Skip to Content

Reba’s 20 Best Songs

Queen of country music, Reba has dominated the genre for nearly 50 years. From being able to break your heart to getting you off your feet, she’s done it all. There’s a reason she only goes by one name. She’s the sort of storyteller you won’t soon forget. Her vocal styling and that heavy twang are simply unforgettable.

Through her career, she’s carved out a legacy that will go down as one of the greatest of all time, across all genres. From blockbuster hits like “Fancy” and “Whoever’s in New England” to deep cuts like “Cactus in a Coffee Can,” Reba has left no stone unturned when it comes to the kinds of stories she’s willing to tell. It’s her boldness in songwriting and cutting outside songs that have lent to such an enduring career.

When it comes to the singer’s best works, we certainly had our work cut out for ourselves. From albums like For Your Broken Heart to 2019’s Stronger Than the Truth, Reba has been able to twist and wind her way through various aspects of country music. She’s veered from bluegrass-fused ditties to more polished, commercial-leaning fare.

Looking over her entire body of work, we’ve got a rundown of Reba’s 20 Best Songs, featuring hits and deep cuts.


A cover of Bobbie Gentry, Reba’s “Fancy” boasts the story from an acoustic-wrought performance into a flashy theatrical play. Guitars crack, backing vocals soar, and Reba’s lead performance digs deep into the story of a young girl pushed into a life of sex work before clawing her way to fame and fortune.

“The Fear of Being Alone”

A reckless heart, Reba relays a story about two lovers caught in a thunderstorm. While they have a quick and hot infatuation with one another, the desire to hold off on saying the L word grips them tight. “It’s just the fear of being alone,” Reba’s narrator reminds herself. Time will reveal all, she continues. It’s a necessary message of desperation, human connection, and the need to be loved.

“Whoever’s in New England”

In the song, Reba plays the part of a woman who believes her husband is having an affair on his business trips to Boston. Trickly and emotional, “Whoever’s in New England” unravels the story with the pulverizing weight of an anvil. Despite the suspected infidelity, Reba’s character vows to stay with her husband and wait for him whenever whoever’s in New England is finished with him. “You know it’s not too late cause you’ll always have a place to come back to,” she sings.

Subscribe to Nash Gab on Facebook!
Subscribe so you don't miss a thing.


“Bobby” is among Reba’s most underrated story songs. When a father kills his wife, at least from the son’s perspective, he’s sent to prison where he contends with what he’s done. “I hope they kill you / I hope you go to hell,” the son hisses. Despite the gentle production and melody, the lyrics strike the soul’s core like a rose’s thorns. As the song progresses, all is eventually revealed, and it’s a sucker punch.

“Does He Love You” featuring Linda Davis

You rarely get the perspective of both the wife and the mistress in song. But “Does He Love You” manages to pack a punch with both women weaving together their stories into this trickly, yet powerful, ballad. With twinges of soft, AC rock, the sweeping song is a fierce vocal showcase for both singers, as they trade off lyrics that puncture the heart.

“Is There Life Out There”

In one of Reba’s most excellent story songs, she tells the tale of a working mom who questions her life choices. She’s thankful for where she is, and she loves her family dearly. But she wonders what life could have been like had she ventured out on her own when she was younger. “She’s always lived for tomorrow / She’s never learned how to live for today,” she sings. There’s both a tinge of regret and resignation, eventually residing upon gratitude.

“Cactus in a Coffee Can”

A delicate, traditionally-country instrumentation, “Cactus in a Coffee” tells the tale of a woman who sits on a plane and meets another woman clutching a cactus in a coffee can during their flight. “She started talking and pain poured out,” sings Reba. The story goes that the woman spent a good 10 years tracking down her “crack”-addicted mother, learning that she only had two weeks to live. “Thanks for listening and being here,” the woman says.

Reba at Celebrity Fight Night XXIII

“You Lie”

Reba feels lonesome and weary, desperate to reconnect with her lover. “I want you so much / So I say ‘I need you’ and leave you no choice,” she sings. She later admits that her beau doesn’t lover her but instead lies to mask the pain and keep from hurting her. It’s also among Reba’s most searing vocals of her career.

“How Was I to Know”

A broken heart doesn’t necessarily shatter you. At least, that’s Reba’s experience with “How was I to Know,” in which she recognizes that pain hasn’t ended her. “How was I to know I would be this strong / I had what it takes all along,” she sings, letting what should have been turmoil slide from her shoulders. A brightness fuses with emotional heft, as Reba navigates her way through the aftermath and rises victorious.

