To say there were high expectations for Carrie Underwood’s sixth studio album, would be an understatement. It’s been three long years without new Carrie music. Thankfully the wait is over, and her new album “Cry Pretty” exceeds all expectations.
Each and every song is fresh and original, and have the potential to become her next number one hit. Carrie also co-produced the album, with David Garcia. He has produced number one hits such as Kip Moore’s “More Girls Like You” and “Meant to Be,” the record setting single from Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha.
Her first single from the album, the title track “Cry Pretty” starts off the album. Vocally, per usual, she knocks it out of the park. But also knowing the heartbreaking year Underwood went through in 2017, including multiple miscarriages, this song takes on a new meaning, and as listeners we can feel the emotion in her voice, and understand perhaps the frame of mind she was in as she wrote this song.
Carrie is never one to be afraid to push the boundaries, or maybe stray a little from her country roots. Songs such as “Backsliding” and “The Song that We Used To Make Love To” have a fun R&B feel to them, with the latter reminding me of “Ride” by SoMo.
Songs such as “Ghosts on the Stereo” and “Southbound” bring out the country in Carrie. “Ghosts on the Stereo” is a nod to getting over a breakup by breaking out those old records, with the key lyrics being “I’m having a ball with Hank, Haggard, and Jones.”
On the other hand, “Southbound” is a side we haven’t seen from Carrie, although we have seen over and over again in the country music genre. It sounds like something that could have been recorded by Florida Georgia Line or Luke Bryan, but coming from a female singer. It’s about redneck margaritas and partying down on the riverbank.
Whether intentional or not, the order of three particular songs on the album, “The Bullet,” “Spinning Bottles,” and “Love Wins,” is perhaps the most powerful thing about this album.
“The Bullet” coming to fruition based on the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas last year, is a simple but sad truth, “You can blame it on hate, or blame it on guns, mamas are supposed to bury their sons.” Some pundits may say this is Carrie being “political” or a gun control advocate, but Carrie has always been about making good music that make people feel something, and that is exactly what this song does.
“Spinning Bottles” is the follow up song, which tackles the difficult topic of alcoholism; a song which runs in the same vein as “Whiskey Lullaby.” After two heavy songs that speak of the worst flaws of the human race, the very next song is “Love Wins.”
This is Carrie’s next single and I believe has the potential to be one of her bestselling songs. The lyrics are so powerful and optimistic, that it takes what we just heard in the previous two songs and gives the listener overwhelming hope: “We’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand, put a world that seems broken together again.” Carrie is at her finest form with this song.
Carrie dives into a more Blues and Jazz feel with songs such as “Drinking Alone” which describes mutual loneliness coming together with a stranger at a bar. The song “Low” begins with an acoustic guitar, that comes alive as the song gets going and you find out that “Low” is just short for “Lonesome.” Taking a sad break up song and turning into something that sounds like it could be at a rock and roll concert is something Carrie is extremely good at.
“End Up With You” is one that fans were treated to a few weeks before the album was released. This song has the most crossover potential. It doesn’t fit the mold of completely country or completely pop.
“Kingdom” is perhaps the most personal song on the album, which describes her life with her husband and her 3 year old. “It’s perfectly imperfect, it’s worth more than it’s worth.”
Although it goes without mentioning, the best thing about the album is Carrie herself. She absolutely crushes each and every song, with outrageous vocals. Welcome back Queen Carrie!