Carrie Underwood and Female Country Artists: A Historical Perspective

I’ve always been something of a chart junkie. While I don’t pay as close attention as I used to, I still have a pretty good handle on historical trends. One artist I’ve been keeping an eye on is Carrie Underwood. When each official country single from her first two albums peaked at #1 or #2, it caught my attention.

But I never expected the trend to continue, with three more #1 hits from the new album. The source of that belief was the history of women on country radio, especially in the twenty most recent years that were based on actual monitored airplay instead of radio playlists. Since that change, far less records have gone #1 or #2.

When “Undo It” reached #2 last week, Underwood became the only female artist in country music history to have eleven consecutive top two singles. Until then, she was tied with Tammy Wynette, who scored ten consecutive top two singles from 1967-1970. All but one of Wynette’s singles were #1 hits, with the only #2 being “I’ll See Him Through.” With “Undo It” moving to #1 this week, Underwood has only two singles in her streak that didn’t top the charts: “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” and “I Told You So.”

“Undo It” is Underwood’s tenth #1 single. How rare is it for a female to reach that milestone? The last woman to reach it was Rosanne Cash, her tenth #1 being “Runaway Train” in the fall of 1988. Earlier that same year, Reba McEntire scored her tenth #1 with “Love Will Find Its Way To You.”

Underwood’s support at radio is unprecedented for a female artist in the modern chart era. In less than five years, she’s already tied for the most #1’s since 1990, and she’s moving quickly up the all-time list as well:

Most #1 Hits by a Female Artist – Monitored Era (1990-present):

  1. Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood – 10
  2. Faith Hill – 9
  3. Shania Twain – 7
  4. Jo Dee Messina – 6
  5. Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood – 5
  6. Sara Evans, Patty Loveless, Taylor Swift, Wynonna – 4

Most #1 Hits by a Female Artist – All-Time:

  1. Dolly Parton – 25
  2. Reba McEntire – 23
  3. Tammy Wynette – 20
  4. Crystal Gayle – 18
  5. Loretta Lynn – 16
  6. Rosanne Cash – 11
  7. Anne Murray, Tanya Tucker, Carrie Underwood – 10

Why do you think that Underwood has been the one to push up against country radio’s glass ceiling so much? Can she keep this up?  Will she eventually get to the top of each list, or is there somebody below her that might jump ahead?

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147 Comments

Filed under Crunching the Numbers, Miscellaneous Musings

147 Responses to Carrie Underwood and Female Country Artists: A Historical Perspective

  1. Michael A.No Gravatar

    Another interesting tidbit, only three women have released albums with four #1 singles:
    Rosanne Cash’s Kings Record Shop
    Shania Twain’s The Woman In Me
    Carrie Underwood’s Carnival Ride

    As far as Underwood’s success goes, I guess I’m actually a little disappointed. I think she often gets a free pass that no other woman currently gets on country radio. Songs like “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It” race to the top of the charts but just don’t seem to me, for lack of a better word, worthy of that title.

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  3. KNo Gravatar

    As talented as Carrie is, there’s no denying her Idol win gave her a huge advantage that is rarely ever given to new female artists who work their way up the old-fashioned way via playing in bars and such.

    I’m not implying Carrie should’ve done that, but Idol gave her the advantage of having a proven marketability and beauty that radio programmers probably saw as less of a risk than other females without an established fanbase or marketable sound or look.

    Carrie has the advantage of being a talented, beautiful woman who has always fit in with the current modern sounds of country radio. Because Carrie naturally fits with what works in radio and retail right now, she has been given the label of a superstar female artists.

    Older women in the genre have to be youthful, and fit within the changing sounds of country music without seeming like artists who are trying too hard to fit in the mold.

    Carrie has the advantage of having those qualities naturally, and she isn’t trying to be anything other than a female country artist making marketable country-pop tunes that fit easily within her audience and niche as an artist.

    I don’t know if these same qualities will be ones that female arists have to look to, but right now Carrie fits firmly within the range of a marketable, popular, and beautiful woman without trying too hard.

  4. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    I think Carrie Underwood is the most talented of the relatively young singers who appeal to a very young demographic. And it is my understanding that this very young demographic rules the marketplace in this day and age.

    As long as this young demographic retains it’s stranglehold on the marketplace, I believe Carrie will continue with her chart domination. That is unless and until an even younger singer who is even less rooted in Tradition comes along. Someone like Taylor Swift, if Taylor were a better vocalist, that is.

    Interesting stats and perspectives Kevin..just one minor correction, Patty Loveless actually had five number ones, not four. At least according to the discography I found linked on Wikipedia.

