on March 5, 2000
Deana Carter is an amazing talent. Reading all the other reviews, I can't help but notice that some of you found the album disappointing. You should never really compare albums. They're never gonna be the same. Her heartfelt writing/singing/and arrangements are just as flawless as the last album. Every song she sings is a gem. DID I SHAVE MY LEGS FOR THIS was a phenomal album...and EVERYTHINGS GONNA BE ALRIGHT was just as phenomanal. This woman is the brightest star in country music. ABSENCE OF THE HEART is easily one of the best songs that I have ever heard.
on January 25, 2002
Just how do you follow-up the multi-platinum success of your debut album? It's a difficult task, and it's unclear whether Carter couldn't come up with an answer, or whether the market had simply moved on by the time her sophomore album was released. Like the debut, Carter's second album finds a comfortable middle ground between treacly ballads that should satisfy the Top-40 and rootsier mid- and up-tempo numbers that draw more directly on her stated influences. Unfortunately, as artistically successful as this may be, it couldn't find the same commercial momentum as her the debut.
Carter revisits the successful pen of Matraca Berg (whose autobiographical lyrics fueled the runaway hit, "Strawberry Wine") for two fine story portraits, "Ruby Brown" and "Dickson County." Both make for excellent album tracks, but neither has the lyrical hooks to climb the singles charts.
Other high-quality contributions include the mid-tempo "Angels Working Overtime" and the blue "Make Up Your Mind." The inability of these and other tracks to crack the singles charts suggests that Carters debut success was more a commercial fluke than a market endorsement of the album's quality. A couple of years later on, an album with similar integrity simply couldn't break through. This is surprising, given the built-in audience that the debut had waiting.
Even Carter's own contributions, including the ballads "Absence of the Heart," "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," mid-tempo, "Michaelangelo Sky," "Never Comin' Down," and the rock 'n' rollin' "The Train Song" couldn't find a mass commercial audience.
Though the quality of this LP shows Carter to be a lot deeper than a one-hit wonder, the lack of commercial resonance suggests her work may never again achieve the sort of broad popularity as her debut. With her contract at Capitol ended, the smaller scale release of her Christmas album on Rounder may mark a more fruitful artistic path.
3-1/2 stars, if Amazon allowed fractional ratings.
on August 17, 1999
Deana's new album still features her charmingly sweet voice, but it is not as consistent as "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" The CD starts out with a good rocking song with "You Still Shake Me." The second song, "Ruby Brown," has a nice story of a troubled woman passing through town, but is hampered by muddled instrumentation. "Brand New Key" is fine for Deana's voice, but it is cheesy. "Angels Working Overtime" is the best song - and it has a strong alternative rock feel to it. The ballad "People Miss Planes" is a little too whiny to have its desired effect. "Make Up Your Mind" is a refereshingly unique song. "Never Comin' Down" has a decent funk touch to it. "Michaelangelo Sky" is uplifing, but "Colour Everywhere" doesn't do much lyrically. It details its theme of new love to excess - so much that it ruins the song. "Train Song" definitely shows off Deana's energy with a good infatuation theme. The instruments on that song are crisp. "Dickson County" takes a different perspective on not wanting to see the person again - and succeeds. The last song, "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," has a nice lullabye-type of melody, but she could have ended with better than that. There are no songs here as witty as "Strawberry Wine" and "Did I Shave My Legs For This?," and no song as melodically appealing as "We Danced Anyway," but it's still a decent buy.
on February 12, 2004
Deana Carter's second album EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE ALRIGHT was released in late 1998. The album didn't do too well, and ultimately, Deana was dropped from Capitol Records. It's a shame this album didn't catch on with country radio or fans, it's really good. It's unfair to compare this to her debut album, they are two completely different albums. This album, shows her more creative side. The album is a lot more acoustic than her first, and less commercial as well. The first single was the excellent ballad "Absence of the Heart". "People Miss Planes" is a really sweet ballad about giving love another shot. "Angels Working Overtime" may be seen as too cheesy, but it's a nice song and I like it. It was a single but didn't do too well. She covers "Brand New Key" and does a pretty good job. "Make Up Your Mind" is a nice 'in your face' kind of song. "Colour Everywhere" is my favorite ballad on the disc, it should have been a single in my opinion, would have been a hit I bet. Other highlights on the set include "Ruby Brown", "Never Comin Down" and "Michelangelo Sky". Give it a listen, it's a solid album!
