March 24, 2009
What a fascinating collaboration. Both Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood have recorded distinctly different but equally compelling versions of “I Told You So.”
Travis was all tortured uncertainty in his version, like a nervous inner monologue made public. It was only on the chorus that he truly sang, as the verses were practically spoken.
Underwood chose to sand down those rough edges in her spin on the classic, expanding the hook into a power note and crafting a smooth melody out of the jagged verses.
Each original recording played to its artist’s strengths, but how can such disparate performances come together to make one cohesive record?
Apparently quite easily. The collaborative take on “I Told You So” doesn’t splice together bits and pieces of the original recordings. It takes the approach of those old country collaborations instead, where two distinctive stylists sing in harmony without compromising their own sound.
Is it perfect harmony? Of course not. There’s nothing even remotely seamless about it, and that’s why it works. These voices are far too strong for one to blend into the background of the other, but the soft purity of Underwood’s voice perfectly complements the ragged twang of Travis’s ragged vocal.
It’s the perfect contradiction of sounds for this particular song, with Underwood being the voice of hope for reconciliation, and Travis being the nagging doubt that the answer will be “I Told You So.”
Written by Randy Travis
Listen: I Told You So