Carrie Underwood Fans

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Evaluating Carrie's career.....fan opinions edition!

carriefan14

New member
Hey guys,

I was just thinking about where Carrie's career might be heading with this next era, in between projects, and how exciting these time periods always feel.

I thought it would be cool to look back and think about what 'worked' for Carrie over the years and what 'didn't work' so well (not that she has had many missteps at all in her uber-successful career!). I'm not just talking about songs or albums, I mean on the grand scale, which would include movies she's been in or any collaborations on anything she's lended to.

As a fan, what in your opinion has 'worked' and what 'didn't'?

As an example, mine would be

What worked

Songs about her faith - As evidenced by the massive success of Something in the Water and JTTW, I think anytime Carrie sings from her Christian standpoint, it works to massive commercial success...see also Silent Night, etc.

Calia/Workout app - I might be wrong because I dont have another athletic design company to compare it to, but I feel like creating the Calia brand with the fit52 app and the book worked well for her. It's something that fits with her own lifestyle and personality.

The 'Blown Away/TBC' double single moment. I feel like if nothing else gets remembered from Carrie's discography, the darker tones of BA and TBC will always stay bold and noteworthy to other people. It kind of put her in her own league as far as comparing to what other songs and albums were being produced in that 2012/2013 time period.


What didn't work

Carrie has had very few things that didn't pan out (and even when they don't 'work', they still have a way of somewhat sticking), but it's always surprising when something doesn't garner as much appreciation as you might think it will.

'Little Toy Guns' as a single - I think when all is said and done, LTG will not be remembered very well by anyone except her die hard fans. Even now, LTG kind of pales compared to the 'big hits'. I don't know what she wanted to say with this song, (spark a conversation about domestic violence or children, not sure) but I don't think it contributed to anything noteworthy. It was kind of an interesting choice to release it right after SITW, with its own music video and everything. It got the full single treatment, when better songs were passed up in the previous era.


The glitter tears/heaviness of the Cry Pretty album. I feel like people respected the music and the effort that Carrie brought to the Cry pretty era, but overall, for the masses, it was just too sad/heavy for them to really get behind, this the lower ranking of the singles on the charts compared to her previous albums (no Billboard number ones.) I was able to relate, but I feel like most did not linger on the album and it was kinda over as soon as Drinking Alone was about to peak. I don't know if the majority of people will be replaying the album 5 years from now. I dont think maybe the glitter tears/Instagram makeup inspiration behind the main theme was really understood by most. They were like, ooh pretty....moving on.


The pop-y/Avril Lavigne 2000s rock of the Play On album. I think people naturally gravitate more towards Carrie when she is singing country- inflected or influenced material like "Look At Me" and "Cowboy Casanova". But the more pop songs on her third album (yes, more pop than CC), like Unapologize, Change, Quitter, What Can I Say) just didn't have the appeal, and certainly not the long-term appeal that previous albums had (Play On lacked any "I Know You Won't"s or "Just A Dream"s, or "Flat on the Floor"s. Sonically, and lyrically, it was an album that didn't quite know where it fit, trying to appeal to as many as possible, and as a result lacked the big, universal impact her first 2 albums had. It also didn't help that Miranda and Taylor really hit their strides in the 2009/2010 period with their own styles (not to compare any of these ladies), but I feel like Blown Away picked up the momentum that got lost during the PO era.


Just my opinions! I'm curious to see where we are all going on this next ride, and look forward to discovering what other sides to Carrie we may still hear or see!
 

Farawayhills

Active member
Things that I would say have worked for me personally include:

-- her willingness throughout to go beyond formulas and signature roles and try new things. By that I mean things like trying new instruments, taking on a co-production role, never standing still with concert planning and set design, writing the full story board for the "Something Bad" video (when it wasn't even off her own album!), taking on the challenge of a live, one-take production of the Sound of Music (when it certainly wasn't her normal field of operation!)

-- a solid dedication to her craft. Luke Laird said she co-wrote around 60 songs in three months in preparing for "Play On" (at a busy time in her life). Of course, most won't used, and some were sacrificed for picks she didn't have a hand in, but thought were better. For me that shows a determination to do her best for the work that's going to be released

-- her loyalty to the Opry. Yes, I wish she'd move a little beyond the familiar hits, more often, to showcase her deeper album cuts and sample genre classics - but the hits are what most people probably come for, and the bottom line is that her loyalty is virtually unique among contemporary chart stars. To me, it shows that her commitment to being a Country singer is something she takes seriously.

-- and, on a similar note, the many references (n themes, music, lyrics and vocal delivery) to Country tradition in her work This is something that particularly impresses me. It's often overlooked by many fans and critics (who aren't likely, for example, to catch a homage to Ray Price's "You Took My Happy Away" in Undo It -) - but in the long term, I think writers looking back, will see this as one of the things that makes Carrie's career stand out from the relentless throw=away predictability of much of the era's chart material. Carrie combines an understanding of her genre's past and evolution with a desire to foster its progression. And that, for me, is something that will ensure her place as one of the genre's greats.


