It’s been three years since the last Carrie Underwood album dropped and ten years since she won American Idol. Not every “Idol” winner has had the success she has. Underwood has seven Grammy wins, seventeen Billboard Music Awards, eleven ACMS, eight American Music awards, five Country Music Awards and the list goes on and on.
Underwood’s fifth Studio Album ‘Storyteller’ was released last week and if fans were worried about what kind of material they could expect from her after becoming a mom, they won’t be disappointed. The album is a far cry from a Mother-Inspired album. As a whole, ‘Storyteller’ gives what the title suggests, a collection of stories for the listeners to identify with. That being said, I have to take the album as the title suggest- as if I were reading a story. Underwood loves a good story and she doesn’t always put super personal material on her album. She does have a few this album, but others are songs that you can just get caught up in a story. Like a good western movie, she isn’t endorsing the behavior of any characters. Sometimes that’s hard as a listener. I want to listen to an album and feel as though I am learning more about the artist, but they don’t always have albums full of personal stories to tell. Sometimes, they have to sing about other people’s stories and we can draw from that.
‘Storyteller’ has some deep subject material on it as themes of abuse, murder and drinking come up. There are also two bonus songs on the Target Edition of the album. Underwood has said she doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into making the same record and singing the same type of songs which is why she brought in a new producer to work on part of her new album.
“I feel like that’s my biggest fear as an artist, is creating the same stuff over and over again… We live in a time now where you can just make good music. I feel like I’m up to the challenge of doing different kinds of things.”
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) October 23, 2015
Renegade Runaway– Kicks off the album with a fun wild west song about an outlaw type girl that can’t be tied down. Women independence powers through this song as she don’t need a man to make her strong. It’s a song that isn’t too serious in topic and can definitely be fun to sing along to in concert. Plus it has some spots for Underwood to show off her ability to never run out of breath!
“You’ll see her name, alive or dead
Yeah they’ll take her either way ‘cause she’s wanted
If I were you, I’d place my bet
That she’s riding off out into the sunset
With her long hair flying ‘cross the desert dirt
Let me tell ya boy you’re never gonna catch her”
Dirty Laundry- When you find out your man is cheating what else is there to do but air his dirty laundry? Don’t let it slide, don’t lie for him! Love the spin on a cheating song. Which has been a reoccurring theme in Underwood’s albums. It’s catchy and fun to sing along to.
“I’ma have to hang you out to dry, dry, dry
Clothespin all your secrets to the line, line, line
Leave ’em blowing in the wind, and say goodbye to you
All those midnights sneaking in
“I’m late again, oh, I’m so sorry”
All the Ajax in the world ain’t gonna clean your dirty laundry”
Church Bells– Underwood has never been afraid to sing songs with a little controversy. Whether it be plotting the death of a husband (Two Black Cadillacs) to letting an abusive father be taken away in a tornado in Blown Away. Church Bells tells of a poor town girl who married a wealthy man who turned out to be a violent drunk. So she slips something in his drink that no one would be able to trace. This is one of those songs where you appreciate the delivery and the ability of a girl to escape her abuser. However, it is one of those don’t try this at home- because let’s be honest jail time doesn’t make for a happy ending. It’s got a banjo type sound in the beginning that will draw you in and an electric guitar playing throughout that’s sure to have you grooving along.
“Jenny was hosting Junior League parties
And having dinner at the country club
Everyone thought they were Ken and Barbie
But Ken was always getting way too drunk
Saturday night, after a few too many
He came home ready to fight
And all his money could never save Jenny
From the devil living in his eyes”
Heartbeat ft Sam Smith– A personal favorite on the album and one that will sure to be a single given the nature of the collaboration. Although Hunt doesn’t take a chorus or have lines he sings by himself, he’s a nice addition to the story and song’s delivery. One of the few Love Songs on the album about escaping the busy city and just getting away with your special someone to enjoy the night, nature and the feel of their heartbeat. This song also comes as a bonus on the target edition with just Underwood singing. In a bonus video, Underwood says it’s sort of her story where she just wants to be alone with her husband and not in all these crowds with interruptions.
“And tonight I wanna drive so far
We’ll only find static on the radio, oh
And we can’t see those city lights
And I love the way you look in a firefly glow
Saying everything without making a sound
A cricket choir in the background
Underneath the hardest moon
Standing on your shoes in my bare feet
Dancing to the rhythm of your heartbeat”
Smoke Break– The lead single of the album which tells of every day people needing a break from their life. The song is currently sitting in the top 5 of the Country Charts.
“She said I don’t drink
But sometimes I need a stiff drink
Sipping from a highball glass
Let the world fade away
She said I don’t smoke
But sometimes I need a long drag
Yeah I know it might sound bad
But sometimes I need a smoke break”
Choctaw County Affair– A love triangle gone wrong? It has the most blue grass feel to it and one that Underwood says she ignored when she first got the demo. It’s one the fans are gravitating towards because of it’s sound. She explains it’s about a girl who tried to get in-between a relationship and blackmail the couple who got revenge on her. The details are left to the imagination as she disappeared and no body was found. So it’s just a Choctaw Country Affair. Mind your business.
