Album Review: Carrie Underwood – Play On

Blake Boldt | November 3rd, 2009

carrie-underwood-play-on

Reality-show prodigy turned down-home diva, Carrie Underwood has earned little critical praise despite moving over 10 million albums since her 2005 American Idol win. Nashville’s now the stomping ground for ‘80s pop-rock refugees, and Underwood’s widely viewed as a key cog in the nouveau Music Row machine–with high-minded traditionalists blanching at her country bona fides.

Despite her scratchy connection with country’s yesteryear, Underwood’s racked up a laundry list of industry honors with just two albums under her belt buckle, a reward for her gentle, tuneful voice and wholesome brand of straight-ahead twang pop. Her third disc, Play On, starts promisingly, with a whiff of boozy, barroom novelty. The playful “Cowboy Casanova,” an ode to a hard-to-keep lothario, plows along to a grungy electric guitar laced with a curling pedal steel line. This all-American girl, it seems, means serious business.

The remaining 45 minutes, though, are more Hallmark than honky tonk. Play On is a tastefully-done pop pleasure, with little of the pretentious production that gutted much of her first two discs. Better still, Underwood’s found new creases in her sweetly-Southern voice, an engaging instrument that’s grown with each album. She’s in a cheerful frame of mind these days, too: the joy she’s found in her budding romance with hockey star Mike Fisher makes the tender-hearted love songs sound like gossip night with the girls.

At her best, Underwood excels at handling the finest storytelling that Nashville has to offer. The album’s strongest track is “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” a brooding tune framed beautifully by her delicate performance, while “What Can I Say,” a collaboration with sibling trio Sons of Sylvia, is a simple, elegant declaration of longing. And the all-American girl even delivers a tart-tongued reading of the spunky, Shania-esque “Songs Like This.”

Play On, though, leans heavily on the polish of Underwood’s still-golden pipes. Too often she’s trying to outact a bad script, with a heap of platonic platitudes laid out over these sleek, bright rhythms. Underwood co-wrote seven of the thirteen cuts, and she clogs songs with stale ideas that dent the impact of her soaring soprano. Given the chief hooks of “Undo It” (a severely-processed uptempo romp) and “Unapologize” (a nice slice of swirling pop-rock), it’s a mild shock that Diane Warren doesn’t rest among the whopping twenty-five songwriters listed in the credits. Treacly anthems like “Change” and the title cut are a killjoy, too: “The smallest thing can make all the difference,” she swears on the former, aping her #1 smash, “So Small.”

Few singers could save insipid statements like “Play on, when you’re the losing the game,” and Underwood scrapes through by the skin of her teeth. Further, her hired guns hand her no favors; successful pop-rock collaborators, chief among them Idol judge Kara DioGuardi and Swedish hooksmith Max Martin, contribute little to an often-dull conversation.

No matter, as Play On will plant itself firmly atop the charts for months to come, and Underwood’s warbling saves a good deal of the dreck. With the herd of hard-charging teens now drenching the airwaves, it’s hard to believe that Underwood’s only 26. Near the top ranks of mainstream music for four years running, the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year has long proven to be an unstoppable force. Play On, though saddled with its share of loose songwriting, is a convincing reminder of a blonde, budding talent.

3 Stars

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  1. Dan Milliken
    November 3, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Nice review, Blake. I haven’t listened through the album yet, though I’m pessimistic based on the first four tracks they released.

  2. Vance
    November 3, 2009 at 11:38 am

    This is a nice review. I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the horrible Quitter.

    Dan, I don’t know if you’ll enjoy the rest of the album, but I recommend skipping or saving them these for last: Quitter, Undo It (You’ve probably heard this already), Play On, and Unapologize.

  3. Leeann Ward
    November 3, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I’ve only heard two or three songs from this album so far. None of them are my kind of music, based on production, but I’m still willing to give the rest of the album a chance. I agree with Blake that her voice really seems to be getting better.

  4. Elie
    November 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

    the album is amazing… every song on it is just brilliant. You gotta love Carrie :)

  5. Tara Seetharam
    November 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I’m thrilled you wrote this review, Blake. Whether people like or dislike this album, I do hope they realize that (it appears) Carrie has taken a particular ownership in this album and stands firm behind the decisions she made and messages she included. That in itself is an accomplishment over the past two albums.

    Dan – Cowboy Casanova, Undo It, and Mama’s Song are the weakest songs on the album, so you may end up liking the rest.

  6. Chris N.
    November 3, 2009 at 11:52 am

    It’s solid but I’m just not hearing a knockout like “Before He Cheats.”

  7. Corey
    November 3, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I’ve heard it once and I’m very disappointed. There are 3-4 decent tracks out of 13 whereas on its precedents I always found the majority very pleasurable. The lyrics seem uninspired, and though they pretend to be deep, empty. The country feel that was remarkable for both the debut and the sophomore is gone while its place is taken by the more pop sound what eventually turns out to be a change for worse. It’s a big big shame. I don’t think I’m ever gonna like it as a whole though I would really like to.

    I can’t partially agree with the review but generally you’re doing a great job here.
    Greetings from Poland :)

  8. Nelson
    November 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Carrie Underwood is the handmaiden of Satan, sent by him to destroy country music.

  9. Anna
    November 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Corey, how can you say its less country than some hearts? Some hearts was literally a pop album with 4 country songs on it that did really well for her.
    Songs like this, Someday when i stop loving you, Mamas Song, and What can i say are her most “country songs to date it my opinion.

    I agree that the songwriting could have been better, but Carrie’s voice has matured a lot and has added nuances and waves to the songs that give play on more character that in say Carnival Ride.

    Carrie is just starting out songwriting, and What Can I SAY AND temporary home are really good with a learning that imo should be given to someone so new at writing, and compared to the best writers in the biz in country music. Yes at times i wish she would just pic songs from pros, but i rather see her start writing more and getting a more personal album.

  10. robin
    November 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Nelson I imagine you like bob wills? Anyway I have listened to this album a few times and some songs need to grow on you. Play it some more. If all else fails you, you can’t disreguard the great vocals. Her voice is maturing. I can’t wait to hear her next album.

  11. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve listened to the whole CD and, like I expected, it’s excellent. “Cowboy Casanova” was a great first single and a smart first move on the part of Carrie’s team. Since this CD is going to sell like crazy, I’m guessing there will be four more singles. In my opinion, I hope they will be “Change”, “Temporary Home”, “Unapologize”, and “Play On”. Although I also love the songs, “What Can I Say”, “Undo It”, “Quitter”, and “Songs Like This” and would not be disappointed if these were singles. “Mama’s Song”, “This Time”, and “Look At Me” are all really good, but I just wouldn’t prefer them as singles above the others. My least favorite is “Someday When I Stop Loving You”. It’s not bad, but it just seems really slow-moving. This is the one that I probably will like more once I listen to it multiple times.

    All in all, this is another masterpiece from Carrie Underwood. It seems like she outshines herself over and over again. While this probably won’t reach “Some Hearts” levels, I hope that this album will be just as successful as “Carnival Ride”, if not more successful.

  12. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    The ballads are the strongest point of this album. Blake mentioned the best ones – Someday When I Stop Loving You, a poignant tune about heartbreak, and What Can I Say, a wistful song about regret.

    You can forget about the uptempo songs in this album except maybe for the snarky Songs Like This. Others are major filler.

    And I still have a hard time thinking that someone like Max Martin deserves a place in here more than the abundant talents that Nashville has to offer to Ms. Underwood. It’s just one song, but it’s glaringly bad it unfortunately stands out, for all the wrong reasons.

  13. Lee S.
    November 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Sounds like a fair review. I haven’t heard anything from the album so far except for “Cowboy Cassinova,” but it seems the album review and the single review reach a consensus. Carrie is a smash talent who mires herself with mediocre material.

    I wonder if this will get the same number of comments?

  14. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Carrie’s material is top notch, and way beyond mediocre.

  15. Brady Vercher
    November 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Good review, Blake. I felt like the songs were all fairly unimpressive with nothing really being a true standout. I’ve seen “Temporary Home” mentioned as a highlight, but I find that to be gimmicky, formulaic, and forced, although she does a good job singing it. I agree that “Someday When I Stop Loving You” is the strongest track, but the decision to place it after “Undo It” is kinda bizarre.

  16. Anna
    November 3, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    how can anyone say temporary home is formulaic? Maybe its just me, but i havent heard a song like that from a major artist before. IMO its Carrie’s strongest cowrite.

  17. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Luckily, Carrie has about 6 or so standouts, the first single being one of them. Wow, the fastest rising single in her career – she must be doing something right!

    “Temporary Home” is deeply emotional and heartfelt. I find it as a breath of fresh air that she is comfortable in singing what she believes in, and she does so in a truly sincere way. (nothing gimmicky about it)

  18. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    What does it mean for a fan to say he or she prefers song x as a single?

  19. TexasVet
    November 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    My favorites are “Look At Me” (how about a duet version with Alan Jackson who previously recorded it for the movie Billy: The Early Years) and “Someday When I Stop Loving You”.

    “Play On” the song is the weakest cut along with “Change” which should have been saved for Idol Gives Back and replaced with Bill Anderson co-write “Oklahoma Wind”.

  20. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Texasvet: I have to disagree. I think “Change” is one of her strongest tracks on her album. It’s one that I can’t stop playing over and over again. I’m hoping this is her second single. The song “Play On” is one of her best as well.

  21. Paul W Dennis
    November 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Haven’t you learned ? Never post reviews or items about Carrie U and Taylor S – because according to their rabid (per Websters : of or infected by rabies) fans, each release is better than the one before it and each future release will be better than all those that came before (and the very first release was terrific beyond all belief

    ha ha ha ha ha ha

  22. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    TexasVet
    November 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm Permalink

    “Play On” the song is the weakest cut along with “Change” which should have been saved for Idol Gives Back and replaced with Bill Anderson co-write “Oklahoma Wind”.

    ^^ Would Oklahoma Wind make a better album title than Play On? Why not?

  23. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Paul W Dennis states: “Each release is better than the one before it and each future release will be better than all those that came before (and the very first release was terrific beyond all belief.”

    Wow, no fan could have said it better than this. Bravo, Paul. Let’s give a standing o for Paul. I really hope I didn’t use your quote out of context – that would have been clumsy.

  24. Leeann Ward
    November 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    What ended up happening to “Oklahoma Wind” anyway? I’m honestly not trying to be antagonistic )I’m truly curious), but I kept reading from her fans that it was going to be included. In fact, most comments about it would announce that “Carrie Underwood has a co-write with Bill Anderson, “Oklahoma Wind” that will be included on her new album, Play On.” I always got the sense that the constant mentions of it, along with Bill Anderson’s name, were made in order to get more credibility for Carrie as a songwriter and song selector. So, I’m just surprised that it didn’t make the cut in the end, since the fans kept saying what a great song it was too.

  25. Tara Seetharam
    November 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Leeann, the general thought is that “Oklahoma Wind” is very similar in styling and theme to “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” thus the decision to only include one on the album. I personally think she chose the better song, and any credibility she would have gained with OW, she gained with SWISLY.

  26. Razor X
    November 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I’m sure “Oklahoma Wind” will be included in the platinum edition which will likely be released 6 months from now.

  27. Leeann Ward
    November 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    My impression was that Anderson’s name was what was supposed to gain her the credibility, not the song itself. Did Anderson write on the one that was chosen in the end?

  28. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Leann,

    It was a great song. But a strong hunch was that between Someday When I Stop Loving You and Oklahoma Wind, only one could make the album being the two songs having similar themes. Carrie went with the familiar writers, even if it was against her own co-write.

    Too bad. Not that I’m saying including Oklahoma Wind will give this album more country credibility, but it will probably provide it with more structure and stronger lyric and storytelling that is highly abundant in Nashville and one which country music holds the most pride on. Instead we got “Boy meets girl, girl meets boy…”

    I cannot still fathom the fact how you could go with Max Martin, Kara Dioguardi, and other pop songwriters trying to make some extra bucks in country radio over Whispering Bill. Wasted opportunity for Ms. Underwood.

  29. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I personally think she chose the better song, and any credibility she would have gained with OW, she gained with SWISLY.

    ^^Credibility which was immediately thrown out the window with Quitter.

  30. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Leann,

    Someday When I Stop Loving You was written by Hilary Lindsey, Steve McEwan, and Gordie Sampson.

    Hilary had a demo out but I’m not sure if that is still up.

  31. Lorria
    November 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    this album grows on you. promise. 4 more listens and its the greatest album of the year.

  32. Blake Boldt
    November 3, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    @Chris N.: Even “Someday,” my favorite cut, isn’t a surefire smash. The whole album is generally an easy listen, but I agree that nothing matches the gravity of great singles like “Before He Cheats,” “Just a Dream” or “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

    @Brady: “Temporary Home” was a buzzed-about song in the fan forums and in early reviews, but I’m in line with your feelings about it. Some might be puzzled by its omission in the review, but it neither detracted nor enhanced the album in my opinion.

    ——

    In terms of “Oklahoma Wind,” I honestly hadn’t heard any demo or previous rendition, though the lyric sheet suggests that it would’ve added a key storytelling componentPlay On.

    Neither “Quitter” nor “Undo It” belong on a major-label country disc, and their inclusion among the first five songs really makes it hard for Carrie to recover from that stretch, though there are worthy highlights in the second half. Though I derided “Cowboy Casanova” as Carrie’s reintroduction to radio, it’s a dizzying earworm that’s well-suited as an album opener, but for some reason Carrie never quite matches the audacity of that performance on the other twelve songs.

  33. CMW
    November 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Having heard the album once, I couldn’t tell you much about it other than “Someday When I Stop Loving You” was pretty okay and the production on “Undo It” nearly made me retch.

    Underwood remains a fine vocalist in search of memorable songs.

    Nice to see Blake Boldt writing over here!

  34. Leeann Ward
    November 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I still say Carrie has not topped “Before He Cheats.” I really like that song and I’m not ashamed.

  35. TexasVet
    November 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    “Credibility which was immediately thrown out the window with Quitter.”

