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Thread: 100 Greatest Country Artists - Carrie #99 (Rolling Stone)

  1. #1
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    100 Greatest Country Artists - Carrie #99 (Rolling Stone)

    Wasn't going to post this...but I think it's worth discussion. I know country history has a million influential figures...but Carrie is at #99 on this list. Come onnnnnnn. I thought at least Top 50 or so. Granted, this list is all over the place.

    "American Idol's fourth-season winner was a shoo-in from the start, with noted grump Simon Cowell proclaiming her the guaranteed victor early on but even he probably never realized how far she'd take her talent. Her powerful voice and girl-next-door vibes added both weight and accessibility to early singles like the let-go-let-God anthem "Jesus, Take the Wheel," but it was the revelation of her bad side on 2005's revenge treatise "Before He Cheats" that endeared her to pop fans. Underwood is a legit Nashville crossover, but one with the promise and poise to evolve the genre and maintain its roots she's been a Grand Ole Opry member since 2008. It's no stretch to imagine her being the first reality-show winner ever inducted into country's Hall of Fame." - Maura Johnston

    Key Tracks: "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Something in the Water"

    100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time | Rolling Stone
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    The list isn't that horrendous. Just about every artist ahead of her deserves to be on the list. Eric Church and Taylor Swift definitely don't deserve to be ahead of her, and Miranda is ranked way too high, but the list is made up of legends. Just look at the fact that many of her contemporaries today didn't even make the list, we should be grateful she's on it.

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    for the most part a comical list.RS is clueless

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    Insane Carrie Fan Suellen's Avatar
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    I don't mind the list too much; but Carrie should be lower and some higher.
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    Yes, there are a few comical points to the list, but how is it "for the most part" comical?

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    I always find that it is heard to rank contemporary artists in lists like these. It really comes down to preference. The legends even if one doesn't necessarily like their music it isn't going to be argued that they should be on the list. I do think Carrie should be higher but I'm glad the two songs the writer chose to mention were SITW and JTTW
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan txacar's Avatar
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    RS has a difficult time acknowledging a reality show winner can have mega success. To my knowledge, they have praised her 5 times: CB on ACMs; CB on CMTs; Paradise City at CMA fest; Everybody Hurts at Global Citizen Festival; and R&RHOF Linda Ronstadt tribute. Otherwise, they ignore her. She has never been on the cover as have her peers (TS & ML). Her placement on this list makes them look foolish. She arguably has the greatest voice in country music history, and has been the most successful female country artist this century.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam1995 View Post
    The list isn't that horrendous. Just about every artist ahead of her deserves to be on the list. Eric Church and Taylor Swift definitely don't deserve to be ahead of her, and Miranda is ranked way too high, but the list is made up of legends. Just look at the fact that many of her contemporaries today didn't even make the list, we should be grateful she's on it.
    I concur. Except I don't think Taylor should even be on the list at all. It was apparent from the beginning that she was only using country music as a launch pad into pop stardom.

    Carrie should be at least # 50 on the list though. But it's not surprising that she is not because Rolling Stone have never given her the credit that she deserves.

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    It is beyond laughable that Miranda Lambert is ahead of Reba. Reba is head and shoulders above Miranda. I think I am even more surprised that they put Shania ahead of both of them though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lolita55 View Post
    It is beyond laughable that Miranda Lambert is ahead of Reba. Reba is head and shoulders above Miranda. I think I am even more surprised that they put Shania ahead of both of them though.
    Yes, this is the absolute funniest part of the list. Reba should easily be top 20.
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    Obsessed Carrie Fan Triquetral's Avatar
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    The fact BHC isn't listed as her Notable Tracks (even though they do discuss it in the blurb), already makes me question who made this list. I cannot comment how she compares to other country artists in terms of her rank at #99, but seriously? For someone who has won so many awards and is so highly regarded by many in the music industry, that rank is not correct for her...

    EDIT: lol I just realised Taylor Swift is at #80. Definitely not right. For the time she did have in Country before crossing over to pop, Carrie was definitely more popular...
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    Insane Carrie Fan CarrieAddicted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txacar View Post
    RS has a difficult time acknowledging a reality show winner can have mega success. To my knowledge, they have praised her 5 times: CB on ACMs; CB on CMTs; Paradise City at CMA fest; Everybody Hurts at Global Citizen Festival; and R&RHOF Linda Ronstadt tribute. Otherwise, they ignore her. She has never been on the cover as have her peers (TS & ML). Her placement on this list makes them look foolish. She arguably has the greatest voice in country music history, and has been the most successful female country artist this century.