  5. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Also, in the monitored era since 1990, there seems to be an inverse ratio between chart sucess and critical acclaim. With some exceptions, of course.

  6. I think Carrie is the most amazing women of all time so far. She has only been in this business a short 5 years and has worked so very hard to accomplish the many awards and #1 singles that she has today. She is deserving of everything she gets. Being a winner of AI, is only a beginning for these people. No one, has ever come close to doing what Carrie has done. She took the title and ran with it. Straight to the Grand Ole Opry stage. She hasn’t stopped since that time. She is so caring and giving of herself and her time and money. She is an awesome individual with multiple qualities. Just because she won AI, doesn’t mean you are an instant success. You have to work very hard for everything you get. Carrie, has many great artists to compete against and she is still the most talented and best vocalist of anyone in any genre today. I feel that her success will continue to grow and she will be a legend !! This girl is for real and she is here to stay for the longhaul.
    I love Carrie for who she is and what she stands for. She is very spiritual and a good moral girl. whom is a great inspiration to all of us.

  7. TomNo Gravatar

    …she can sing (really well), she’s charming as an entertainer, she fits the looks-mold and most likely, we even haven’t heard the best of her. although, “before he cheats” is one the those rare genre trend-setting and career-defining songs that’ll be hard to top.

    when i look back, it took an accomplished singer like patty loveless four albums, before she cranked it up to finally end up recording three absolutely terrific studio-albums in the mid-nineties. therefore i would not be surprised at all, if carrie underwood developped enough to pull a similar trick in the next few years.

    having said that, her last few efforts didn’t do much for my happy.

  8. radnorNo Gravatar

    I don’t see any young singer right now who could challenge Carrie and her ten # 1’s. Taylor was only 1 year behind Carrie in releasing her debut album yet she’s 6 #1’s behind. I think country radio is beginning to view Taylor as a country artist who is using country radio for more exposure with an aim toward POP stardom. Her last two singles didn’t make it to the Top Five. I guess we’ll have to see how her new music fares although I still think it would be hard to pass Carrie if she’s still grabbing the #1 spot with her future singles. I also don’t think being an Idol winner was any influence on country radio- I think it was Carrie herself, her talent and her first single Jesus Take the Wheel that caught radio’s attention like it did everyone else’s – a song that was frowned upon by Idol as a first single release but with Carrie’s insistence became a one – and went on to sit in the #1 spot for 6 weeks. The woman knows music and she has talent, there’s no stopping her.

  9. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    What Tom said.

    And I agree with K that the Idol platform gave her radio/retail momentum out of the gate that other new artists could never dream of – heck, she got to perform “Jesus, Take the Wheel” on the CMAs before it was even a big hit, or she an established country artist. She’s been able to keep it up because of a) her very devoted fanbase, b) her undeniable marketability and talent, and c) her music’s fit within the format, as K said. “Before He Cheats” aside, her team has taken very few risks with the singles they release to country radio and their production style. She’s yet to release something official that doesn’t sound perfectly in the mold of modern country radio.

  10. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Steve,

    Loveless had four #1 singles in the monitored era. Her first #1 hit – “Timber, I’m Falling In Love” – was before Billboard switched to accurately monitoring songs. Patty was the first female artist to score a #1 in the new era though, with “Chains.”

  11. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    We live in a very different era than when Loretta & Tammy were riding the top of the charts, or when Reba started out. Not only in the way charts are tabulated, but also in the way albums are marketed, with massive discounts on newly released albums and great promotional efforts for albums. Today albums often debut at #1 (or at least in the top three).

    At one time that was rarely the case, since the genre was a singles-oriented genre. Albums were released and slowly worked their way up the charts as word-of-mouth and DJs playing album cuts (or radio stations having album shows) spread the word

    Your question is a good one. While I don’t think Carrie is an “amazing” singer (if you want an “amazing” singer try Yma Sumac or Roy Orbison) – she has a very good voice and has the impetus of her Idol victory continuing to propel her along. Whether or not her career will sustain only history will tell. I think it is overstating her credentials in calling her the most talented female singer currently recording. There are better voices out there and there are better songwriters out there.

    One question for Carrie’s fans: if Carrie looked like Susan Boyle or Phyllis Diller or the TV character “Ugly Betty”, would she be this successful ?

  12. Ditto to Tom.

    And awesome to: “having said that, her last few efforts didn’t do much for my happy.”

  13. DerrickNo Gravatar

    Paul W Dennis said: “One question for Carrie’s fans: if Carrie looked like Susan Boyle or Phyllis Diller or the TV character “Ugly Betty”, would she be this successful ?”