on October 27, 1998
Deana Carter has a half step on the crop of country music cuties -- male and female -- who have knocked Haggard, Cash, Wynette et al. into oblivion. Unlike others in the genre (insipids like Neal McCoy, Shania Twain, Bryan White, David Kersh and Mindy McReady come to mind), Carter has a unique voice and genuine musical chops.
And, she seems willing to challenge the Nashville forumula. You could sense that with the title of her last CD ("Did I Shave My Legs..."), even if much of the material was bland.
The CD starts off promisingly, with the rocking "You Still Shake Me," and the finales ("Train Song" and the title track) are effective. But, in between, the material is a touch on the bland side. Exceptions: the Melanie chestnut, "Brand New Key" and Carter's own "Dickson County."
No matter how disappointing, you can hear that she's trying to break out of the Nash-Vegas mold. And, I bet her next CD will be golden.....
Deana's career has certainly had some ups and downs. She began with an album (Did I shave my legs for this) that her American record label refused to release - but, somewhat surprisingly, managed to get a UK release. Deana continued searching for songs while writing some of her own. Eventually, she got an American release with an album also titled Did I shave my legs for this, but it was a very different album from the earlier UK release, with only the title track and two others appearing on both. The American album included Strawberry wine, a song that the record label reluctantly released as a single. It became popular among country fans, who proceeded in their millions to buy the album, whose sales were further helped by other hits such as We danced anyway. After such a phenomenally successful album, Deana's future suddenly seemed bright. Then the follow-up album (this one) appeared. Airplay and sales were disappointing and the record label dropped Deana. So is this album so bad? No - it sold a fair number of copies by normal standards but nowhere near what everybody hoped for.
The problem (if there is one) is that Deana didn't want to stick to a formula, preferring to do something a little different. Of course, it's one thing for an established star to change style from one album to another - it's quite another for somebody to do so with just two albums to her name and only one that most people knew about. In general, the songs here are less instantly appealing than those on Deana's previous albums, but they grow with repeated listening. Among the songs is a cover of Brand new key, the seventies classic written and originally recorded in 1971 by Melanie. With the singles from the album not doing as well as hoped, it may be the most recognizable song on the album.
Apart from Brand new key, all the songs are originals except the title track, which Deana's father wrote in 1971. The opening track (You still shake me) is slightly quirky (like several songs here) but I love it -it's about how Deana feels about a former lover. She doesn't want him back but she clearly has a soft spot for him. The next song (Ruby Brown) is about a woman who has vanished. The next song (Absence of the heart) is about a relationship that's gone cold. After that and Brand new sky comes a very romantic song (Michelangelo sky).
Next is another song (People miss planes) with an inconclusive ending, just like Ruby Brown. In this song, a woman decides she's had enough of her man and heads for the airport. She gets there but does she board that plane or turn back? You can decide for yourself how it ended. Next is a song (Never coming down) about a woman waiting for - and finding - true love. Then comes a song (Make up your mind) about a woman's impatience with a man. Maybe she gets the answer she wants, for the next song (Color everywhere) is really happy. Next is a song (Angels working overtime) about a baby who is dumped by her mother who feels unable to look after her.
Next is a song (Dickson county) about a woman wanting revenge. The next song (The train song) has strange lyrics but features vocal backing by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The title track closes the album in a reassuring manner.
This may not be as good as Deana's earlier albums, even after allowing for the need to let it grow through repeat plays, but it has a fascination all of its own.
on January 12, 1999
Her first album exploded on the charts and was an immediate success. How in the world was she going to follow that up? After all, it spawned 4 top ten hits, 3 number one singles, and sold 4 million copies. Well, she did something that artists who are in that position should always do-----listen to your first album and then go in the exact opposite direction.
