At this point, Reba McEntire’s public persona is that of your cool aunt or funniest gal pal more so than the singer of “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” and other hits. Whether she’s appearing in sitcom reruns, on KFC commercials or as a source of levity at country music functions, McEntire’s personality is always as fiery as her red hair.
That’s not to downplay the other Heaven-sent talents that brought her this far. The before-mentioned 1994 single “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” crosses these various streams, so to speak–flaunting why McEntire deserves to be considered one of the great vocalists of the past 40 years while containing the sass that’s made her a multimedia superstar.
Its music video also previews McEntire’s future as a countrified comedian. From a night out at a Mexican restaurant with her co-star boyfriend Brad to an over-the-top dance number featuring a beauty shop’s predominantly female cast, the video is chock-full of every funny facial expression in the singer’s arsenal. The song and its accompanying visuals mock men who aren’t the best at using Alexander Graham Bell’s famous invention to stay in touch with a potential mate. In modern terms, Brad didn’t save face with his smart phone by shooting McEntire’s character Dorothy a thank you text or a follow-up email. Plus, you get to see the leading lady’s over-the-top reactions to a charming mariachi band.
Musically, it’s never all fun and laughs for McEntire. The B-side to “Why Haven’t I Heard From You,” “If I Had Only Known,” deals with the pain of losing a loved one. The next single, “She Thinks His Name Was John,” remains one of the saddest and most candid songs about AIDs, so it’s not like funny Reba completely took the musical reigns. Still, the comedic chops we love today were already in rare form over 20 years ago.