    1. Miranda was NEVER on the cover of Rolling Stone. Not the official and classic RS.
    When RS launched their Country division in 2014, they released the one and only issue of RS Country, just to celebrate the new Country divison. It had two different covers, one with Eric Church, the other with Miranda, and it was named "Rolling Stone: The Country Issue" ("The Country Issue" was even placed above "Rolling Stone"). It was definitely not the classic Rolling Stone. Timming was what made Miranda be picked, as she was just about to release Platinum.
    Plus, she was not the subject of the issue (which is what happens when you're on the cover). The subject was the launch of RS Country. She and Church were on the cover just to illustrate Country music, and barely talked, they had one page each. LMFAO
    Eric Church and Miranda Lambert on the Cover: Inside Rolling Stone's Country Issue - Rolling Stone


    2. Well, RS has praised Carrie in multiple occasions, including the ones you mentioned. And it was RS that gave Carrie one the biggest praises of her career, that even her label/team added to her bio and promo stuff (including during the CMAs voting process): "the female vocalist of her generation... of any genre".

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    Insane Carrie Fan CarrieAddicted's Avatar
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    I wasn't going to comment about this list, but since it's here...

    Who even cares about these lists nowadays? Every 3 year they release a new "100 Best..." list. It's not even something definitive. These lists have lost their credibility as time went by.

    However, this one is one of the worst I've ever seen. They placed Miranda Lambert higher than The Dixie Chicks, Reba, Alabama, Alison Krauss, The Judds, Brooks & Dunn, Rosanne Cash, Patty Loveless and SEVERAL other legends. It's just laughable.
    It just shows how biased Music critics are towards Lambert.


    Anyway, it's not biased lists compiled by 5 Music critics that define the legacy of an artist. And everybody knows that.
    So much so that no one even knows about these lists, only the artists' fanbase.
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    Total rubbish as usual. RS never respected Carrie from
    day 1. They worship taytay and she is not even country. Sickening.

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    Guys... its a random article. I love Carrie and wish she were at number one, but there are bigger fish to fry haha. No need to get worked up over something meaningless!

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    I think noting these people might have been the smarter thing to do. First I really don't know how you legitimately rank 100 creative people, some for their success and some for their artistry. But second this list is so abstract and completely random. There is absolutely no sense that you are moving forward into some higher realm of success and artistry as you move up the list. Its a total mess.

    And without sounding like a fan, to have some random picture of Carrie Underwood from when she first started out and have her as a casual mention down at the bottom of your list is a very clear indicator that you have very little interest or understanding of Country music......

    The fact that you would include Taylor Swift and exclude Elvis Presley and Ray Charles is another.......
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    I'm probably one of the people least likely here to evaluate music or artists in competitive terms - I would have preferred to approach a list like this in terms of it being a large selection of the writers' view of the 100 most influential artists (for the most part solo artists - there are a few exceptions, but bands generally get short shrift). Ranking within that list - even if explained and justified - is always going to be personal and open to contradiction. How they arrived at the final rankings is presumably a joint committee exercise - e.g the writer of the Patty Loveless paragraph calls her the greatest living Country singer (a verdict which, in light of the Mountain Soul albums, I can fully understand) - but the final rankings don't reflect that verdict.

    I hope some will be able to take time to read through the explanations offered - since they often contain considerable points of interest. For example, there are Lucinda Williams' comment that Patsy Cline was, in effect, more like a classically trained Pop artist operating within the Country genre ; and Johnny Cash's comment that the Carter Family, by putting Sara's strong, haunting vocal in a more prominent role than the instrumentation, changed Mountain Music forever, and probably made commercial Country possible.

    I was particularly interested in Emmylou's comment that the way an artist pronounces words and syllables is of the greatest importance - as this is close to my own belief about what makes good Country singing distinctive from good singing in general. Lest it's misunderstood, this is not referring to "accent" or regionalisms - it's a question of phrasing - a steady "punchy" emphasis in narration, the artistic use of semitones and a delivery that can glide off-pitch between the backing instruments, the drawing out of key syllables, and the jumping from one note to another in the same word. As I've tried to point out in other points, Carrie delivery has this quality. (The forerunner that Carrie often particularly reminds me of, career-wise, is Connie Smith - but if she's on the same page vocally as Emmylou - one of my musical heroines - I'll certainly take that!)

    In reading though the list, one point (a personal one, that others may dispute) that struck me is that, in broad terms, the writers often prefer what (for want of a better term) I'll call "game-changers" over "game players". The strongly Pop influenced singers that the list does include - such as Taylor Swift, Charlie Rich, Shania Twain - are ones that critics would often regard as "game-changers" for the genre in one respect or another - rather than simply as artists who won popular and commercial acclaim.