    I forgot about “Quitter”. It’s definitely a weaker cut than my previously mentioned “Change”.
    Other then CC I don’t particularly care for any of the up-tempo songs except maybe “Undo it” although it sound more like something Kelly Clarkson would have done.

  36. Tara Seetharam
    November 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    “Though I derided “Cowboy Casanova” as Carrie’s reintroduction to radio, it’s a dizzying earworm that’s well-suited as an album opener, but for some reason Carrie never quite matches the audacity of that performance on the other twelve songs.”

    I’d take “Songs Like This” over “Cowboy Casanova” any day.

  37. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Blake – Jon Randall recorded and put out the demo, even as it was from a woman’s point of view.

    CMW – “Underwood remains a fine vocalist in search of memorable songs.” – You summed up the tragedy perfectly. That’s the gist of my love-hate relationship with Underwood. Love because her vocal talents are really worthy of recognition. Hate because of the unexplainable fact of her settling for songs like Quitter and The More Boys I meet.

    Which is not to say all her songs have been duds. The standouts so far have been mostly outstanding, and Underwood delivers as promised. Which is why it’s all the more baffling that she continues to infuse barely serviceable songs in the pretense of just having something for everybody.

    The hope is that she’s still young, and her career doesn’t seem to be anywhere near finished. There’s still a chance of correcting that fatal, inherent flaw of choosing bad songs.

  38. Matt B.
    November 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I tweeted the Roughstock review and fans were surprised that I called it ‘uneven.’ It didn’t mean I hated the album, I just wasn’t and am still not drinking the CU kool-aid the way that some have.

    Blake, I also agree with you about “Temporary Home” even if I feel it is a stronger song on Play On it still doesn’t rival the other ‘classics’ that CU has scored gigantic hits with.

  39. Blake Boldt
    November 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    @Jon: Speculation was so rampant about Carrie’s song selection on this album that I made a point not to seek out a song until the tracklist was set in stone, but I will now have to check that out. Thanks. I’m curious to see the quality of songs that missed the cut.

    @Matt B.: “Uneven” is a perfect term for the disc.

  40. Nicolas
    November 3, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I love it =) Carrie’s done well, IMHO

  41. Johnny Paycheck
    November 3, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Only 3 stars? you guys have done it now, the carrie die-hards will each go buy 5 more copies now to make sure that copies sold proves you wrong.

  42. Chris N.
    November 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    For some reason, fans get the angriest about reviews that are positive but just not as positive as they’d like. I gave Terri Clark’s new record four stars and said it was the best thing she’s ever done, but go to her website and you’ll find one fan after another calling me an idiot because I said there was one song I didn’t care for.

  43. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Blake – There was just so many songs written and registered presumably for Play On it was hard to keep track. Of course, Carrie co-writes were the easiest ones to track down and follow. For sure, there were a lot more songs not co-written by Carrie that were considered as well and didn’t make the cut.

    I probably heard 3 or 4 demos from the Carrie co-writes that didn’t make Play On. One was with Ashley Monroe, and the other one was with Hilary Lindsey. Of course, I cannot speak for the quality of songs whose demos I never heard, but Oklahoma Wind, in my opinion, is the most noteworthy of those not making the cut.

  44. Vicki
    November 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    As a Carrie fan, I too see her vocal skills improving but I too was disappointed with several songs. The one song that I can’t get enough of though is “Temporary Home”. That last verse, just makes it all real..her singing is pure gold and emotion here. I don’t know if it will be a single as she says she can’t sing the last verse without crying.

  45. Nicolas
    November 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    @Vicki: Her crying while performing it live would be a great thing… Kellie Pickler did that when she sang “I Wonder” and got a standing ovation.

  46. CarrieFan
    November 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you 9513 for finally giving Carrie Underwood a decent review and fair shake. As a big fan of Carrie, all I ask for is an unbiased, well thought out review that doesn’t stink of hatred for the artist, which is often the case on this site. But this review is evenhanded and about the music, which is all I can hope for.

    I may not agree with everything you said, but at least you are polite, and give some credit where it is do to Carrie, who put her heart and soul into this album.

    I personally think it is the best album of her career because her vocals have never sounded better. The production is softer on this album too, and it feels more organic, with more depth, then her first 2 albums.

    My personal favorite song is also “Someday When I Stop Loving You”, but there are alot of other great songs on this album to enjoy as well. ie-”Look at Me” with Vince Gill is gorgeous!

    I love Cowboy Casanova too. I think it Rocks! lol

  47. Johnny Paycheck
    November 3, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    I want to know will there be a review of the Fearless platinum “6 new songs plus the thug story video/rap” I always find all the comments on the Carrie and Taylor reviews and stories as hilarious and revealing on the Carrie and Taylor reviews and stories as the actual reviews and stories themselves. Please continue and don’t forget to include a healthy dose of snark.
    P.S. the heartfelt, earnest comments from the respective fans are the most entertaining, they never see the humor of their own comments and fandom.

  48. kurt
    November 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    “Which is not to say all her songs have been duds. The standouts so far have been mostly outstanding, and Underwood delivers as promised. Which is why it’s all the more baffling that she continues to infuse barely serviceable songs in the pretense of just having something for everybody.”

    This has to be the comment i agree with the most. There are a lot of highs on this album, yet I won’t even come close to calling the album great.

    Carrie should work more with Nasville’s best songwriters, they still have a lot to offer, and she hasn’t come close to picking all their creative talents. The songs with the ‘pop’ songwriters ended up being weird in a sense the amalgamation of pop and country just sounded weird and disjointed in parts. She needs to stop thinking about pleasing everybody and pick the best songs. In a few pre-album release interviews she mentioned the album will be her most versatile; I actually sighed in disappointment because I realize there would probably be a few ‘fluff’ songs in there to appeal to others. I find it really hard to believe that some of the songs that made the album were really the best. Unless she is really interested in crossing over to pop.

  49. Jim Malec
    November 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    @ the JM haters: I’ve written a grand total of two reviews on Carrie Underwood for The 9513, and three reviews on her in my entire career, so I’m not sure what source material you’re drawing from to come up with this “huge bias.” In the most recent of those reviews, I had this to say among my criticism of “Cowboy Casanova:”

    “Underwood is beautiful, personable and she has a clear, crystalline voice comparable to few in music. On this song, that voice is lucid [and] commanding”

    “Underwood is a young woman with a once-in-a-lifetime voice who could literally take any artistic path”

    That is ten billion miles away from “stinking of hatred,” and it’s hard to find anything I’ve ever written about Underwood that is derogatory towards her talent or her character. And I take offense to these baseless claims of bias that are being propagated here, at the CU Fans forum and over at the Pule Music forum (and who knows where else).

    If you want to say I don’t generally like Underwood’s music, that’s fine. if you want to say you don’t think I’m fair to her, hopefully you can prove why, but that’s your right. But if you’re going to say that my writing about her “stinks of hatred,” you’re going to have to get real and get over yourselves–it’s not true, no reasonable observer would deem it to be true, and it is a gross mis-characterization that is not inline with your favorite artist’s character.

  50. Jon
    November 3, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Kurt – I also have a hard time believing these are the 13 best songs to make this album. With hundreds of songs out there that popped out during the songwriting process, and with a lot more names who have reputations of being better songwriters – Bill Anderson, Jon Randall, Marcus Hummons, Darrell Scott, Ashley Monroe, Wendell Mobley, etc. – than the ones that end up on the album, it’s really hard to believe all of these are the best. Blake is right in characterizing the 2nd half of the album as much stronger and more developed than the first half. But it leaves you wondering, if they can do an amazing job for that 2nd half, why lay a goose egg for the first 5-6 songs – all the more glaring is that the first half is where the outside influences mostly reside.

    You can actually predict a Carrie album by the “balance” she wants to strike on. You can bet on one sassy, uptempo revenge song, an inspirational ballad or two about changing the world, and a torch song. Sometimes she hits big with potential classics, and miss with fluffs. But you can have a guarantee on what you can expect from a Carrie album. I just didn’t expect that she’s also trying to balance pop and country writers. She already had no problems having pop sounds made by mostly country writers in the previous album. But apparently it was genius to bring actual pop people to the mix as well, why not?

  51. Vance
    November 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I’d take “Songs Like This” over “Cowboy Casanova” any day.

    ————-

    SO would I. Songs Liek This is definitely the superior song.

    I also think uneven is a good word for this album.

  52. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Carrie is great with her uptempo songs and her ballad songs. It seems a lot of people are not liking “Quitter”, but I think it’s a lot of fun. I’m glad it’s near the beginning of the CD. This song could easily be a single.

    The song that’s getting the most praise on this blog (“Someday When I Stop Loving You”) is my least favorite. I heard bits of the “Oklahoma Wind” demo and I probably would have switched these two songs.

  53. Tara Seetharam
    November 3, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    “P.S. the heartfelt, earnest comments from the respective fans are the most entertaining, they never see the humor of their own comments and fandom.”

    Do you see the humor in your own comments? I do.

    Jim – as a Carrie fan who’s lurked on this site for many years, I think the only negative comment of yours that has stuck with me all this time…not sure where from…was that Carrie is an above average singer at best. It seems from your review of “Cowboy Casanova” that you’ve since changed your opinion, but I remember thinking at the time that it was such a gross understatement that it felt insincere. Just my two cents. I’m certainly not a JM hater.

  54. Dan Milliken
    November 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    “the only negative comment of yours that has stuck with me all this time…not sure where from…was that Carrie is an above average singer at best. It seems from your review of “Cowboy Casanova” that you’ve since changed your opinion, but I remember thinking at the time that it was such a gross understatement that it felt insincere.”

    I’m probably just inviting the hurt here, but it is possible to genuinely not feel that Carrie Underwood is a completely amazing singer. I don’t deny she has vocal power to match pretty much anyone’s, which is why she can do rock-oriented songs so well, but I don’t always enjoy her tone and I often think she sounds like she’s pushing too hard, even if she’s not (which she probably isn’t, or else her voice would have given out by now). And that’s to say nothing of phrasing, which is a whole other can of worms.

  55. TexasVet
    November 3, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    “I think the only negative comment of yours that has stuck with me all this time…not sure where from…was that Carrie is an above average singer ‘
    at best.”

    Tara, that’s mild compared to comments by Mario Tarradell of the Dallas Morning News who said she was “barely mediocre” whatever that means. LOL!

  56. Steve M.
    November 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    The Underwood sycophants really come out of the woodwork with this review.

  57. TexasVet
    November 3, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Also the Underwood misanthropes really come out of the woodwork with this review.

  58. Vance
    November 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    It seems a lot of people are not liking “Quitter”, but I think it’s a lot of fun. I’m glad it’s near the beginning of the CD. This song could easily be a single.

    ———————–

    If you want everybody to think she’s trying to copy Taylor Swift and kill her career, then sure, this would be a great single. This is the worst song that she has ever recorded.

  59. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Vance: No song on this third album would kill her career. I love the song, and it would be another smash hit for her.

  60. Razor X
    November 3, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    No song on this third album would kill her career

    Well, we can dream, can’t we?

  61. Felipe
    November 3, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    First, it seems pretty illogical to record songs like Quitter and The More Boys I Meet, but then again, Carrie goes and give us her reasons to cut those songs. Not totally convincing, but her reasons are her reasons.

    Oh, I heard Oklahoma Wind and was hoping so much to it make the cut. And we were looking for about 40 others song titles and collaborations, that seeing Kara, Max Martin is disappointing.

    And even in the country scene, there’s Hillary Lindsey. I mean, gladly she has some greats songs (Someday When I Stop Loving You being among them), but she has the incredible ability to be mediocre and disposable (This Time, Twisted and many others).

    I’m a big Katrina Elam fan, and was pretty happy she made the album, with Change, though I prefer her demo to Carrie’s version.

    Resuming, great songs don’t make a great album. I think we have some really good material that just don’t work together, as a whole package.

    PS: Songs Like This GOTTA BE a single! Such a infectious song. One of the writers said some agent of some “lesser known” singer wanted this to be a lead single to her… But Carrie had put it on hold and they decided to take the risk and wait for her to record it.

  62. Johnny Paycheck
    November 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    tara, the “heartfelt, earnest” part of my comment was meant to be humorous, I’m glad you did see that.

  63. Johnny Paycheck
    November 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Carrie does have a powerful voice, but I always feel disconnected from anything she sings. She always comes across to me as just that, a voice and not a singer, her emotion is generated from an intellect and not heart. She’s always going for the power note, even when she tries to sing soft and emotive, and always gives the impression of thinking while she’s singing “Now, how can I sing this harder, bigger, more overpowering and really prove to everyone that I’M the best voice in all of country music that’s ever been” She may not really be that way, but every interview and every song of her’s I’ve seen leaves me with that impression. I think it’s all part of going through American Idol and being proclaimed “Idol” and having a huge audience handed to her through the show without earning it.

  64. Tara Seetharam
    November 3, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I’m probably just inviting the hurt here, but it is possible to genuinely not feel that Carrie Underwood is a completely amazing singer.

    It is, but I think there’s a scope of objectivity when it comes to judging vocals, and within that scope, I wouldn’t expect someone with a critic’s ear to deem her voice above average at best. And maybe where we differ is on that scope of objectivity.

  65. Tara Seetharam
    November 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Johnny, have you listened to “Temporary Home”?

  66. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Johnny Paycheck: A huge audience is given to everybody who is a finalist on American Idol. Carrie is the most successful because she stood out from the rest. The “not earning it because she was on a tv show” excuse is getting really old. Anyone with a brain in their head can tell she’s worked very hard to get where she is at this point. Anyone can dislike her music, but saying she hasn’t earned her way is ridiculous and it makes anyone claiming this to sound ridiculous as well.

  67. Rick
    November 3, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    How an artist as bland as Carrie can stir up so much controversy is absolutely beyond my comprehension! Carrie’s fanbots are truly a unique breed, but of what I’m not quite sure. Crikey, mate…

  68. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Rick: If you haven’t noticed, the majority of posts on these Carrie blogs are from the negative point of view. When you have ignorant posters such as Nelson, who states “Carrie Underwood is the handmaiden of Satan,” it’s a little hard to ignore. Whether it’s sarcastic or not, the “controversy” is usually started by the ones who bring, or try to bring, Carrie down.

