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4.5 out of 5 stars
Play On
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
For a few years now, Carrie Underwood has been an established star in the world of country music. But, with her newest release "Play On," Underwood seems to be further expanding her horizons as an essential artist.

"Play On" is an interesting blend of subtle and soft classic country songs with edgier tracks and some social commentary mixed in. The quality of the tracks seems to start off slow. For the first few tracks, I was not hearing anything overly impressive. However, with each passing song, the musical value of the album seemed to grow exponentially.

Throughout the album, Underwood interweaves works featuring her full range of vocal talent (i.e. "Mama's Song" and "Temporary Home" ) with songs that focus more on showcasing her fun and exuberant side (i.e. "Quitter" and "Songs Like This").

Probably among the best songs on "Play On" are the tracks "Undo It," "Unapologize," Temporary Home" and "Change." The least impressive are probably "Cowboy Casanova," "Quitter," and What Can I Say."
All in all though, "Play On" is a good listen and should surely keep Miss Underwood moving along the path of stardom.

Here's how I rate each of the tracks on a 1-5 scale:

1. Cowboy Casanova - 2.5-5
2. Quitter - 3-5
3. Mama's Song - 3.5-5
4. Change - 4.5-5
5. Undo It - 4.5-5
6. Someday When I Stop Loving You - 3.5-5
7. Songs Like This - 3.5 - 5
8. Temporary Home - 4-5
9. This Time - 3.5-5
10. Look at Me - 3.5-5 11. Unapologize - 4-5
12. What Can I Say - 3.5-5
13. Play On - 4-5

Overall rating - 4-5 and recommended to any die hard or casual country music fan.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Before I die I really, really want to see Carrie Underwood in concert. I know that sounds like a vain goal, but I've followed her glorious career since she first auditioned for A.I. and I strongly consider her not only the most deserving winner of the glorified personality contest, but she is one of the strongest voices in music today. The one good thing about a show like A.I. is that you cannot hide your blemishes behind lip-syncing or vocal recordings; what you hear is what you get. From her fist acapella it was obvious that Carrie was the real deal, and she has not stumbled vocally ONCE since then.

I only wish that she were a little more studious when it came to song selection.

Since her debut `Some Hearts', Carrie has cemented herself as a true Country Darling, and her third album is no exception. There are the fun, trashy songs in the same vein as `Before He Cheats' and `Last Name' as well as the catchy uptempo ballads like `Some Hearts', but of course she truly shines when she belts out the lovelorn scorchers like `I Know You Wont'.

So, what tracks on `Play On' stack up?

The album opens with the first single, `Cowboy Casanova', and the song is really, really fun. It's a great way to start the album because this style really suits Carrie. It shows off a spunk in personality that she didn't really showcase on the show. Her vocal gymnastics are really effective on these types of songs because they add a layer of uniqueness to them. We have heard many other Country starlets tackle this breed of music (Miranda Lambert comes to mind) but Carrie edges them out with her natural (and mind blowing) talent. `Songs Like This' completes the trilogy that is `Before He Cheats/Last Name'. It is just as fun and just as memorable.

`Undo It' has that catchy spunk of the aforementioned, but it also has a nice mellowness to the verse structure. It has a little `been-there-heard-that' effervescence to it, but it is still a very likable track.

Speaking of `been-there-heard-that', the one thing that concerns me about Carrie's albums is the amount of unremarkable generic tracks. She sounds impeccable on every one, but there are only a handful of songs that really stand out as truly impressive. Songs like `This Time', `Unapologize' and the title track `Play On' are just pleasantly forgettable. They sound great, and there is nothing wrong with them, but they are easily shrugged off as nothing special. `Quitter' is not forgettable, thankfully. I wasn't initially turned on by the way the verses were sung, but the song has such a bubbly frothiness to it that I can't help but adore it; and when Carrie hits that re-chorus she just illuminates with a radiant loveliness. There is a sweet softness to her voice here.

LOVE IT!

So now we get to the power ballads, those beautifully restrained tracks that showcase the beauty in this young woman's voice. There are a slew of them here (six to be exact), and a few of them are nothing short of miraculous. Sadly, a few of them are underwhelming too.

Let's get the `not so wonderful' out of the way first.

