After the phenomenal success of her debut album, Some Hearts, in America, the multi platinum recording artist Carrie Underwood set her sights on the tricky “make you or break you” sophomore album that most artists pray they get right. It’s a chance to find your sound and really establish what artist you want to be, if you’ve come from a reality show like Underwood did. Her album was released here on July 7th 2008, 9 months after its release in America. But regardless of the wait, you’d soon find out that what you’re about to listen to was more than worth it.

Flat On The Floor is first, and the intro sounds a little like We’re Young And Beautiful from the previous album, but you soon realise when Underwood comes in, that this song is far greater than the other track. Carrie’s voice has clearly improved, with a more powerful sound.

All-American Girl is next and was the second single in America. It took me a while to get into this song, as I didn’t really appreciate the vocals, but after hearing it many times, it’s definitely grown on me. The verses are definitely its strong point.

So Small was the lead off single to the album in America. It’s a slow song, really showing Underwood’s improved control since the debut. The lyrics are brilliant, “sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand” they touch you with their simplicity.

Just A Dream is next and was released as the fourth single. It continues the slower theme, with a theme about a woman who’s just lost her husband. The lyrics are so sad, and Underwood really does them justice, telling the story so beautifully.

Get Out Of This Town follows with a happier and more up-beat feel to it. The chorus is catchy and will likely get you moving. Underwood’s vocals are really unmistakable, which sets her apart from the other country artists out there.

Crazy Dreams is next and don’t confuse this with the other ‘dream’ in the title. This song is a great country song about how your ambitions can come true.

I Know You Won’t follows and brings the tempo right down, with Underwood hurling out the charm into your ears, as she whispers out the verse. As it gets to the chorus, it really becomes one of my favourites on the album. Her change between falsetto and normal voice is magical.

Last Name is next and was the third single from the album. It has a sort of Before He Cheats feel to it. It’s definitely a Carrie anthem, with her killer attitude and vocals blowing you away. It’s definitely a firm favourite on the album for me.

You Won’t Find This follows up and is a beautiful song, changing from the high energy previous song, to this flowing ballad. Underwood’s voice sounds amazing during the chorus.

I Told You So was the fifth and final single from the album. It was a cover of the Randy Travis song of the same name. It’s a brilliant cover, and definitely one of my favourites from the album. Her voice carries out the longer, high notes so effortlessly.

The More Boys I Meet is next and brings the tempo back up. I love how Underwood sings “I don’t think so” throughout the song. The verses are brilliantly constructed and Carrie sounds brilliant as usual.

Twisted feels a little bit like a better ‘Wasted’ from the last album. It’s up-beat and catchy, with the chorus really bringing the song to life. Underwood really shines with the long, powerful notes.

Wheel Of The World is the final song on the album, and, i’ve got to say, I feel the album could have ended a little better. It’s not a bad song, but it’s not really a great song either. It’s a slower song to round the album off, and Underwood does her best to bring the song some meaning.

Overall, Carnival Ride is a major improvement to her debut, with plenty more great songs rather than just “okay” ones. Okay, so it didn’t chart in the UK and nor is she that popular over here. But that doesn’t matter, she’s having major success in America and she deserves it. This album is at least an 7.5/10.

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