Like I’ll Never Love You Again– Is a very sentimental song that allows us a peak into a loving and functional relationship. It’s important to slow down and just enjoy the person we’re with. Life sometimes gets in the way. You eat with the TV on, you don’t communicate well. This song focuses on loving someone so much in that moment, as if not another one will come again, nothing else matters but them. It’s a slower love song that will probably be used as first dance songs in the future! Underwood slows down the faster pace nature of the album to sing a soothing piece with beautiful lyrics.
“I wanna love you like the world’s gonna stop
Til the very last second, last tick of that clock
I’m gonna slow it all down and then take you from zero to ten
Oh, I wanna love you like I’ll never love you again”
Chaser- Gets it’s name from the drink that follows hard liquor. It has a sad tone that sadly probably has rung true for many. A man, no longer in love with the woman he’s with and has been cheating on the side. Underwood sings about letting him go, she no longer needs a heartbreaker, he’s nothing but a ‘Chaser’ so go ahead and chase her. It’s the type of song that offers emotional healing for anyone who’s been in a similar situation.
“I need something strong tonight
I’m needing me a hundred proof
Something to erase my mind
Rid me of the thought of you
Ain’t gonna water it down
When I say it out loud
I’m gonna mean it when I’m telling you goodbye
You’re looking in my eyes
But seeing somebody else
Yeah, I never should’ve fell”
Relapse– Takes a spin on addiction. Instead of being addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s a relationship. It’s something every addict tells themselves. They can quit anytime they want. It’s a lot harder than they think and just like any addiction, there are patterns of falling back into the same habits.
“I ain’t hung up on you
I ain’t in love with you
This is just time that I’m wasting
One or two little sips, I’m alright, I can quit
You’re just some wine that I’m tasting
I don’t have to have you
I don’t need to need you
Just a high that I’m chasing
Don’t think I’m coming back, it’s just a relapse”
Clock Don’t Stop– Tells of a story between a man and woman who have gotten into an argument. It tells of a story of a couple who definitely didn’t fall the advice of “don’t go to bed angry.” How long each minute feels when you’re in the fight with no apology on either side, how scary it can be to think about your relationship being over when you don’t want to fight anymore and just want a kiss goodnight.
“Red dress, spilled wine
Caught in a stupid fight
He’s wrong, she’s right
No kiss goodnight
Ring, ring telephone
Act like not home
Can’t hear the tears cry
On the other end of the line
And the minutes turn to hours
And they’re flying like a jet plane
And we’ll make it right tomorrow
But tomorrow’s not a sure thing”
The Girl You Think I Am– This is a touching and emotional song about being a daddy’s little girl and living up to the potential of everything he believes you to be. After all, daddy’s little girl can do no wrong, right? For those that don’t have a father figure in their life, they can omit the daddy part and apply the lyrics to just about anyone.
“You think I’m strong
You think I’m fearless
Even when I’m, I’m at my weakest
You always see the best in me when I can’t
I wanna be the girl you think I am
I got my flaws and I’ve got regrets
And I know there’s more on the road ahead
When I wonder if I’ll ever measure up
Oh, I thank God for a father’s love”
Mexico– The follow up to Something Bad? This is a song that showcases Underwood’s ability to hold a long run of notes. There are plenty of oh oh ohs to go around! It’s a song about a pair who need to escape from whatever crime they’ve committed and to meet up in Mexico.
“Blue lights on the horizon
Dust clouds filling the sky
If they get the cuffs on us it’s twenty-five to life
Run, run, your own direction
It might lead ’em down a different road
Take the gun, hide the car and the money
I’ll meet you in Mexico”
What I Never Knew I Always Wanted– Underwood’s most personal song on the album, inspired by her husband and son. She says she was never one of those women to want to get married and have kids, but now that she has both, she can’t imagine life without them.
It’s probably the song that showcases her voice the best. It’s definitely the most tender song on the album, but also one that truly allows you to appreciate her vocal talent. It’s also a song that every parent can appreciate thinking about their sweet bundle of joy.
“Never pictured myself singing lullabies
Sitting in a rocking chair in the middle of the night
In the quiet, in the dark
You’re stealing every bit of my heart with your daddy’s eyes
What a sweet surprise”
Little Girl Don’t Grow Up Too Fast (Target Bonus)- It’s a song about not rushing life and living for right now. So often when we are younger we want to be older. We want to be able to drive and be out on our own and do what we want and not listen to rules. Then we get older and we realize how special being young is. It’s a sentimental song that makes me as a new mother think about my daughter and how I don’t want her to grow up. Time goes by so fast.
“Prom queen, wants to be like magazines
Thinks she’s found her king
Too much that the world’s wantin’ you to do
When you’re still just a child in your mama’s shoes
Don’t grow up too fast
‘Fore yo know it you’ll be wishin’ you could just go back
Don’t you know they’ll be plenty of time for that”