This is the 9513 blog with new owners and a new name but most of the same contributors:
Carrie Underwood — “Blown Away”
Songwriters: Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear
Its brooding intro sounds more like background accompaniment to a Desperate Housewives commercial than traditional country. Its storyline is bleak and unrelenting, with very little indication of a happy ending. And its singer demonstrates the vocal chops that have made her an international superstar.
Above all, “Blown Away,” the title track and second single of Carrie Underwood’s latest album, accentuates both the best and worst tendencies of its performer and the format she calls home.
Considering the genre’s disturbing recent trend of hokey redneck songs, “Blown Away” serves as a reminder of the best narrative storytelling that Nashville can offer. It relays the desperation and panic of a child suffering at the hands of an abusive and alcoholic father. Her resilience, as evidenced by the chilling and nonchalant response to his eventual plight, is as powerful as the incoming storm. Written by the same duo who penned “Before He Cheats,” “Blown Away” is another account of a put-upon young woman seeking swift retaliation. “Some people called it taking shelter,” Underwood sings in a cool, detached tone. “She called it sweet revenge.”
“Blown Away” has one of the bolder themes to be heard on country radio in 2012, and Underwood further challenges the boundaries of the format by singing against a string-laden production with no fiddles or steel guitar in earshot. At least in these mysterious verses, it’s the right trimming for a story that raises more questions than it answers.
Perhaps surprising given her carefully manicured image—-wholesome, down-home and prom queen pretty—-Underwood is at her best when she’s exploring more complex situations. Her dramatic and forceful reading, burnished by a series of evocative details, spells out the impending doom: “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.”
It’s refreshing to hear Underwood willing to take a few risks. What’s troubling, though, is how loud and overly slick the whole thing is. Underwood can sing with power that most of her peers couldn’t approach, and her vocal range on “Blown Away” is as impressive as always. Still, her vibrant soprano must contend with the overwrought production in both the chorus and the triumphant coda. The gritty subject matter clashes often with the glossy arrangement. With a voice as strong as Underwood’s, less is more.
“Blown Away” won’t assuage the fears of those who are concerned about the state of country, and the pieces don’t fit together as seamlessly as they should, but it’s a compelling listen and qualified success for the former Idol winner.
Carrie Underwood — “Blown Away” - Engine 145
Well, how about that!!! Great review!! Thank you for posting it!!!
Overall a good review, but i can't help but wonder why they
still don't understand the reasoning behind it's powerful sounding
production. Even with Carrie's poweful voice, the song needed the
instrumentation for full effect.
Oh God. WEll, I guess we are going to have to live with it. They do give it a thumbs up. And from them that is saying something.
But from the start it contradicts itself enough times that I won't even bother quoting them. It would take too long.
It sounded like they were going to completely blast it, but suddenly start talking its praises about the very things they spoke snarky of in the opening lines.
But as soon as a reviewer makes a mistake like calling Underwood a "soprano" I know we are dealing with someone who is talking out of their a.. anyway.
So I take it all with a grain of salt. And I am thrilled that in the end they see that Carrie chose and amazing song and sang the "bleep" out of it.
My last comment is about the production which is clearly going to get the most discredit.
Did it even occure to any of them that the "slick" nature of the production is similar to wind as it passes? It is swift, smooth, and (if you don't get in its way) quiet. But if you do get in it's way "it will shatter every window till it's all Blown Away"!
I think the use of instrumentation is great. Brave and alittle unconventional Yes! But Great none the less.
Well that's a pretty good review; however, why do some of these reviewers have to make snarky comments (prom queen remark in particular) about Carrie. I have noticed that they do this a lot with Carrie but not so much with other artists. Also, I wish they would refer to Carrie as a country singer and not former Americal Idol winner. Miranda or Chris Young are never mentioned as former Nashville Star contestant or winner. Sorry I guess I am in a cranky mood today but those particular comments just bothered me today. lol
Also, I personally don't see anything wrong with the production on this song. It's not overdone in my opinion and its needed for the song since it is so intense.
There are swipes that are taken at Carrie that are never taken at the other women of country. Wether it's calling her voice "reedy" (no one ever directly discusses Taylor or Mirandas vocal production) or "promqueen good looks" (no one ever discusses discredits Taylor for being a "bean pole" or Miranda for being "plain").
Truth is, if you ever read a critic talking about Taylors awkwardness or Mirandas appearance you would disregard them immediately as "inappropriate". It is not appropriate to criticize a woman about such things. And the critics don't. Not about any of the women of country. Not at all. Except for one.
They have to talk about her looks (as if she is riding on them)
They have to talk about her voice (as if it's too much this and too that)
They have to talk about her singles (as if they are too pop for country and too country for pop)
They have to talk about her stage presense (as if she is too stiff or too robotic)
They have to talk about her image (as if she is too clean / safe / apple pie / perfect / "and" too provocative / mainstream / commerical )
I have heard reviewers critics and country media talk about Carrie in ways they would never talk about other women cause it is "impolite".