    This can probably be illustrated by the way "Rolling Stone" view the relative ranking of Miranda Lambert and Reba McEntire (a point that two or three posters have commented on.) In that respect, I have to say my own view is closer to Rolling Stone's. Reba McEntire is someone I would regard as a great "game-player" - one who thoroughly understood, and built a virtually unsurpassed career around, the commercial Nashville taste and priorities - in particular, by alternating her work between the two hot sub-genres of Neo-traditionalism and Country Pop. This gave her great popularity, hits and longevity - and recognition as the public face of the commercial genre.

    By contrast Miranda Lambert has been a relentless experimenter - all her albums have been off-centre for Nashville expectations, with songs that often defy conventional verse-chorus structure, sources from the off-Mainstream sub-genres, and music that hovers between respect for the past and progression. That she broke through to commercial success at all justifies the description of "game-changer" - although she paid a price in terms of radio hits (and I'm referring there to the career span as a whole, not just the present album - albeit that that seems to most typify her personal priorities and could be interpreted as shrugging off almost all pretence of courting Mainstream tastes).

    But if I agree with RS in that respect, others won't - and it's always a personal judgment. For one that takes a very different stance, see this list, which puts Reba in its top ten, and Miranda in its nineties:
    100 Greatest Women ? Country Universe
    But that difference is not too surprising - to generalize (and perhaps overstate) RS inclines to a "left-field" viewpoint, looking for the rebellious, the Rock influenced, the edgy, the hard hitters - while County Universe strikes me as more sympathetic to the centre Mainstream, the sophisticated singers, the good taste, the accessible themes, and the wide appeal of the artists it reviews. There is - thankfully - room for both.

    Applying the analogy I've drawn to Carrie, I do see quite a few similarities in her approach to that of Reba (though the detail is more complex). I do think that many critics and Country writers do see Carrie as more of a "game-player" - a purveyor of a reliable stream of radio hits, aimed at the tastes of a wide general fan base. And in doing so, I think those critics largely do not see her as an innovator. Any strong artist is going to have some songs that break the mould - in Reba's case, I would point to a song like "She Thinks His Name Was John" (about a woman who contracted Aids from a one-night-stand) - but this was sandwiched as a single between examples of her two trademark styles ("Why Haven't I Heard From You" and "Till You Leave Me"). Carrie, I feel, has always had strong examples of themes - some of which were also hits - but others are buried in in the albums. Listening a couple of years ago to her Greatest Hits, I did feel that there was a rather overwhelming sense of heavy production, belted vocals, and Mainstream radio focused songs. Separated from the mixed albums they came from, this was, frankly, not a collection particularly in line with my own tastes - although I find gems in all Carrie's albums, including that one. I'm sure the Hits collection was warmly appreciated by legions of fans - but the point is, that collection would tend to be seen as what I've called here a "game player" collection - and hence not likely to be particularly highly rated by many critics and bloggers.

    I've always felt that the four hits from the Country half of "Some Hearts" were likely to have been seen by more critics as a breath of fresh air, and a very strong debut (although, rather unfortunately, circumstances didn't allow them to be supported then by a full album likely to impress core Country writers). Nevertheless, if Carrie had continued with equally strong material, her later albums might have been seen in a very different light. However, I think several of the songs selected as singles in the CR and PO eras were seen as more routine hit material, less likely to appeal in that constituency.

    In the end, it's often the case that fans have to decide whether they put more value on commercial success and wide general appeal, or on pleasing the core Country enthusiasts in the critical and award categories. The latter can be very annoying to fans - but, on the whole, I think most would prefer to see Carrie continue on her own chosen - and very successful - trajectory.

    For Carrie, at this stage to be seen by many in the critical community as what I've called a "game-changer" it might be necessary to make a very different sort of album - think, for comparison, of Tanya Tucker's "TnT" or Emmylou's "Wrecking Ball". It may be worth remembering that Tanya left Nashville to go to California (then a major Country Rock centre) to make "TnT" - while Emmylou made "Wrecking Ball" when she was very disillusioned with Music Row's narrow confines and biases. Carrie has recently changed labels - so a new tack is certainly possible.

    I'm certainly not expecting another "Weight of These Wings" - but Carrie is nothing if not versatile, and need not look far beyond her own experiments. Case in point - a new album along these lines
    should certainly make the bloggers sit up and take notice - while still pleasing most fans.


