I’m a not so secret Carrie Underwood fan. I honestly thought she could do no wrong, but I was incorrect. Her sixth studio album ‘Cry Pretty’ is an unfortunate collection of try-hard empowerment pop crossover with mis-represented emotion. The country singer-songwriter usually delivers big emotional moments shadowed with some carefree and attitude filled hooks. But on this release she just seems to lose her personality and become a little cookie-cutter. Album opener and lead single ‘Cry Pretty’ hears her stripping back all the bells and whistles for a simple and “empowering” ballad addressing her own insecurities. But the problem is it just sounds a little generic and that’s what makes the majority of the album flatline. Songs like ‘Love Wins’, ‘Low’, ‘The Bullet’, ‘Kingdom’ and ‘Spinning Bottles’ could have been big moments in their own right but instead they are just cringe worthy and skip worthy. ‘End Up With You’ is the albums cutest moment but even that is a little stretch as it takes a couple of listens to grow on you. She turns the volume up 3 quarters of the way on the country meets RNB tinged ‘Southbound’ which will instantly become a favourite in her live set. ‘Drinking Alone’ and ‘Backsliding’ will have you swaying from side to side while her vocal runs impress and keep you slightly captivated. But the albums strongest moment is the reflective ‘That Song We Used To Make Love To’. It looks back on a relationship where you miss the intimacy you had with that person and reminisce over the good times. “That song that we used to make love to. It kills me, heals me, gets me, thrills me. I know I shouldn’t say it, but I just wanna play it”. But that’s where the album peaks and soars. From there she just fails to really make an impact emotionally and struggles to keep your attention. I was waiting for a big emotional moment like ‘Heartbeat’ or a captivating storyline like ‘Two Black Cadillacs but it never came.
You can purchase a physical copy of ‘Cry Pretty’ from Sanity now https://www.sanity.com.au/products/2377699/Cry_Pretty