Carrie Underwood’s sixth studio album “Cry Pretty” reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week, making Underwood the first woman to have four No 1. country albums.
The album, co-produced by songwriter and producer David Garcia, is a brilliant reminder of what country music has the potential to be. It strays from the repetitive clichés of modern country, drawing from R&B and Pop music while keeping its country heart.
Underwood, who’s debut single “Inside Your Heaven” was the first country single to reach No 1. on the Billboard Hot 100, shows that 13 years later, she still belongs at the top.
“Cry Pretty” is also a rare example of an album that has great, catchy songs, but also tackles tough social issues. She tackles issues of gun violence in “Love Wins” and “The Bullet.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Underwood said the song is “timely but not political. It doesn’t matter what the opinions or feelings are, it just matters that something happened, and it’s about the people that are affected by it at the end of the day.”
It also feels like a cohesive album, as opposed to just a collection of songs. It’s easy to listen to the whole thing without it feeling disconnected.
This is a trait that isn’t common but is huge in taking an album to the next level.
“We had the time this past year for me to be able to spend for me to be able to spend on going into producing for the first time,” the American Idol winner said in an interview with iHeartRadio.
“With everything that I do, I become more and more involved and take more and more ownership.”
And this album shows that the 35-year-old country star is just as strong of a songwriter and producer as she is a singer.
The album has been received very well, with 226,000 album-equivalent units, with 251,000 being actual album sales, which is especially impressive in the streaming age of music.
The album also received a critic score of 70 out of 100 on Metacritic; generally favorable based on reviews from ten critics.
In conclusion, “Cry Pretty” is a great, emotional album filled with a great blend of country and pop without getting repetitive.
There is variation without loss of cohesion, and I think fans of any genre could find a song that they like on this album.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.