  69. sam (but not the one who wrote the toby review)
    November 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I don’t really care if Carrie “earned” this or that. If I enjoy her songs, I am not suddenly gonna stop listening because she allegedly didn’t “earn” something, whatever that even means.

    If Carrie was able to become a country star by going on Idol rather than spending years in clubs, I say that is something to Carrie’s credit, not against it! I see no reason for Carrie to spend years in minor league ball is she is able to compete in the majors (sorry for the bad analogy) and I won’t hold it against her.

  70. Johnny Paycheck
    November 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    the fanaticism of Carrie fans truly needs to have a government study dedicated to it. If we could harness such singleminded blind devotion to worthwhile causes instead of it being given to American pop idol Underwood, we could cure cancer, eliminate world hunger and even resolve the war between Israel and her surrounding hostile arab nations. We may even be able to bring about true cooperation and an ably functioning government between and by the Republicans and Democrats in congress.

  71. Dan Milliken
    November 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    “It is, but I think there’s a scope of objectivity when it comes to judging vocals, and within that scope, I wouldn’t expect someone with a critic’s ear to deem her voice above average at best. And maybe where we differ is on that scope of objectivity.”

    I suppose so. I would call her well above average in pure objective ability, and I think it would be absurd to argue otherwise. But if someone’s standard of ‘good singing’ also took into account subjective things like phrasing and dynamics, it wouldn’t surprise me if lots of people felt Carrie still fell short, at least in this relatively early stage of her career. There’s no denying Celine Dion’s technical skill, but some people consider her one of the worst popular singers ever for her complete lack of restraint.

  72. Dan E.
    November 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    See Rick, it’s with comments such as this by Johnny Paycheck why the controversy of Carrie is heightened. Johnny Paycheck can dump the trash, but her fans are always there to clean it up.

  73. ALJID
    November 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    @Johnny Paycheck..I know you don’t like Carrie but don’t you think it’s quite stupid to conclude that the “devotion” of Carrie fans like me is the sole reason we can’t cure cancer and promote world peace?

  74. TexasVet
    November 3, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Carrie Underwood Temporary Home Invitation Only live performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4JRoZQIMIc&feature=player_embedded

  75. Chris D.
    November 3, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I’m enjoying this album, and I’m glad she doesn’t over sing like on Carnival Ride. Some of the songs are really good, but “Temporary Home” is probably my favorite.

    Good review-very fair.

  76. Joe M
    November 3, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    The album is awesome!! Many #1 singles will result!!!

  77. Vicki
    November 4, 2009 at 5:44 am

    I’m also liking Carrie’s honesty in co-writing these songs. She admits she’s a shy, very private person and it’s hard for her to open up like other song writers and “wear your heart on your sleeve”. But she said, “I’m in a very happy place and that came through. I relaxed more and did open up some, I think that’s evident in these songs.” She also said there are so many great writers in Nashville that she will never do a complete album of just her co-written songs.

  78. Jim Malec
    November 4, 2009 at 7:53 am

    I am of the opinion that the term “singer,” as a statement about talent, refers to execution as opposes to proficiency. So if I said that Carrie is an “above-average singer,” I meant that she doesn’t fully use her skill set.

  79. stormy
    November 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Tara: Carrie Underwood is a technically profecient singer, but I would have a hard time considering her amazing because there is nothing unique about her voice. If you hear Neko Case or Tift Merritt or Rosanne Cash hold a note, you can tell just from that one note who that is. Carrie holding a note is difficult to distinguish from a Faith Hill note or a Martina McBride note or, yes even the dred Celine note.

  80. Leeann Ward
    November 4, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Far be it from me to defend Carrie, but I definitely know who’s singing when I hear her voice. I think she’s distinctive enough.

  81. Dan E.
    November 4, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Stormy: Carrie Underwood is way unique. If she wasn’t, people wouldn’t work this hard to try and bring her down. It’s not difficult at all to distinguish between a Carrie note, a Martina note, a Faith note, and a Celine note (who is not dreadful by the way). Maybe you should get your ears checked out. But then again, you wouldn’t want to listen to this good music anyway, so it would do you no good.

  82. Tara Seetharam
    November 4, 2009 at 9:03 am

    “I am of the opinion that the term “singer,” as a statement about talent, refers to execution as opposes to proficiency. So if I said that Carrie is an “above-average singer,” I meant that she doesn’t fully use her skill set.”

    Fair enough, though I think the vocals in “Play On” show vast improvements with regards to execution.

    “but I would have a hard time considering her amazing because there is nothing unique about her voice.”

    Agree to disagree.

  83. Thomas
    November 4, 2009 at 9:25 am

    …another solid three-star-masterpiece from ms. underwood. terrific.

  84. Vance
    November 4, 2009 at 9:41 am

    You serious can’t tell the difference between Martina, Carrie, and Celine? Time to clean your ears.

  85. stormy
    November 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Its really not that much work to “bring Carrie down.”

  86. Dan E.
    November 4, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Stormy: Well, your work doesn’t seem to be working, since Carrie is stronger than ever. Don’t worry, you’ll try and think of something else to complain about after you find out her first week sales. (something like, “Man, the Billboard 200 is a joke anyways.”)

  87. Steve M.
    November 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Dan E. you seem to be under the mistaken impression that popularity equals quality. In that case, “Transformers 2″ must be a better movie then “Citizen Kane” because it made more money. But given that you didn’t know who George Jones, I highly doubt you know who Orson Welles and Rosebud are either.

  88. Dan E.
    November 4, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Steve M: You’re right, popularity doesn’t always equal quality. Luckily, this is not the case for Carrie. She’s quality and popular. Deal with it!

  89. Steve M.
    November 4, 2009 at 10:08 am

    No, I don’t have to deal with it. For just like after a great victory in Ancient Rome, when the general came back to be honored with a triumph, a parade through the streets and adoring throngs cheering them on, a slave was always assigned to whisper in their ears as they proceeded, “Remember, thou art mortal.” I am secure in my belief that Underwood represents nothing more then a passing phase in country music. She is after all, mortal.

  90. Wade
    November 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    What happened to the Carrie Underwood that released “Dont Forget to Remember Me”? I have not been impressed with any of her stuff so far, and this one is abysmal.. Its about the farthest thing from country music ive heard. Naturally, the Bill Anderson song didnt make the cd cause it would have afiliated her with the country music genre, which her promotion team wouldnt have liked. I do have to give a pat on the back to her label who “didnt pay” the radio industry, yet Cowboy Casanova went #1 on release day on mediabase charts.. coincidence..highly unlikely…

  91. lylah
    November 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    i loved it !!! i have no idea what the rest of you are talking about…i guess there’s something for everyone and not everyone will love her…and that is perfectly fine!!….

    great job carrie with writing and making this album more of a personal album so many beautifull songs like “temporary home”, “change”, “someday ill stop loving you”, “what can i say”, “unapologize”, ….i feel blessed inspired everytime i hear this..thank you you have made me and many more of your fans happy !!! :)

  92. kurt
    November 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Jon –

    I agree, Carrie’s choices can be quite baffling. The middle to the end of the album is really pretty good, but the first few songs are really meh to me. And it happened that these are the Martin and DioGuardi co-writes. I’ve have 2 possible reasons why these songs were picked:

    1) Carrie genuinely loves those songs. She is a fan of all kinds of music, so she wants an album to reflect that. Maybe her taste can be really that pedestrian (She has said so many times she loves New Kids on the Block) at times. My thinking is even if she wants a few pop songs here and there, surely she has her choice of better ones? I just don’t think she realizes that her talent is just way too good to be used on some of the tracks she has recorded in her career.

    2) Carrie (or label) is really going for crossover success. Carrie has continued to state in interviews that she is country and isn’t out to crossover, so it’s possible the label just wants some of the pie that Taylor Swift is having. I guess we’ll see if this is the case, when we see how the album is promoted in the upcoming weeks/months. I have serious doubts if Quitter would have made the album if Martin wasn’t involved. In so many of the pre-release interviews reporters were asking Joe Galante about Carrie working with Martin. Martin’s name did add some hype to the album.

    What is more perplexing is the ordering of the album. Martin and DioGuardi’s songs are among the first few tracks in the album. Why?

    “You can actually predict a Carrie album by the “balance” she wants to strike on. You can bet on one sassy, uptempo revenge song, an inspirational ballad or two about changing the world, and a torch song. Sometimes she hits big with potential classics, and miss with fluffs. But you can have a guarantee on what you can expect from a Carrie album. I just didn’t expect that she’s also trying to balance pop and country writers. She already had no problems having pop sounds made by mostly country writers in the previous album. But apparently it was genius to bring actual pop people to the mix as well, why not?”

    I’ll have to cut Carrie some slack here. She’s stated many times she wants to do good in the world and she’s proud of her faith. So I will always expect inspirational/religious songs. That’s a reflection on her personality. I’ll agree about the sassy revenge songs. It seems she always likes to play this character but it’s getting predictable and the personal factor isn’t there, since that isn’t her as a person. Those songs are getting old for me.

    I keep thinking that the inclusion of the pop writers don’t really do anything to enhance the album. There are many other great country songwriters Carrie has yet to work with and could have given her better material and allowed her to get closer to her potential.

    Carrie still has a ton of potential that has yet to be tapped, and it kills me sometimes to see her settling for some of the songs she has in her career

  93. Johnny Paycheck
    November 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Diehard obsessed Carrie fans will never allow Taylor or any other country or country-pop singer to overshadow her. They will go out and buy 10-20 copies each to prove that she is more popular and outsells any other artist in her debut week. What is ironic to me is that they know they have to go buy multiple copies each shows that they know she isn’t queen of the world and needs tricks and gimmicks to get her songs and albums make her songs and albums appear more popular than they actually are.

  94. Razor X
    November 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I’m a little surprised at all these comments about how improved Carrie’s vocals are on this new album, from the same people who have been saying for the past four years is that she was the best vocalist that ever set foot in a recording studio.

  95. Razor X
    November 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I keep thinking that the inclusion of the pop writers don’t really do anything to enhance the album. There are many other great country songwriters Carrie has yet to work with and could have given her better material and allowed her to get closer to her potential.

    What are the feelings in Nashville about using pop songwriters instead of local ones? Seems like a good way to build up resentment and jeopardize her status as Sweetheart of Music Row.

  96. stormy
    November 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Dan: Carrie’s first album is still her best selling one. How is she getting “stronger?”

  97. Jon
    November 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    @Steve M. “I am secure in my belief that Underwood represents nothing more then a passing phase in country music. She is after all, mortal.”

    As are we all. And the belief in which you’re secure may simply be self-deluded hubris. And if, as you argue, quality and popularity are unrelated, then whether you’re right or wrong in your prediction, what difference would it make?

  98. Karen
    November 4, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    @Jon… you’re so right… why argue, we’re all dust in the wind anyway.. lol!! but I think his point is the music if it’s quality will live forever… which is true of course.. I actually think carrie has many quality songs.. and sure some aren’t, and are here today gone tomorrow.. but I think the pop market is far worse when it comes to throw away songs that’s for sure.

  99. Dan
    November 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Taylor Swift > Carrie Underwood.

  100. kurt
    November 4, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    “What are the feelings in Nashville about using pop songwriters instead of local ones? Seems like a good way to build up resentment and jeopardize her status as Sweetheart of Music Row.”

    Razor –

    As long as Carrie continues to sell well and do well on radio, the writers will still continue to pitch their songs to Carrie and music row wouldn’t care.

  101. Troy
    November 4, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I don’t see whats so wrong with Carrie working with a pop producer for one song. Max Martin is the best current one anyway with Ryan Tedder and redone songs all sounding the same. Martin has also done a very wide range of music from dance-pop with Britney Spears. Pop/Rock Kelley Clarkson and P!nk. Pop Katy Perry. Adult Contemporary with Leona Lewis. Pretty much all the hugely popular songs of late 90′s. So now he has added country to that list :)

    Overall I like this album more than the second but not as much as the first one. From the songs ive heard she doesn’t start shouting throughout the song. This one seems more original as well with her second one trying to copy the sound of her first album. I’d probably give it a 4/5 but that is just my opinion.

  102. Steve Harvey
    November 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Dan, please don’t start the CU v TS flame wars again. It’s not helping anything.

  103. Dan E.
    November 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Johnny Paycheck: Your last two comments are over-exaggerated nonsense.

  104. Dan E.
    November 4, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Stormy: For starters, her first single off of this third album is the fastest rising of her career.
    When did you start believing that being strong or weak had anything to do with sales numbers?

  105. Jon
    November 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Kurt – There are many other great country songwriters Carrie has yet to work with and could have given her better material and allowed her to get closer to her potential.

    ^That’s the great mystery. She has actually worked with the great writers of Nashville. Dudley at Pulse compiled Carrie’s co-writes that popped up during the album process. If you look at the list, it’s quite impressive – Bill Anderson, Jon Randall, Marcus Hummons, Darrell Scott, Barry Dean, Wendell Mobley, Ashley Monroe, Ashley Gorley, Kelley Lovelace, Rivers Rutherford.

    But a Max Martin song made it, and two Kara DioGuardi cowrites, but no one from the above list. The other notable pop/rock songwriters were Marti Frederiksen, Mike Elizondo, Shellback, Savan Kotecha, Zac Maloy, David Hodges, Raine Maida, and Chantal Kreviazuk. A whopping 10 pop/rock songwriters who combined for 5 songs, only one of which sounds genuinely country (David Hodges for What Can I Say).

    Go figure.

  106. Dan E.
    November 4, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I love the songs, so I don’t care who helps to co-write with Carrie. The songs she selected for the album are excellent and she and her team are playing their cards correctly.