But not Carrie.
She is up for extreme examination! Why?
Because she was hugely successful before anyone (critics, reviewers, radio dj's programmers execs) ever had their say about it.
She has been a freight train to the top. And they don't want to add to it, they want to find fault with it.
Miranda and Taylor both were choosen by the industry to push and promote and to "give" this success to.
Tehy never gave it to Carrie.
She came with it.
And seven years later, they are still trying to put her in her place.
One small review at a time.
Overall, this is a great review. Let's not focus on the few negative comments. The issue with the production is a matter of personal taste. One has to remember that Engine 145 is a blog dedicated to a more traditional sound, so it doesn't surprise me that they take issue with some of the production choices on Blown Away. In all honesty, I wasn't entirely happy with the production on the song the first few times I heard it either, but it grew on me.
I think it is great that this writer acknowledges Carrie's amazing vocal talent, and her efforts to sink her teeth into some heavier subject matter. The writer admits in the third paragraph that the instrumentation works on the verses despite lacking instruments typically labeled as "country".
I don't think the "prom queen pretty" was necessarily meant as a dig at Carrie. It was just used as more of a description of Carrie's typical image. I actually was more annoyed by the Idol mention. I see this with Kelly Clarkson reviews as well, and I just can't understand why people still feel the need to mention Idol when both Kelly and Carrie are so successful outside the Idol bubble.
Patrick, just because the writer referred to Carrie as a soprano doesn't mean he is just talking out of his a**. He assumed she was a soprano based on what he heard. Carrie is one the those rare singers that can't be clearly defined as "soprano", "alto", etc. Based on her vocal range, she hits notes well into the alto range, yet also can belt notes that altos shouldn't be able to belt. The one comment about her being a soprano doesn't discredit the rest of his review lol. Personally, I think most critics are talking out of their a**es anyway lol. I actually found this review to be well-thought out; the guy actually listened to the song which is a step up from some critics that just throw out generic reviews without paying attention.
And the reviewer pays particular attention to Carries abilities which is where the review should be.
But, while I was reading the review on the defensive at first, it still hit me when he called her a soprano, that he was not all that well trained to discuss her artistic abilities if he can not even define her vocal range and yet still comments on it as if he knows what it is.
In other words, he specifically used that reference to suggest he was coming from a "knowledgable" perspective. So to get it so obviously wrong suggests that he himself can't be taken all that seriously.
But you are right, to suggest that that statement alone relegates him to "talking out of his ..." wasn't fair.
I was on the defensive. The review is not that bad.
But again, the fact that she gets mistaken like that means that she is being "analized" in a way that others are not.
No one is going to bother refering to Taylors or Mirandas "vocal range" Please!
So if they are going to cretique her so narrowly, at least get your musical terms right.
(and you are spot on. She is above an alto (but not by much) and well below a soprano. She is a Belter. Right in the middle, relying on her chest voice to deliver that majority of her singing.
Sopranos sing almost entirely falsetto.
Overall a great review . Considering that most of the writers from this site were from our "favorite" (lol) 9513, I have no complaints lol.
To me, a good song is a song that I enjoy listening to, even though if I don't understand the language-- therefore, I do not care about a song review. These reviewers are over analyzing a simple song with a good beat, just to appear to be intellectual.
To me, "Blown Away" is a very good song !!
EDIT I even like this song with less meaning lyrically
Last edited by Mirasa45A; 07-17-2012 at 11:09 AM.
Wow they got a thumbs up! Woohoo! That never happens from those people. They thumb down all Carrie's work. So this is good! ha ha
You want appearances of being smart, go to Pulse. They will literally tear down a very good song just to make sure everyone there knows, "damn, I'm smart". "Look at all the fancy
booklearning I've got". "They'll say, that's why I'm a moderator here, I can write a review with the best of them". I've read some reviews there about the "resonance of tone", "pitch approaching
clarity", "reliance on craftiness instead of craft". WTF is that.
They hate it when I refer to a song as being pretty good, or not so good. Too simple.
If you have to listen to a song while trying to figure out a way of reviewing it at the same time, you're wasting your time. Just listen to the thing. If it moves you, it's probably good.
It's all about perspective. We've all heard the acoustic version and although that's great on it's own, it doesn't compare to how the effects the the "loud and overly slick" production adds to the whole song imo. I think that it's what makes the whole song so dramatic and visual.What’s troubling, though, is how loud and overly slick the whole thing is.
I have never been one to hide the fact that I though Bright's production on the first two albums was less than but I didn't hear any over producing on BA the single or BA the album.
why don't they get about the powerful sounds? so dumb...but great review overall!