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Album: Carrie Underwood: Some Hearts
Street Date: November 15, 2005
Length: 53:48
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Brian

For American Idol Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, expectations are high. Not only did Carrie win over the viewers of American Idol on her way to the American Idol recording contract, she also won over the notoriously harsh Simon Cowell. Cowell predicted that Carrie would not only win American Idol, but she would also sell more records than any other previous Idol winner. Just that statement alone produces a lot of pressure, but having to represent as the current American Idol winner is the biggest challenge of all.

1. Wasted - The CD starts with a country-pop instrumental arrangement. Many people were wondering whether Carrie would go totally country (which was her strongest genre on Idol), or whether the instrumentals would be varied and kept to a point where her music could cross over into the pop and AC genres. The song itself sounds more like a country song, but it is enjoyable. Carrie's vocals sound very smooth and natural as the vocals match the song's tempo nicely. Good lyrical content.

2. Don't Forget to Remember Me - "Don't Forget to Remember Me" is a strings driven, slow, melodic song. The musical quality has the countryish feel to it again, and through Carrie's vocals you get the sense this is more of a country song than anything else. However, due to the strong lyrical content and sentimentality of the song, it would make a good single on a country station and even a pop or AC station if marketed correctly.

3. Some Hearts - The title track of Some Hearts is the first straight pop song on the CD. There is still the countryish affect Carrie brings with her vocals, but the music is essentially your typical pop-driven musical arrangements.

4. Jesus Take The Wheel - Some Hearts' debut single, "Jesus Take The Wheel", is another countrified slow song. When I initially heard the single I was impressed that it has very good crossover appeal and the lyrical and vocal content was excellent. A running theme through the CD so far is that each track has a lot of emotion tied to it and that comes through in the vocals, which is a very good thing.

5. Night Before (Life Goes On) - This is another slowed down song. In the chorus the beat picks up into a strings and keys balance, and during the verses the music is more slowed down so the vocals shine through. This is a very solid song which again has a lot of emotion tied to it. One of my favorites on the album so far, the instrumentals are great.

6. Lessons Learned - "Lessons Learned" is a slower mid-tempo pop track. Carrie steps away from the countryish vocal style here and just goes straight into the vocals, which comes across very well. The song doesn't stand out very well on the album, but it is no doubt a solid song.

7. Before He Cheats - This is an angry (yet relatively calm) mid-tempo song. The way the vocals come across it was almost comical to me, but the execution is very good. The song's beat gets you going, and the lyrical content gives jealous girls everywhere ammo for what to do the next time their significant other cheats on them.

8. Starts With Goodbye - "Starts With Goodbye" begins with a simple piano repetition and builds musically from there. Again, the lyrical content brings some heavy emotion here and the vocals bring it through beautifully. I could definitely see this song being a cross-over hit and a definite single.

9. I Just Can't Live a Lie - "I Just Can't Live a Lie" is essentially a piano driven ballad. It is really nice to see the diversity on this album in that it isn't completely a country album, but it isn't completely pop either. Everyone who was enthralled with Carrie will get what they want from this album, and that in itself is a great quality. This is another single-worthy song, and even if it never makes the radio I think it will be a lot of people's favorite song who buy the CD.

10. We're Young and Beautiful - The song opens with a country-rock guitar driven beat. This is kind of a fun song, it gives the album a light feel after many of the emotional songs which have preceded it.

11. That's Where It Is - A guitar and keys driven pop song. Again, this song has definitely radio potential. On this track Carrie vaguely reminds me of Michelle Branch. Good lyrical content.

12. Whenever You Remember - "Whenever You Remember" is a slowed down pop song. The song is very melodic and will have you swaying unconsciously (at least I found myself doing so).

13. I Ain't in Checotah Anymore - A slow tempo country song turns into an up tempo fun song. The lyrical content is nice as the lyrics descriptively tell us a story about how Checotah is completely different from the big city.

14.Inside Your Heaven - The "bonus" track of Some Hearts, "Inside Your Heaven" was Carrie's initial single after she won American Idol. It is a slow pop song with the countryish twang, similar to some of the country crossover songs on Some Hearts. Ironically, I can tell that on the other tracks Carrie's vocals have gotten better since they initally recorded "Inside Your Heaven" for radio use.

Overall Impression:
Quite honestly I was not expecting such a great CD, nor was I expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I'm not a big country music fan at all, but I was easily able to get into, appreciate, and even like the more countryish songs. There is nothing I wish would have been done different on the album and I have no complaints about it, and for a debut CD that is definitely saying something.

Overall, I think the fact Carrie and those who produced her album played it safe and provided songs for everyone will lead to more record sales and expanded radio single potential. When all is said and done, Simon Cowell may just be right; Carrie Underwood brought the goods on this album and now it is up to the music connoisseurs to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

For more information on Carrie Underwood visit carrieunderwoodofficial.com.
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