  107. K
    November 4, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I have followed Carrie since American Idol, and I think she is the most talented current female artist out right now. Unlike most of her counterparts, she actually has true talent. There certainly are dozens of talented women in country music, but none of them have stuck like Carrie has. Taylor is a writer, but she will never be a singer. In my opinion, vocal skills should be placed above all other talents- that is why record deals are given in the first place.

    Carrie is not a great writer, but she is extremely open about how she has worked on that craft, and she does not puff herself up in that area. She has given listeners a lot more of herself on this album as both an artist and person. Not all of her co-writes are good, but “Temporary Home” and “Mama’s Song” are definatly better than any lyric in the chliche-laced “So Small.”

    “I am secure in my belief that Underwood represents nothing more then a passing phase in country music.

    Being the winner of the biggest talent show in the world is enough to keep Carrie cemented in history for a very long time. Not to mention that she had the biggest selling country album of all time by a female artist with her debut. Oh yeah, and she’s won over fifty awards including four Grammy’s and an ACM for entertainer- which has only been given to seven other women.

    Did you forget that she has hosted the biggest awards show in country music twice now? Did you forget that she has been inducted into the Oaklahoma Music Hall Of Fame- an honor usually given to vetran artists? She started a charity to benefit her hometown- that will leave her mark on the town forever.

    “Just A Dream,” “I Told You So,” “Jesus, Take The Wheel, “Temporary Home,” “Don’t Forget To Remember Me” and “Before He Cheats” are all stellar songs- no doubt they will stand the test of time. This woman has given some of the most heartfelt, moving awards show performances in years- “Just A Dream” from the 2008 CMA’s, “Jesus, Take The Wheel” from the 2006 ACM’s, “I Told You So” from the 2009 ACM’s and even her performance of Heart’s “Alone on American Idol.

  108. Ben Milam
    November 4, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    this is hilarious. so, what qualifies statements like: “Unlike most of her counterparts, she actually has true talent. There certainly are dozens of talented women in country music, but none of them have stuck like Carrie has. Taylor is a writer, but she will never be a singer. In my opinion, vocal skills should be placed above all other talents- that is why record deals are given in the first place”. Please tell me you got more of this drivel. it’s great! I haven’t laughed this hard since yall declared war on Poland.

  109. Razor X
    November 4, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Not to mention that she had the biggest selling country album of all time by a female artist

    Ever heard of Shania Twain, K?

  110. Steve M.
    November 4, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Yes, bigger must mean better. Just ask the Titanic, GM or William “The Refrigerator” Perry.

  111. klark
    November 5, 2009 at 3:12 am

    ooh..you nailed it :)
    I thought you will give it a star less
    but i am puzzled what pop writers are doing in a supposedly country album

  112. Fadi H.
    November 5, 2009 at 4:33 am

    I listened to 5-6 songs from the album, but none of which i was able to listen to till the end. Her voice is pretty good here, but the song choice is just not my taste.

  113. stormy
    November 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

    K:
    This isn’t a Taylor VS Carrie issue. This is a Carrie is less interesting than a hundred country singers you have never heard of because you limit yourself to Taylor VS Carrie issue.

  114. kevin w
    November 5, 2009 at 8:42 am

    “This isn’t a Taylor VS Carrie issue. This is a Carrie is less interesting than a hundred country singers you have never heard of because you limit yourself to Taylor VS Carrie issue.”

    So uninteresting that you post about her hundreds of times. Carrie Underwood, so boring.

  115. Chris N.
    November 5, 2009 at 9:48 am

    To me, everything is a Taylor vs. Carrie issue.

  116. stormy
    November 5, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Chris: The only Taylor VS Carrie issue I want to see is that no-holds-barred cage match. Because all the worlds problems could be solved using a no-holds barred cage match.

  117. Jon
    November 5, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I wonder if Stormy will ever figure out that prefacing “you oughta listen to x, whom you’ve never heard” with “you ought not to listen to y, whom you like” isn’t a very likely way to persuade people to actually do the former.

  118. stormy
    November 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Jon: Carrie Underwood fans are not likely going to listen to Neko Case anyhow and if they did they would probably not like her. I don’t say “Listen to X because then you will be a fan and hate Carrie” I say “Listen to X because then you will understand that we are comparing Carrie to X and to to Taylor Swift.” Its about demonstrating that there are more choices out there and if you don’t like Taylor Swift you aren’t required to like Carrie Underwood because there are other options. I don’t want Carrie Underwood fans to necessarily like Neko Case, I want them to stop thinking that I have to love Taylor Swift merely because I don’t like Carrie Underwood. As I have said before, there is plenty of room in the suck for both Taylor and Carrie. And Rascall Flats too.

  119. Jon
    November 5, 2009 at 10:43 am

    @stormy “I don’t want Carrie Underwood fans to necessarily like Neko Case”

    Well, then, what’s the point of dragging her name into the discussion and potentially alienating folks who might like her music? You’re not doing her any favor with that. And frankly, not everyone’s as kneejerkingly predictable in their tastes as you appear to be.

  120. Dan E.
    November 5, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I enjoyed how Carrie had a new preview song for three weeks before the release of her album. It was interesting to see where these three songs would chart on the Hot 100.

    “Mama’s Song” fared the best at #77.
    “Undo It” made its debut at #86.
    “Temporary Home” landed its spot at #92.

  121. Vance
    November 5, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I don’t see whats so wrong with Carrie working with a pop producer for one song. Max Martin is the best current one anyway with Ryan Tedder and redone songs all sounding the same. Martin has also done a very wide range of music from dance-pop with Britney Spears. Pop/Rock Kelley Clarkson and P!nk. Pop Katy Perry. Adult Contemporary with Leona Lewis. Pretty much all the hugely popular songs of late 90’s. So now he has added country to that list :)
    ————————————–

    They both blow and are incapable of writing good song.

  122. Dan E.
    November 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I’m glad she worked with Max Martin. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy “Quitter.” Max has helped to write other amazing songs for other artists. I’m glad he can now add Carrie Underwood to his list.

  123. Troy
    November 5, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Vance, If Max was incapable of writing good songs why has retained popularity over 15 years. Try to sound a little less bitter and come up with a statement better than “They both blow and are incapable of writing good song.”

    I also believe he just had a number one song in the US two weeks ago with 3

  124. Nelson
    November 5, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Listening to Play On is like experiencing a musical enema.

  125. Vance
    November 5, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Vance, If Max was incapable of writing good songs why has retained popularity over 15 years. Try to sound a little less bitter and come up with a statement better than “They both blow and are incapable of writing good song.”

    —————————

    Being hit-makers doesn’t make them good songwriters. They both create formulaic songs with crappy lyrics. And I suppose that you think that I’m a Carrie Underwood hater because I think Quitter blows and is the worst song that she has ever recorded.

  126. Karen
    November 5, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I like quitter, it’s one of my favorites.. It’s definitely ‘poppy’ but it catches my ear for sure.. I think it’s a matter of taste in music. If you’re a die hard traditionalist you’re not going to like this music no matter what. If you are a music snob, you’re not going to like this music either.. so there’s no pleasing those of you who are critics… and if you are a country songwriter, you’re probably a bit biased.. I DO think the country songwriters are the better writers.. but do they write catchy hits.. not really.. country has been at the bottom of the sales pile for quite a while and is finally starting to pick up.. probably b/c of the catchier songs out there that are being written. I personally love her ballad from her last album “just a dream”. I was hoping there would be one like it.

  127. Ben Milam
    November 6, 2009 at 12:33 am

    i think carrie is real good cause she can sing good. and she has a lot of good songs cause she is real good. i like good music and carrie is good music. not like taylor swift cause she sucks and can not sing good. she does not have as many good songs as carrie has cause she cannot sing as good as carrie can sing. and cause she sucks too.

  128. Maxtran
    November 6, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Well. Having seen the comments, I could only say that better or worse, it depends on people’s feelings. To me, those 13 songs are so good. Initially, I did not like “Songs like this” and ” Some day when I stop loving you” so much because they sounded a little bit weird. But after a few times trying it again and again, you’ll love it. A good song doesnt mean it’s catchy at the first time.

  129. Steve M.
    November 6, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Ben,
    Is your post satire or real? Its kinda scary either way.

  130. stormy
    November 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Jon: As I said in the part of my post you apparently did not read I want to show people who see country music as entirely made up of Taylor and Carrie (as evdenced by their posts) that there is a wider spectrum of country out there and that it is THIS country, and not Taylor Swift, that Carrie suffers in comparison to. Perhaps then people will not be confused as to why Carrie Underwood is getting critiqued when she sings so much better than Taylor.

  131. stormy
    November 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Steve: Text speak: Killing the weaked language skills that Valley Speak left behind.

  132. Steve M.
    November 6, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Thank you Stormy. You would think that having to work around 18-21 year olds would teach me their language, but they remain as mysterious as the natives of New Guinea for the most part to me.

  133. Jon
    November 6, 2009 at 8:54 am

    @stormy “I want to show people who see country music as entirely made up of Taylor and Carrie (as evdenced by their posts) that there is a wider spectrum of country out there and that it is THIS country, and not Taylor Swift, that Carrie suffers in comparison to.”

    QED.

  134. stormy
    November 6, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Jon: LPX. See, I can type letters too.

    Steve: I grew up in the era of valley speak, and now when I listen to teenagers I don’t understand how my English teacher refrained from going postal.

  135. Ben Milam
    November 6, 2009 at 11:50 am

    real satire. most of these “fans” wouldn’t know a good voice or good music if Emmylou serenaded them to bed every night. in a year or so they will move on to someone else. maybe poland.

  136. Fadi H.
    November 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    this album has been getting pretty bad reviews everywhere, i’m kinda surprised the review here is easy on carrie. i said it before and i’ll say it a zillion times: carrie underwood has very good vocal technique. if she’s a real artist she would use her talent to sing or write good music, but apparantly she either has a boring music taste or she’s after pure commercial success or she’s just too laid back seeing that her fans will buy her music even if she sang: “i woke up today and then went to the bathroom then took a shower then brushed my teeth..oh yeaaaaaah”….it’s such a shame, really.

    i can’t help see the contrast between her and miranda who clearly is evolving as an artist rather than a commercial figure…

  137. Please!
    November 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I love Miranda Lambert but last I checked she’s doing ads for walmart and cotton… isn’t that considered commercialism…. pls don’t get all sanctimonious on us… I think the two of them have much different styles which suit their individual personalities.

  138. Please!
    November 6, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    @Ben, are you a snob or what???? who do you think you are??

    a musical genius?? If you’re such an expert on great music, what is your opinion of great music anyway?? I’d be willing to bet it’s all one kind of music.. I listen to everything, and though I don’t love all Carrie’s songs some of them are very good and I do listen to them. Who are you to come on here and insult the intelligence of an entire fan base just b/c they like her music? I’d love to get my hands on your reading material..

  139. icuf
    November 6, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    without doubt this is her best album to date.
    Temporary Home is her best cowrite on this album. i have read alot of reviews where the reviewer thinks this song is about being homeless. this is not the case go listen to it, the message is clear, its about 3 different situations in life & how earth is not our permenant home its just a stop on the way to where we are going.
    her vocals are crystal clear on it & imo she has never sounded better!

  140. K
    November 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    “this album has been getting pretty bad reviews everywhere.”

    The album has not gotten bad reviews everywhere, but the complaints about average songs and stellar vocals are the same as her previous two efforts. The lowest grade I’ve seen for this albun is a b plus, which isn’t terrible by any means.

    She has some great songs on the album including: “Temporary Home,” “Someday When I Stop Loving You” and “Look At Me.”

    “i can’t help see the contrast between her and miranda who clearly is evolving as an artist rather than a commercial figure…”

    Miranda has an average voice and she writes average songs. The only great song she has on her new album is “The House That Bulit Me”; everything else is pretty formulaic and forgettable. Carrie has an incredible voice and some incredible songs and covers- “Just A Dream,” “I Told You So,” “Praying For Time,” ‘Temporary Home,” “Look At Me” and “Jesus, Take The Wheel.”

    Carrie is not a great writer or performer yet, but she is trying. She lends a lot more of her own voice to “Play On,” and she has continued to grow as a performer. You should remember Carrie has only been in the bussiness for under five years as well.

    “most of these “fans” wouldn’t know a good voice or good music if Emmylou serenaded them to bed every night. in a year”

    Yeah, fans of the biggest talent show in the world don’t know talent? The Grammy’s, ACM’s, CMA’s, People’s Choice and veiwers of the CMT Awards don’t know talent? The industry proffessionals that voted Carrie Underwood a Grand Ole Opry member don’t know what they’re talking about huh?

    The fans who made her the biggest success out of American Idol as well as giving her the biggest tour by a female in any genre don’t know anything either.

    If thousands of fans, industry insiders, and peers do not know talent, who does?

    Oh, wait. There isn’t anybody left!

  141. Steve M.
    November 6, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Are these the same people who made “Transformers 2″ the highest grossing movie of the year? Yea, they know quality.

  142. Brady Vercher
    November 6, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    There aren’t any songs on this album that I would classify as great–the large majority of them are underwhelming. I’m also not sure why we’re supposed to take into account that Underwood has been in the business under five years or give her leeway because “she’s trying” or taking more control over this release.

  143. K
    November 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Steve,

    You really should drop the “holler than thou” additude. Everything in this commerical; don’t act like you’re above that. Carrie is not Britney Spears; she is an extremely talented and wholesome young woman.

    Just because you are against arists who are mostly commerical does not mean that they are not talented artists who work hard and deserve success.

  144. Dan E.
    November 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Oh, Carrie is doing way more than just trying. Her songs are amazing, she’s an excellent performer, and her co-writes are turning out wonderfully.

    Steve: You must have an obsession with Transformers 2! You can’t stop talking about it.

  145. Jon
    November 6, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    @K “The industry proffessionals that voted Carrie Underwood a Grand Ole Opry member don’t know what they’re talking about huh?”

