Carrie Marie Underwood was born on March 10, 1983 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She rose to prominence when she won Season 4 of American Idol. Her great first album SOME HEARTS (2005) included the hits ‘Wasted’, ‘Before He Cheats’, and ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’. She followed this up with 2007’s CARNIVAL RIDE which showcased such wonderful songs as ‘All-American Girl’, ‘So Small’, and ‘Last Name’. The next year she was inducted into and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 2009 brought us PLAY ON which included ‘Cowboy Casanova’, ‘Undo It’, and ‘Temporary Home’. As of February 13, 2013 her fourth album BLOWN AWAY (2012, 19 Recordings Limited) had sold 1, 285, 000 copies! It won Favorite Country Album at the American Music Awards. It is a generous effort clocking in at 55:40.
The album starts with ‘Good Girl’, the upbeat first single. The song serves as a warning to ladies about less than desirable guys: “You want a white wedding and a hand you can hold/Just like you should, girl, like every good girl does/Want a fairy tale ending, somebody to love/But he’s really good at lyin’ yeah/He’ll leave you in the dust/Cuz when he says forever, well, it don’t mean much/Hey, good girl, so good for him/Better back away, honey, you don’t know where he’s been/Why, why you gotta be so blind?” ‘Blown Away’ the emotionally charged second single about domestic violence is next: “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 past/Shatter every window/Till it’s all blown away/Every brick, every board/Every slamming door, blown away/Till there’s nothing left standing/Nothing left of yesterday.”
‘Two Black Cadillacs’, the third single, is one of eight co-writes by Hillary Lindsey. This song has a storyline like that of a Dateline murder mystery: “Two months ago his wife called the number on his phone/Turns out he’d been lyin’ to both of them for oh so long/They decided then he’d never get away with doing this to them.” ‘See You Again’ is an adult contemporary track. Those believers who have lost a loved one who knew the Lord, will be able to relate to these words: “Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking/But I stay strong and I hold on ‘cuz I know/I will see you again, whoa/This is not where it ends/I will carry/You with me, yeah, yeah.”
‘Do You Think About Me’ is a gentle ballad. It finds the main character having trouble getting over a lost love: “Do you think about me like I think about you?/Yeah/I moved on to another town/Wrote you letters ‘til the ink ran out/When the clouds rolled in I’d grab the keys/And play that song that we used to sing/I met a boy a lot like you/It’s funny how he used to sing it too/But he was always just a little outta key/So much different than you and me.” ‘Forever Changed’ is a quiet country story song. Many kids whose parents are older and losing their mental faculties will appreciate this one: “Some days she’ll talk about Aunt Rosie/The sister she lost/Asking when she’s coming over/And why she hasn’t called/Some days I just hold her fragile hand/As time creeps ‘cross the floor/Some days it almost kills me/Watching her memory slip away a little more.”
‘Nobody Ever Told You’ has some cool backing vocals. It shares a similar message with ‘Picture Perfect’ by Michael W. Smith: “Take off all the makeup girl/Shine your light, show the world/Don’t be shy, don’t be scared/You don’t have to hide under there/Let’s throw away all the magazines/Turn off the static on the TV/Wish you could see yourself the way I do/Nobody ever told you/You shine like a diamond, glitter like gold/And you need to know.” ‘One Way Ticket’ is a carefree song influenced by Caribbean sounds, and includes whistling. It is all about letting loose: “Sun’s shining bright and it’s meant for us/Life is like a ride on a party bus/Turn the radio up, and sing along with it, hey/We got a one way ticket/So pack up your smile and your new flip flops/We’re headed to a heaven where the beat don’t stop/We’ll dance the day and the night away.”
‘Thank God for Hometowns’ is sentimental in nature and mellow in sound: “Thank God for hometowns/And all the love that makes ‘em go ‘round/Thank God for the county lines that welcome you back in/When you were dyin’ to get out/Thank God for church pews/And all the faces that won’t forget you/Cuz when you’re lost out in this crazy world/You got somewhere to go and get found/Thank God for hometowns.” ‘Good in Goodbye’ reminds us that sometimes break-ups are for our own good even if we can’t see it at the time: “I thank God I didn’t get what I thought that I deserved/Sometimes life leads you down a different road/When you’re holdin’ on to someone that you gotta let go/Someday you’ll see the reason why/Sometimes, yeah sometimes/There’s good in goodbye.”
The old-school, down home country song ‘Leave Love Alone’ follows. It speaks of how regardless of heartbreaks, people still crave love: “Funny how love can make you feel/Crush you like a ton of steel/Fake you out, make you think it’s real/Funny how love can make you feel, yeah/Oooooh/Oooooh, yeah/I just can’t leave love alone.” A delightful traditional country barn blazer is next. ‘Cupid’s God a Shotgun’ features playful lyrics: “Yeah, Cupid’s got a shotgun/Aimin’ at my heart/I been dodgin’ bullets/I been hidin’ in the dark/Sawed-off double barrel/Trigger-happy as can be/Cupid’s got a shotgun/And he’s pointin’ it at me…Think he’s throwin love grenades/And I’m under attack.”
Carrie slows things down with ‘Wine After Whiskey’ which finds her lovesick: “Looking back I guess it’s really for the best/Still you’re something that I crave/Even though I know it was right to let you go/You’re a habit hard to break/I got used to being high/And nothing that I try seems good enough right now/It’s all so watered down/Like having wine after whiskey.” A terrific song by Shania’s ex, Mutt Lange, closes the album. ‘Who are You’ includes these lyrics: “Who are you?/The one I’d give my life to/Who are you?/That loves as deep as I do/Who are you?/Who takes me through the flood and through the fire/Who are you?/Who leads me through the desert and the dry/You’re in my thoughts/You know my mind/You are my fate/You are my light.”
BLOWN AWAY is wholesome, family friendly, contemporary pop/country music. It has substance lyrically. There are more quiet, reflective songs on this project than party anthems. Carrie’s vocals are simply incredible! This album benefits from the use of many talented musicians including Brad Paisley, Jimmie Lee Sloas, Chris McHugh, and Eric Darken. Carrie is a Christian and a vegan. The photos accompanying this CD prove that a Christian lady can be sexy and confident without being trashy. I’m rating BLOWN AWAY 93.5% For more info visit www.carrieunderwood.fm and www.carrieunderwoodofficial.com/ca.