Written by Alina Monzon. 21 October 2014.
Carrie Underwood, winner of the fourth season of American Idol, is one of the most popular female country singers at this time. After winning American Idol, she has been successful with all the albums that she has released including her most recent album, Blown Away. This album gained a lot of popularity not only among country music listeners, but also with non-country music listeners and people around the world. Blown Away has different sounds that are more pop but also some songs that are more traditional country like “Leave Love Alone”. All the songs tell a story and are definitely something that Underwood would sing. They all have some personal connection to her life or things that she likes.
Blown Away is Underwood’s fourth album and was released on May 1st, 2012. It includes fourteen tracks that include “Good Girl”, the first single of the album, which was the most successful song out of that album because it peaked at number one on the US country charts and it was certified double Platinum by the RIAA and Platinum in Canada (Wikipedia). In the US Billboard 200, it peaked at number one and also in other countries like Australia, Canada, and the UK (Wikipedia). In this album, the songs are not always about one certain topic or theme like some albums. She has songs that talk about murder, losing a loved one, and even about trouble in a young lady’s home with her father. The popular themes that are in the album are revenge, like seen in “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs”, love, and even having confidence in yourself, like in “Nobody Ever Told You”. This album was very successful since the beginning because it debuted at the top of the Top Country Albums chart, just like all her previous albums (Wikipedia). She co-wrote eight out of the fourteen songs in her album and said that she wanted to have not only songs that she co-wrote on the album, but also songs written by other people. All this seemed to have paid off for Underwood because in 2013, she won a Grammy for her second single, “Blown Away” (Wikipedia). The album was nominated for several awards and Underwood won two, one that was in the Country Music Awards of Australia (Wikipedia).
This album by Underwood was influenced by different events going on in her life and different interest that she has. In an interview, Underwood talked about having a different approach to putting the album together. She said that she took her time to write songs because she thought that her best writing was done when she was most concentrated and dedicated to writing so taking breaks in between helped her write (Evans-Price). Also, she seems to have become more outgoing when it comes to thinking of songs and putting them together. Underwood says that she is more confident in writing her songs and tries not to pressure herself to write all them. She also talks about how when she heard “Blown Away”, it set a standard for her new album. It showed her that she could take a different direction and be more outgoing about her music (Mansfield). She believes that it is important to let other songwriters, that are just as great, to be able to have their songs in their albums to show off their work (Evans-Price).
Not only did Underwood “mature” musically, but other events in her life also influenced how the album turned out. For example, she talked about her song “Thank God For Hometowns”. She mentioned how she would have never picked a song that talks about hometowns until she went to her high school reunion. That song reminded her of her own hometown and the people living there, and that is why she picked it (interview on commentary album). So even when the song did not really catch her attention at first, listening to the words made her have a personal connection with a song to include in her album.
The timing of the album also made it to be so successful. According to USA Today, Underwood had a “dry spell” after all the awards and success she had after winning American Idol. That put things into perspective for her because she saw that she would not always be getting the awards and nominations that she had at the beginning. This made Underwood take her time in writing and putting together her album, a whole year to write and record, and with all the time she put in it, it could have been the reason why the audience received it so well (Mansfield). Taking her time and being more realistic about being a singer made her see how things really are and if she took her time and put effort into her album, then her fans and other people would enjoy listening to her music. In her personal life, she had also gotten married to Mike Fisher, a hockey player, and she spent time with him, which could have also delayed her from getting an album out sooner. All the time that she put in her new album, made it more unique and took a different direction that made people like it a lot. Also, being a wife and having gone to her high school reunion made her remember what is really important in life and that could have also had an affect on how the album turned out.
This album was a bit different than her previous albums, which means that the audience was also different. This album had songs that were country pop, rock, and some songs that were “traditional” country. She said that with this direction that she was taking, she had different styles of music but it wasn’t really her intention to try to increase her fan base (Mansfield). Having said that, her intended audience was probably her fans from American Idol and all the country music listeners. But with all the changes and the new direction her music took, her fan base grew to people that also listen to pop or mainstream music. That is part of the reason that her song “Good Girl” was so successful and the album in general did well.
People who have listened to her music and have read about or heard about Underwood can see that she has matured and it is apparent in her music. Blown Away, her most recent album, shows more of what she is. It talks about topics that are personal to her, like hometowns, the like of horror or mysterious stories like in “Two Black Cadillacs”, and also her love of country music in general. With all the things that happened in her life recently and the time she took to make the album were perfect for her to release Blown Away. As the most successful American Idol winner, this album definitely shows how amazing Underwood is as an artist.
- “Good Girl” (C. De Stefano, A. Gorley, C. Underwood)
- “Blown Away” (J. Kear, C. Tompkins)
- “Two Black Cadillacs” (J. Kear, H. Lindsey, C. Underwood)
- “See You Again” (D. Hodges, H. Lindsey, C. Underwood)
- “Do You Think About Me” (C. Barlowe, H. Lindsey, S. Stevens)
- “Forever Changed” (T. Douglas, H. Lindsey, J. Slater)
- “Nobody Ever Told You” (L. Laird, H. Lindsey, C. Underwood)
- “One Way Ticket” (J. Kear, L. Laird, C. Underwood)
- “Thank God for Hometowns” (A. Gorley, L. Laird, H. Lindsey)
- “Good in Goodbye” (H. Lindsey, R. Tedder, C. Underwood)
- “Leave Love Alone” (H. Lindsey, G. Sampson, T. Verges)
- “Cupid’s Got a Shotgon (J. Kear, C. Tompkins, C. Underwood)
- “Wine After Whiskey” (D. Berg, T. Shapiro, C. Underwood)
- “Who Are You” (R. Lange)
“Blown Away (album)“. Wikipedia. 16 October 2014. Web. 8 Oct 2014.
Evans-Price, Deborah. “Carrie Underwood Interview: ‘Blown Away’ Album Puts Drama, Emotions Center Stage”. The Boot. 2 May 2012. Web. 8 Oct 2014.
Mansfield, Brian. “Carrie Underwood: ‘Blown Away’ and Crossing Over”. USA Today. 4 May 2012. Web. 8 Oct 2014.