Not since Shania Twain bared her midriff, and gained legions of fans outside of the country music scene, has there been a disc that blatantly wears its intentions on its (album) sleeve. Literally, the songwriting and producing credits are littered with a who's who of names that are ruling the charts in every genre. And with a longer listening, this album has to be Underwood's most focused. The melodies are smoother, "This Time" with its stuttering drum just below the mix and harmony is just so breezy and effective it leaves you with no choice but to tap your toes and sing-along to the chorus.
But that is what the whole album is built on, an inner arena feeling. It has a much fuller sound than carnival ride. It's grander, and oozing in bombast, "Cowboy Casanova" & "Songs Like This" give you just enough fiddle and twang to satisfy without purely catering to a pop audience. With such stellar production it is almost too easy to ignore the real star in all of this: Carrie Underwood. Her vocals and interpretation has grown, shockingly, from her last disc, which found her range expanding. "Someday When I Stop Loving You" & "Temporary Home," brings to mind the best of Martina McBride, heartbreaking beauty at its best.
Carrie Underwood is going for an even broader radio sound, but who isn't in country music today. Yes, there are a bigger array of genre bending producers that bring elements of R&B, Rock, etc., but it works so brilliantly that you can't fault her for it. If Underwood wasn't delivering such honest delivery and conviction this would be a four star disc, but she brings so much to the table vocally that is impossible to not feel that she has given her all to this project, you can feel her pushing for you to enjoy this disc. There is a faith and purity to this woman's delivery that brings to mind the best artists from Cline to Womack (whose latest CD isn't garnering as much attention as it deserves). Country music -- heck, music in general needs her.
I am a huge Carrie Underwood fan and was filled wih high anticipation for the release of her 3rd cd PLAY ON. As with any of my favorite performers I always listen the first time with a critical ear and upon first play I was not sure what I thought. I've now played it at least 5 more times and have certainly developed some feelings about this release. First, I must say that I think it is still shocking just what a true broad range Carrie has both with musicality and emotional delivery when tackling a song. And when a listener finds themselves listening to a new release real close with a critical ear that means you know you are listening to major talent and have expectations.
I agree that CARNIVAL RIDE was an advancement over the crital debut SOME HEARTS but I felt in some ways it did follow the same formula. On this, Carrie's 3rd venture we really see her taking creative chances and stepping out over that small country line. I always wonder who decides what is country, what is country pop and when is it a crossover. Country pop and crossover are often used as negative terms and to me any true artist needs to take chances as they spread their message and define their identity thru music. For me, Carrie Underwood possesses a natural, raw voice that delivers openly and honestly whether soaring with the high notes of a belter or caressing a gentle note of a ballad. Whatever she sings she brings her emotional interpretation and that honesty rings true. To me this is what country music is. Songs that tell stories and speak of strong feelings. Yes, some songs may lean more towards pop but you may be able to take the girl out of country but you can't take the country out of the girl.
Highlights here are the country pop COWBOY CASANOVA, SONGS LIKE THIS and UNDO on which her vocals are remarkable. Her tender vulnerable takes on SOMEDAY WHEN I STOP LOVING YOU, TEMPORARY HOME and LOOK AT ME are truly inspiring. WHAT CAN I SAY is a duet with Sons of Sylvia and interestingly I find it sounds country when Carrie sings but then it seems to change to rock when the group joins in. I love the song but they are no match for Carrie. I find the closing number PLAY ON to also be strong.
Bottom line, Carrie Underwood is a truly gifted vocalist with an amazing range. Whether belting or ballading her voice turns any song into a magical journey. Her voice is not put through machines to sound stronger or to use for dance tracks. What you hear is Carrie, pure and true. This is my favorite cd by Carrie and I give her the highest kudos for venturing out and taking chances on this cd. She is a true artist and I look forward to the rest of her career. This cd is a must buy and if you are wondering whether to buy it or not all I can say is THAT VOICE !! That is reason enough. Quality music from a quality artist.