I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with the vocals or even the musical arrangements on `Change', `Someday When I Stop Loving You' or `Temporary Home', in fact on `Temporary Home' Carrie sounds nearly the best she does on the entire album (I love the shreds of vulnerability she evokes with her phrasing; which aids to the songs message). The issue I have with these songs is there near cheesy gimmicky quality. `Change' and `Temporary Home' are just far too `lets raise our voices and uplift the less fortunate'. I know that this is a common practice in the Country community (there are MANY songs like this within this genre) but sometimes it can just be too much. `Someday When I Stop Loving You' just sounds too familiar. There is nothing profound about it. It's beautiful, but I could see anyone singing it. It's not a defining song for Carrie.

But for the three that underperform, there are three that more than make up for it.

`Mama's Song' is going to grace many wedding dances, I promise you that. One could say that it is unfair for me to call out `Change' and `Temporary Home' and not mention the gimmicky `Mama's Song' in the same breath, but it is all about preference, and for me there is nothing wrong with the clichés in `Mama's Song'. First of all, it is sung impeccably, just utterly marvelous. The message is also beautifully handled. It is as much an ode to motherhood as it is to pure love between a man and a woman. The way she sings the chorus gives me chills. I love the lyrical content here; just perfection. If you want to see Carrie prove her vocals look no further than `Look At Me', a stunningly sincere ballad that allows Carrie to croon her Southern Twang better than the rest of them.

Personally, nothing on the album compares to the beautiful `What Can I Say' featuring Sons of Sylvia. This is one of the most tragically authentic `break up' songs I've ever heard, with vocals that nearly bring me to tears (I love it when a single voice can move you in such powerful ways).

So, after listening to this album it should be clear why, on my deathbed, I'm going to hope and pray that I've had the chance to see this gorgeous (OMG she is beautiful) young woman sing live.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
When I first put this cd in my car after picking it up, honestly my first thought was, "Carrie, what have you done?!" But then I kept listening to it. This album seems to fit together as an album more than her other ones, and this one has more of a country feel overall than her others ones do, as well. She is such a beautiful singer and just breezes through the songs like she is singing them to her audiences. "Some Day When I stop Loving You" has become my favorite song; it is so beautiful I can't stop listening to it. "Change" has such a great message I can't help but like it - she wants to get a point across, and I think she does that with this song, as well as with "Temporary Home". "Undo It" and "Songs Like This" are my least favorite songs, but that is because I love the feel of her other songs. "What Can I Say" is a wonderful duet that is lovely to listen to; she sings is absolutely beautifully and harmonizes so well (would love to hear more duets from her). And I like to sing along with her, as well, which is coming from a guy's perspective, which may be different from many other reviews. I would recommend this to a country fan, but I would tell people to not buy cd with expectations because I think you will enjoy it more. Last, I would say to really just listen to her singing and the lyrics and enjoy the music that she has created because it is a beautiful album that represents well. Thanks.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
SLIPPED THE DISC IN AND WOW!!! FROM BEGINNING TO END THE ALBUM IS FILLED WITH RICH,CATCHY TUNES. HAVE BEEN A FAN SINCE SOME HEARTS AND THIS ONE RIGHT OFF THE BAT.CARRIE,ALONG WITH TAYLOR SWIFT,RASCAL FLATTS AND FAITH HILL ARE UNDENIABLY MY FAVORITE COUNTRY ARTISTS. CARRIE HAS A WONDERFUL VOICE AND IT SHINES ON THIS ALBUM AS HER PREVIOUS WORKS AND COMPARES WITH THE BEST.JUST A FINE SONGWRITER.IF YOU HAVE BEEN A FAN OF HER TWO PREVIOUS ALBUMS,THERE IS NO REASON TO SKIP THIS ONE. IT SHINES~~~
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
In "Carnival Ride," Underwood pursued the high belt in nearly every song. Her complete range wasn't revealed. In "Play On," Underwood's true talent shows through. Listeners can hear her lower register and some of that exquisitely high belt. They also get to hear a softer, purer switch to the higher register, which almost adds more to some of the songs than the straight belt. This album really displays Underwood's personality, her exploration into her own style, and reflects where she is right now (much like Keith Urban's "Defying Gravity"; it isn't as dark as "Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing" but rightfully so). Listeners are able to see who Underwood is behind that great voice.
Although I love the album and the sound, I did wish for one total belt ballad, like "I Know You Won't" from "Carnival Ride." That being said, I love the album as a whole and feel that it shows Underwood's personality and development as an artist.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
My wife's a Carrie Underwood fan and the country music listener in our house. I like some country but more likely to listen to pop and soft rock. I liked that there's some pop to it and will admit to toetapping along with a few songs. What I liked best are the messages in the songs. Maybe I'm a little bit country after all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Like many I have been a fan of Carrie Underwood from the winning of American Idol to now. I think she's a respectable woman, very talented, very classic and VERY beautiful, which is a relief to all the pop stars now a days that are in and out of rehab, divorcing and marrying every other day and producing crap just to get more money and do it all over again. Although I do love reading about them in the tabloids, it's nice to see Carrie Underwood seem so down to earth.

