Carrie Underwood has chosen Carnival Ride as the title of her new album. It's the follow-up to her debut CD, Some Hearts, which has been certified sextuple platinum by the RIAA for shipments of more than 6 million copies. Carnival Ride gets its title from the lyrics of one of the new songs she has recorded. "You step onto this ride called life, and it's a crazy thing you don't know anything about, but you get on it anyway," the American Idol winner said. "You do what you can to lean different directions to try and get it to go where you want it to go, but you can't stop it -- it just keeps moving. That's why Carnival Ride works as my album title. It describes the wonderful craziness that I've been through over the past couple years."
Carrie Underwoods Some Hearts
, hastily made and released some five months after she won the 2005 American Idol
crown, was surprisingly solid and tuneful. For her follow-up, producer Mark Bright steers her toward the big Martina McBride skies, with a plethora of strings and huge emotional crescendos. Underwood co-wrote four songs, mostly with the tried-and-true tunesmiths who made Some Hearts
soar. On the torchy heartache ballad "I Know You Wont," she gives a beautifully nuanced and controlled performance, but if that song would suit any number of lush female pop stars from Celine Dion on down, "Flat on the Floor" rocks hard while preserving co-writer Ashley Monroes Appalachian angst. Still, there are missteps: the easy tears of the unlikely war ballad "Just a Dream," a too-obvious attempt to repeat the sass of "Before He Cheats" ("The More Boys I Meet"), and the Shania-ish bad-girl-on-Cuervo stomp of "Last Name." The big payoff, then, is how much 24-year old Underwood has improved as a vocalist. How often listeners line up for this Carnival Ride
depends on their attitude about country musics continual melding with pop, and how they feel about a princess upstart taking home the awards that used to go to her heroes. --Alanna Nash
Carrie Underwood Photos
More from Carrie Underwood