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Thread: Blown Away Review-Chicago Tribune

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    Blown Away Review-Chicago Tribune

    he has come complaints but its mostly positive. 3.5 stars out of 4

    LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - It's a good thing that you can't judge a book by its sleeve art, because Carrie Underwood's fourth album, "Blown Away," arrives this week bearing one of the tackiest country music album covers of all time - a ludicrously airbrushed portrait that dares you not to focus on Underwood's gleaming, Angelina-like right gam while the star gazes into the distance like a fembot on a romance-novel jacket.

    It's a relief to find the music inside is better... sometimes, much better. Yet over 14 wildly disparate tracks, you may feel flummoxed trying to get a handle on just who Underwood is. Just when you think you might have a handle on the album's emotional or musical identity, it's gone with the breeze.

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    The former "American Idol" suggested in advance of the album's release that some of the new material is "darker," and the ominous clouds in the background of the cover art do suggest stormy weather therein.

    Underwood quickly makes good on that promise by placing two murder/revenge songs right up front, back to back, as the disc's second and third tracks. Carrie Underwood - violent femme?

    But it doesn't stay that noir for long. She soon moves on to more sentimental material celebrating deceased loved ones, or being grateful that the one that got away did get away, or how you really can go home again. Eventually she's even singing the praises of partying in flip-flops, in contrast to those homicidal heels she's sporting on the cover.

    Her current single, the hair-metal/pop pastiche "Good Girl," comes off as a combination of the previous album's "Cowboy Casanova" and "Undo It," albeit about twice as fast as either. It's too bad there's nothing like this riff-happy opener on the rest of the album, although the country rave-up "Cupid's Got a Shotgun" manages to be as loud and zesty with the help of a Brad Paisley guitar solo.

    Then it's on to those two vengeance songs. "Two Black Cadillacs" tells the story of a wife and mistress who conspired to send the man who made them miserable to his grave. Well, it sort of tells the story, since the lyrics avoid informing us how the two gals actually kill the guy.

    "Blown Away," the title track, suffers from the opposite narrative problem. Underwood sings of a girl who locks her mean, drunken dad out of their underground shelter during a tornado. We never find out for sure if the twister kills him or not. We do learn, however, that Underwood would like to have her own version of Martina McBride's "Independence Day."

    These vivid potboilers are intended to be the big showpieces for Underwood, but it's on the more relaxed material where she really shines, even if the songs themselves are blander. When the material allows her to be low-key, Underwood has a gift for conversational phrasing that might actually be even more impressive than her knack for belting.

    Just don't expect much you haven't heard before.

    "Thank God for Hometowns" won't win any awards for originality in country's ongoing small-town/back-to-the-homestead sweepstakes. There've been better songs about Alzheimer's than "Forever Changed." "Good in Goodbye" was a better song about being better off not getting the love you wanted when it was Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers" (or was it Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road"?).

    Yet the skilled sweetness and sense of discovery that Underwood brings to her readings of even these predictable, slightly-above-average tunes can't be underestimated.

    The album's most delightful number, "Leave Love Alone," is an unpretentious hootenanny, suitable for a campfire sing-a-long. It has the same celebratory spirit as the record's one truly terrible tune, "One Way Ticket," a Kenny Chesney wanna-be summer tour anthem. "Life is so good, it's sticky sweet/ It's a carnival cotton candy treat/Unwrap it like a lollipop, lick it," she sings, in a semi-tropical number your ears will wish they could unhear, speaking of "Undo It."

    The album ends with a new song by Robert "Mutt" Lange, "Who Are You," that fans have already called a contemporary Christian song, though a closer examination makes clear the "savior" she sings about is an object of her romantic obsession. But you can see why people might assume she'd end with a gospel song, since she covers just about every other country trope. It's a kitchen sink kind of album.

    And that's not always a bad thing; Miranda Lambert's recent "Four the Record" was just as all over the place. But you don't doubt Lambert's conviction from song to song, whereas Underwood seems to be trying on moods like she's trying on gowns, and certainly never revealing the inner life of a woman who did, after all, get married since her last album. If there's anything in life that really blows Underwood away, you won't know if from this moderately windblown collection.

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    Insane Carrie Fan The Nanook's Avatar
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    Based on the review, a corresponding score of 3.5/4 seems kind of high, but I'll take it. and I still don't get all the hate for One Way Ticket. I happen to love the song, but I also thought others would too since it's finally an upbeat song that isn't a "boy bashing" one like UI/CC/LN/etc. Otherwise, I feel the closest she's ever come to uptempos are AAG and GOOTT (I suppose LLA and CGAS kind of aren't about hating on guys either, but they're still about love).

