Only three years after the 35-track, two-disc compilation Reba #1's
, Reba McEntire presents a slightly more generous examination of her successful recordings with the three-disc 50 Greatest Hits
. But despite being longer, it actually covers less ground chronologically, adding only one new hit since 2004, "Because of You," a duet with Kelly Clarkson
, and lopping off the first eight years of McEntire's career. She started out with Mercury Records (which, like MCA, is now an imprint of Universal, its catalog readily available to the compilers), which built her up to the point of scoring two consecutive number-one hits, "Can't Even Get the Blues" and "You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving," in 1983. Neither of those tracks is counted among her "50 greatest hits" here; instead, the collection starts with her first MCA chart-topper, "How Blue," from 1984-1985. From there, things progress chronologically over more than two decades, with each hit presented in the order it marched up the Billboard country singles chart. Along the way, a few editorial adjustments are made, at least below the level of Top Five hits. Left out are "Little Girl" (which reached number seven in 1990) and "They Asked About You" (number seven in 1994), while, for instance, "She Thinks His Name Was John" (number 15 in 1994), "Starting Over Again" (number 19 in 1996), and "What If It's You" (number 15 in 1997) are included. Otherwise, however, the album lives up to its title, and in its sheer bulk, it makes a case for McEntire's song choices, which, in addition to proving hits year after year, also enabled her to portray and describe a variety of modern women struggling to get by, sometimes being cheated on, sometimes doing the cheating themselves, but always trying to reconcile love with life's travails.