on April 6, 2011
I first got this album on black friday last year. At first, I didn't find much on it that I really liked. I thought her first two albums were better, but I'll tell you what. This album really grows on you when you give it a chance. I would say now that its my favorite album of hers so far. With it on sale today, I would say you have nothing to lose!
on November 3, 2009
Carrie's new album is very solid from top to bottom, and it contains quite a wide range of music. From pop-country crossover hits like "Cowboy Casanova" and "Undo It" -- to classic country ballads like "Look At Me", and "Someday When I Stop Loving You". Carrie's vocals on the ballads are nothing short of breathtaking, and she also co-wrote over half the songs on this album -- more than she has ever written before. There seems to be more slow ballads on this CD than her previous releases, but they are very strong and enjoyable if you're a Carrie Underwood fan!
"What Can I Say" is a super powerful future single, with a very strong vocal performance. "Mama's Song" has gorgeous vocals, and very sweet lyrics. "This Time" and "Quitter" are fun, relaxed, and nice simple songs. "Change" is a catchy song, with lyrics that make you think about how we live, and what we give. The title track - "Play On" - is very radio friendly, super catchy, and will likely be another huge hit.
To me, "Temporary Home" is the highlight of the CD...and it's one of my favorite songs that Carrie has ever recorded. This is simply an amazing gem -- lyrically, vocally, and acoustically. Carrie co-wrote the song -- and she says that the idea for the whole song just came to her 'in a flood' one morning after reading a book called 'The Purpose Driven Life'. "Temporary Home" has a message that a lot of us can relate to, and I think it's easily the standout single on this album.
Overall, I think this is an outstanding album, and it will be very successful once again for Carrie. Another 4 or 5 #1 singles should be likely on here! I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the album for yourself -- and it would make a great Christmas gift for any Carrie fans that you know! ~9/10~
Best songs to check out:
---beautiful: ~Temporary Home~
---powerful: ~What Can I Say~
---crossover: ~Undo It~
---upbeat: ~Play On~
---ballad: ~Someday When I Stop Loving You~
on November 25, 2009
I don't know how to describe Carrie's newest album other thank MAGNIFICENT!!!! She has certainly outdone herself on this one and has created an album that will for years to come be loved by many, especially her fans! I cannot stop listening to the CD, especially my favorite songs which include "Undo It", "Songs Like This", "Cowboy Casanova", "Quitter" and "Unaplogize"
An amazing album by an amazing person, not only is her album amazing, but Carrie Underwood is an amazing person with a big heart! I have nothing else to say about this piece for I am speechless because I am just in AWE of this wonderful person!
on November 25, 2009
Carrie Underwood, is undoubtedly one of the best vocalists of all time, and Underwood's impeccable vocals on 'Play On' attest to that statement. Her growth from American Idol to 'Play On' is remarkable in that her voice is stronger , and her ability to better convey emotion captivates the listener.
With the diverse selection of songs on Play On, there is a song on this album that everyone can enjoy. Whether you're happy, sad, or any feeling in between, there is a song that suits every mood. Hence why Play on is the one CD to have on a desert island. The rockier songs such as 'Cowboy Casanova' and 'Undo it' make you want to get up and dance; Where as the softer songs such as 'Temporary Home' and 'Look at Me' provide for a more reflective and calming listening experience. Looking for a little inspiration? Try 'Change' or the title track, 'Play On,' both of which are motivating to any listener.
From start to finish, 'Play On' is a masterpiece. You will thoroughly enjoy your purchase.
on November 6, 2009
Carrie never ceases to amaze me. This album shows even more of her vocal range than the other two. The variety of songs allows Carrie to push her voice to the limit. I didn't expect her to top her last two albums, but she did. Great songs, great lyrics, GREAT VOICE. I can't wait to see what else she has in store for her fans.
on September 25, 2011
and beautiful girl too!! haha! Anyway, this is one awesome album from country singer Carrie Underwood. Unlike the previous releases, this one is closer to rock music but the ballads still are country-oriented. This album has her at a more mature sound and also showcases the best songs I've heard from her. Songs like Quitter, Change, and Undo It are some of her all time best!
On your left is the ranch where you can see all the music:
This album is pretty much Country and Rock fusion.