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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    Faraway, I love your writing. And it always inspires conversation. And for me maybe a little debate! hee hee... To read your analogy of Reba vs Miranda sounds almost like you have no concept of where Reba came out of. She is as deep country roots as anyone can get. The fact that she was coming up in the mid to late 70's and was gaining commercial recognition quickly with her radio singles means very little to the fact that she was a pure and legitimate country act from day 1 and worked very very hard with the fair and festival circuit in order to start to get the TV spots that she started to capture, which then allowed her the opportunity for a legit record contract and the release of more "formal" radio releases....

    Miranda, though having a family pedigree, came right into the public eye exactly the same way Carrie did and received overnight recognition exactly the same way Carrie did. Its just that Carrie had a much bigger platform and a much bigger more appealing instrument that people took notice to sooner.
    Miranda worked very hard, and one can argue deserves what she has now. But to compare the that to the hard work and struggle of Reba McEntire to become the icon she is is quite dismissive of the hight and breadth of her success and talent and artistry.

    ......I continue to struggle with the idea that Miranda will wear jeans and a T and be accepted as an alt edgy gritty counter to pop princesses in shinny red dresses who fill arenas!!!! Both may be "costumes" and characters....lets not forget that........
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    I'm afraid we may be rather at cross purposes, Patrick, since I didn't say (or mean to imply) that Reba (or anyone else in the list) didn't work hard - and I'm not sure I understand the significance of your second point. What I was interested in was not where people came from, how much success they achieved, or what clothes they chose to wear, or stage image they projected - but rather what type of work they produced and where they were most stylistically identified. I said (and I stand by that) that Reba's career has been mainly associated with the two most prominent wings of the "Nashville Sound" - Neo-traditionalism and Country Pop - often alternating both styles. That's not a criticism - she made herself a dominant force in the scene, the combination appealed to millions of people, and there are many who are turned off by the present scene and wish that the former, in particular, would come back into style. The point I was making, though, was that it did identify her as a Mainstream Country icon, and probably at the time, the most notable "face of Music Row", which still earns her reputation widespread respect. The downside - in the context of this list - though is that it's less likely to greatly endear her to the Rolling Stone Country writers, or to others on the critical wing who share that general stylistic preference.

    As I've made no attempt to deny, my own tastes are probably more in line with that critical wing - I've never been a huge fan of the "Nashville Sound", or of the Country Mainstream in general - though I can appreciate artistry in all wings of the spectrum, and I'm not trying to denigrate those who disagree, or the artists they appreciate.
    Carrie's work, and the way her career is widely perceived, does remind me of Reba's in some respects - though not in others. I admire Carrie most because I see her as an exception to the general run of the Mainstream, in the stylistic and thematic touches she loves to introduce to her work. I've given examples of those touches in many earlier posts. But, sadly, it doesn't entirely surprise me that the critical wing is sometimes less broad-reaching in its evaluation. Fans have to decide for themselves how far they allow this to worry them - but I think, on the whole, the majority much prefer to concentrate on the undoubted success, personality, and overall artistry she's shown.
    Last edited by Farawayhills; 06-23-2017 at 11:36 AM.
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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    I think I have always worn a bit of my heart on my sleeve and a scorn to the fact that Carrie absolutely did come directly out of a hugely popular "Pop Music TV Reality Show". And even as an admitted country music supporter she did, in an effort to "play the game", present a very polished clean white pop-country persona that was part-her and part pop-reality-show. It is now very hard to wipe that away in the eyes of the general public and just accept that she is and always was a legitimate country singer. Its easier for Miranda because her "pop reality show" came out of Nashville (sort of) and was sold as a "country version of American Idol". Therefore it appeared from early on that she could and would be accepted easily in to the fold as she sprang from it.

    For Carrie, her start has been a huge blessing but with a curse. That curse being the image of her as a Hollywood-hopeful eagerly singing for her prize and then winning under the shower of Glitz and Confetti. That image will never be erased. And it would seem Carrie has shrewdly, or sincerely, accepted it as an honor and a privilege. As others look upon it and her with a little bit of cynicism.

    No other country artist can ever really be comparable. Its just too unusual a circumstance. Miranda is really the only other country celebrity who can claim the same experience. And yet for her since most of the world was not watching it passed and she moved into a legit gig as a country artist. Accepted, tried and true.

    I really believe for Carrie, since the whole world was watching, she still carries that image of polish and tremendous fortune. And she is still being made to pay for it in many ways.

    Obviously I don't want to play that card too heavy handedly. NO ONE is going to feel sorry for Carrie Underwood any time soon. But, it is true, and she must feel it. She is viewed and judged differently.........

    Cause she is different..... But I can certainly hope that even with your understanding of where their heads were coming from when forming their list, these knuckle-heads vastly underrated Carrie when even many of the women on that list were not as much full-formed artists as they were "song birds"!
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