Nov. 3. The date all Carrie Underwood uberfans have eagerly anticipated. When Carrie’s newest album hit iTunes at 10:54 p.m. Monday, I hit “buy” with trembling fingers. My mind swirled with questions: “What if I didn’t like this one?” “Will it be better than ‘Some Hearts?’” After hearing the album “Play On” once, I knew that all my worry was for naught — the album blew me away.
After selling more than 10 million copies of her first two albums, Carrie comes to a crossroads with her third: Should she pursue commercial success or artistic growth? Her answer is to do a little bit of both. Carrie and her team of producers and songwriters managed to put together an interesting combination of pop beats grounded in country fiddles and violins — nothing completely different from her past endeavors, and yet, this album differs from past efforts as Carrie completely bares her soul to the public. Never before has she written a love song as personal as “Look at Me,” or a thank you note to her mom — and maybe God — as sincere as “Mama’s Song.” With the growing relationship between her and boyfriend Mike Fisher, Carrie has every reason to brag about how in love she is. Yet for all those wishing for angry, feisty Carrie — don’t worry. Her huge country hit “Cowboy Casanova” belittles those womanizing, sketchy guys who hook up with girl after girl, and “Undo It,” Carrie’s angriest song since “Before He Cheats,” has her screaming how she wants to erase her history with an ex. Arguably the best song of the album, “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” has a broken-hearted Carrie lamenting, “I remember that night we lay in bed / naming all our kids we haven’t had yet / One for your grandmother, and one for mine.” Never before has she sounded so melancholic, so tired from a love gone wrong.
This diverse, intimate album has listeners feeling as if they are on a coffee date with Carrie; she confides, gossips, cries and laughs with us about her life. Hopefully this album will show that there is more to the perfect, Barbie-doll stereotype currently surrounding Carrie. If you like country, rock, pop, or even rap — yes, it’s that good — this album is for you.