Deana, with this album, has hit everything on the nose. She couldn't hash out another album like her first because it wouldn't be as good. With this album, she mixes a variety of styles that shows her artistic edge and proves that she's got more balls that anyone in Nashville. The opening track is a ZZ-top style tune, "You Still Shake Me" while "Ruby Brown" shows off Carter's storytelling talent. The tracks that most stand out is "Michaelangelo Sky", "Dickson County", "People Miss Planes", and "Angels Working Overtime" where she just may have the best vocal performance ever.
Is the album worth getting? HELL YES!!!! However, don't compare it to the first. LIke I said earlier, they are both exact opposites. And it makes sense. How often have we heard the phrase, "They are all the same. Once you have one, you have 'em all!" Congrats, Deana! I hope you read this review because you kick serious butt with this album.
P.S. - The Train Song kicks serious ass!
on July 8, 2001
It's hard to follow up to a spectacular album like Deana's debut Did I Shave My Legs For This, so people were very critical of this album, without truly hearing the beauty and talent behind the music in this album. The album is a more folk approach to country, but includes some true gems. "Absense of the Heart" is an emotional outpouring that is truly beautiful. "Angels Working Overtime" should have been a hit, its an inspiring message of hope and joy. "Colour Everywhere" is a beautiful ballad, among some of her best ones, very descriptive and in its language, like many of the songs here. Other highlights include "Never Comin Down", "Ruby Brown", "Michelangelo Sky" and "Make Up Your Mind". True this is different from her debut, but it offers new things to the listener which proves Deana has a promise of longevity in her career.
on October 29, 1998
I think that one thing we have to remember is that after you have a smash debut like, "Did I Shave My Legs For This?", it's going to be hard to come back with something better. But I think Deana did the best job on the follow-up album. I love the agressiveness in "You Still Shake Me", the make-you-want-to cry "Absence Of The Heart". And I just fell in love with the fun-loving song, "Michalangeo Sky". Sure to be hits: "Ruby Brown" and "Dickson County". If you love Deana or even if your looking for some absolutely beautiful music this is a must!
on May 18, 2005
It's obvious why this wasn't as big a hit as her debut "Did I Shave My Legs for This?": Carter isn't sticking as closely to the Nashville formula and radio wasn't as quick to embrace it. That's too bad because while the heights on this one might not be as big as "Strawberry Wine" from the first disc, it's a better listen as a whole.
On this one, Carter stretches her stylistic legs and allows plenty of influences in: a bit of funk wah-wah guitar ("Never Comin' Down"), hip-hop drums ("Angels Working Overtime"), 70s pop (her countrified cover of Melanie's "Brand New Key"), even latter day Beatles (the "Penny Lane" horn break in "The Train Song").
"Absence of the Heart" details the embers of love turning to ash. ("We live together separately/We don't wanna fall apart/But every time we kiss, there's an emptiness/An absence of the heart.."). The bouncy bongo driven "Michelango Sky" finds Carter finding her soulmate in a man who sees the same shapes in clouds as she does. "People Miss Planes" was a natural single that was left unreleased. (Maybe they didn't want to release 2 ballads back to back?) The song is a showdown at the airport between a woman ready to leave and the man who's there to try and talk her out of it. (He said "People miss planes"/"It happens all the time"/"They cancel their plans, they change their minds") Carter's own "Dickson County" uses the same theme as Mindy McCreedy's "10,000 Angels"..hoping for the strength to keep an ex-flame away. The writing is good, but there's not a "big hook" to get it radio play.
"Never Comin' Down" is a great 'coulda been' single, but it just plain goes on too long. The false fade is pretty cool, but she could easily have trimmed a minute off this song and improved it. While I agree "Color Everywhere" would probably have been a successful single, it's fairly formulaic and uninteresting. Perfect forgettable radio fodder. The title track just plods along without gathering much interest. I'm not sure why she named the album after that one. (Maybe because "Absence of the Heart" is too easy a mark for nasty record critics?)
It's fairly average modern country but Carter has a nice voice and she's making progress. Maybe next time out she can come up with some stronger material and a solid hit or two to get radio's attention back.