Review Summary: A country singer from American Idol? Unbelieveable.
I was already interested in Carrie Underwood from the start, from the moment Simon Cowell deemed her as American Idol's first country winner. Of course, we'd just have to wait and see, since (in my opinion), all the American Idol winners are classified as pop singers who (would) fade out after a few years in the music industry. Surprisingly (and disappointingly), Carrie came up with a Pop CD too, after all that hullaballoo about American Idol's First Country Winner.
That's not to say Some Hearts is awful; it can't really decide whether it wants to be pop or country: Carrie's label would definitely want to be a (pop) crossover, something Disney Channel would've come up with (and it did, with disastrous results). So, in the end, money became the most important factor of all, and the final result was Some Hearts, a pop record with a tiny bit of country scattered like grains of dust in the wind.
Most of the material here is generic pop, with some gems like "Jesus Take The Wheel", "Some Hearts" and "Before He Cheats". Carrie sounds convincing on all of them, but her fantastic pipes don't really sound that bad-ass on "Before He Cheats", which is more rock than country, even having a bit of blues thrown in. It could be noteworthy, other than the fact that many singers (across all genres) have released at least twenty songs like it. Most obvious tracks here would have to be the Diane Warren ballads, with the exception of "Some hearts", are very disengaging (seriously, Lessons Learned") Most of the album is all that inspirational fluff that's designed to make you contemplate on how you spent your life jaded, and waiting ("Wasted" [which is one of the best tracks, though], "Jesus Take The Wheel") and we should move on ("I just can't live a lie) and be grateful for all the dirt destiny threw in our faces. ("Lessons Learned").
Despite being a pop record, some of the pop songs are surprisingly good. The two best "pop" songs on the album would have to be "That's Where It Is" and "The Night Before", which are basically just album filler but WOW what an amazing pair of pipes Carrie has. "Inside Your Heaven", despite having a good melody, utterly fails to move me at all, despite being everything the album portrays (pop with a teensy bit of country). The country cuts are clear, though: "Jesus, Take the Wheel" and "Young and Beautiful," with the former featuring Carrie's chirstian background as well as her bombastic vocals in the bridge, and the latter, a cheesy mess of excellent production and lyrics, just tone it down a bit on the bridge (where Ms. Underwood sings "Beautiful" endlessly). Carrie also lends a helping hand writing one of the songs, "I Ain't in Checotah anymore" which sounds a lot like a country bumpkin seeing the city for the very first time, so it's not that convincing. Nontheless, it's an excellent song, and I'll be looking forward to more of her compositions.
Despite its predictable and formulaic radio-designed material, Some Hearts merits a listen even if you're a pop or country fan, with the warm production and Carrie Underwood's sweet, friendly (and sometimes, soaring) voice. But next time you make a record, Carrie, have a little more fun, and sing something country.
3. Some Hearts
7. Before He Cheats
13. I Ain't In Checotah Anymore