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEILHUNK View Post
    he has come complaints but its mostly positive. 3.5 stars out of 4

    LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - It's a good thing that you can't judge a book by its sleeve art, because Carrie Underwood's fourth album, "Blown Away," arrives this week bearing one of the tackiest country music album covers of all time - a ludicrously airbrushed portrait that dares you not to focus on Underwood's gleaming, Angelina-like right gam while the star gazes into the distance like a fembot on a romance-novel jacket.

    It's a relief to find the music inside is better... sometimes, much better. Yet over 14 wildly disparate tracks, you may feel flummoxed trying to get a handle on just who Underwood is. Just when you think you might have a handle on the album's emotional or musical identity, it's gone with the breeze.

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    The former "American Idol" suggested in advance of the album's release that some of the new material is "darker," and the ominous clouds in the background of the cover art do suggest stormy weather therein.

    Underwood quickly makes good on that promise by placing two murder/revenge songs right up front, back to back, as the disc's second and third tracks. Carrie Underwood - violent femme?

    But it doesn't stay that noir for long. She soon moves on to more sentimental material celebrating deceased loved ones, or being grateful that the one that got away did get away, or how you really can go home again. Eventually she's even singing the praises of partying in flip-flops, in contrast to those homicidal heels she's sporting on the cover.

    Her current single, the hair-metal/pop pastiche "Good Girl," comes off as a combination of the previous album's "Cowboy Casanova" and "Undo It," albeit about twice as fast as either. It's too bad there's nothing like this riff-happy opener on the rest of the album, although the country rave-up "Cupid's Got a Shotgun" manages to be as loud and zesty with the help of a Brad Paisley guitar solo.

    Then it's on to those two vengeance songs. "Two Black Cadillacs" tells the story of a wife and mistress who conspired to send the man who made them miserable to his grave. Well, it sort of tells the story, since the lyrics avoid informing us how the two gals actually kill the guy.

    "Blown Away," the title track, suffers from the opposite narrative problem. Underwood sings of a girl who locks her mean, drunken dad out of their underground shelter during a tornado. We never find out for sure if the twister kills him or not. We do learn, however, that Underwood would like to have her own version of Martina McBride's "Independence Day."

    These vivid potboilers are intended to be the big showpieces for Underwood, but it's on the more relaxed material where she really shines, even if the songs themselves are blander. When the material allows her to be low-key, Underwood has a gift for conversational phrasing that might actually be even more impressive than her knack for belting.

    Just don't expect much you haven't heard before.

    "Thank God for Hometowns" won't win any awards for originality in country's ongoing small-town/back-to-the-homestead sweepstakes. There've been better songs about Alzheimer's than "Forever Changed." "Good in Goodbye" was a better song about being better off not getting the love you wanted when it was Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers" (or was it Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road"?).

    Yet the skilled sweetness and sense of discovery that Underwood brings to her readings of even these predictable, slightly-above-average tunes can't be underestimated.

    The album's most delightful number, "Leave Love Alone," is an unpretentious hootenanny, suitable for a campfire sing-a-long. It has the same celebratory spirit as the record's one truly terrible tune, "One Way Ticket," a Kenny Chesney wanna-be summer tour anthem. "Life is so good, it's sticky sweet/ It's a carnival cotton candy treat/Unwrap it like a lollipop, lick it," she sings, in a semi-tropical number your ears will wish they could unhear, speaking of "Undo It."

    The album ends with a new song by Robert "Mutt" Lange, "Who Are You," that fans have already called a contemporary Christian song, though a closer examination makes clear the "savior" she sings about is an object of her romantic obsession. But you can see why people might assume she'd end with a gospel song, since she covers just about every other country trope. It's a kitchen sink kind of album.

