Blown Away (Album Review) – Carrie Underwood

At a time where artists follow a repetitive cycle in their careers of album making and touring, Carrie Underwood has decided to break the routine she found herself in and take her time in giving the music industry her fourth album: Blown Away.

Two and a half years after her latest offering, Play On, was deemed as mediocre by critics, Underwood figured the best approach for album number four was a “all bets are off.” When you’re among your generation’s best vocalists, why not seek out material that’s fitting and can only elevate your talent?

This is what Underwood does on Blown Away in droves.

Opening with the rocking Good Girl, the album doesn’t relent. It moves into the haunting Blown Away, a song about a girl seeking revenge on her abusive father which Underwood delivers breathtakingly. The album goes even darker with Two Black Cadillacs, where a wife and a mistress at the funeral of the man who betrayed them both, a song that Underwood also delivers in a chilling manner.

See You Again, originally written for Narnia’s The Dawn Treader, showcases Underwood’s nuanced vocals as she tells a very significant person that she’ll see him again despite all. Do You Think About Me is an effervescent country song about a young love that is long gone but which Underwood keenly remembers.

The album’s most personal track, Forever Changed, is an old-fashioned country song that chronicles the life of a woman as she fell in love, gave birth and is now losing her memory while her daughter achingly watches. Underwood’s very subtle, nuanced and subdued delivery of Forever Changed adds another dimension to the storytelling.

Nobody Ever Told You, a country uptempo serves as a simple empowering anthem for young girls. It’s followed by the tropical Bob Marley-esque One Way Ticket, written while Carrie Underwood, Josh Kear and Luke Laird were sipping margaritas. The laid back atmosphere of the writing session translates perfectly to song with goofy lyrics such as “tell your boss man where to stick it” and whistling delivered by Underwood herself.

Don’t let the cliché title of Thank God for Hometowns fool you. The song hits a nerve with anyone who comes from a small town anywhere around the world. The Ryan Tedder co-write on the album, Good in Goodbye, is a haunting track about meeting a former lover with whom things ended badly, feeling regret even though both are happy with their lives now. “Sometimes, yes sometimes, there’s good in goodbye.”

On the folky and repetitive Leave Love Alone, Underwood delivers a foot tapper as she repeats “I just can’t leave alone.” The country-heavy, Brad Paisley-guitar driven, Cupid’s Got A Shotgun is the album’s most redneck track. With references to guns, riffles and shotguns, Underwood is escaping love at all costs. Brad Paisley delivers a masterful guitar performance on the track.

Wine After Whiskey, a song that didn’t make Carrie’s previous album Play On, is an aching regret of a relationship that went sour, getting diluted into something that doesn’t work anymore. Who Are You, the album’s most religious track and written by Shania Twain’s former producer Mutt Lange, serves as a decent conclusion to the album and resonates with the faith Carrie has professed on many occasions.

Blown Away features a set of masterful lyrics, grouped together with chilling composition and extremely well-done production. Carrie’s voice doesn’t fight against the production as in previous albums of hers, it complements the instrumentation and serves to showcase both the songs and her delivery, which has truly matured on Blown Away. There are subtle hints, sprinkled here and there, that turn phrases and add depth and dimensions to lyrics, something Underwood had touched on but never delved in before. She plays with that on Blown Away like childsplay, showing that a good vocal performance isn’t always about reaching the stratosphere notes, something that she took time to learn.

Blown Away is a very cohesive album that’s a collection of fourteen very strong tracks, the only one of those which is reminiscent of Carrie’s previous material being Good Girl. The album spans the gamut themes-wise. It’s dark, mysterious, chilling. And it’s also fun, happy, goofy. Both sides are balanced perfectly. None seem to overtake the other, both working together to elevate the album’s level to places that Underwood hadn’t reached artistically before. Underwood is fierce on Blown Away. She’s unrelenting. She’s gut-wrenching. And she occasionally plays.

