It’s been three years since Carrie Underwood fanatics heard any new music from the “Good Girl” singer. Thankfully, that all that will change this Tuesday (May 1) when Carrie releases her fourth studio album Blown Away.
But how does it fare compared to her last three highly successful albums?
For starters, don’t expect an album full of cheesy love songs from the newly married Mrs. Fisher. “That’s just a personal thing to me. I’d rather live that in my real life,” Carrie tells CMT.
Instead, get ready to be wrangled into a world of upbeat banjo heavy songs about life, cheating, hometowns and freedom.
Opening Blown Away is Carrie’s latest single “Good Girl,” which sold over 100,000 copies in the first three days of its release.
But the good girl vibe only lasts those three-and-a-half minutes; the second track, “Two Black Cadillacs,” takes the album into a darker turn. It’s a cheating song like no other, telling the story of a man who’d been cheating on two women for way too long. The song gets darker when it implies the two women took matters in their own hands against the cheating man. “Two months ago his wife called the number on his phone / Turns out he’d been lying to both of them for oh so long / They decided then he’d never get away with doing this to them / Two black Cadillacs waiting for the right time.”
The title track “Blown Away” showcases Carrie’s award winning vocals with an airy, energy-ridden vibe. Of all the tracks on the record, this is one of the best. “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house / There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma to rip the nails out of the glass / Shatter every window until it’s all blown away. / Break every board, every slamming door blown away”. The use of deep bass lines and reverberation can’t help but leave the listener feeling a need to hear more.
Diving into the first of very few love songs on the album, “See You Again” shows off some of the most enchanting harmonies on the entire disc. “I will see you again / This is not where it ends / I will carry you with me till I see you again.” Pushing straight into the second love song in a row, “Do You Think About Me” speaks to a vast majority of country fans who pine over someone who may or may not notice them. The banjo gives an inviting feel in the first verse that fans won’t be able to turn off.
“Forever Changed”, though, changes the tone of the album as Carrie dives into the story one would automatically assume was her own. It starts from the very first moment a women meets her love and soon goes through the changes of marriage, birth, family and finally the fateful hand of Alzheimer’s. “Nothing ever stays the same / Forever a child, forever loved, forever changed.”
And just as you start feeling your heartstrings begin to pull, Carrie does a 180 into an uptempo and uplifting song, “Nobody Ever Told You”, that could easily become the theme song for self-esteem. The catchy guitar riffs and toe-tapping background music instantly gives a feeling of empowerment as Carrie belts out an encouraging “Nobody ever told you you shine like a diamond and glitter like god / You need to know and nobody ever told you.”
The next two songs are an anthem for those fans who feel like they need to get out of their small town but, in the end, feel like they can always go back with open arms. “One Way Ticket” and “Thank God For Hometowns,” though they have different sounds, enjoy the same country family feel. “If life don’t go your way, baby it’s time to take a break / Raise your hands in the air tonight, put a little love back in your life / Get your feet up just kick it, we got a one way ticket.” It’s a high energy, dance-worthy tune.
Continuing on the trail of uplifting and empowering, “Good In Goodbye” explains how past relationships need to live in the past. Sometimes you may regret leaving someone, but life leads you down a different road for a reason. Another great, empowering song for the fans. “As bad as it was, as bad as it hurt / I thank god I didn’t get what I thought that I deserved. / Sometimes life leads you down a different road / When you’re holding on to someone that you got to let go / Someday you’ll see the reason why there’s good in goodbye.”
And just when you think it can’t get better, Carrie pushes the album into a Miranda Lambert “Kerosene”-esque track called “Cupid’s Got A Shotgun” that’s both quirky and dance-worthy at the same time. It plays along the same line as “Last Name” from ‘Carnival Ride‘ and “Before He Cheats” from her debut album Some Hearts.
The highly anticipated album finally ends with a slower ballad called “Who Are You” that starts out just a mere whisper and crescendos into the powerhouse vocalist that won Carrie Underwood her American Idol title back in 2005. It’s always a little iffy to end an album with a ballad, but after listening to the intense and powerful vocals, it’s hard to fight her decision to say goodbye to her fans this way. “Who are you / The one I gave my life to / Who are you / That loves as deep as I do.”
Overall, this has to be the best album Carrie has released, and it’s easy to tell she put way more than her heart and soul into every track that graces the disc. The final track ends and fans can immediately feel as if they know her personally.
Pre-order Blown Away right now on iTunes.
And don’t forget to tune in to see Carrie as she goes Live On Letterman tonight (Monday, April 30). This exclusive streaming concert will begin at 8pm ET (5pm PT) and end just in time for her appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm ET.
-Jodi Phillips / The New 103.7