the Buzz for May 4th, 2012


Carrie Underwood — “Wheel of the World” (from Carnival Ride) — Wheel of the World - Carnival Ride

I spent the better part of yesterday morning winding my way through Miss Carrie’s just-released fourth album, Blown Away, and while it is markedly better than her previous effort — 2009’s airless, pompous Play On — it also is a herky-jerky melange of moods and musical styles that, while certainly ambitious, never settles into a comfortable nor consistent groove. (It’s almost as though Carrie couldn’t decide whether she wanted to emulate Pat Benatar or Patty Loveless, so she chose both, and the result is a jarring blur of a record.) Underwood stated in a number of pre-release interviews that she tried to fashion this album to fit snugly with its tense title track, a tune whose emotional terrain — a wife-abuser who meets an untimely (if not unjust) fate — the magnificent Gretchen Peters exploited to much stronger effect two decades ago in the Martina McBride classic “Independence Day”; if you axe me, Carrie’d have been better served searching for songs more in the vein of this gorgeous stunner, the surprisingly potent piffle that closes her second (and still best, by an Oklahoma mile) record. (And if you axe A, this song isn’t even the best one in Carrie’s considerable discography that contains the word “wheel.” But seeing as he’s a devout atheist, I’m not so sure how much weight his opinion carries in this specific matter.)