Review Summary: Bombastic Vocals by a complete robot1 of 1 thought this review was well written
No doubt about it: Carrie Underwood can sing. But so can many other country stars. What sets this album apart is Carrie's bombastic delivery on nearly all the songs, and her strange lack of emotion; What sets this album apart favorably, though, is its incredible versatility and song content (breakups, inspiration, death, elopement...the list goes on and on)
Carrie also has co-writing credits on 4 songs here (I remember reading some comment about how she only contributed one word). On her debut album Some Hearts, she wrote a pretty good song (I Ain't in Checotah) and I was looking forward to hearing her co-writes. None of them really impressed me. All-american Girl and So Small (both cliched-ridden) could have been so much better if she hadn't tried to reach all the fantastically high notes in the bridges (as well as holding it there for a few moments just to let the effect sink in and blast out your eardrums).
Last Name is pretty catchy (despte practically ripping off Before He Cheats), talking about drunken debauchery and running away with a complete stranger, but there's one huge flaw: this isn't the real Carrie; and she dosen't sound really that convincing when she sings about waking up with a serious hangover and a marriage she can't even remember. Crazy Dreams is one of the better songs: Starting off with a nice banjo riff (which says nothing about its lyrical quality), it ends up transforming her into some kind of Hero, sympathetically looking down at the rest of us and telling us to Never Give Up ("I know how it feels to be afraid/.../hold on hold on" & "Never let a bad day be enough/to talk into giving up/sometimes everybody feels like you")
By far, the best tracks on the album would have to be Just A Dream: its the best song for Carrie to flaunt her incredible voice (other than the vapid I Know You Won't), but its first verse is utterly confusing (no need to elaborate). Next would be Flat on the Floor, which admittedly (lyrically) doesn't make a lot of sense, and Carrie strains to hit the bridge (again), but the production is sparkling.
Of course, every album has filler, and this is no exception. "You Won't Find This" and "Twisted" are definitely pop, reminiscent of Some Hearts. However, Carrie's bombastic voice works best here. "I Told You So" is a cover of Randy Travis, and reinforces the fact that Carrie Underwood Is A Robot. When she sings, she just doesn't have much feeling, for she's never really experienced the events in her songs (Last Name, Just A Dream, Get Out Of This Town - they all sound superficial); also, Carrie's voice is just too loud for this song (as usual), and doesn't suit the soft production at all. The closing track, Wheel Of The World, is surprisingly, incredibly insipid (Love goes out/out like a light/out like a flame) and repetitive (but ends up being one of the better tracks due to Carrie's slow delivery).
All in all, I'd like to say that this album is very calculated, as if her label picked out all the songs for her and she just belted them out without a shred of sadness, happiness, or any other emotion. Hopefully, she tunes down the volume on her next album, and sings something a little more closer to the heart.
1. Flat On The Floor
4. Just A Dream
5. Get out of This Town
8. Last Name