Carrie Underwood is without a doubt one of the more popular and loved voices within the genre of country music.
With her past hit singles of “Jesus, Take The Wheel”, “Before He Cheats”, and “Good Girl” (among others), she has brought her powerful, sultry voice to the ears of almost everyone who is a fan of this complex genre. Her past albums have gained Platinum status in incredibly short amounts of time, and her new album Cry Pretty will undoubtedly reach that same status, if not higher.
The genre of country has been repetitively accused of only being about relationships, living life in the south, a person’s deepest mistakes or something as ridiculous as the artist missing their pickup truck. Often, it is drawn in a caricature of a man or woman wearing boots with spurs and a cowboy hat, plucking a melody out on their acoustic guitar to hopefully convey a message that they feel in their hearts. While some country artists and their music still fall prey to these accusations, Carrie Underwood avoids these tropes with about three-fourths of the music she delivers.
Cry Pretty, proves this point quite literally. Out of the 13 songs, only three of them are completely about a single relationship, and one other song is about living life in the South. That means only 30 percent of the album falls to these classic troupes of the genre. The other 70 percent holds a small amount about relationships but also holds lessons to be learned and slight commentaries on different struggles of life. For example, in the title song, Underwood highlights the fact that painting a fake face only holds up until you break. There is no such thing as a “pretty cry,” making the popular phrase “ugly cry” stand alone.
In the other songs, she deals with some even more down-to-earth problems. In “The Bullet,” she touches on the fact that even though most bullets are as small as a fingerprint, they can have an almost unreal ripple effect across a history.
In “Spinning Bottles,” she tells a story of how a marriage is being torn apart by alcohol. In “Kingdom,” she tells another story about how a household was built and made better through previous trials.
In “The Champion,” Carrie Underwood beautifully illustrates that change and inspiration in brought about by people who have been through their share of trials and risen from them.
Lastly, in “Love Wins,” she illustrates a few of the lines of today’s society we draw in the sand that if we were to just erase, we would be able to see the bigger problems and stand together as brothers and sisters.
Among the many deeper issues addressed in this new album, there may be a song that becomes more popular than the widely known “Jesus, Take The Wheel.”