by Conner Tighe

Carrie Underwood is well-known in the country music world for relying on faith during pressing times. She has a specific style and way of doing her music. No other female country artist can do what Underwood does. Her latest album, Cry Pretty, never shies away from what she knows. Dealing with hardship and loss is the prime theme in this album. She does a great job at keeping her name around among this new wave of country music. Much of country music today consists of one-night-stands gone wrong, repeating phrases over and over and having rap in the background. It seems as almost country has lost its way and I don’t know what that means for the future of country music. There are few artists who have stuck to their way of writing music. Carrie is one of them. This is one of her strengths and why she is great at what she does.

The elephant in the album

Many of her songs on this album feature the familiar long notes. She has always done this in her music, but there was one song that stuck out to me in this set and that was “Drinking Alone.” The beginning starts out almost like a pop song; with her singing, “ooo, ooo, ooooo” repeatedly, much like something you would hear on the radio today. The song focuses on temptation when someone is drinking with someone else. This idea of temptation and danger with one-night-stands has always been a theme in her music. This song just has a different tone.

Look to faith

Relationships have their ups and downs. It’s a cold hard fact and Carrie makes note of this. Her message is that even though things are tough, your faith can help guide you to better things. “Kingdom” is a perfect example of this. She talks about what life will look like in the future because things will get better. Looking ahead towards better things instead of dwelling on the present is the way to move forward.

Alcoholism is addressed several times in the album. Her stories within the music talk about people using alcohol to cope with difficult times. This is a powerful message and something that is important to bring to light. Her past albums, Blown Away, Play On, and Carnival Ride all seem to share commonalities with this album as well. Adoption, domestic abuse, and looking to God for guidance in difficult times are what makes Carrie Underwood who she is and why the public loves her. It’s real, raw, and relatable for many.

Change doesn’t suit you

Much of today’s country seems to be turning into pop. Fast-moving, background rapping, and brokenheartedness all seem to permeate what country is today. Carrie has never gone down this path and I’m not sure she ever will. Her “brand” has always been what it is. I think this is what separates her from other artists. Many artists are turning to whatever is popular, but not her. She sticks to what she knows, and she does a good job at it. She does do one thing that seems to be everchanging. She has always tackled social issues in society through her music. For most, I would say, “change it up a little.” Not Carrie, she is continuing to work with her originality.

“The Bullet”

This song really stuck out to me and I think it really sends a powerful message in today’s world. Gun violence. It’s everywhere in the media today; from school shootings to school walkouts. This song talks about a grieving mother as she lives on while dealing with the death of her son. Her son was killed by “the bullet” although it is never revealed what took place. Either way, this song is powerful and talks about a harsh reality  plaguing much of the U.S. and world. I loved that she did this and it was a good way to talk about gun violence. 

Compared to other works

Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On, Blown Away, etc. are all great albums by Carrie. They all have well-known songs: “Jesus Take the Wheel”, “Blown Away”, “Before He Cheats”. I’m sure this album will also leave its share of marks on country music. The music in the album sounds almost the same as her previous works, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. As I talked about before, her “brand” is special and it’s why she has stuck around for so long in the music world. Carrie Underwood fans won’t be surprised but won’t be disappointed either.

Recommended if you like:

Kelly Clarkson

Little Big Town

Jason Aldean

Top Tracks:

“The Bullet”

“Drinking Alone”

“Spinning Bottles”

Featured image from YouTube

Cry Pretty

7.0 Good

'Cry Pretty' shows what Carrie Underwood is all about. Talking about sensitive topics, drinking and heartbreak coping, this album will surely capture the interest of country fans. Country music seems to be overlapping with pop recently, but this album is a symbol of what has stood against the test of time. Her depictions of faith never go out of style. The stories behind the music are touching and will leave listeners replaying for pleasure.

  • Composition 7
  • Variation 6
  • Thematics 8

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