With the release of her fourth album, multi-platinum artist Carrie Underwood sheds her once-innocent “American Idol” persona. Traversing not only genre gaps, but also social and personal issues, Underwood’s newest album “Blown Away” will do just that: blow you away.
Taking an initial turn off of the Hollywood pop/country road that she has become niched into, Underwood has taken what artistic freedom she can afford and opens her newest album with a much darker feel. Although the tracks maintain an upbeat tempo and vary in genre (country, pop and even something resembling rock), the first four tracks exist in a complete dichotomy with the rest of the album.
These first songs don’t deter from the general tone of the album, but rather define it. Generally, when this dichotomy exists in an album, especially when in a pop/country album, it seems like the ranting and whining of a privileged little girl. Underwood, however, breaks this stereotype by bringing in much more controversial topics. Explicitly embracing a cynical viewpoint of men, borderline misandristic, Underwood portrays almost an entire lifetime of oppression and abuse from men in the first three tracks.
But honestly, when listening to the album in its entirety, it will be difficult to move past the second track; the track bearing the album title, “Blown Away” is hands down the best representation of the album. With a sinister storyline of child abuse and murder of an abusive addict father, the song has a unique feel that is sure to be the “Independence Day” of this decade (a track that not only got Martina McBride a lot of controversy but also awards).
Her first single off of the album, “Good Girl,” has already bridged the gap between country and pop. With lyrics that empower women and a catchiness that resembles past hits “Cowboy Casanova” and “Before He Cheats,” “Good Girl” is the perfect way to open this new album. And the singles, like with her other albums, will surely keep coming. Not just a one-track wonder, “Blown Away” has such a diversity of lyrics, vocalization and instrumentals that several of the tracks will surely bridge the gaps of genres — bringing together country, pop and rock.
Oddly, there are almost no ballads in the album, at least none slow enough to be considered one, but even if you’re not a fan of country or upbeat pop music, it is worth the while to listen to. If you don’t like country, stop short after the first half. But if you even mildly enjoy country, then the album in its entirety will leave you in a heavenly state of bliss (perhaps even resenting men a little bit). But no matter what your musical taste may be, there is no way that you can deny the musicality of Underwood.
With a unique sound and amazing intuition with her vocal riffs, Carrie Underwood is truly a diamond found in the rough. And despite not having the big name features that all other artists feel are necessary to have in order to sell albums, Underwood has a passion and grit that makes her album worthwhile.
Rating: 4 out of 5