    Industry professionals don’t vote on Grand Ole Opry membership. Invitations to join the cast are extended by Opry management; they’re the ones who make the decisions, period. I’m sure they think highly of Carrie Underwood, but just so’s you know what the deal is…

  146. Dan Milliken
    November 7, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I’m with Brady. I think this album is her weakest in terms of song quality, and I was honestly holding out hope for it. “Someday When I Stop Loving You” is amazing compared to some of the material, but it would blend into the scenery on a stronger collection of songs. I do think her connection to material shows improvement, but the songs are so one-dimensional that she doesn’t have much maneuvering room to begin with. I think she can do much, much better.

    “Miranda has an average voice and she writes average songs. The only great song she has on her new album is “The House That Bulit Me”; everything else is pretty formulaic and forgettable. Carrie has an incredible voice and some incredible songs and covers- “Just A Dream,” “I Told You So,” “Praying For Time,” ‘Temporary Home,” “Look At Me” and “Jesus, Take The Wheel.””

    Maybe I’m biased as a moderate Miranda fan, but arguing that her new material is “formulaic” compared to Carrie’s – which includes stuff from freakin’ Max Martin and Kara DioGuardi, for Pete’s sake – seems kind of silly. If anyone can produce an actual argument for why “Me And Your Cigarettes” is more formulaic than “Temporary Home,” I want to hear it.

  147. highwayman3
    November 7, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Dan Milliken, thanks for that post, I wanted to comment on the Miranda comparison as well because its just silly to call the songs on her album average and forgettable, you said it better then I could.

  148. estelle
    November 7, 2009 at 4:26 am

    I love it! From Cowboy Casanova to Play On, there’s not a single track that I do not like. So I’m a rabid fan, yes!

  149. Steve M.
    November 7, 2009 at 6:18 am

    “Steve,

    You really should drop the “holler than thou” additude. Everything in this commerical; don’t act like you’re above that. Carrie is not Britney Spears; she is an extremely talented and wholesome young woman.

    Just because you are against arists who are mostly commerical does not mean that they are not talented artists who work hard and deserve success.”

    When you chose to work with pop producers, the choice is pretty easy. Sellout.

  150. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Aah, the bracing sound of a rock guy dragging his attitude into the country realm.

  151. Razor X
    November 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

    When you chose to work with pop producers, the choice is pretty easy. Sellout.

    That’s what makes the choice of DioGuardi and Martin even more puzzling. Carrie’s country credentials have been under question since the beginning of her career. She’s repeatedly issued assurances that she wants to be part of the country community and doesn’t want to cross over. Working with DioGuardi and Martin seems to add fuel to the flames for those who question Carrie’s sincerity.

  152. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 10:09 am

    @razor x “Working with DioGuardi and Martin seems to add fuel to the flames for those who question Carrie’s sincerity.”

    And in their absence, those who question her “sincerity” would cease and desist?

  153. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

    She’s said that she doesn’t mind crossing over, she just won’t change any part of her original in order for it to crossover more faster and easier. “Before He Cheats” on pop radio sounded exactly like it did on her cd. So, if a song like “Cowboy Casanova” crosses over, it will not have been altered from its original format.

  154. Razor X
    November 7, 2009 at 10:34 am

    And in their absence, those who question her “sincerity” would cease and desist?

    Probably not, but why provide more ammunition for them?

  155. kurt
    November 7, 2009 at 10:56 am

    “She’s said that she doesn’t mind crossing over, she just won’t change any part of her original in order for it to crossover more faster and easier. “Before He Cheats” on pop radio sounded exactly like it did on her cd. So, if a song like “Cowboy Casanova” crosses over, it will not have been altered from its original format.”

    But what if the original is already poppy? there’s no need to change.

    Jon – I’m aware of that list Dudley made over at pulse. It still baffles me. I know Carrie’s gone on record saying she puts all the songs together and then picks the best. But I would imagine they picked many more songs at first, and maybe the pop writers got in just because of their name. And this ties in with my point above. I believe she picked poppy songs for the sake of ‘diversity’ or ‘versatility’ for her album rather than for picking the best songs. I don’t mind if they wrote a really good country song or came up with something groundbreaking, but songs like Quitter and Undo It are pretty much cookie-cutter pop songs with steel, mandolin and fiddle in them. Quitter sounds like Avril Lavigne and Undo It sounds like a Kelly Clarkson anthem. Having those instruments in a song doesn’t make it country.

  156. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 11:19 am

    @razor x “”And in their absence, those who question her “sincerity” would cease and desist?”

    Probably not, but why provide more ammunition for them?”

    If you’re doing something as an artist that you want to do, why not? Letting yourself be influenced by the presumptive arguments of people who probably aren’t going to like your work anyway isn’t a very sound artistic approach, I don’t think.

    And how do you make those italics in your posts, anyway?

  157. Dan Milliken
    November 7, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I personally don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with a country artist working with someone like Martin or Dioguardi if they want to; it just doesn’t help the argument that their material isn’t going to be formulaic, which is what I was addressing.

    Jon, you can use method in the “HTML Code” box on this website: http://www.tizag.com/htmlT/htmlitalic.php

  158. Mando
    November 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

    CNN news on cu’s album, calling it soulless
    critic targets Nashville also
    http://us.cnn.com/video/?/video/showbiz/2009/11/03/dcl.grumbine.music.cnn

  159. K
    November 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    “When you chose to work with pop producers, the choice is pretty easy. Sellout.”

    To me it seems that Carrie chose to work with pop producers to add her version of variety- which could have been acheieved with better songs.

    Carrie has been open about not wanting to change her style for anyone, and she tries make music both she and her fans will like. I think she has chosen this outlook for the wrong reasons though. She says she wants to make music “everybody will like” but seems to overlook great quality songs because of it.

    I don’t agree that people questioned her sciencerity on American Idol. She sang country from the start, and made it clear that was the type of artist she wanted to be. That’s a pretty risky move considering most of the contestants before her didn’t even know what country music was.

    I don’t think the songs on “Play On” are any weaker or stronger than on her previous two efforts. In my opinion, the only songs that she has recorded that might stand the test of time are “Jesus, Take The Wheel, “Before He Cheats, “Just A Dream” and “I Told You So.” On “Play On” I can see “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” “Look At Me” and “Temporary Home” possibly doing the same.

    I don’t think careers are defined by albums anymore. They are dying out, and digital sales are through the roof; in this technological age that won’t change. Because of this, I think careers are now defined by a select few great songs that gradually make up an outstanding body of work than albums that are great through and through.

  160. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Peter Grumbine from the CNN interview needs to get himself a clue. This “machine” he talks about: “people in one room write a song,… sell it to rich producers… other guys play it… she sings it.” His calling her music “heartless” and “soulless” is absurd.

    Hmmm, well Carrie had a huge part in deciding what she wanted for this album. She helped co-write seven of the thirteen tracks. Sorry, Peter, but only giving her credit for only singing the songs that other people picked from the “machine” is ridiculous, and he should learn how to get better informed on Carrie herself. He was just blabbing on and on about nothing.

    So, he’s got a gripe with Carrie, Taylor, and the current Nashville music. He’s just fighting a losing battle and he made himself out to be “soulless” and “heartless.” Then he pulled out his George Jones article and concluded that Carrie is deinitely not country.

    Unfortunately, Peter Grumbine is just one like many others who can’t realize that change has come for the better in country music. Even the interviewer called him grumpy. So, it seems like he might be grumpy for a very long time (when it comes to country music of course.)

  161. Tara Seetharam
    November 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    “She’s repeatedly issued assurances that she wants to be part of the country community and doesn’t want to cross over. Working with DioGuardi and Martin seems to add fuel to the flames for those who question Carrie’s sincerity.”

    Yep. It also shows that she’s willing to take a chance on something that she knows may (or will, really) put her in a negative light. I think she even mentioned that her label was against it at one point. Though I don’t agree with all the choices she made, the fact that she made said choices and is willing to firmly stand by them in interviews is an improvement in and of itself. An improvement that speaks to the criticism, held by many of the same commenters on this board, that she’s spineless.

  162. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Geez, I went and looked at that CNN piece, and now I wish I hadn’t; yet another rock dude opining on what he doesn’t know squat about. What a doofus.

    Thanks for the HTML tip, Dan.

  163. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    @Dan E. Unfortunately, Peter Grumbine is just one like many others who can’t realize that change has come for the better in country music.

    Aside from the fact that it’s resulted in more music that suits your personal taste, in what sense is it “for the better?”

  164. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Jon: Better for the fact that music is not staying in the past. It’s progressing forward. When I’m in my 60′s, I don’t imagine I’ll like some of the new music that will be at the forefront. So, I will be able to listen to what I had liked in the past (which is the country of today.) The people that aren’t in tune with today’s country music can listen to what they had liked before. It’s a continual cycle of country music that is much needed with each generational cycle. The traditional country music and its memories will never go away, but it’s like they passed the baton to contemporary country. In years to come, contemporary country will do the same thing to a new country name that has yet to be determined. Country music is unending in its possibilities.

  165. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Kurt – But what if the original is already poppy? there’s no need to change.

    Thank you! Thank you! Carrie fans seem to think that “remixing” is the only way to make a country song pop. And according to them, making a poppy original is just “branching out”: “She’s not like Taylor Swift who remixes her songs!!! Carrie rules!!!!” What they don’t get is there’s no need to remix the song if it’s already pop enough! Can you actually remix a pop song to make it even more pop?! Taylor went from Step 1 to Step 2 to get to Step 3. Carrie just skipped Step 2 and went straight to Step 3. But the results are the same isn’t it – it’s still a pop song at the end of the day, no matter how you get there.

    but songs like Quitter and Undo It are pretty much cookie-cutter pop songs with steel, mandolin and fiddle in them. Quitter sounds like Avril Lavigne and Undo It sounds like a Kelly Clarkson anthem. Having those instruments in a song doesn’t make it country.

    Surely. Just thinking that adding a mandolin and fiddle will make any song a country song is a huge slap to the face of the rich country music history and traditions, from Patsy to DCX. But it’s sad that some people just don’t get it. I think it’s the new generation of country-pop fans who think Quitter is country enough *barf* just because of the supposedly heavy country instrumentation. Never mind that rich, deep, real country music doesn’t pride itself on lyrics like “boy meets girl, girl meets boy…” and the other trite cliches that make up the song. You got it right that these lyrics suit Avril more than Carrie, and it’s a shame that Carrie actually thinks this suits her, and she actually said that this music is fresh. Yes, shamefully fresh for country music but long a retread of pop music, with mandolin instead of a beat machine.

  166. Razor X
    November 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I don’t think careers are defined by albums anymore. They are dying out, and digital sales are through the roof; in this technological age that won’t change. Because of this, I think careers are now defined by a select few great songs that gradually make up an outstanding body of work than albums that are great through and through.

    That has always been the case. Generally hit singles are what get remembered, not necessarily the albums from which they came.,

  167. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Jon: The lyrics are actually, “boy meets girl, girl leaves boy”

    Also, I’m loving her fresh music.

  168. Razor X
    November 7, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    @Dan E. Unfortunately, Peter Grumbine is just one like many others who can’t realize that change has come for the better in country music.

    Aside from the fact that it’s resulted in more music that suits your personal taste, in what sense is it “for the better?”

    Exactly. And how do you know it’s for the better when you’ve admitted to not even having heard of legends like George Jones? To what exactly are you making a comparison?

  169. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    @Dan E. Better for the fact that music is not staying in the past. It’s progressing forward.

    That’s a tautology. How is it “progressing?”

  170. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Funny to see Patsy Cline’s name turn up in the middle of a diatribe about pop influences.

  171. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    it’s progressing by not sticking to the music of yesteryear gone by – this new era of country music is just what the doctor ordered

  172. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    @Dan E. it’s progressing by not sticking to the music of yesteryear gone by

    How does that constitute “progress?” You seem to think that new music is inherently “better” and more “evolved” than old music. I’m asking you to explain why, and an explanation is different from repetition or the replacement of one word by another that means the same thing.

  173. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    One’s explanation is one’s explanation. Just because one person can’t comprehend or understand that explanation doesn’t mean the other person has to keep twisting it up, especially to a person who will continue to nitpick (knowing full well what one is trying to say). I don’t care if you personally think music is progressing or not, the new generation of music buyers is proving it by daily buying the new country music and obviously loving it.

  174. K
    November 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    “@Dan E. it’s progressing by not sticking to the music of yesteryear gone by”

    Although I love the newer country, I don’t thik this sound equals progression.

    Sure it undoubtly brings in diverse consumers instead of appealing to one demograpic, but that’s about it.

  175. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Oh, I comprehend just fine, thanks. My original question was:

    Aside from the fact that it’s resulted in more music that suits your personal taste, in what sense is it “for the better?”

    And the answer you’ve given is, none. Thanks.

  176. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    No, I gave an answer. Guess what, it was directly under your question. Are you starting to go blind? Just because you don’t like what answer I came up with, I still gave you an answer to your question.
    November 7th – 12:53 (my answer)
    Novermber 7th – 12:35 (your question)

  177. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I asked you how it’s better, and your reply was, it’s better by being better. That’s not an answer, it’s a restatement, and evidently that’s the best you can do. Thanks for playing, and better luck next time.

  178. Dan E.
    November 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Jon: I really do feel sorry for your loss of sight. Maybe that’s why you can’t comprehend, you just can’t think straight anymore. Maybe you should check the post one more time. I can 100% bet on it that it(it’s better by being better)never existed in my answer. Really, no joke.

    Are we actually playing a game or something? It sounds like fun.

  179. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Funny to see Patsy Cline’s name turn up in the middle of a diatribe about pop influences.

    Yes, I am fully aware of Patsy’s pop influences, but she was able to marry sensibly pop and country without being so much watered down and soulless as pop-country right now.

    And pop wasn’t so bad during the yesteryear. When the music made much more sense and singers actually sing songs. It just happened to be another genre of good music with distinguishable sound. Can you imagine Patsy being influenced by Britney Spears’ lyrics? Or Kara’s catchy but empty hooks? Or Max Martin’s ever so trite cliches and his vast understanding of mandolin and fiddle?

  180. Please!
    November 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    that song featured on CNN sounds just like rhythm of the falling rain.. anyone else hear it?

    The whole thing seems like a marketing ploy to get an audience listening to other artists… not such a bad thing..

