking on the Hot 100 -- hitting No. 24.

4. Martina McBride - "Valentine" (with Jim Brickman)

Though this heart-warming song became a multi-format hit, the Country marketplace was actually the last genre to come on board. The song was released to Adult Contemporary radio first in 1997, hitting No. 3 because of Brickman’s popularity in that format. However, by 1998 the song had picked up enough steam that the Country audiences began to respond, making for a career moment for the Kansas native.

3. Martina McBride - "A Broken Wing"

A 1997 hit from her Evolution disc that helped to cement the singer’s growing reputation as a song interpreter. In this track, the singer is detailing the story of a woman who longs to break free from an abusive relationship. Her vocal performance on the track was simply flawless, hitting notes that were nothing short of sensational. By the end of the song, the woman breaks free -- though how she does it remains one of the format’s greatest mysteries.

2. Martina McBride - "This One’s For The Girls"

Perhaps the greatest example of an artist knowing her audience came when this single was released from her album Martina in 2003. The lyrics of this Martina McBride song were relatable to all members of the female demographic -- whether you were just getting started on your life’s path or reaching mid-life. The track became a No. 3 Country hit, and also gained the singer her only chart-topper on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1. Martina McBride - "Independence Day"

RCA knew that releasing this song -- about a young girl relating the story of her mother facing abuse at the hands of her husband amid very tragic circumstances -- was going to be a risk in continuing to establish her career. And, from that standpoint, the No. 12 ranking was lower than the top ten status of her two previous singles. But, take this song out of the catalog of Martina McBride, and you have a void that might not have ever be filled. The video -- albeit one with a little bit of controversy -- helped to further the song’s cause, and over twenty years later, this remains a can’t miss moment in her stage show -- night after night.