“She Thinks His Name Was John”

Coming during the AIDS epidemic in the United States, “She Thinks His Name Was John” just might be Reba’s most important song of her career. “There is one that never leaves her thoughts,” the narrator muses, trying to remember the one man who gave her HIV. She sings from her deathbed, as she flips through the various lovers she’d had over the years. It’s a performance that’s enough to leave you breathless.

“What Do You Say”

“What Do You Say” features a three-verse structure, each one building upon the previous about those moments you don’t quite have the words to explain. “Just bite your tongue and let your heart lead the way,” she sings. By the third verse, in which a woman is dying from cancer, you may not be able to pick yourself off the floor. It’s that powerful.

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” sees Reba flipping the Vickie Lawrence original on its head. Much like “Fancy,” Reba bulks up the production with polished guitar work and crooning vocals. “The judge in this town’s got bloodstains on his hands,” she sings. It’s a wonderfully Southern gothic-spun song about murder and revenge.

“Consider Me Gone”

“Consider Me Gone” finds Reba laying all her cards out on the table. She presents an ultimatum, that if her love can’t express love like he should, she’ll walk right out the front door. “If you think you can do better than this, then I guess we’re done / Let’s not drag this on,” she laments. Steel guitar weeps in the background, stitched together with electric guitar. Reba’s voice, as it always does, rings crystal clear and packs a 1-2 sucker punch. It might be glossier than much of her work, yet it still carries those Reba emotional signatures.

“I’m a Survivor”

A hit song that would become the theme for Reba’s self-titled TV series, “I’m a Survivor” tells the story of a premature baby who eventually becomes a single mom. “A victim of circumstance…” sings Reba, depicting a character who has a will of steel. “Who I am is who I want to be!” she later declares. Her gumption to survive lies at the heart of the song, pulsing with resilience and determination.

Reba at Celebrity Fight Night XXIII

“The Heart Won’t Lie” featuring Vince Gill

“Sometimes life gets in the way,” sings Reba. Over percussive palpitations and polished background vocals, the singer waxes vulnerable about a love interest. Vince Gill’s vocals on the second verse and on harmony boost the song’s sense of raw honesty, as the two lovers expose their nerve endings and what’s really going on inside their heads. As hard as they try, their heart just won’t let them go.

“The Greatest Man I Never Knew”

Ripped from songwriter Richard Leigh’s own life, “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” unravels a sad tale about a young girl who loves her father but doesn’t really know him. “He grew cold like an old winter wind, blowing across my life,” she sings with a certain heaviness. As the story progresses, it grows sadder and sadder. Before long, the father passes away and leaves Reba’s character trembling in tears.

“Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain”

This isn’t a little song about heartache. It’s a Tammy Wynette-sized bulldozer that leaves scars on the heart. “Standing by your man, that’s a broken plan / When he breaks your heart and all your trust with his two cheating hands,” she sings. Misery drips from the song’s somber tone, a muted performance that drives home the lyrics like rivets through steel. On 2019’s Stronger Than the Truth, Reba continued to prove she’s got the storytelling chops to pull off such heart-stung stories. And “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” is among her career bests.

“Cathy’s Clown”

An Everly Brothers original, “Cathy’s Clown” depicts the story of a man shamed by his lover, and he’ll never live it down. With Reba’s version, the singer douses the story with a tragic pleading that only she could supply. “Don’t want your love anymore,” she sings. “Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure.” While it doesn’t have verses in the traditional sense, there remains plenty of emotional threads in the form of bridges to keep the story intact.

“One Promise Too Late”

“No matter how much I adore you, I’ve got to stand behind the promise I made,” sings Reba. The main character meets the man of her dreams — but she’s already married, so she can’t act on her feelings. The song weaves both a tinge of sadness and a whole lotta gratitude, for at least meeting him was enough. “I can’t have you but I’ll never forget you,” she promises.

“If You See Him, If You See Her” featuring Brooks & Dunn

Moving on from a relationship is a tremendous transition in one’s life. “I still need him,” cries Reba over electric guitar and twinkling piano keys. “If You See Him, If You See Her” bandies back and forth between the two acts, their voices nestled together in a lonesome net of regret and heartache. Taken together, the performances magnificently capture the tragedy of a dying relationship. Ending it all is the easy part; moving on is where it really tests your will.

Skip to content