As for what didn't work so well for me, I often find myself regretting that her singles don't always reflect the overall artistic potential of her albums. Her label, of course, will promote what they think will sell - and we are actually lucky, overall, in that some of the singles have been memorable standouts. But others have proved disappointing for me - the present era being, for the most part a case in point. (I see the point about the "heaviness" of the Cry Pretty era, but - some of the singles apart - I would rate it, in the longer perspective, in terms of thematic boldness and the balance it struck between tradition and progression, as artistically her strongest album to date.)
I'm not always a fan of extraneous "story line" videos, and (here I know I depart from many fans) I do sometimes find the "power ballad" bravura a bit overwhelming , and sometimes rather stereotyped - though it can certainly work where I feel the song truly requites it.
I also find some of the promotional material misfires for me - the glitter tears for example, and, earlier, the oddly posed and (at least for me) rather corny "movie poster" effect of the Blown Away album cover. But, those are only quibbles in an impressive story that I look forward to continuing'
 

Bookgirl36

New member
Hey guys,

I was just thinking about where Carrie's career might be heading with this next era, in between projects, and how exciting these time periods always feel.

I thought it would be cool to look back and think about what 'worked' for Carrie over the years and what 'didn't work' so well (not that she has had many missteps at all in her uber-successful career!). I'm not just talking about songs or albums, I mean on the grand scale, which would include movies she's been in or any collaborations on anything she's lended to.

As a fan, what in your opinion has 'worked' and what 'didn't'?

As an example, mine would be

What worked

Songs about her faith - As evidenced by the massive success of Something in the Water and JTTW, I think anytime Carrie sings from her Christian standpoint, it works to massive commercial success...see also Silent Night, etc.

Calia/Workout app - I might be wrong because I dont have another athletic design company to compare it to, but I feel like creating the Calia brand with the fit52 app and the book worked well for her. It's something that fits with her own lifestyle and personality.

The 'Blown Away/TBC' double single moment. I feel like if nothing else gets remembered from Carrie's discography, the darker tones of BA and TBC will always stay bold and noteworthy to other people. It kind of put her in her own league as far as comparing to what other songs and albums were being produced in that 2012/2013 time period.


What didn't work

Carrie has had very few things that didn't pan out (and even when they don't 'work', they still have a way of somewhat sticking), but it's always surprising when something doesn't garner as much appreciation as you might think it will.

'Little Toy Guns' as a single - I think when all is said and done, LTG will not be remembered very well by anyone except her die hard fans. Even now, LTG kind of pales compared to the 'big hits'. I don't know what she wanted to say with this song, (spark a conversation about domestic violence or children, not sure) but I don't think it contributed to anything noteworthy. It was kind of an interesting choice to release it right after SITW, with its own music video and everything. It got the full single treatment, when better songs were passed up in the previous era.


The glitter tears/heaviness of the Cry Pretty album. I feel like people respected the music and the effort that Carrie brought to the Cry pretty era, but overall, for the masses, it was just too sad/heavy for them to really get behind, this the lower ranking of the singles on the charts compared to her previous albums (no Billboard number ones.) I was able to relate, but I feel like most did not linger on the album and it was kinda over as soon as Drinking Alone was about to peak. I don't know if the majority of people will be replaying the album 5 years from now. I dont think maybe the glitter tears/Instagram makeup inspiration behind the main theme was really understood by most. They were like, ooh pretty....moving on.


The pop-y/Avril Lavigne 2000s rock of the Play On album. I think people naturally gravitate more towards Carrie when she is singing country- inflected or influenced material like "Look At Me" and "Cowboy Casanova". But the more pop songs on her third album (yes, more pop than CC), like Unapologize, Change, Quitter, What Can I Say) just didn't have the appeal, and certainly not the long-term appeal that previous albums had (Play On lacked any "I Know You Won't"s or "Just A Dream"s, or "Flat on the Floor"s. Sonically, and lyrically, it was an album that didn't quite know where it fit, trying to appeal to as many as possible, and as a result lacked the big, universal impact her first 2 albums had. It also didn't help that Miranda and Taylor really hit their strides in the 2009/2010 period with their own styles (not to compare any of these ladies), but I feel like Blown Away picked up the momentum that got lost during the PO era.


Just my opinions! I'm curious to see where we are all going on this next ride, and look forward to discovering what other sides to Carrie we may still hear or see!

