Carrie Underwood, American Girl

24 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Carrie Underwood Calls American Idol the “Most Horrifying Thing”.

“Idol was probably the most horrifying thing, because I had never been away from my hometown like that before,” she told Parade magazine in a new interview. “I was in L.A., of all places, by myself, putting myself out there, which is a scary thing for anybody to do. It’s that voice that makes her the only truly unfadeable American Idol success story: a country-pop-rock superpower that sweeps in like the sanctified cyclone of her 2012 hit “Blown Away,” laying waste to drunken-lout fathers, abusive partners and cowboy casanovas before settling back into a honeysuckle breeze. My first plane ride was when I was going out to L.A. alone.” And even though the Storyteller singer now has seven Grammys under her belt and album sales of 56 million worldwide — making her one of the most successful and enduring Idol winners, alongside season one champ Kelly Clarkson — she admitted that she was bracing to walk away from the competition with a good experience and little else. “I always kept in my head, ‘If nothing else ever comes of this, I got to do the coolest thing ever and I won American Idol,’” she told the mag. “I was like, ‘Okay, I will just have fun with this and save up as much money as I can and finish school and get a real job.’ Because I am always a practical thinker and would never allow myself to think it would turn out okay all the time.” The “Before He Cheats” singer, who is mom to Isaiah, 7 months, with husband Mike Fisher, added that despite her superstardom, she still gets nervous during performances. “I still haven’t figured out how to talk to the audience,” she said. “I just want to sing. That was when Fifty Shades of Grey was coming out, like right around that time, and I’m like, ‘Christian’s off the list, babe,’” she explained with a laugh.

But it smartly tips its crossover mix towards the rootsier feel of her first album, connecting with the narrative-driven creative renaissance currently being spearheaded by Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves. With its sharply-drawn teetotalers pushed to their limits, “Smoke Break” becomes a memorable 420 anthem without actually inhaling. “Church Bells” describes a Dallas-like scenario of an oil-man and his sweetheart, sitting in the back pew “all bruises covered in makeup, dark sunglasses,” at the tipping point in the most epic domestic-violence-revenge-murder ballad in years, splitting the difference between Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” and the Dixie Chicks “Goodbye, Earl,” but without the latter’s safety-valve of humor. She insists “I wanna feel it like a kick drum” on “Heartbeat,” a head-turningly sexy four-by-four R&B jam that might impress Trey Songz. “Relapse” is a power ballad that kneels to Queen Bey. And “Choctaw County Affair” is a juicy slice of Seventies country-funk that nods to Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” and the news mama heard from Choctaw Ridge. Otherwise, Underwood’s main songwriting wingman remains Music City A-lister Hillary Lindsey, who has been riding shotgun since Underwood’s first mega-hit, 2005’s “Jesus Take The Wheel.” She’s got nine co-writes here out of 13.

As with much high-gloss, high-compression pop, the heavy-handed production gets fatiguing after a while, even when Underwood transcends it (see the corny yet undeniable letter to Daddy “The Girl You Think I Am”). By the time she’s wailing about facing “25 to life” on the lam in “Mexico” in the wake of an unnamed crime that could be anything from coke-smuggling to hedge fund hustling, you have half a mind to snitch. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

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