  181. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    And pop wasn’t so bad during the yesteryear. When the music made much more sense and singers actually sing songs.

    Since this is basically just the flip side of Dan E.’s claim – he says it’s getting better, you say it’s getting worse – I’ll let you hash it out with him.

  182. Jon
    November 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Since this is basically just the flip side of Dan E.’s claim – he says it’s getting better, you say it’s getting worse – I’ll let you hash it out with him.

    Ah no, it’s fruitless arguing with a Carrie superfan. You know how rabid they can get.

  183. kurt
    November 7, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Carrie fans seem to think that “remixing” is the only way to make a country song pop. And according to them, making a poppy original is just “branching out”: “She’s not like Taylor Swift who remixes her songs!!! Carrie rules!!!!” What they don’t get is there’s no need to remix the song if it’s already pop enough! Can you actually remix a pop song to make it even more pop?! Taylor went from Step 1 to Step 2 to get to Step 3. Carrie just skipped Step 2 and went straight to Step 3. But the results are the same isn’t it – it’s still a pop song at the end of the day, no matter how you get there.

    You know what else is funny with many of Carrie’s fans? If it was Taylor who was working with Martin and DioGuardi, they would have been all over the poor girl and be calling for country to kick her out of the genre. Yet, when it’s Carrie Underwood, it’s called diversifying and making Carrie country. Go figure.

    Yep. It also shows that she’s willing to take a chance on something that she knows may (or will, really) put her in a negative light. I think she even mentioned that her label was against it at one point. Though I don’t agree with all the choices she made, the fact that she made said choices and is willing to firmly stand by them in interviews is an improvement in and of itself. An improvement that speaks to the criticism, held by many of the same commenters on this board, that she’s spineless.

    Tara, I agree that I don’t think Carrie’s as spineless as many on here think. I just think she might have lost sight on what makes country music stand apart from many of the other genres, and that is the story telling aspect the songs. Phrasing, song structure, lyrics, and instrumentation make a country song. It just seems that Carrie and/or label seems to think drenching a song with steel or mandolin makes a song country. I heard the leaked version of Cowboy Casanova (the ‘wrong’ version according to the label) and I have a hard time considering that country. Quitter actually sounds like it was written to have synths in them, and they were just replaced by a mandolin.

    I don’t mind if Carrie wants to have pop influence in her songs. Hey, if she can combine the catchy hooks of pop music and make her songs appeal to country and pop listeners, more power to her. But, country songs still need the 4 aspects I brought up. The superior story telling in country songs is what makes it better than most genres. Sacrificing that for hooks? Not something I want.

    I’m also just surprised that she was willing to take chances on songs like Quitter and Undo It. Even without genre classification, those songs are just above average as best. I sometimes wonder if those who like those songs are just so craved for new material that they’d like anything she sings, and if they are just some of the pop fans who don’t listen to country radio or any other country artist and just don’t understand why some don’t care for those songs.

  184. kurt
    November 7, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I personally don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with a country artist working with someone like Martin or Dioguardi if they want to; it just doesn’t help the argument that their material isn’t going to be formulaic, which is what I was addressing.

    Dan, I agree. I don’t care who she works with as long as the final product is a good country song. If they came up with something great, then their co-writes need to be on the album. But some of the songs aren’t great.

    Better for the fact that music is not staying in the past. It’s progressing forward. When I’m in my 60’s, I don’t imagine I’ll like some of the new music that will be at the forefront. So, I will be able to listen to what I had liked in the past (which is the country of today.) The people that aren’t in tune with today’s country music can listen to what they had liked before. It’s a continual cycle of country music that is much needed with each generational cycle. The traditional country music and its memories will never go away, but it’s like they passed the baton to contemporary country. In years to come, contemporary country will do the same thing to a new country name that has yet to be determined. Country music is unending in its possibilities.

    I understand that sounds evolve. Progress is fine. But as I mentioned in my earlier comment, what makes country great is the story telling aspect of the songs, which is sorely lacking from some of the tracks of the album. If that is sacrificed for ‘progress’, then no thanks for me.

    I love the middle to the end of the album. It’s just frustrating for me to see Carrie settle for the songs that make the first few tracks. She shouldn’t be needing to ‘save’ less than stellar songs, she should be selecting great songs and knocking them out of the park. She has demonstrated she can pick great songs (JTTW, BHC, JAD, Someday), it just seems she has to pick less than stellar songs just for diversification’s sake.

  185. Vance
    November 8, 2009 at 12:35 am

    The lyrics are actually, “boy meets girl, girl leaves boy”

    Also, I’m loving her fresh music.

    It’s not fresh music, it’s cookie cutter trash. Quitter is by far the worst song on Play On and comparable to a Swift track. Same goes for Undo It. And neither of them are country either.

    No, I gave an answer. Guess what, it was directly under your question. Are you starting to go blind? Just because you don’t like what answer I came up with, I still gave you an answer to your question.
    November 7th – 12:53 (my answer)
    Novermber 7th – 12:35 (your question)

    Arguing with a superfan like you is useless. That’s not a legit answer.

    Carrie certainly has potential, but recording crap forgettable crap like Quitter is a complete waste of potential. She needs to record more songs like Someday When I Stop Loving You, and interpret songs to the best of her ability like on Look At Me and What Can I Say.

  186. Dan E.
    November 8, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Kurt: I bet you’d be surprised at how many people are both fans of Carrie and Taylor. Only a small percentage actually take to blogging and only some of those people are one sided. I personally am a fan of both artists.

    Many of Carrie’s songs tell a great story, so I don’t believe she has abandoned that aspect. All her music videos are well thought out and she always gives entertaining performances.

    Of the 13 tracks, I love “Quitter” and “Undo It”, but both would fall near the upper middle (5 to 7) range compared with her other new songs.

    Again, I must say that I do believe she has wonderful stories being told throughout this album, and hopefully more music videos on future singles will showcase them.

    I find Carrie’s music to be a fresh of breath air and anybody who doesn’t feel this can easily find another musician that better suits their tastes. There are plenty of talented artists out there and someone somewhere will make some person out there feel good.

  187. Dan E.
    November 8, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Vance: You seem a little bitter.

  188. Vance
    November 8, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Only a superfan of Carrie would think I’m bitter as her fanbase is unable to take hearing any criticism about her career.

    And now I’ll take another shot at the fanbase because I feel like it. Most of them don’t know what Country music is, nor do they know what good music is.

  189. Please!
    November 8, 2009 at 3:42 am

    ‘I find Carrie’s music to be a fresh of breath air and anybody who doesn’t feel this can easily find another musician that better suits their tastes. There are plenty of talented artists out there and someone somewhere will make some person out there feel good.’

    Exactly! but these haters spend all their energy and time posting here and dissing on these artists instead of posting on some of the other artist reviews here, ones that fit the bill of what they are looking for. They should spend their time promoting the artists they are for and purchasing their music.. this is the sad truth of the country audience, that’s why these labels seek out pop influence, b/c sales lag so badly.. they need to stop the whining already, C. Underwood is going to do what she wants to do, she’s a huge star.. Just move on and support someone who matters to you.

  190. Please!
    November 8, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I’ll say something else here about hooks.. I heard two different women at my work place on two separate days singing the lyrics to “crazy”.. ? Patsy Cline hit from the past… Now, that’s a very hooky song… not a pop hook but a hook and a huge hit… if more country songs were written this way today I’m sure they’d hit the mark and not lose that quality that makes country music special.. but there is something to be said about hooks…

  191. Jon
    November 8, 2009 at 7:26 am

    “That’s nothing but a little ol’ pop song.” — Patsy Cline on “Crazy”

  192. Troy
    November 8, 2009 at 10:31 am

    @Arguing with a superfan like you is useless. That’s not a legit answer.

    Arguing with someone who already before listen to the album wasn’t going to like it is pointless as well.

    I’m also not a superfan she’s not The Saturdays. Maybe they would be a little more likely to listen if people stopped trying to act like the style of music they like is better then others.

    Another thing is when people say CU songs are already pop so they don’t need remixing. Don’t know what pop music is and just sound silly. Tell me the high relationship between CU songs with the songs like 3, Paparazzi, Down, Sweet Dreams, or Tik tok.

  193. kurt
    November 8, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Many of Carrie’s songs tell a great story, so I don’t believe she has abandoned that aspect. All her music videos are well thought out and she always gives entertaining performances.

    Again, I must say that I do believe she has wonderful stories being told throughout this album, and hopefully more music videos on future singles will showcase them.

    I agree that many of her songs tell a great story, but some just miss the mark. We are talking about the songs, so bringing up music videos and live performances doesn’t add much to your point.

    If you think songs like Quitter tell a great story, that is fine, we’ll agree to disagree. I think the story is clumsily developed. However, if a song needs a music video to showcase it’s story, then it’s not much of a song to begin with. Hopefully, Quitter won’t be a single because there are absolute gems on this album and not all of them will become singles.

    Sometimes I feel some of the fans aren’t able to step back and look at Carrie’s music objectively. I remember all hell broke loose when Carnival Ride was criticized as being too big and loud. And the funny thing is if you go on to the fanboards the fans will now say the same thing of Carnival Ride. Just too excited with the new stuff.

    I find Carrie’s music to be a fresh of breath air and anybody who doesn’t feel this can easily find another musician that better suits their tastes. There are plenty of talented artists out there and someone somewhere will make some person out there feel good.

    I find her voice to be absolutely amazing. Carrie’s songs just seem to be hit or miss with me. For every collection of gems she records, there will be a couple of duds. It’s like mandated. I still follow her music because she keeps having those collections of gems. Unfortunately, she still hasn’t had a gem of an album, yet. I’m still hoping for that.

    I just don’t see how Undo It can be a breath of fresh air, when the chorus sounds like a typical Kelly Clarkson pop anthem infused with Umbrella style stutters.

  194. Razor X
    November 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    “That’s nothing but a little ol’ pop song.” — Patsy Cline on “Crazy”

    I thought that quote referred to “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

  195. Jon
    November 8, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    You’re right, I’m wrong, I’m sorry. Although of course, “Crazy” is even more of a little ol’ pop song than “Walkin’ After Midnight” ;-).

  196. K
    November 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “Only a superfan of Carrie would think I’m bitter as her fanbase is unable to take hearing any criticism about her career.”

    Gee, it most be so easy to sterotype an entire fanbase because of comments by a few internet posts. I take offense to the fact that people want to call Carrie’s fanbase “blind,” “rabid” or “obssesive” because none of these generalizatiions are true for everyone.

    I think Carrie is a fabulous vocalist, but most of her songs are forgettable, with some exceptions. I’m actually surprised that Underwood isn’t a stronger songwriter, especially considering she graduated with honors as a journalism major in college.

    “I bet you’d be surprised at how many people are both fans of Carrie and Taylor.”

    I agree with this, but select fans do seem incredibly over the top when criticizing the one they’re not a fan of. I perfer Carrie because I think she’s an amazing vocalist and great person with some incredible songs, but Taylor has the personality and vision as an artist; she’s a
    \pretty talented actress as well.

    “Yep. It also shows that she’s willing to take a chance on something that she knows may (or will, really) put her in a negative light.”

    I absoultely agree with Tara on this. Even though the songs on this album aren’t the strongest, Carrie did take chances, and let more of her own artistic voice shine through than on previous efforts.

  197. TexasVet
    November 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Looks like CC is on the verge of being Carrie’s 10th Mediabase country #1, 8th Billboard country #1 & 11th #1 overall.
    http://www.mediabase.com/mmrweb/insideradio/charts.asp?format=11&showtopn=1000&cutoff=1

  198. Blake Boldt
    November 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I’m swinging a stick at the beehive here, but I like what Kurt said upthread. Kurt knows and I know that Taylor using pop resources such as Kara D. and Max Martin would result in some extreme teeth gnashing by a small faction of diehard Carrie fans. It’s nearly the same hypocrisy as certain “gatekeepers” of Nashville who slapped Shania and Faith on the wrist for adding pop elements and song structure to country playlists, only to profess their love of Carrie and Taylor for “growing the format” (read: “saving our bottom lines”).

    Ultimately, Carrie calls the shots, I’d say. Without being in the same room, it’s hard to know the conversations that took place regarding the formation of this album, but I bet Carrie is still a large amount of guidance, though. That hurts her work, in my view. As I mentioned in the original post, twenty-five writers are listed in the credits. While that number isn’t unheard of, it does call into question how big the artist’s contribution is. That’s not to say the music is “soulless,” to use Peter Grumbine’s aggressive term. But the singer needs to provide the unifying artistic voice, and instead, Play On sounds like a mishmash of different styles and influences, a few terrific moments and a few big clunkers.

    Someone within these 200 comments scoffed at the idea that Carrie could be pop, with examples of Lady Gaga and others to show how far removed Carrie is from that type of music. True, but Carrie would’ve fit snugly within the dreamy-sweet pop and adult contemporary soundscape, populated by Mariah, Whitney, Wilson Phillips and Taylor Dayne, among others, of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Dig out a Billboard pop chart from 1992 and tell me that Carrie’s music, stripped of its fiddle and steel, wouldn’t be right in place with Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” and Patty Smyth’s “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” (This is memory lane, people!) Check out Smyth’s ’92 self-titled disc, which is very similar sonically to most of Carrie’s output. Or, heck, most of country radio, to be honest.

    Carrie’s love, appreciation and ambassadorship of
    country music is absolutely genuine, I believe. But her recording on Music Row is more of a function of market demand rather than a real close connection to country music pre-Martina McBride. The women mentioned above were, by and large, booted from Top 40 radio in the late ’90s to make way for an edgier, riskier sound and more of an influence from dance and rap. With no proper format for her, Carrie found a perfect home for her more-traditional sound and substance.

    Technically proficient though it is, Carrie’s singing is still growing. Her sense of phrasing and use of dynamics can improve. I think the very nature of her voice is polarizing. It’s a very precious, earnest tone; fans of technique (and Carrie) are drawn to its prettiness and genuine sound, while others (typically hard-country supporters who value experience in their singers) hear it as naive, innocent and missing that necessary lived-in quality. Her edgier, rock-laced material can feel too safe for that very reason, which is why the “character” of her vocals and the quality of the material have to be just right to win over more-critical listeners.