    It’s a good question, but it’s not fair. When was the last time a truly unattractive woman made any success in country? (or pop, even?) For that matter, what about the guys? Less perfect, maybe, like Zac Brown — but he leads a band. Among solo artists, you have perhaps Jamey Johnson – but he is carefully cultivating a LOOK.

    The men are generally very good looking, too. Brad and Kenny and Dierks are just as attractive as Carrie and the other chicks. It’s what happens when your industry is as visual as it is auditory. Blame MTV. . .

    [PS – America Ferrara is not unattractive in the least. Another case of “hollywood homely”.]

  14. TexasVetNo Gravatar

    One question for Carrie’s fans: if Carrie looked like Susan Boyle or Phyllis Diller or the TV character “Ugly Betty”, would she be this successful ?

    That could be said for any current female country singer.
    Do you think Sarah Palin would be so popular if she looked like Olympia Snowe?

  15. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Thanks for the correction/clarification Kevin, and the new (new to me anyway) Patty Loveless info. I didn’t realize that she was the first female artist of the nineties to score a #1. Cool, the Chains video was my intro to PL!

    Not sure I agree with the CU/PL comparison. I dont believe that time + talent alone necessarily leads to great, timeless albums, not without good judgement thrown into the equation.

    Exceptional artistic discernment and the ability to choose/write songs that transcend the trendy are important parts of the Loveless/Gordy team’s critical success. Loveless’ eventual and well- established success in that area is an unreliable and perhaps even an unlikely indicator that Underwood will do the same, since the two artists are so very different. I think Carrie so far has been a prisoner to the trendy, and it remains to be seen whether time will help her break out of the mold. She and her production team are certainly adept at picking chart toppers, however. But in that regard I believe that Underwood so far has been a victim of her own success.

    Also very difficult to judge when comparing someone who possesses such ingrained Pop Country sensibilities to someone with Traditional Country inclinations and vocal stylings. The market favors the former, and unfortunately it also seems to favor bland or cliched offerings. Sad that high quality Pop or Traditional Country is no longer a requirement, as demonstrated by the success of so many of today’s singers in the Country market.

  16. radnorNo Gravatar

    This blog isn’t about whether you like Carrie’s music or not but predictably it turns in that direction. There are facts that are important to know before you assume how Carrie came to sing JTTW on the CMA’s in the Fall of 2005 – Because her single was doing well and her label(Joe Galante) begged the CMA’s to let her sing which she only sang part of the song before announcing the next category. It wasn’t a huge spotlight event. Carrie got a lot of flack for being from Idol in the country community NOT they bowed at her feet because of the win – The people who don’t like Carrie and never will will always throw the Idol card up to say this is why she’s successful but those who follow her and see and know what she’s about, know that her success has come from her hard work, her talent and her love for singing. There is music that I don’t like or I don’t like the artist but I don’t know much about them because I don’t follow them hence I could never presume to rant on about why they are successful. And , no artist would ever expect everyone to like their music . What propelled Carrie to initial stardom? Jesus Take the Wheel and Before He Cheats. It’s those songs and the songs that followed. The fact that she has won over 56 major awards says more than she is driven by Idol.

  17. ScottNo Gravatar

    Incredible, but very well deserved. Here’s to her continued success

  18. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    I really don’t see Carrie breaking the mark of twenty five #1 hits that Dolly has set, unless her career lasts as long as Dolly’s has. And with the exception of Reba, who’s had 23 of them since she first appeared on the charts in 1975(!), and is the one that I think is most likely to top Dolly, I don’t know if it’s possible for any female artist to have a career that long ever again (30+ years). The business no longer looks at longevity and durability as assets (IMHO).

  19. dudleyNo Gravatar

    One question for Carrie’s fans: if Carrie looked like Susan Boyle or Phyllis Diller or the TV character “Ugly Betty”, would she be this successful ?
    Carrie Underwood to In Style magazine (May 2008 issue): “Girls have it harder in country music. Guys can be balding and overweight. But look at the women. Faith Hill? Beautiful. Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride? Beautiful. Kellie Pickler, Miranda Lambert? Beautiful. Everybody has to be beautiful. I don’t think it’s fair. When you dream of becoming a singer, you don’t say to yourself, ‘But I don’t have the looks for it.’ I hire people to make me beautiful so I can keep up with everybody else.”

    While I don’t think Carrie’s commercial success is dependent on Idol these days, I do think it has been instrumental in securing her a large enough fanbase to indulge her through a period of her career where she remains not fully realized as an artist. With the exception of her evolution as performer and interpreter, I see Carrie’s process of artistic maturation as decidedly non-linear. I chalk that up to her attempts at experimentation with her sound (albeit very much within mainstream confines) at the same time that she has attempted growth and increased involvement as a writer.

