Carrie Underwood, who must be the dullest country singer in the world, improves on the formula that made Some Hearts wildly successful and marked her as the most successful American Idol contestant to date. The formula is tweaked a little, though, with more songs here that emulate the sass of Before He Cheats.
Hence, there are tracks like Last Name where Ms Underwood tries to come off like a non-cleavage bearing Shania Twain singing about having one-night stands. The end result is more laughable than anything else, I’m afraid, especially with the young woman affecting some kind of growl that makes it seem as if she’s suffering from prolapsed hemorrhoids.
Ms Underwood seems more comfortable with catchy no-nonsense songs like All-American Girl (easily the best song here), Get Out of This Town, and Crazy Dreams which are far less contrived than those “I’m sexy, I’m a bad girl, woo-hoo!” type of songs. This CD also has its share of pleasant midtempo songs that will be right at home at lunch time radio shows, weddings, and beauty pageant talent showcases. So Small is easily my favorite of those tracks, but I’m also fond of Just a Dream, which is one of those “Oh, my brave boyfriend went to Iraq and never came home so I’m here looking sad and pretty all at once at the church!” songs that I can easily imagine being an anthem on country radio stations every time America decides to deploy troops overseas.
Carnival Ride is a more melodic and memorable collection of radio-friendly songs when I compare this to her debut effort. If many of the songs here kind of remind me of songs that I have heard before from Shania Twain and Martina McBride, well, I suppose that’s to be expected. It may not be original or innovative, but Carnival Ride is good on the ears nonetheless.