Some Hearts

Some Hearts

4.5 113
by Carrie Underwood
     
 

Carrie Underwood brought a lil' bit o' country to the American Idol crown in the series' fourth season, so it's not surprising that her debut is the kind of radio-friendly, country-crossover affair that falls somewhere between LeAnn Rimes and Faith Hill. Though her handlers would undoubtedly prefer aSee more details below

Overview

Carrie Underwood brought a lil' bit o' country to the American Idol crown in the series' fourth season, so it's not surprising that her debut is the kind of radio-friendly, country-crossover affair that falls somewhere between LeAnn Rimes and Faith Hill. Though her handlers would undoubtedly prefer a comparison to the unstoppable Hill, Underwood has more in common with Rimes -- both are girl-next-door types with strong voices capable of punching out big, Dianne Warren–penned power ballads. Not surprisingly, Warren leaves her mark on this Okie's debut with a trio of slickly produced, pop-leaning ditties of a romantic nature: "Lessons Learned," "Whenever You Remember," and the title cut. But Underwood's strengths come out when she draws from her roots, whether it's the religious conviction infusing "Jesus, Take the Wheel" or the autobiographical musings behind "I Ain't in Checotah Anymore," both dressed up with just the right mix of pedal steel and fiddle, with the latter cheekily contrasting small-town life with making the rounds in the Big Apple. Best of all is "Before He Cheats," the kind of sassy, swaggering revenge fantasy that wouldn't sound out of place on a Gretchen Wilson album. With her musical talents perfectly pitched for today's pop-country, it wouldn't be surprising to see Carrie Underwood succeed far beyond the small screen.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Given the tightly controlled nature of American Idol, it's a wonder that the televised talent contest has never produced a winner who specialized in country music, since there's no segment of modern popular music that is controlled tighter than contemporary country. Maybe this thought was in the minds of Simon Fuller and the rest of AmIdol's 19 management when they went into their fourth season in 2005, since as soon as fresh-faced Oklahoma blonde Carrie Underwood showed up in the audition rounds, the judges -- alright, specifically Simon Cowell -- pigeonholed her as a country singer, even if there was nothing specifically country about her sweet, friendly voice. From that point on, she was not only the frontrunner, but anointed as the show's first country winner, which apparently proved more enticing to the voters and the producers than the prospect of the show's first rock & roll winner in the guise of the Southern-fried hippie throwback Bo Bice. Which makes sense: cute, guileless young girls have a broader appeal than hairy 30-somethings. They're easier to sell and mold too, and Underwood proved particularly ideal in this regard since she was a blank slate, possessing a very good voice and an unthreatening prettiness that would be equally marketable and likeable in either country or pop. So, the powers that be decided that Underwood would be a contemporary country singer in the vein of Faith Hill -- she'd sing anthemic country pop, ideal for either country or adult contemporary radio, with none of the delightful tackiness of Shania Twain -- and her debut album, Some Hearts, not only hits this mark exactly, it's better than either album Hill has released since Breathe in 1999. Which isn't to say that Carrie Underwood is as compelling or as distinctive as a personality or vocalist as Faith Hill: Underwood is still developing her own style and, for as good a singer as she is, she doesn't have much of a persona beyond that of the girl next door made good. But that's enough to make Some Hearts work, since she's surrounded by professionals, headed by producers Mark Bright and Dann Huff, who know how to exploit that persona effectively. While some of the songs drift a little bit toward the generic, especially in regard to the adult contemporary ballads, most of the material is slick, sturdy, and memorable, delivered with conviction by Underwood. She sounds equally convincing on such sentimental fare as "Jesus, Take the Wheel" as on the soaring pop "Some Hearts," and even if she doesn't exactly sound tough on the strutting "Before He Cheats," she does growl with a fair amount of passion. In fact, the worst thing here is her chart-topping post-American Idol hit "Inside Your Heaven," which is as formulaic as the mainstream country-pop that comprises the rest of Some Hearts, but with one crucial difference: the formula doesn't work, the song is too sappy and transparent, the arrangement too cold. On the rest of Some Hearts, everything clicks -- the production is warm, the tunes inoffensive but ingratiating, it straddles the country and pop worlds with ease, and most importantly, it's every bit as likeable as Carrie was on American Idol. Which means that even if she's not nearly as sassy or charismatic as Kelly Clarkson -- she's not as spunky as Nashville Star finalist Miranda Lambert, for that matter -- Carrie Underwood has delivered the best post-AmIdol record since Clarkson's debut.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2005
Label:
Arista
UPC:
0828767119724
catalogNumber:
71197
Rank:
2984

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Carrie Underwood   Primary Artist,Background Vocals
Matt Rollings   Piano
Eric Darken   Percussion
Sid Page   Violin
Denyse Buffum   Violin
Larry Corbett   Cello
J.T. Corenflos   Electric Guitar
Joel Derouin   Violin
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
Endre Granat   Violin
Dann Huff   Electric Guitar
Charles Judge   Keyboards
Michael Markman   Violin
Chris McHugh   Drums
Gary Morse   Steel Guitar
Steve Nathan   Keyboards
Jimmie Lee Sloas   Bass
Adam Steffey   Mandolin
Josefina Vergara   Violin
Biff Watson   Acoustic Guitar
Lonnie Wilson   Drums
Jonathan Yudkin   Banjo,Bass,Dobro,Fiddle,Mandolin,Strings,Violin,Cello,Viola,Octofone
Susan Chatman   Violin
Neil Thrasher   Background Vocals
Suzie Katayama   Cello
Lisa Cochran   Background Vocals
Bryan Sutton   Acoustic Guitar
Julian Hallmark   Violin
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Perry Coleman   Background Vocals
Tom Bukovac   Electric Guitar
Roberto Cani   Violin
Jim VanCleve   Fiddle
Dan Huff   Electric Guitar
Mark Hill   Bass
Shanti Randall   Violin
Hillary Lindsey   Background Vocals
Alyssa Park   Violin
Andrew Duckles   Violin
Morgane Hayes   Background Vocals
Steve Richards   Cello
Michele Richards   Violin
Tereza Stanislav   Violin
Mario de León   Violin
Matthew Funes   Violin
Daniel Smith   Cello
Mike Johnson   Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Desmond Child   Producer
Derek Bason   Engineer
Paul Buckmaster   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Mark Hagen   Engineer
Dann Huff   Producer,Audio Production
Charles Judge   Programming
Steve Marcantonio   Engineer
Justin Niebank   Engineer
Jimmy Olander   Composer
Tim Roberts   Pro-Tools
Steve Robson   Composer
Diane Warren   Composer
Jonathan Yudkin   Composer,String Arrangements
Mark Bright   Producer,Audio Production
Neil Thrasher   Composer
Brett James   Composer
Trey Bruce   Composer
Matt Gruber   Engineer
Wendell Mobley   Composer
Gordie Sampson   Composer
Harry "Slick" Sommerdahl   Arranger,Engineer
Steve McEwan   Composer
Rivers Rutherford   Composer
Andreas Carlsson   Composer
Jules Gondar   Engineer
Melissa Peirce   Composer
Marvin Green   Composer
Wayne Hector   Composer
Hillary Lindsey   Composer
Morgane Hayes   Composer
Troy Verges   Composer
Carrie Underwood   Composer
Gregory Becker   Composer
Ashley Gorley   Composer
Josh Kear   Composer
Savan Kotecha   Composer
Chris Tompkins   Composer

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