I loved both of her previous two CD's. In fact, there wasn't many (if any) songs I disliked. She has a beautiful voice, and has the amazing ability to be sassy one minute and then sing a gorgeous ballad the next minute... and she certainly doesn't disappoint on this album.

What I like the most is I can hear things in this CD that are pertaining to her life now. For example, Mama's Song, which is one of my favs on this CD, is about finding an amazing man and letting her mother know how great he is to her. Maybe I love it because I am about to walk down the aisle soon, but I hear so much passion in this song.

Of course, the two classics Temporary Home and Cowboy Casanova. I have heard them a million of times on the radio, but I still listen to them all the time.

Some other goodies on this CD:
*Songs Like This (we see that sassy Carrie, just like in Cowboy Casanova.)
*Someday When I Stop Loving You (A beautiful song about a hard break up.)
*Unapologize
*What Can I Say

Songs I Could Do Without:
*Play On
*Quitter
*Change

Not that I don't like those songs, but they just don't catch my attention or play time on my MP3 like the others do. All in all, great job Carrie :)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I have heard a lot of negative reviews about "Play On." They complained about how Carrie can't sing and that the songs on this album are not ground-breaking. They are the same songs found on her first and second albums "Some Hearts" and "Carnival Ride." These reviews caused me to wonder if "Play On" was even worth purchasing. But I got the album for Christmas and can't believe how sassy and beautiful these songs are! This CD was well put together, and it is refreshing to know that Carrie co-write more than half of the songs. I think having her fingerprints on this album reveals her maturity as a musician. She is stepping out and really bringing forth her ideas and beliefs.

One thing that I can agree about some reviews is that this CD is a lot slower than her first two. One might not be bouncing or dancing to this album as much. But the slowness does not take away the talent of this album. Some lyrics are sassy while others are gut-wrenching. For example, "Cowboy Casanova" and "Undo It" will make you dance while "Someday When I Stop Loving You" and "Temporary Home" will make you want to catch your breath.

I tend to laugh now at the comparison between Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. I laugh now because I use to make the distinction between the two. But let's face it. Carrie and Taylor are no competition. The focus on their music is different. While Carrie sings about love, the world, and humanity, Taylor sings about boys, unreturned love, and her teenage years. Both singers have much maturity and growth to experience. "Play On" reveals the maturity of Carrie as it should be.

Good job Carrie with this album. It will be blasting in my car and on my iPod.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2010
Format: MP3 Music
I must admit that this album is not quite as good as her first two, but that is only because they were so great. I still enjoyed this album, though it has fewer clear highlights.
Pros:
Songs like "Cowboy Casanova", "Undo It", and "Songs Like This" are fun and catchy and display the sassy side of Carrie we have seen on "Before He Cheats" and "Last Name" in the past.
"Temporary Home","Mama's Song", and "Someday When I stop Loving You" are wonderful ballads and Carrie sings them beautifully
"Quitter" is a laid back and catchy song that I also enjoyed.
Unapologize also works for me.
Cons:
This Time is a little dull because it doesn't have very much emotion and never really builds up to anything more than it started as.
Play On-while inspirational with a good message, it doesn't build to anything either and is a bit repetitive and cliche

Other than that, this an overall good album by Carrie that you will enjoy listening to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I love Carrie Underwood as an artist but like any other artists I don't LOVE her ENTIRE album but none of the songs on this album are terrible, they are all good and I listen to them all the time!
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