    And that's not always a bad thing; Miranda Lambert's recent "Four the Record" was just as all over the place. But you don't doubt Lambert's conviction from song to song, whereas Underwood seems to be trying on moods like she's trying on gowns, and certainly never revealing the inner life of a woman who did, after all, get married since her last album. If there's anything in life that really blows Underwood away, you won't know if from this moderately windblown collection.
    Now this is how you write a review objectively. He states the postive and negative of the album and I pretty much agree w/ this review. So I'll take it. Plus it beats all those snarky reviews Carrie used to get in the past that would just be full of hate and no objectivity whatsoever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Nanook View Post
    Based on the review, a corresponding score of 3.5/4 seems kind of high, but I'll take it. and I still don't get all the hate for One Way Ticket. I happen to love the song, but I also thought others would too since it's finally an upbeat song that isn't a "boy bashing" one like UI/CC/LN/etc. Otherwise, I feel the closest she's ever come to uptempos are AAG and GOOTT (I suppose LLA and CGAS kind of aren't about hating on guys either, but they're still about love).
    One Way Ticket is one of my favorites on the album but I can see where music reviewers/critics may have a problem w/ the song because of it's lyrics, especially the "Lick it" part but to me this just shows Carrie silly side. But for music critics they may see it as cheesy/tacky/silly. To me that's what I love about the song but that's just me. So long as you like the song that's all that matters. I mean who wants serious songs all the time anyways. Yes, it's probably not going to win critical acclaim awards but for me it does the job which is make me smile when I listen to it.

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    actually, i am also in love with one way ticket. maybe because these so called critics don't know carrie as much compared to us. while we see the variety of songs as growth, they see it as all over the place. weird.

    but i still can't understand the disconnect. the critics are so in love with the album while we fans, see this as her best. weird. I guess what matters is that we love it
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan bigbluegrl23's Avatar
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    One Way Ticket is how I would describe Katy Perry. Yes, it's silly and goofy and fun but guess what, that doesn't make it bad. Not everything has to be deep or serious to be considered art. I honestly would NOT even call OWT fluffy,. it's so much fun haha I can't even take how much I love that song.
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    its weird. some other critics, on the other hand, like OWT

    even the reviewers themselves don't agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEILHUNK View Post
    its weird. some other critics, on the other hand, like OWT

    even the reviewers themselves don't agree.
    One thing though is that it sticks out either way. At least it's memorable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbluegrl23 View Post
    One Way Ticket is how I would describe Katy Perry. Yes, it's silly and goofy and fun but guess what, that doesn't make it bad. Not everything has to be deep or serious to be considered art. I honestly would NOT even call OWT fluffy,. it's so much fun haha I can't even take how much I love that song.
    Becca
    I think that may be the case, we follow Carrie for years, so we know her sense of humor and so a song like that will give us a chuckle. To regular listeners it may be a different story. At least it seems OWT is sticking out in the album since it seems to get focused on by reviewers.
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    That's a pretty nice rating for the content of the review. I'm glad that he went through and really reviewed some of the tracks. I despise the Miranda comparisons in all these reviews though. I get that they are two of the strongest female country singers out there right now, but they are so different musically. I much prefer Carrie.

    And I'll never understand why critics find it hard to objectively review silly songs on the album. They are almost ALWAYS intentionally put in there, especially when there are dramatic/heartfelt songs all around. But of course, reviewers find the "weakest part" of an album and exploit it.
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    It just shows you that critics are just 1 person and their opinion as diverse as the fans - this was a fair review and you can tell they listened carefully to the whole album - reviewing what they feel is weaker is easier than reviewing a great track, the way it is in society today - a 3.5 out of 4 is a good score
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    I sense that like most others who call themselves critics believes words are sacrosanct because after all they own the words and write the words as they see fit. So all of you fans must understand that what we write is more important than anything you so called fans could envision from your mundane existence. Listen to my words little people. As always I am filled again with excitement waiting breathlessly for more of their words to inform me what to think and what I should enjoy. Seriously
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    I really don't get the One Way Ticket thing. It's one of my favorite songs. However, my son heard the song on the radio yesterday and while he liked it, he felt that it wasn't a Carrie type of song. So maybe this is what's going on with some reviewers. They have stereotyped the kind of music Carrie should sing and can't get past it. My favorite song on the whole album is Two Black Cadillacs. I can't get the song out of my head.

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    That's not the rating for the album. It's the rating for the article, idk if you noticed but you can rate the article.

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    one way ticket is amazing so I don't get that part...but not a bad review overall...love the rating!

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    theres my chicago!! thank you lol

    but The chicago tribune doesnt count for metacritic does it?

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    Carrie Follower Sept's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thunder92 View Post
    theres my chicago!! thank you lol

    but The chicago tribune doesnt count for metacritic does it?
    chicago tribune IS counted for meta
    But 3.5 is the rating of the article, the review itself hasn't had a rating yet

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    3.5/4 usually ranks about 83 or so on meta so we shall see how close I am to that guess:P

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    he lost all credibility when he opened a professional review with angelinas leg. lol

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    Well, Damn.

    I flinched throughout that one too. He really tore it apart, didn't he? Still.....some of what he says is true.


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