Underwood Shines on Third Album
Carrie Underwood, season 4 winner of “American Idol” and country music sensation, has yet another stellar album in “Play On.”
Although Underwood has some fun with this album, like the upbeat “Cowboy Casanova” (which has been getting incessant radio play for months), most of the album takes a more serious tone. Underwood transitions flawlessly from sassy, to heartbroken, to vengeful (think her first album’s “Before He Cheats”) to hopelessly in love. The album also includes, in typical fashion, a handful of songs that are clearly designed to inspire the listener and appeal to the giver in us, touching all those poignant, sensitive spots.
All of “Play On” is incredibly thoughtful, and, although I didn’t like it initially as much as her last album, “Carnival Ride,” I think it is indeed a stronger collection. The range of emotions here is much greater than her previous efforts, yet somehow the album feels more cohesive and better put together than her previous work.
Arguably the greatest thing about “Play On” is Underwood’s much heavier involvement. As an artist who has definitely come into her own since bursting onto the scene in 2004, it’s nice to see Underwood getting comfortable with more than just singing. Between her first two albums, Underwood had only five writing credits. This time around, Underwood helped write seven of the songs.
This is by no means a perfect album, and you could argue that some of the songs here are too reminiscent of previous work and bordering on “country cliché,” but what is here is still sure to please fans. “Play On” is a solid, bubbly, pop-driven country album that is likely to allow the former American Idol, and current country queen, to sweep award shows until her next release.