It’s been over two years since we were last able to get our hands on a new album from Carrie Underwood. During that time she focused on her marriage to hockey player Mike Fisher and took a little break from touring and recording. Now she’s ready to make a comeback with her latest album, Blown Away. How does the new 14 song set compare to the singer’s previous three albums?
One would think that after getting married and experiencing life as a happy newlywed this album would be an ode to that happy lifestyle. However, Blown Away is surprisingly a more dark than lighthearted album from Carrie Underwood. The album kicks off with its rocking lead single, “Good Girl,” which serves as the perfect way to start the album. Once the song ends, the album quickly transcends into two of the album’s darkest themed songs.
“Blown Away” tells the story of a woman who gains revenge on her alcoholic father by leaving him passed out on the couch during a tornado. “Some people called it taking shelter she called it sweet revenge,” sings Underwood as the woman in the song takes cover in the cellar. The stellar haunting production is the song’s strongest trait as it effortlessly creates the dark, stormy mood that serves as the background to the story. The next track, “Two Black Cadillacs,” keeps with that same dark and haunting mood. Here, Underwood delivers the story of a dead man who cheated on his wife with another woman. Presumably the two women had no idea the other existed, “two months ago his wife called the number on his phone, turns out he’d been lying to both of them for oh so long.” From there we’re left to think the two women got their revenge on the man, “They shared a crimson smile and just walked away and left the secret at the grave.” The metaphor that has the two black Cadillacs posing as the two women shows the incredible growth Underwood has experienced as a songwriter.
That growth is on full display with the album’s most stellar track, “Wine After Whiskey.” Carrie, along with co-writers Dave Berg and Tom Shapiro, give us an incredible song about that one break-up that is nearly impossible to get over. That break-up that finds you comparing future relationships to that one and knowing none of them will ever live up to it. “Once you’ve tasted a love that strong you can’t go back and you can’t settle on anything less and that’s what gets me it’s like having wine after whiskey.” That line alone is the most brilliant on the entire album. Everything from the extremely understated production to the brilliant vocal performance Carrie deliver makes this easily one of her best songs of her career.
What I love about this album is that we find Carrie and producer Mark Bright trying different productions and themes. Though the usual over-the-top productions are present here (“See You Again” and “Who Are You”), we find the pair playing around with different sounds. “One Way Ticket” gives us a reggae feel while “Nobody Ever Told You” gives us a cutesy, Taylor Swift-esque production we’ve never really heard from Underwood. Then we have the stellar low-key production found on the heartbreaking ballad, “Forever Changed.”
More importantly, the album also finds the producer and Carrie dabbling in more traditional and “gritty” country, as the singer’s said. In addition to “Wine After Whiskey,”the album includes two more raw, edgy traditional songs. “Leave Love Alone” is one of the most uniquely produced songs as it has a funky bluegrass, southern-rockish feel that is simply amazing music to one’s ears. Then you listen to “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” which not only includes stellar guitar shredding by Brad Paisley, but plenty of fiddle that create a fantastic toe-tapper of a song.
Though the album has many highlights and shows Carrie’s tremendous growth as an artist, there are a few missteps. The song could have done without a few songs like the mediocre closing song, “Who Are You,” which is brought down by its cheesy lyrics. But overall, this is a small step forward for Carrie who, in the past, has chosen style over substance. The stellar lyrical and production choices found on Blown Away prove that Underwood is slowly growing into an even more incredible artist.
In other Carrie related news, we’re excited to give you all the opportunity to win a flyaway trip to see Carrie on her upcoming Blown Away tour! All you have to do is simply “Like” us on Facebook and find the “Carrie Underwood” button on our page and enter from there! The contest is going all month long so you have until May 31 to enter! It’s all brought to you by Sony Music Nashville as well as Arista Nashville! Good luck!