Tag Archive: Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood – Play On

Winning American Idol season 4, releasing two multi-platinum albums, winning multiple awards and gaining over 10 #1 singles on various charts, Carrie Underwood has, without a shadow of a doubt, made a name for herself. And with both the previous albums selling over 1 million copies each in the US alone, Play On had a lot to live up to. Her second album, Carnival Ride, went straight to #1 on the US Billboard 200, and Play On, released on November 3rd 2009, did exactly the same. It has also sold over 1 million copies in the US alone, making it the third album to do so for her. If that wasn’t enough, sales from Play On made Carrie Underwood the highest selling American Idol contestant in America, outselling Kelly Clarkson by around 100,000 albums.

The album kicks off in style with Cowboy Casanova, the song having the strings you’d expect a killer country anthem to have, but the verses have a funky guitar riff to accompany Carrie’s vocals, which clearly haven’t packed up and gone anywhere. A perfect song choice to promote her third album, filled with attitude and punch. Quitter begins with a nice little acoustic intro leading into a story-like verse, followed by a melodic bridge/chorus. I really like how she changes up the tempo in the song, keeping it faster during the upbeat story verses, and slowing down during the more heartfelt chorus. Slowing down the pace a bit, Mama’s Song is a lovely little ballad, albeit a little sleepy at some points, the longer notes during the chorus are sublime. I also enjoy the backing singing after the chorus. Continuing the slower songs, Change is another story from Underwood. And even though this is a slower tempo, this one is definitely not ‘sleepy’. “You’re just a fool, just a fool to believe you can change the world” is beautifully sung and really a highlight on the album. Undo It brings a little pace back to Play On, with a funky little banjo intro. Underwood does attitude well in the verses, but the chorus is the real reason why this song is a success for me. The “uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it” is catchy, and the harmonies just round off the pleasurable ear experience. Someday When I Stop Loving You is another ballad which, in all honesty, is probably forgotten when you think back over the album after listened to it. Obviously, you can’t fault Underwood’s vocals, but this song could’ve been so much more than just another boring country ballad. It almost becomes memorable towards the end of the chorus, but just as it starts to escalate, it falls back down flat again. Now the fasted song we’ve heard since Cowboy, Songs Like This rescues the album from almost slipping down in quality. It’s a fast-paced, action song with so much energy and, that thing Carrie does well that I’ve mentioned before, attitude. It sounds like a brilliant choice for radio, including hand claps and strings which are brilliant. Just as we gain some momentum, the pace slows down again, and just as I think ‘Oh great, just what we need..’ Temporary Home hits me with anything but boredom. The song is filled emotion, sadness and heart. The lyrics are beautiful, the melody and harmonies are wonderful, completely doing those lyrics justice. Underwood shows control and power throughout her vocals. This Time quickens up the pace one again, and I can’t say I’m hugely raving about it. It feels all too familiar, like this song has been heard before, not just similar to some of her other album tracks, but other country artists too, which is a real shame. For me, it’s just a filler song. The chorus is a good sing-along though. Look At Me continues the pattern of the slow-fast-slow switch this album has going on. The male backing vocals work really well here, in all honesty they’re probably the best thing about the song. Unapologize is next, and I never tire of hearing Underwood’s voice. The verses are brilliant, the way they’re constructed, the melody, everything is fantastic, leading into a big chorus with killer hooks and harmonies. It also has a minor chord breakdown before going back to the chorus. My favourite song from the album comes near the end, in What Can I Say. A song featuring ‘Sons of Sylvia’, a male country group, consisting of three brothers. It’s a slower song, starting off with just Carrie for the first verse and chorus, before the boys join in wandering all around Carrie’s melody with such ease. Everything about this song is perfection. The harmonies are brilliant, neither Carrie nor the Clark brothers outshine the other, they work together in perfect sync. Definitely worth the wait. Finally Play On, the title track, finishing off the album in style. It’s signature Carrie. Classic country arrangement, classic Carrie vocals, flawless as usual, and a classic soaring chorus.

This is probably my favourite Carrie album, even if it got a little repetitive at times. The songs have improved, there are less and less filler tracks than before, and Play On even entered the UK album chart at #93, the first time she’s made it onto the chart. Success! 8/10


Carrie Underwood – Carnival Ride

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.

Carrie Underwood – Some Hearts

Carrie Underwood won the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, and had the tough task of trying to do what season 2 and 3 winners failed to do, and that was to be as successful as Kelly Clarkson. She beat runner-up Bo Bice and went on to sing the coronation song Inside Your Heaven. I can’t remember how I got into Carrie, or even found out about her, as American Idol wasn’t on over in this country, but i’m so glad I did as she’s an amazing vocalist and country singer. This album holds one of the best Carrie songs on it, which I’m sure you could take a guess at, once you listen to it. The album was released on November 15th 2005 in America, where I presume it was released here around that time.

Wasted is the first track off the album, and gets straight into the country feel. It was the sixth and final single in America. She doesn’t waste (excuse the pun) any time in reminding us why she won American Idol with her vocal range.

Don’t Forget To Remember Me is next, and a really sweet song from Underwood. It was the fourth single in America and Underwood shows her tender vocals aswell as her belting notes.

Some Hearts is the titled track from the album, being released as the third single from Some Hearts. This is a more poppy song than some of the others, towards the end where she uses the highest octave in her range is beautiful.

Jesus, Take The Wheel follows and was the second single from the album. It’s a great slow song, with a more country feel to it and is probably my favourite slow song on the album.

The Night Before (Life Goes On) is next, and I’ve got to say, i’m not a huge fan of this song. I mean, yeah it’s okay musically with its verses and choruses, but there’s nothing that’s amazing about it. And I don’t really like the chosen way she sang “the night before, life goes on”.

Lessons Learned follows Underwood starting in her lower range, before switching between it and her higher range. She really has a great upper range and this song is a good example of that.

Before He Cheats is next, and was the fifth single from the album and my personal favourite song by Underwood in her career so far. The song is perfect, with her oozing “independent lady”ness. That’s right, it’s a word. It’s country pop at its finest.

Starts With Goodbye follows and really gets going during the chorus, as Underwood’s vocals really stand out best in the upper octaves and that’s just what she does in the chorus.

I Just Can’t Live A Lie is next and has a familiar feel to it, similar to the previous song. But nevertheless the song is good, with Underwood showing her potential for another record.

We’re Young And Beautiful follows and is a welcome change from the similar last two songs. It’s more of a faster song, but not too fast. The attitude to the song is really good and it has a nice feel to it.

That’s Where It Is is next and is a beautiful song. Underwood has done many slow songs on this album, but this definitely is a great one. I love the lead up to the chorus.

Whenever You Remember follows and has a less country feel to it, as it’s a piano ballad. The chorus is sweet and I feel like I should be swaying my arms in the sky as I listen.

I Ain’t In Checotah Anymore is the penultimate track on the album and is about the changes she’s gone through from winning American Idol. It’s a great way of expressing her feelings about winning, the song is great.

Inside Your Heaven is the final track on the album and the coronation song of her Idol win. It was the first single and the ballad really shows off her vocal ability.

Overall, Some Hearts is a decent debut album from the season four winner, but there’s definitely greater things to come from Carrie Underwood. I’d rate this album as 7/10.