    On a roll now. To me, it seems there’s been a gentle turn in how fans view their country singers. While the top stars used to be a representation ofwho they are, the top stars, now more mainstream than ever in nearly every capacity, seem to exist now as who they want to be, whether that be a beautiful, hockey star/NFL quarterback-dating college grad, an SNL-hosting phenomenon or other celeb-culture supernova (Lady A hangin’ with Katherine Heigl! OMG! Brad and Kimberly at a Hollywood premiere! Swoon!) The newfound fame of Nashville’s biggest, well, it taps into the fantasies of many Middle Americans (Visions of 30 Rock dance in my head. Anyone?). It’s a thesis I’ve been tossing around in my head for a while, and since a 200-comment thread just ain’t enough, I’d figure I’d throw it out there. I think there’s a sizable portion of the hardcore country listening audience that’s turned off by the (petty?) problems of this new mainstream brigade and will never connect to the dramas presented in their songs, regardless of how “country” it sounds. Is everybody too popular now? Is everybody too pretty?

  199. Troy
    November 8, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    @blake both pop and country music have evolved since late 80 early 90. And the part about taking away instruments and then she fits in nicely i find to not be a real valid point. If we take Whitney Houston and give add steel and fiddle into I will always love you it could fit country music.

    Even in AC music i can see a difference between Leona Lewis and Carrie Underwood.

  200. Stormy
    November 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Troy: How does the evolution of country music have anything to do with Carrie Underwood?

  201. Tara Seetharam
    November 9, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Blake – that last paragraph is fascinating to me, and it’s a topic I’ve also been kicking around in my head for awhile now, for a discussion topic over at CU. I think, though, that’s it’s a combination of the two views; an artist’s character or being is not defined by his or her lifestyle.

  202. Razor X
    November 9, 2009 at 9:49 am

    If we take Whitney Houston and give add steel and fiddle into I will always love you it could fit country music.

    Surely you are not unaware of the fact that “I Will Always Love You” was originally a country song, and that Whitney’s remake is a pop version???

  203. K
    November 9, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Underwood is number one on nine different charts this week:

    -Mediabase
    -Billboard
    -Billboard Country Album
    -Billboard 200
    -Itunes All genre (album)
    -Itunes Country (album)
    -Itunes Country (CC)
    -CMT Top 20 Countdown
    -GAC Top 20 Countdown

  204. Chris N.
    November 9, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I think everyone here is aware that she’s popular. That’s really irrelevant to the quality of the record. (My five-second review: kinda disappointing, but still better than most of the crap I have to hear.)

  205. Chris N.
    November 9, 2009 at 11:18 am

    ” If we take Whitney Houston and give add steel and fiddle into I will always love you it could fit country music.”

    *facepalm*

  206. Troy
    November 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    @Razor I know that it was Dolly song and whit whit remade it for the movie The Bodyguard. I was responding to the point that blake made that if you take away steel and fiddle away from Carrie music she would sound like Whitney Houston and pop music. I was using that as the example because it was both a pop and a country song because if the instruments are take away that make a song a certain genre any song can be turned from country to pop or pop to country.

    @Stormy blake made a point that CU would fit into pop music from late 80 to early 90. During that period would CU be considered country probably not. But country music has expanded from that time period and now has a wider range of what country music is considered that CU does fit into.

  207. Razor X
    November 9, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I was responding to the point that blake made that if you take away steel and fiddle away from Carrie music she would sound like Whitney Houston and pop music.

    Yes, some of us have been trying to make that same point for some time now.

    … if the instruments are take away that make a song a certain genre any song can be turned from country to pop or pop to country.

    I disagree. Some songs can be re-arranged and adapted for a different genre and it works quite well. But it can not be said that any song can be turned from pop to country. That approach has become more common in recent years — adding some token steel or fiddle to a song to make it sound more country, and that is one of the things that is wrong with mainstream country these days. Some songs just don’t work as country songs, no matter how much banjo, steel or fiddle is added.

  208. Troy
    November 9, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Yes, some of us have been trying to make that same point for some time now.

    I was against that statement. If the song has steel and fiddle it is a lame argument to say but wait if we take those instruments out its sounds like a pop song from early 90′s. The instruments are in the song so whats the point in saying that if they are taken away it sounds pop.

  209. Jon
    November 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    @razor x: I disagree. Some songs can be re-arranged and adapted for a different genre and it works quite well. But it can not be said that any song can be turned from pop to country.

    Why not? Can you give some examples of song elements (like chord structures, melodies or rhythms) that are intrinsic to one, and only one style of popular American music?

  210. Jon
    November 9, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    @troy The instruments are in the song so whats the point in saying that if they are taken away it sounds pop.

    Some people are addicted to arguing from hypotheticals, rather than facts.

  211. Dan Milliken
    November 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Some people are addicted to arguing from hypotheticals, rather than facts.

    Heaven forbid we allow for a place for critical thinking in argument.

  212. Dan Milliken
    November 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    There is one too many “for”s there, my bad.

  213. stormy
    November 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car has more steel in it than most country now days–its still a pop song.

    Ooooh, can we trade Carrie for Tracy?

  214. Jon
    November 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    If someone were to explain why they think that removing some of the tracks from a record they’re on would result in it being assigned to a different genre, that would demonstrate critical thinking; simply making the claim doesn’t.

    Kurt makes a start when he says:

    Phrasing, song structure, lyrics, and instrumentation make a country song.

    But he doesn’t specify which kinds of phrasing, song structures, lyrics and instrumentation distinguish country from non-country songs, nor account for the fact that these attributes cover both the song itself and the performance (even though the distinction between song and performance is a key issue in the discussion), much less account for the myriad exceptions that can be found for any such set of “rules.” If he did, that would demonstrate critical thinking.

  215. Peter
    November 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    There’s some great steel guitar work too in Pink Floyd’s Great Gig In The Sky…

  216. Evie
    November 9, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I have been listening to Carrie’s new CD and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. I realize there are critics that have been making negative comments (It’s either too pop, or they don’t like the songs about faith, or social issues, or whatever). But, I realized something, many of their reviews were just negative in tone, without really specifying what it was they didn’t like. That makes me think it’s not so much the music they don’t like, it’s what she stands for. She’s happy and in love right now and I really think some of the reviewers like darker, edgier songs. I find the songs very catchy, the voice, outstanding (none really like her out there), but also, the girl’s got a big heart, and that also shows through. She’s really the only openly Christian female singer that I can think of right now in mainstream music and that really brings out the vitriol.

  217. Please!
    November 9, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Phrasing, song structure, lyrics, and instrumentation make a country song.

    Jon why not explain to us what sets this genre apart using these song parts.

    The song structures on the country songs seem much like those of other genres and are very varied. Some use verse title like structures, some use verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge structures… some use other structure.. much like rock, R&B, pop… Rap is really the only genre i can think of that uses different structure.. as for lyrics, country songs seems to focus more on a story, and with the chorus having very little repetition.. maybe they use a title at the beginning and/or at the end of the chorus.. or verses or both… Phrasing tends to vary I find.. They use longer notes, but that varies… you won’t find super short, catchy lyrical repetitive phrasing like pop, but the melodies seem to change twice in the verses with a lift toward the chorus as the major change.. it seems to be done either with chords or melody. The older country songs seem to use similar chords and changes and less variation.. Maybe minor keys are used more.. it’s keys that may define and differentiate it, but I’m sure some will argue that too.. b/c it depends on the singer. There are some common keys used in just country.

    I’d like to know if anyone has anything to add here.. b/c I know country has a much different sound than other genres.. maybe it’s the twang involved also that helps it along.. and the production/instrumentation of course..

  218. Jon
    November 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    @please! Phrasing, song structure, lyrics, and instrumentation make a country song.

    Jon why not explain to us what sets this genre apart using these song parts.

    Ask Kurt; I quoted that sentence from his post.

  219. Stormy
    November 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Evie: Don’t make me smack you upside the head with a Martina McBride cd. Also, Miranda is pretty openly Christian without knocking you upside the head with it. Oh, and then there is Leeann Womacks new cd…..

    You can’t think of very many female country singers, can you?

  220. Dan Milliken
    November 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    “If someone were to explain why they think that removing some of the tracks from a record they’re on would result in it being assigned to a different genre, that would demonstrate critical thinking; simply making the claim doesn’t.”

    Regardless of whether you think anyone has successfully engaged in critical thinking, there is no room for it at all if we circulate the idea that people shouldn’t argue with hypotheticals, which was what you originally implied. You have sidestepped acknowledging your own blustering comment by criticizing my criticism of it.

  221. Razor X
    November 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    She’s really the only openly Christian female singer that I can think of right now in mainstream music …

    I can’t think of a female country singer who isn’t open about being a Christian. You apparently missed the review of Lee Ann Womack’s current single.

  222. Leeann Ward
    November 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Evie,
    There are plenty of reasons that people don’t like Underwood (some of them even arguably unfair), but I really think you’re reaching for that accusation. I’ve seen no reviews, or even the vilest of comments, that have even hinted at undertones that they have a problem with her open Christianity.

  223. Jon
    November 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    In the first place, Dan, I didn’t advance the idea that people shouldn’t argue with hypotheticals. I made an empiric observation that you know, or ought to know, is true. Some people are addicted to arguing from hypotheticals, rather than facts. Others are addicted to argument by analogy, rather than from facts.

    Furthermore, I pointed out that the problem here is creating a hypothetical situation, drawing a debatable and unproven conclusion from that, and then advancing the conclusion as though it were fact – which, of course, it’s not.

    Substituting an asserted conclusion drawn from a hypothetical circumstance for an actual analysis does not constitute critical thinking. It is more or less the opposite of critical thinking, in that it amounts to manufacturing evidence rather than gathering and assessing it.

  224. Steve M.
    November 9, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I feel like I am back in college and walked into a stats class.

  225. Troy
    November 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    @Dan Milliken I said that one hypothetical question was a pointless one since on her cd CU does use Steel and Fiddle. I find hypothetical question better in the use of what someone might do in the future but for something that is already done it’s pointless.

    @Stormy we can trade CU for Tracy Chapman as long as we can trade Jamey Johnson for The Saturdays.

  226. Stormy
    November 9, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Troy: The Sundays yes, The Saturdays no.

  227. Troy
    November 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    @Stormy I don’t get why people who like rock music always say the Sundays when I say The Saturdays. Also, don’t mess with The Saturdays or expect a beatdown. j/k. And did you have to look up who The Saturdays are or did you already know about them?

  228. Stormy
    November 9, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Judging from their vocals The Saturdays are a bunch of robots:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGPwmr2FWn4

    As for why people who love Rock music always mention The Sundays–probably because Harriet Wheeler possibly outdid Jagger on his own song:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9lEd5bIbbQ
    Honestly, there are people who like Rock. Why wouldn’t they prefer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcN5Vaqd9sg to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FIEdr8EirA&feature=PlayList&p=59F012B125595257&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=1 ?

    You have to remember, I LOVE Jamey Johnson, but I would trade him for Harriet Wheeler.

  229. Please!
    November 10, 2009 at 5:37 am

    @stormy, I have to agree with you but I think we are looking at a new generation of listeners that are used to a certain sound and are going to buy into that sound.. and those looks.. I prefer the Sundays… wow! but I’m from gen X.. and I believe they’ve been around for quite a while.. I also loved the Cranberries.. A similar type alt rock sound.. but this generation today was brought up on rap/hip hop/pop, ala’ Brittany Spears, and watches reality shows like ‘making the band’ on MTV.. shows that push these kinds of acts.. I think The Saturdays fall into that.

  230. Troy
    November 10, 2009 at 6:17 am

    @Please The Saturdays weren’t pushed on me they only release music to Uk and Ireland not in America :(.

    @Stormy They actually do very well live and are not robots http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPE8x39ji4U

  231. Please!
    November 10, 2009 at 6:40 am

    I shouldn’t say pushed, but marketed yes.. they obviously are, but you have found them somehow.. their sound is similar to what is on the charts today, not what was on the charts in the early 90′s.. hence you would be partial to the sound if you are a listener to today’s music.. which I assume you are. The Sundays definitely have a more rock sound for sure..

  232. Stormy
    November 10, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Troy: They aren’t as bad as The Spice Girls live, but certainly not as good as The Sundays.

    Please: You cannmot have rap/hip hop ala Brittany Speares, because she is straight up pop. And I HATE people my age who dismiss all hip hop and rap. We grew up in the era of Tupac, Salt N Peppa, the Fugees and Queen Latiffah and should know better.

  233. Please!
    November 10, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Stormy, hate is a strong emotion.. you need to chill it out.. I was referring to all the popular music in the last decade which was mostly rap, hip/hop, R&B. I wasn’t dismissing anything. It’s all classified as pop.. as in popular music b/c it’s what was/is being sold.. Rock disappeared after the grunge bands took over and they disappeared as well.. at least from the mainstream. This group he is referring to is not rock.

    BTW I actually like all kinds of music.. didn’t like Tupac sorry… but I sure listened to Salt and Peppa.. and i listen to a lot of the music on the charts today. Salt and Peppa are really early 90′s also.. I don’t believe they were called hip hop at that time but I’m not an expert like you are apparently..

  234. Jon
    November 10, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Once again, it turns out that an argument ostensibly about outside influences on country is actually an argument about the relative merits of different kinds of pop and rock music. Ho hum.

  235. Please!
    November 10, 2009 at 7:45 am

    LOL, you have a point there jon

  236. stormy
    November 10, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Please!: True, The Saturdays are the kind of pop that make rock fans hate pop. As for Rock, its kind of made a resurgance in teh past 5 years or so with bands like Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie.

  237. Please!
    November 10, 2009 at 9:27 am

    yes rock is apparently making a come back finally, and apparently on the country charts as well. teehee..

  238. stormy
    November 10, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Yes, but that’s bad 80′s rock not good 90′s rock.

