Carrie Underwood is doing the big media barrage to promote her third album “Play On.”
She broadened the types of producers she used for this album, including Kara DioGuardi, Canadian singer songwriter Chantal Kreziazuk and Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, according to a piece in USA Today. She also worked with Max Martin, who is the kingpin for the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and more recently, Adam Lambert. “Cowboy Casanova,” her latest hit, was coproduced by Mike Elizondo, who has worked with Nelly Furtado and Pink.
“I’d take some other small element and bring it into our world to see what we could do with it,” Underwood says. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but I think it ended up being different and progressive.”
And here’s more thoughts from an AP story:
“Play On” is still very much country — there’s banjo, pedal steel and mandolin — but Underwood has added different musical textures, which points to her maturation as an artist.
“I’m not trying to move anywhere away from country music,” she declares while sitting in a production studio, dressed comfortably in jeans, a T-shirt and sandals. “I love what I do. And let’s say ‘Cowboy Casanova’ crosses over, it’s going to cross over as it is — fiddles, steel and all. Growing up I never liked it when people would have a country song and then change it for a different format.”
The AP story noted that she is dating an athlete — again. This time, Ottawa Senators center Mike Fisher. She even wrote a song that AP says seemed to talk a bit about Fisher. In fact, she wrote seven songs for the album and has gotten a bit more personal.
And this Tulsa World story summarizes her TV appearances this week, which include Letterman tonight, Good Morning America tomorrow and Regis & Kelly Thursday. On Nov. 12, A&E debuts her biography. She visits Conan Nov. 16 and Kimmel Nov. 19, plus “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Nov. 18.
Here’s an early review from the Houston Chronicle. Not good:
She seems oddly detached from much of the material here — not dirty enough during the uptempos and not able to conjure the drama needed for the breakup songs. Yes, she sounds terrific. And to be fair, it’s not like the material allows her much wiggle room. Everything stays safely in the narrow confines of country radio.
That’s fine for a post-Idol newbie. But Underwood should not only be raising the bar, she should be setting it. Play On will likely sell millions of copies and spawn several hit singles. But it feels lazy and uninspired, especially in the wake of exciting musical ventures from both Idol (Kelly Clarkson, Brooke White, Adam Lambert) and country (Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift) peers.
Underwood balances fat-chord rockers like “Undo It” with bubbly pop songs like “This Time” and beautiful ballads like “What Can I Say,” a duet with the trio Sons of Sylvia. In the end, this tremendously gifted singer proves she can move in several directions while always sounding like she’s moving forward