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Thread: Storyteller Review (Please Help!)

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    Junior Carrie Follower dsfox2009's Avatar
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    Storyteller Review (Please Help!)

    I know that there are a few other threads such as this already and that I really could have done this within the general thread for the album, but I decided to make a new thread for this because I am in need of your help. I have wanted to start up a blog of my own for a while now, and would like some opinions on the type of content that I would post on it. Basically, I would be giving my thoughts and two-cents on new music releases primarily focusing on the pop world but also dabbling in the country genre as well. If you guys could give me feedback on what you think of this review, it will really help me with my decision to start this thing up. I’d appreciate any help that you could give me. Review is down below. Thanks!

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    Junior Carrie Follower dsfox2009's Avatar
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    Carrie Underwood – Storyteller (Album Review)
    It’s been only a decade since a little show called ‘American Idol’ was at the peak of its popularity. Before The Voice, before The X Factor’s awful attempt at recreating its British popularity in the U.S., before any of the other similar singing competitions began flooding through our TV’s like a tropical storm …there was American Idol. Millions would tune in season after season to watch these struggling singers prove to the nation what they were capable of in the hopes of winning a recording contract. Through the good, the bad, and the sometimes god-awful, every season was capable of finding a talent that stood out from the rest of the pack. It was during the fourth season of this show that its most notable judge (Simon Cowell) predicted that one of its contestants would not only win said season, but would also sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.
    Fast forward 10 years, and Mr. Cowell has another reason to stroke his ego. Carrie Underwood has gone on to sell 15 million albums in the United States alone (the next closest Idol winner is the show’s original winner Kelly Clarkson). Thanks to hit songs such as Jesus, Take the Wheel, Before He Cheats, Cowboy Casanova, and Something In the Water, this blonde beauty has made quite the career for herself. However, it should come to no surprise that after a decade in the industry Ms. Underwood’s formula was becoming a bit stale to those who were not die-hard fans of her work. The Oklahoma native attempted to refresh her catalog with 2012’s Blown Away. While the album’s title track and successful third single Two Black Cadillacs did reinvigorate the singer’s repertoire to some extent, it was quite obvious that the general public was hoping for more from the starlet than what she had been giving up until that point.
    Released on October 23, Carrie’s new album Storyteller is a definite indication of where Ms. Underwood wants to take her sound. Until the date of the release, fans were told that this album would have more of a “rock twang” feel to it than her previous albums. News that the singer would not only be working with longtime producer Mark Bright but also country heavy-hitters Jay Joyce (Little Big Town’s Girl Crush, all of Eric Church’s discography) and Zach Crowell (Sam Hunt’s Montevallo album) made the anticipation even stronger for those who were fans of not only Carrie’s work but also the work of her new production team’s. How does the album hold up in the long run?
    While the album definitely has a few tracks that are more bluesy, some that are more twangy, and some that are more country than what we have heard from Ms. Underwood before, the album just doesn’t quite live up to what we were promised prior to its release. Is this a bad thing? The answer to that question depends on what you are looking for out of a Carrie Underwood album. Each track has its own unique flavor and sound, and each song contains qualities that could only be found on a Carrie Underwood album.
    Renegade Runaway – Longtime fans of Carrie will know of her love for 80’s rock music, and this track is her way to fuse together her love for this genre and the sound that she has made for herself as an artist up to this point. Think Guns N’ Roses meets Shania Twain. A huge contender for a single release, this track is reminiscent of some of her previous hit songs (Good Girl and Cowboy Casanova), but in its own way is miles ahead of those tracks.
    Dirty Laundry – A metaphor that has been used quite often in the country music world, this song sees the country queen getting her own form of justice on a lover/husband/boyfriend that has been cheating on her. Not quite the most original of storylines, but the writing team on this one deserves the praise for keeping this track from being cliché. The addition of the Ajax line was pure genius, and Jay Joyce did an excellent job of using the instrumentation to the singer’s advantage.
    Church Bells – Underwood has tackled the topic of abusive men in 2012’s Blown Away, but takes the topic to a whole new level with this track. She tells the listener of the story of a girl named Jenny, who was a girl who grew up without much to her name. That is, until she met a man who worked in the oil industry and…well (like Underwood states in the track itself), you can figure out the rest. The song ends with the solitary tone of a church bell, ending this tale with one wanting more.