  239. kevin w
    November 10, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I see bland, boring Carrie Underwood has once again caused over 200 people to comment.

  240. Jon
    November 10, 2009 at 9:48 am

    @stormy Yes, but that’s bad 80’s rock not good 90’s rock.

    See what I mean?

  241. stormy
    November 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Jon: Carrie’s half butted attempts at throwing some detwanged steel behind her best bad Ann Wilson impression qulafies as bad 80′s rock.

  242. Stormy
    November 11, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Kevin: Shhh, I have very nearly negoiated a trade where we can get Harriet Wheeler and Tracy Chapman for Jamey Johnson and Carrie Underwood. Don’t muck up the deal.

  243. ALJID
    November 11, 2009 at 2:58 am

    I hope every blog here has a topic as boring as Carrie Underwood. Can you imagine over a hundred comments for each boring blog?

  244. Leeann Ward
    November 11, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Kevin W. said: “I see bland, boring Carrie Underwood has once again caused over 200 people to comment.”

    I won’t count it up, but I don’t think over 200 people have commented on this thread considering most people have commented multiple times and mine will only be the 244th comment.

  245. kevin w
    November 11, 2009 at 10:51 am

    True, I actually meant to say over 200 comments. Should have proofread lol.

  246. kevin w
    November 11, 2009 at 10:53 am

    “Kevin: Shhh, I have very nearly negoiated a trade where we can get Harriet Wheeler and Tracy Chapman for Jamey Johnson and Carrie Underwood. Don’t muck up the deal”

    Well that makes things better….

  247. Troy
    November 11, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I have very nearly negoiated a trade where we can get Harriet Wheeler and Tracy Chapman for Jamey Johnson and Carrie Underwood.

    That is not the trade!

  248. Jo
    November 14, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Carrie lost me completely on her first single “Jesus Take The Wheel” and has never got me back again.

  249. Vicki
    December 6, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Honestly? Lost her on “Jesus Take the Wheel” which spoke to many in times of need? Ok..each his own but…I would have chose another song completely to have lost her on.

    “Play On” is played constantly on my way to work. I can’t quite get the Christmas CD’s out yet, but I love all but 2 songs on this tract. I’m finally getting into “Quitter” as well. So some songs are better than Carnival Ride but then I don’t remember 2 songs being songs that should have been completely not sung on Carnival Ride, like there are on “Play On”. My favorites: “Temporary Home”, “Someday when I stop loving you”, “What Can I say”, “Cowboy Casanova”, “Quitter”, “Undo it”, “Change” and “Mama’s Song”.

  250. dannyboi
    December 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    hehe..alot of different reviews here. i just thought the songs in this album where pretty much standard carrie underwood songs. she’s got a knack in the storytelling arena and has a great set of pipe. it’d be nice to hear some new fresh songs in her next album while still retaining some of her lovely ballads of which I enjoy over and over again. 4/5. took a while for me to enjoy most of them but it grows on me over time. thank goodness for her voice…otherwise, big trouble.

  251. LUVCU
    January 5, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    ANYONE THAT DOESN’T LIKE CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S NEW ALBUM PLAY ON IS JUST PLAIN DEAF!
    THIS IS HER BEST ALBUM SO FAR. YOU NEED TO READ THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE BOOK TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS OUR TEMPORARY HOME AND HEAVEN IS WHERE WE ARE GOING! THAT IS IF YOU KNOW AND ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR! THAT IS THE MESSAGE THAT CARRIE IS SENDING TO EVERYONE IN THIS SONG!!
    I ADMIRE AND LOVE HER, BECAUSE SHE IS NOT ASHAMED OF HER FAITH OR AFRAID TO SHARE IT! I TOO AM A CHRISTIAN AND I CAN’T BELIEVE SOME OF THE COMMENTS THAT I HAVE READ! I CAN TELL BY SOME OF THEM, THAT SOME OF YOU DON’T KNOW JESUS CHRIST!
    HOPE YOU WILL ACCEPT HIM, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!

  252. Andrew
    January 5, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    A few tips for Carrie fans who wish to comment in the future:

    1) As you intuitively understand, comments that are written entirely in capitals impress us with their emotional intensity. I would advise that you adopt this form of communication for all your correspondence, particularly job applications.

    2) A comment can never have enough exclamation points. They strengthen any argument. At most major media outlets, letters and comments are prioritized entirely by the number of exclamation points. LUVCU uses 8, which would ordinarily just get you on a waiting list for publication. Charles Krauthammer always uses at least 50.

    3) You correctly perceive that any comment will be bolstered by assurance that you, like Carrie, are a devout Christian, but you do not go far enough. Do you seriously think that merely declaring yourself a Christian is enough to persuade readers that you are not secretly a Muslim, a Jew or possibly even an atheist? In the future, include the number of crosses that are displayed in your home, photographic evidence that your house contains at least one Bible per person, and at least two examples of your ability to quote scripture.

    Have a nice day.

  253. Dan E.
    January 6, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I’m hoping for 5-6 singles from this album. The “Temporary Home” music video will be premiering shortly and it will be very interesting to see how Carrie’s team will construct this one. I heard that the director will be the one that did “Concrete Angel” by Martina McBride. If so, then I have no doubt that this video will be a one of a kind treat.

  254. Jon
    January 6, 2010 at 7:55 am

    I’m hoping for 5-6 singles from this album.

    How come?

  255. Dan E.
    January 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Jon: Well, you know, I could take 7 or 8, but we do need to get a fourth CD in sometime. The songs are just that good!

  256. Steve from Boston
    January 6, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Eloquent and insightful analysis, Blake, both your review and your long comment. I agree completely that the designation “pop/adult-contemporary” encompasses a broad range of modern musical styles and I think much of Carrie’s music (and others as well) fit neatly into a country-flavored pop style. I’d call it Nashville Pop. Just because it isn’t cutting edge, “out-there” pop, doesn’t mean it isn’t pop.

    Also, you make a very important point about the already realized high quality of Carrie’s vocals, but also her need to grow into her postential as well. There certainly is room for improvement in her vocal dynamics, phrasing and sense of nuance, but she seems to be on her way in those areas, although her more “rock” style allows her to coast, and fails to challenge her as sufficiently as more Traditional material would, and has.

    And that whole culture of celebrity that you point out in the last paragraph of your thread post is not something that I find endearing, and this Traditionalist for one hopes that modern country music singers will buckle down and focus, and make it “all about the music” once again. A little of the trappings of fame go a long way..but the way things are going today, the trappings seem more an encumberance and a distraction than an enhancement of the music. And when the trappings work their way into the content of the songs themselves, then we basically have rap in country pop form. Not a good thing, from my p. o. v.

  257. Jon
    January 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    @Dan E. Jon: Well, you know, I could take 7 or 8, but we do need to get a fourth CD in sometime.

    “We?” Do you work for Underwood’s label? Because if not, I don’t see 1) why you would refer to yourself in the 3rd person, and 2) as originally suggested by my question, why you would care how many singles are released from the album. You’ve already bought it, haven’t you? Can’t you listen to as much of it as you like any time you want?

  258. Razor X
    January 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    “We” is considered third person now??

  259. Jon
    January 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    @Razor X: Whoops. Make that “the plural.”

  260. Dan E.
    January 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Jon: For Carrie, more singles means more radio play, more music videos, more sales in general, more records being broken, and for more people to hear about Carrie Underwood’s brilliant music. So, why wouldn’t I want to have as much singles come from her album as possible? I mean, come on now.

  261. Dan E.
    January 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Jon: By the way, I didn’t use ‘I’ because I’m not just referring to myself. I’m referring to the fans of Carrie in general, which you do not seem to be included in.

  262. Jon
    January 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    @Dan E. Whether it means more sales in general is probably debatable, at least in substantive terms; same with more people hearing her music. More singles from the album also means less new music – or at least, a longer amount of time before there’s new music. And why do you care whether there’s more radio play? Do you like her music because you enjoy it, or because it’s popular? I understand why a record label wants to get as many singles as possible from an album (see: “longer amount of time before there’s new music”), but not why a fan would care. Seems like it’s more of the vicariousness that your use of the first person plural already suggested.

  263. Jon
    January 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Oh, and as for me, I like what I’ve heard from Underwood – some more than the rest. Dunno if that makes me a fan or not.

  264. Dan E.
    January 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Jon: The more singles out for availability gives listeners the chance to know if they like more than one or two songs off of an artist’s album. When after months of great sales from Carrie, there really isn’t that much of a debate. Her singles get promoted very well. All of her songs become hits. People notice this and because they know they like her songs they continue to buy her CDs, thus her increase in sales is very probable. It’s probably a safe bet that even people that don’t like Carrie’s music can still pick out many of her singles. Singles are put out to get noticed, and the more you have of them the more people will notice. It’s really not that complicated to comprehend.

    Well, she has had 5 singles from her first two CDs and she still managed to get a new album out every two years. So, we get new music from her at a very good pace. Plus, we get bonus songs like “Ever Ever After”, “I’ll Stand By You”, etc. throughout the years as well. So, she’s not lacking in new music. Also, the more singles she has, the less time we have to wait for her next CD to come out. It’s actually a very good process.

    Why do I care if there’s more radio play? Are you really serious? Hmmm, why would anyone want to hear one of their favorite artists on the radio? What an idea.

    Another mind-blowing question. “Do I like her music because I enjoy it or because it’s popular?” Wow, you know that’s a tough one. Guess what, you obviously are not aware, liking something (especially in the music sense) is a very strong clue that it’s also enjoyable. I mean, that question basically has the same relevance of me asking you, “Do you like so-and-so’s music because you enjoy them or because they’re not popular?” There really is none, but I’m sure you thought long and hard on that one.

    You still can’t see why a fan would care about the number of singles? Really, I mean really? You asked a lot of questions already, so I’ll finish up by saying, if an artist is able to get at least 5 singles from their album, their career is headed most definitely in the right direction.

  265. Razor X
    January 7, 2010 at 5:16 am

    So the number of singles released from an album is now a measurement of success? Isn’t that interesting ….

  266. Dan E.
    January 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Razor X: You can definitley be successful with just a couple singles out. But, if you are an artist with at least five, it does send out the message that someone is very successful.

  267. Razor X
    January 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Anybody can release as many singles as they want from an album. It in no way equates to success.

  268. Dan E.
    January 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Razor X: Name me one recent artist with at least 5 legitimate singles from one album that is not successful in their career.

  269. sam (sam)
    January 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I’m not Razor X, but Amy Dalley comes to mind as having released a lot of singles from an upcoming album, though I’m not sure if her album was ever released. I’m not exactly sure if Dalley fits Dan E’s criteria, but she probably comes close. Her singles certainly were “legitimate.”

    In all seriousness, though, I think if an artist has 5 hit singles from an album, then that album is likely a commercial success.

    Anyway, I’m not exactly sure what the point of this debate is.

  270. Razor X
    January 7, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Dan E., Dolly Parton released five singles from her last album but none of them were chart successes.

  271. sam (sam)
    January 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Mark Chesnutt has released six singles from his album, “Rollin with the Flow.” Not one single has cracked the top 20 on Billboard and the album has not sold even gold. This example should satisfy Dan E.

  272. Dan E.
    January 7, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Sam(Sam): Amy Dalley (whom I have never heard of) did release some songs that were just singles only. From an album that’s been released, she hasn’t had many. Mark Chesnutt (whom I have never heard of) is a good example. I am curious as to when each one was released, but that really doesn’t matter.

    Razor X: Dolly Parton (someone I most definitly have heard of)is also a good example. But, her career is something that is legendary.

    I knew a couple of names would be spurted out here. Sam(Sam) – this debate all got started because Jon questioned why I wished for around 5- to 6 singles from Carrie’s album. While there are rare cases of some record labels dishing out singles(rather odd if none of them are performing well) my main deal is that if the main artists for today’s generation are getting five singles, things are looking pretty good. So, all in all, I’m still hoping for at least 5 singles from Carrie. If she does she does, if she doesn’t she doesn’t. But, I have a really good feeling she will.

  273. Sheep
    January 10, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    The standout is definitely “Someday When I Stop Loving You.”

    The rest of the album is generally OK. The problem is that (after a great opening track, “Cowboy Casanova,”) a lot of the momentum is killed on the 2nd and 3rd tracks, “Quitter” and “Mama’s Song,” respectively. Those two songs are among the worst of the album. It picks up a little bit with “Change” and “Undo It,” and after that it’s pretty well solid with no huge tracks that are lifechanging.

  274. Vicki Bennett
    January 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Better than the last album but not as good as the first. She has gotten where she stays in that one high key and can be very aggrevating after a couple of songs.

  275. Amanda
    January 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I have listened to ALL the songs on the track, and i loved each and everyone of them. her voice makes each song perfect. my favorites are Cowboy Casanova, Unapologise, Mama’s Song, and Temporary Home. all the others are really good too. yet another awesome album from Carrie Underwood. i can’t wait for the next one! mean while i’ll be listening to this one.

  276. Eleanor Ray
    June 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    People don’t go to concerts of artists that they don’t care for, so why post on a website of an artist that you aren’t a fan of. I don’t think Taylor Swift is country, but I don’t go to her website and run her down.
    I have been a fan of Carrie’s since American Idol and I will look forward to her 4th album. If you don’t like her music, don’t listen to it. Plain and simple.
    Mamaw 9

  277. Dan E
    August 11, 2010 at 11:15 am

    “Mama’s Song” will be released on August 29th!

  278. Thomas
    August 11, 2010 at 11:58 am

    …i am so happy or… i have such a happy?!?

  279. Dan E
    September 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

    “Mama’s Song” music video by Carrie Underwood: http://www.youtube.com/user/carrieunderwoodVEVO#p/u/0/bpFW4Yhy08k

  280. Dan E
    September 24, 2010 at 9:02 am

    The link didn’t light up. Oh well, you can just go to youtube and type in carrie underwood vevo and it will pop up!

  281. Brody Vercher
    September 24, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Thanks, Dan. It’ll be in today’s news, too.

  282. Dan E
    January 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Play On has now been certified 2x platinum!

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