Blown Away is an album about a life: the ups and downs, the vacations, the bittersweet memories, the hardships, faith…. It is a collection that is more than worth the wait that brought it here. Carrie Underwood has managed to blow away detractors with her fourth album. Country music, prepare to be blown away by the latest offering of Underwood.

Yes, Underwood is back. To say better than ever with an album like Blown Away would be an understatement. Make sure to grab a copy on May 1st. You won’t be disappointed.

Grade: A+

You can stream the album on iTunes here. You can also check out the lyrics for all the songs here.

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47 thoughts on “Blown Away (Album Review) – Carrie Underwood

  1. Pingback: Blown Away iTunes Streaming --- confirmed - Page 15

  2. Elie, once again great review. I was unable to stream on iTunes though, but heard it on the fan club site last night. Are there places to stream? I have purchased several copies, but those won’t be here until the release date…

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  3. Right on about the nuances and ways she has taken her voice in the songs. I know in the past people have critiqued her about her not being able to make people feel what she is singing, but on this album I could feel everything. So many emotions were happening while listening to her sing on this album. I can’t wait to be able to listen to each song more closely. Good job on the review.

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  4. This album is amazing. All of her albums are great but this is probably my favorite. There really aren’t any that I would skip. Its a very diverse album with most of it not sounding like anything she has ever done before. I dont want to list my favorites because that would probably be like 11 songs. Usually you can pick which songs will probably be singles but literally almost any of them would be hit singles.

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    • i agree, she shows restraint on the album and it pays off. the mixture of songs is also good. only critique is that the country-country songs don’t come in until song 5, so playlist could have been a little different. but im not a record exec, so what do i know. She’s going to gain a lot of new fans with this album and win back fans that have wandered

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      • She said she couldn’t separate the first 3 songs so they had to stay together. I think the album flows smoothly. Blown Away and Two Black Cadillacs are country songs.

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  5. Pingback: Blown Away - Album Review

  6. Pingback: All the Lyrics of the album “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  7. Listened to the album online. My favorite is “See You Again.” Even though it’s a sad song, it can’t but bring a smile to my face. But overall, this is great!

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  8. Listening to the cd has been a phenomenal experience. I’ve never experienced so many different emotions listening to one cd – its absolutely awesome. You love so many songs for so many different reasons and you finish hearing the whole thing and can’t pick your favorite as there are too many. Never had that happen before. Perfect title as thats how it left met. Loved your review and the grade you gave it!! Thank you.

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  9. Pingback: Carrie Underwood & a Choir of Children (PS22 Chorus) Singing “Good Girl” « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  10. Thanks Ellie for a fantastic review. I love this album so very much and I am very impressed by what Carrie has done. Like everybody has said already, it’s very hard to pick out favorite tracks, or determine which should be the next single (even though I know you’ve already guessed Blown Away,) because I think every song can definitely become a great hit. I love the dramatic Two Black Cadillacs and Blown Away, adorable Do You Think About Me, road-trip athem One Way Ticket (love it!), the heartfelt ballads Forever Changed, Wine After Whiskey, and Good in Goodbye and of course the rocking Good Girl and Cupid’s Got a Shotgun. Those seem to stand out the most to me, but I really enjoy See You Again, Who Are You and Nobody Ever Told You. It’s such a strong album that I can listen to the whole thing without getting bored or wanting to skip. I think the critics will really love this, and I really hope she will get Album of the Year nomination for Grammys 2013. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Thank you for reading. I agree, therefore the grade. The album is a collection of 14 very strong tracks. The preference of one can be totally different from the preference of another and they would still agree that both are valid.

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  11. Pingback: Haifa Wehbe’s New Album MJK is #1 on US iTunes « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  12. Pingback: Carrie Underwood Discusses Her Album “Blown Away” « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  13. Pingback: Blown Away (Music Video) – Carrie Underwood « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

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