Listening to the 14 tracks on Carrie Underwood’s fourth album, “Blown Away” feels like sitting through a high-energy Las Vegas extravaganza. And you’ll be hoping for an intermission. Even the ballads — such as the piano-driven “Who Are You,” with its crescendos and swirling flourishes as Underwood rhapsodizes, “Who are you/Who chained me to desire” — are less inspiring or introspective than bombastic.
But Underwood, one of the most successful “American Idol” winners, offers something for everyone. The island-tinged “One Way Ticket” conjures swaying palms as Underwood sings, “Say adios to the minimum wage/Tell your bossman where he can stick it/Hey, we got a one-way ticket.”
She’s best when she sticks to country. It’s hard to top “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” for pure fun, audacity and energy, starting with its fast Charlie Daniels Band-like fiddle licks. “Well, he’s got me in his sights/I got a red dot on my chest . . . I strapped on my Kevlar vest/I pulled out my Remington . . . He’s about to find out/I’m a dang good shot myself.”
The title track, however, about an abused daughter letting her alcoholic father get swept up in a tornado, sounds like a club dance jam. Sure, it’s catchy, but is it a sentiment to dance to?
Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away'
Seven years after she won the fourth season of "American Idol," Carrie Underwood has been a top-tier country star for long enough that she can advise a friend to "turn off the static on the TV" (as she does in her new album's pep-talky "Nobody Ever Told You") without sounding like an ingrate. Yet if Underwood has undoubtedly established herself beyond the talent-show realm, she's been less successful embodying a persona more complex than Top-Tier Country Star: When Mitt Romney published a playlist of favorite campaign-trail tunes in March, it made sense that the sometimes-wooden presidential hopeful included Underwood's "All-American Girl."
"Blown Away," the singer's fourth album, has been described as a turn toward darkness from a singer who first topped the country chart with "Jesus, Take the Wheel." And insofar as the moody title track finds her willing death-by-tornado upon an abusive father, that's true. (Elsewhere, "Two Black Cadillacs" offers a bleaker spin on the revenge fantasy in Underwood's 2006 smash "Before He Cheats.") Mostly, though, "Blown Away" finds her using her remarkable voice to deliver feel-good bromides like those in the lightly reggae-inflected "One Way Ticket": "Life is like a ride on a party bus," "It matters where you're going, not where you been," "We're headed to a heaven where the beat don't stop." Who knew the victor's circle would be so dull?
Underwood album doesn't blow you away
Carrie Underwood has a lovely country-pop voice and a winningly sweet, self-effacing manner. Yet you'd be hard-pressed to assign her an artistic personality beyond that.
Certainly, the songs on her new album, Blown Away cover a range of emotions and experience, and Underwood co-wrote some intriguing ones. In the pulsing "Two Black Cadillacs", a man's widow and mistress meet at his funeral after sharing a secret phone conversation; "Good in Goodbye" charts a failed romance with two happy endings.
Underwood's singing, as usual, is impeccable — technically supple and elegant but full of girlish pluck. Even when working a clichéd concept, she's at once impressive and authentic.
That's not quite the same thing as exciting. But at 29, Underwood still has a lot of growing to do; Blown Away both reaffirms her natural gifts and makes us continue to root for her to push beyond them.
Download: "Good in Goodbye", "Two Black Cadillacs"
Underwood CD Review
Call it an Underwood makeover. After three albums as country-pop queen, the AmIdol winner changes her tune somewhat on this eclectic set. Not only does she rein in her giant pipes to serve some dark tales of domestic abuse and dead lovers, she underpins them with bombastic strings, laid-back reggae-pop and more. The title is an overstatement, but it’s definitely not biz as usual.
Download: Good Girl; Two Black Cadillacs
Carrie Underwood not at home in ‘Away’
Producer Mark Bright, who helmed 2005 “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood’s three previous platinum discs, sticks to his formula on “Blown Away” (out tomorrow). There’s one crushingly good pop gem dressed up as country (“Good Girl”), some ridiculous rah-rah “rural values” propaganda (“Thank God For Hometowns”) and a half-dozen cloying ballads — the worst of which, Mutt Lange’s “Who Are You,” Celine Dion would reject as tripe. Bright needs to let Carrie peruse some real country.
Download the one moment when she lets loose with that mighty, twang-filled voice, the bluegrass pop romp “Leave Love Alone.”
smh @ some of these reviews tbh
w/e she's still slaying regardless
Blown Away and Forever Changed and See You Again are legit flawless