    Heartbeat – Featuring background harmonies from country newcomer Sam Hunt, one must wonder if Carrie was inspired to write this track after listening to his Montevallo album. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as the song is quite simply beautiful. Another future single contender, listeners will more than likely hear this ballad coming through their radio speakers sooner rather than later.
    Smoke Break – The album’s lead single is definitely the track with the most “rock twang” that listeners were promised prior to the album’s release. Poised to take over the #1 spot on country radio within the next few weeks, this song is a great reminder for those of us who are constantly working and on the go to just take a few minutes for ourselves on a daily basis. While the track does somewhat stick out from the rest of the tracks included on the album due to its sound, it is a great addition to the singer’s catalog and will be a great addition to her concert sets in the near future.
    Choctaw County Affair – If you ever wanted to hear her sing a song that could only be described as “swampy”, then this is the Carrie Underwood song for you. The tale of a young couple that has been framed for the disappearance of a young lady named Cassie O’Grady, the track really places you in the middle of a story and leaves you wondering just what really happened. With an instrumental with a prominent harmonica melody and background singers that take you to a Sunday morning church sermon, this track could be a huge (but successful) risk to Underwood’s career if her team decides to release it to country radio.
    Like I’ll Never Love You Again – Written by the team behind Little Big Town’s Girl Crush, this track is a beautiful ballad in which Carrie tells her lover that she wants to “love you like the world’s gonna stop”. Not quite as strong as previous ballad Heartbeat, this is a standard Underwood song that will unfortunately get lost in the mix of the other tracks included on the album.
    Chaser – One of the six tracks on the album that Underwood helped pen, this song was co-written with Mike Elizondo (known primarily in the hip-hop world for his work with Dr. Dre and Eminem) and Hillary Lindsey (a long-time Underwood collaborator). The song itself is one of the least “country” sounding of the album’s tracks, but does not skimp on catchy lyrics. As a way to tell her man to pursue another woman if he has eyes for someone other than herself, the song is also one of the most vocally challenging songs on the album that comes off with ease for a vocalist such as Underwood.
    Relapse – If the previous track was Underwood’s way of telling her lover that she does not need him, the album’s ninth track is her way of saying that there is a possibility that she might slip back into her old ways and meet up with him for a time or two later on. It is almost impossible not to associate this pair of songs, but it works perfectly to get the album’s storytelling theme across well.
    Clock Don’t Stop – Beginning with the ticking sound of a clock, Clock Don’t Stop is easily the album’s most pop-oriented song of the bunch. With lyrics that are a little on the confusing side, the song leaves the listener wondering what they just experienced after the first listen. Ultimately a track that speaks of the fact that tomorrow is not promised, this song is one of the album’s weaker moments but is completely “Carrie Underwood” at the same time.
    The Girl You Think I Am – Don’t let the title mislead you. While you could expect that this song would be a way for Underwood to speak her mind against the tabloids, the track ends up being the parent track to her 2010 single Mama’s Song. While not terrible at all, the song has potential to be much more from the title alone than what it really is. Still, the song is undoubtedly going to become the background to many father-daughter dances in the near future.
    Mexico - Do you remember Carrie’s duet with Miranda Lambert called Somethin’ Bad? If this song is any indicator, Ms. Underwood is hoping that you just forget that duet ever happened and replace it with this track. Doubtful to ever see the light at country radio, the track tells the story of Carrie and her lover on the run from the police. The track also features some of the most impressive vocal acrobatics that Underwood has put on record to date, and is a great way to speed things up after the last few tracks of the album.
    What I Never Knew I Always Wanted ­– As we are all aware, Underwood gave birth to her first baby earlier this year. With that said, it was inevitable that she included a song dedicated to her newborn son on the album. While many songs of this topic tend to be formulaic and boring, Underwood somehow avoids these traps and recorded the perfect final chapter to this story of an album.
    In conclusion, the album is a departure from Underwood’s previous material. The addition of the album’s new producers was a great risk to take, and helped shape the album into what it became. However, the album does not follow through on the promise made of a new, “rock twang” sound. Luckily for Underwood, she and her team were able to craft a collection of songs that will further add to her list of #1 hits and keep her telling stories for years to come.

    lizcarlo, oldyfan and terilyn like this.

  • #3
    Obsessed Carrie Fan
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    Very nice review!

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    Although I disagree with some of your points, your review is very well written.


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