Reba McEntire hasn't put out a song in nearly four years, so fans probably figure she has plenty to say in her new material.
Turns out she has just a single sentiment. However, it's a powerful one.
Her newest tune is called simply "Pray for Peace," and that's exactly what she repeats — over and over again. The song goes for nearly two minutes before McEntire sings anything else.
The repetitive effect is stark, dramatic, and — in its own way — uplifting. McEntire underscored her message by filming a touching video for the song, featuring people from all over the world joining her in the simple plea for perhaps the most difficult thing on Earth to achieve.
It's also a rather unusual statement in the overall country lexicon, a musical genre that tends to frame references to peace in either a patriotic or Judeo-Christian context. McEntire's pleas for prayer do not mention any particular higher power, do not mention America or Americans, and the supplementary lyrics suggest universally oriented concerns such as "pray for your mother, father, family, and yourself."
Indeed, the song is far less controversial than the inarguable standard of all peace songs, John Lennon's "Imagine," which Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder recently covered in concert. "Pray for Peace" is also more inclusive than even the most famous of 9/11 tributes, Alan Jackson's simple and non-aggressive "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)," a song which pleads for fellowship in the world, but through the lens of the Christian Bible.
McEntire explained the origins of the song on her Facebook page: "The idea to write the song 'Pray for Peace' came to me last year as I was walking on our place in Gallatin, Tn. For days I'd sing, 'Pray for Peace,' over and over. It wasn't until several months later did the other parts start to fall in place. Some, not until we got into the studio to record it."
The singer credits divine intervention for her creation: "I feel this song is a gift from God. I have never worked on a song as long as this one," she notes. "It's an act of perseverance, prayer, hope, fellowship and mostly love."
Not surprisingly, the moving song and video have received positive attention, from both fans and fellow artists. Keith Urban even posted a video on Facebook showing him, wife Nicole Kidman, and their two young daughters praying together while the song plays in the background.
There's no word yet on whether this song will be included on an upcoming album, but fans can go to McEntire's official site and download it for free. McEntire's last album was 2010's All the Women I Am.