It is quite remarkable how Carrie Underwood has come up with so many albums, and they all contain the same kind of songs with very little variation between them. Storyteller, her latest effort, is something you have heard before if you have listened to any of her previous albums.
There are the obligatory girl power anthems like Renegade Runaway, which sees Ms Underwood growling that she will give the men who wronged her the biggest ladylike middle finger they have ever seen. No doubt the music videos would see her posturing in perfect make-up and hair while scowling at the camera. There are songs of women taking revenge on men who beat them and such (Church Bells) – not Ms Underwood, of course, but she will look on somberly behind dark shades at some poor but still pretty extra sulking in the video in a “Oh, poor wronged women from the wrong side of the tracks, let me celebrate your heroic but tragic existence by singing a song about you!” manner. Sweet ballads like Heartbeat celebrate love and puppies and perfect babies that will never poo at the wrong time. Really, we have all heard these songs before, and they are all here with minor variations in key and structure to ensure that enraged listeners won’t demand a refund.
Still, I don’t blame her for not rocking the boat. She is, after all, one of the very, very few female country artists that get any kind of decent airplay these days, so why fix what is not broken, right? And Ms Underwood still delivers powerful vocals to make these songs worth at least one listen. I also have to admit that her “Oh, motherhood is so cute!” song, What I Never Knew I Always Wanted, gets under my skin and makes me sigh inside. Yes, it’s cheesy to a ridiculous degree, but in many ways, it’s a perfect song to play at weddings and anniversaries. Among the more uptempo songs, I like Clock Don’t Stop best for its sheer drama that emanates from every note of the song.
Storyteller is a very listenable album with great production values and catchy hooks. The only thing is, if you are a fan of Ms Underwood, you have heard these songs before. If you don’t mind that, you’re golden.