I agree about everything you said even though it’s just your opinion.But Cry Pretty was just not her strongest album.The album was extremely heavy and sad given what she was going through when she was writing and recording the album so I think that really turned people off that might’ve wanted to listen to the album who thought it was heavy and too sad to really get into.I just don’t see this album being replayed a lot in 5 years even 10 years from now. The glitter tears is what I think turned a lot of people off because to me,it’s just not a gimmick she needed to sell her music when she’s as talented as she is. The promo pictures for the album just didn’t seem like something she would’ve done in the past & seemed moody & darker. This is just an opinion but I think there was some pressure to keep up with current sonic trends from her management to fit into the mold of pop stars that get played on top 40 radio so she tried to cater to the part of the fan base that to this day wanted her desperately to be like the artists that get played on top 40 radio and wants her to be just like them and in my opinion came off as trying too hard to please a part of the fan base that listens to a lot of pop music. She does a lot of genres well because her voice is versatile enough to carry almost any genre off but she just isn’t a full pop artist. I feel a lot of the songs that were more poppy on the album really downgraded her talent and severely underutilized her incredible voice. The ones that leaned more country really let her voice shine and reminded everyone how talented she is given the right material.I just think the glitter tears just weren’t needed to promote the album as a whole when actual tears would’ve worked just as well if not better.But the songs just aren’t memorable enough to make the album memorable 5 years from now & I doubt the glitter tears will age that well. I just think those glitter tears just weren’t theatrics she needed to sell an album or her talent.This is just my observation but the few times she did promote the album, there just didn’t seem to be a lot of passion there for the album itself but with My Savior you could just tell that it’s an album that she’s extremely passionate about and it’s truly her heart and soul in that album.I think people connect with a lot of her normal songs but the faith based ones are the ones that seem to resonate the most with fans and the public in general.I get that she was really trying to show people that she’s more than just murdering guys in songs and songs about guys cheating on her and that she’s not some one trick pony that doesn’t write her own songs but I just felt it didn’t go far enough in changing her image with some people.After Drinking Alone peaked,people forgot about the album in my opinion. The songs to me just aren’t going be memorable enough to stand the test of time like her older albums.The glitter for me was overdone and using it for the Love Wins video just wasn’t needed when there were probably better ways to get the message of the song across.

But I agree with you about Play On.There are some songs I do love off of that album but the album to me felt really rushed and pieced together without much thought.I think a lot of people tend to gravitate towards her more country influenced songs than her songs that sound more pop in nature.In my opinion,I think she’s at the point in her career and life where those songs about guys cheating on her and murdering them are behind her given how happy she currently is in her personal life and her career.I think she was still trying to figure out where she fit in with her sound and her style so that’s why I think the album tried to appeal to a lot of people but just didn’t know where it fit in sonically and lyrically.But I think she hit her stride when she did the Blown Away album with the videos that were cinematic and really drew you in. Blown Away is one of my favorite albums from her because of the lyrical content and how memorable some of those songs are to this day.
 

adam1995

Well-known member
The glitter tears/heaviness of the Cry Pretty album. I feel like people respected the music and the effort that Carrie brought to the Cry pretty era, but overall, for the masses, it was just too sad/heavy for them to really get behind, this the lower ranking of the singles on the charts compared to her previous albums (no Billboard number ones.) I was able to relate, but I feel like most did not linger on the album and it was kinda over as soon as Drinking Alone was about to peak. I don't know if the majority of people will be replaying the album 5 years from now. I dont think maybe the glitter tears/Instagram makeup inspiration behind the main theme was really understood by most. They were like, ooh pretty....moving on.

Couldn't agree less with the CP part.
 

carriefan14

New member
Did you not ask opinions? I generally agreed with the other things you said. Did you need to hear that? I was just putting in my two cents (like you asked us to), it really wasn't that serious. :rolleyes:

OK, explain your other 10 smart A replies you've always made to my posts, then. I'm very familiar with your username. Anyway, a snarky reply is hardly contributing to what this thread is about. If you arent going to participate, post in another thread, then.
 

FanSince04

Well-known member
OK, explain your other 10 smart A replies you've always made to my posts, then. I'm very familiar with your username. Anyway, a snarky reply is hardly contributing to what this thread is about. If you arent going to participate, post in another thread, then.

He just gave his opinion. I know his tone comes across that way quite a bit, but just ignore.
 

FanSince04

Well-known member
What Has Worked..

I think Carrie collaborating with other artists has worked well for her career. Recall at the beginning of her career doing the “Stand Up To Cancer” event, singing in a tribute to Michael Jackson, performing with Tony Bennett at the Grammys, joining forces with Yolanda Adams; as well as, Michael West, and not to mention duetting with her country peers (Brad, Randy, Keith, Miranda, and NOW Reba & Loretta).

Her overall demeanor has played a huge part. For a good portion of her career she was considered an “All-American Girl” and “The Girl Next Door”. As time has passed, she has become the ideal for how to remain drama free. I believe this is what has allowed her to maintain her status within the music industry.

Let’s not forget the success and variation of her albums. Carrie can sell records! Of course, this works in her benefit. Each of her albums is different. I like this about them. Cry Pretty & Storyteller aren’t my favorite albums, but I appreciate the mature material and stylistic risks she took. Play On & Blown Away are my favorite albums due to the catchy songs and overall PR that was put into them (music videos, specials, tours, appearances, performances, etc.).

What Hasn’t Worked...

The lack of streaming as of lately (past ten years) has been a major misstep. I am not sure where to place the blame, but it has definitely hindered her sales and trajectory.

Songs being sent to only Country Radio has been a major misstep, too. I believe many of her singles could have performed well on AC & Pop. Releasing songs just to AC or Pop radio could have been a great option as well.
 
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