1. Cowboy Casanova- A nice rocker to start off this album. I like the male background vocals and just the beat.
2. Quitter- I love this song! I like the beat to it and just the positiveness of it. Great song, Carrie!
3. Mama's Song- A nice song. I like this one. It's grown on me!
4. Change- This is one of the highest points of the album. I love this song, too.
5. Undo It- Another song like Cowboy Casanova but this one is better by a long shot. I like the beat of this one better and it just sounds better.
6. Someday When I stop Loving You- I don't really care for it. It's ok but I just don't care for it.
7. Songs Like This- I like this one. It has a nice upbeat grove. I think this one's pretty good, too!
8. Temporary Home- This is an absolutely beautiful song! I like this one a lot!
9. This Time- I like this one, too. It has a nice little beat to it.
10- Look at Me- I don't really care for this one. It's ok but I just don't like it.
11. Unapologize- I like this one a lot! I love her voice on all of them but these last 3 songs are the best!
12. What Can I Say? (Featuring Sons of Sylvia)- I like this song a lot. It has a lot of emotion and I like the duet between Carrie and the guy vocalist.
13. Play On- Favorite song on the album! Great music and a very true and positive message! Great album closer!
Verdict- If you like Carrie Underwood's previous efforts, this one is better! If you like radio music I suggest you get it (I don't like radio music but I still like it!) It's a very nice album, and it's all acoustic; no electronic stuff.
on November 4, 2009
Without a doubt, this album shows tremendous artistic growth and maturity for Ms. Carrie. Her vocals have never sounded better, and she has become a very talented interpretive singer as well. Goneis the shy girl from American Idol with the big voice. Now, she shows her emotions and is not afraid to take risks. She still has the big voice, but she is now a true artist, not just a great singer. Carrie wrote 7 songs on this album, and you feel like you really get to know her better with each song. There is not a bad song on the whole album, and it leaves you wanting more.
Favorite songs include Cowboy Casanova, best rock country song in years! Someday When I Stop Loving You is beautiful, sad, and sung brilliantly by Carrie, who has never sounded better then on this song. Quitter is fun and infectiously catchy. Undo It is another catchy, fun rock song. "Look at Me" is more traditional country, but it is breathtaking. It is a beautiful love song performed with Vince Gill, and the two of them sound gorgeous together. "What Can I Say" is incredible, performed with Sons of Sylvia, formerly known as the Clark Brothers who won Great American Band.
Download: Cowboy Casanova, Someday When I Stop Loving You, Quitter, What Can I Say. Heck, buy the whole album.
on November 9, 2009
Finally listened to this album a few times. This CD is by no means groundbreaking, but having said that I'd also say that PLAY ON is one of the better country albums released during this period (2009/2010). I think country music consumers may have been spoilt by INSTANT "catchiness" and "hooks", which could be this album's downfall. The 13 tracks are not IMMEDIATELY memorable and upon first listen, may seem like another bunch of songs. Not true - they grow on you.
You won't be pushing the skip button throughout the CD. But you also won't quite be swept off your feet. The honky-tonk tunes sound like you've heard them before while the ballads need that little bit more to REALLY SOAR. Perhaps the producers were going for more expression, more message, more emotion. The thing that keeps everything one notch above other country releases is Underwood's vocals - her light and shade, her restraint and control, and the sheer electrifying power of her voice when she lets it rip.
Gems: "Temporary Home", "Cowboy Casanova", "Mama's Song", "What Can I Say" (beautiful duet) and "Look At Me" (Vince Gill's background vocals blend perfectly).
PLAY ON, as a country album, has it all - country instruments, hit singles, towering voice - and yet, I appreciate why some people deem that it lacks tasteful and original experimentation. I'd still say, "Good effort, Carrie Underwood. But for album #4, do something different. Try an accoustic one (ala Dixie Chicks on HOME) or change your style radically and stun us with a RAISING SAND."
PLAY ON doesn't disappoint. It's at the forefront of country music, but not revolutionary. I'll still be spinning it many times.
4.5 Stars to be exact.