07 November 2007

Carrie Underwood - "Carnival Ride"

Carnival Ride
Carrie Underwood
Date of Release: 23 October 2007

Being that Carrie Underwood is a 24 year old living The Dream, it is really no surprise that Carnival Ride exudes youthful optimism and ideals. "Crazy Dream" and "Wheel of the World" are both celebrations of dreamers and the mysteries of life, and while neither necessarily says anything new about the subject, it is clear that is how they appear to Underwood and her audience. To say the songs are naive would be too harsh, but there is an element of innocence present, which is why two songs on this set really do stand out.

The first standout is "Last Name," a story song in which the point of view character goes out, gets drunk and runs off to Vegas with some guy. This easily recalls Alan Jackson's "I Don't Even Know Your Name," but somehow having the young woman who sang "Jesus, Take the Wheel" telling the story makes it all the more appealing. Hopefully, this one warrants commercial release as a single with accompanying video. Drunken Carrie Underwood is a sight the world needs, even if it's staged.

Much of Underwood's audience is probably too young to even know why the second standout song means so much, and the song is Randy Travis's "I Told You So." Travis originally wrote and recorded the song an astounding twenty years ago for his second album, Always & Forever. His original version's legacy isn't threatened by this pop-influenced arrangement, but that's not the point. Maybe Underwood grew up with Randy Travis and this just happened to be the song she picked, but if her next album could find some modern day "I Told You Sos" her already bright star will shine a little bit more.

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