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Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away': What the Critics are Saying

Carrie Underwood Blown Away Cover - P 2012

The “American Idol” alum returns for her first album since 2009’s “Play On.”

Much has changed for Carrie Underwood since her last release, including a feature film debut in TriStar Pictures’ Soul Surfer and a country wedding to hockey beau Mike Fisher.

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With Blown Away, Underwood’s first album since 2009’s Play On, the American Idol alum promised a “darker storyline” as evidenced by its lead single, “Good Girl.” But it’s not all doom and gloom for Blown Away, ensuring crossover success with a combination of moody ballads and sunny, uptempo tracks.

Reviews of Blown Away were mostly positive, with a few critics expressing tones of disappointment at a lack of “dark” material that was promised. At the end of the day, though, it is impossible to deny the powerhouse vocals that made Underwood a star. Read below for a sampling of Blown Away reviews.

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Billboard: Blown Away is a rich tapestry reflecting the complexities of the human condition, from the poignant "Forever Changed" to the upbeat island-flavored "One Way Ticket" and the sassy lead single "Good Girl." Underwood's voice is a force of nature. She belts the rockin' tunes with power and conviction, yet is equally compelling on the softer emotional ballads. In an already impressive, multi-platinum career, Blown Away is a landmark achievement.

LA Times: Blown Away, the singer's fourth album, has been described as a turn toward darkness from a singer who first topped the country chart with "Jesus, Take the Wheel." And insofar as the moody title track finds her willing death-by-tornado upon an abusive father, that's true. (Elsewhere, "Two Black Cadillacs" offers a bleaker spin on the revenge fantasy in Underwood's 2006 smash "Before He Cheats.") Mostly, though, Blown Away finds her using her remarkable voice to deliver feel-good bromides like those in the lightly reggae-inflected "One Way Ticket": "Life is like a ride on a party bus," "It matters where you're going, not where you been," "We're headed to a heaven where the beat don't stop." Who knew the victor's circle would be so dull?

The Washington Post: Carrie Underwood promised that her fourth album, Blown Away would be “darker” than the country-pop sun rays she’s been known to radiate. False alarm. This is merely a trans-faux-mation — that thing pop stars do when they dabble in minor-key melodies, frowny lyrics and/or smoky eye shadow, hoping their listeners will mistake a superficial shift in tone for a meaningful artistic left turn... So what happens when a honey-voiced tire-slasher skews “darker”? We get only a handful of songs at the front end of Blown Away to find out. After that, the clouds part and our regularly scheduled Carrie Underwood album ensues, spilling over with creamy love songs of the heart-thumpy and heart-achy variety.

USA Today: Carrie Underwood's Blown Away is an album clearly made for more than country radio. Sure, "Good Girl" is already burning up the charts, and the album has enough singles to fuel that format for a couple years -- and tracks like "Cupid's Got a Shotgun" and "Leave Love Alone" will give programmers as much twang as they want, should they decide they want to go that direction. But with Blown Away's broad range of styles, somebody's thinking about broadening Carrie's fan base, even if Carrie says that wasn't an intentional goal while she was cutting the album.

Keepin' it Country: Carrie Underwood first achieved crossover success in 2006 with her treatise on appropriate responses to infidelity, “Before He Cheats”. That track hit number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the country charts, propelling the blonde bombshell to new heights of popularity. Since then, though, she’s stuck closer to home while occasionally dipping a toe in the pop realm as with “Cowboy Casanova” and the duet “I Told You So”. But it sounds like three straight number one records and seven years of continuous success have given her the confidence to step outside her comfort zone. Underwood’s new album, Blown Away, does just that to all previous attempts at country-pop crossover. There’s some great traditional country on this release, but it’s completely overshadowed by a trio of spectacular crossover songs.

Roughstock: The first thing I thought when getting ready to click on the iTunes stream of Carrie Underwood’s new release was simple.  I hope this album doesn’t suck like the last one (Play On) did. Don’t get me wrong.  Everything said about Carrie Underwood is true.  She has a phenomenal voice and is truly a talented singer.  Carnival Ride was my favorite album of 2007 and there was a lot to love about her debut, Some Hearts.  Still, all the affection I have for this American Idol winner does little to change the fact Play On was a beautifully performed disappointment.  So it was with both optimism and trepidation that I clicked on the button and began listening to her newest release hoping to be blown away. Thankfully, optimism was rewarded this time out.