    I think that Carrie has gotten by through a combination of sheer commercial momentum, catchy songs, mass appreciation of her vocal talent, and the occasional artistic breakthrough (via live or recorded performance) that reminds many skeptics that she has the potential to be pretty great contributor to and ambassador for country music. But I also think that aforementioned indulgence is finite. Carrie has said some encouraging things about wanting her albums and tours to sound different from each other to keep things fresh for her and for her fans. That will be important, but it will be at least as important for her to be more consistently discerning in the song selection process. That’s where the likes of Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood have distinguished themselves (and where Martina McBride has been struggling for her albums since Timeless).

  20. radnorNo Gravatar

    I’d just like to go back to Idol since everyone seems to love to bring it up – there is one aspect in her run on Idol that did carry over to her successful career now. HER choice of songs. The choice of what song they chose to sing on Idol was entirely their own decision and many believe choosing the right songs can make all the difference in the win. The fact that Carrie was able to choose the right songs that made a huge impact most of the time was an important factor in her win. Add that to her incredible knowledge of songs in general – someone said, mention any song to Carrie and she will know it. Her uncanny ability to choose and write songs for her voice and delivery and for popularity with her fans, I believe is what has given her the #1’s she has now.

  21. claudiaNo Gravatar

    I Was at the ACMs a few years ago, and after Carrie had won an award, they went to commercial. Suddenly, there was this incredible din…I thought maybe Garth had walked in, or something. But no, it was Carrie, going back to her seat, and people in every section, as she passed by, stood up and gave her an ovation. That’s when I knew Country fans had adopted her, and Country Radio knows it. Fans have recognized a genuinely nice woman, with a real respect for the genre, and a boatload of talent. They don’t care that she came from AI, rather than paying her dues in dingy honky tonks. It was love at first sight. I think she could wind up doing any number of things in Country music. I could see a “traditional” album somewhere down the line. If she continues doing everything right, as she has been doing, there’s a long career ahead of her, and some fine music yet to come.

  22. KyleNo Gravatar

    I think it is unfair to suggest that Carrie is not country. Compared to the legends mentioned above her style is more pop oriented but if you turn on country radio right now almost every song that plays will have the same “pop” feel. Country music has changed! As compared to some other artists in the genre, I feel Carrie has balanced the popular pop sound with traditional country better. Look at songs like “Temporary Home”, “Jesus Take The Wheel”, “Before He Cheats” even… Although they have the modern Country sound, Part of Carrie’s genius is keeping the idea and theme of the song country. The Lyrics to these songs are very traditional at heart but have the sound of today’s country. Themes that would not fit in anyother genre…….Anybody that feels their favorite in todays business is more country than Carrie is kidding themselves. They are all “pop” country!!!(With a few exceptions)

    Has Anyone ever heared Carrie do traditional country? She sounds even better than she does with her current material!!! If you don’t like Carrie and use..Oh..she’s not country…as an excuse… you better hope she doesnt do traditional country because she will be twice as good as she is now!!! which is saying a lot!!!!

  23. TomNo Gravatar

    …people who diminish artists, who made their way through talent contests, rather than the small venue circuit tend to overlook a few things: both are legitimate ways to get into show-business. and it seems to me that casting-shows are a more risky way of doing it.

    if you blow a gig somewhere on tour in america barely anybody will take notice – apart from the overseeable audience there and then. a bad night in a televised talent show and you are out and your artistic ambitions come to a crashing halt – temporarily or even for good in front of a lot of people. years of touring make you a better musician and allow you to try out your style, appearance and help to develop a song-catalogue and an image. the big talent shows are a once in a lifetime opportunities. you’ve got to get it right pretty much from the start and show continous progress or you’re out.

    i have a lot of respect for these young people, who are brave (desperate?) enough to take part in these casting shows. it takes a lot of guts to go out on that stage and sing a song in front of a national tv-audience. that makes a gig in a club in fayetteville look like a piece of cake. in the end, both ways are only springboards and no guarantee that you gonna make it in country music’s shark-bassin – nashville. carrie underwood did it and that’s quite an achievement since many others could not capitalise on it.

  24. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    “There are facts that are important to know before you assume how Carrie came to sing JTTW on the CMA’s in the Fall of 2005 – Because her single was doing well and her label(Joe Galante) begged the CMA’s to let her sing which she only sang part of the song before announcing the next category. It wasn’t a huge spotlight event.”

    Any new artist and his/her label would have loved to have such a spot, and I’m sure many labels have lobbied for such things in the past. Why do you think Carrie actually got to do it? Idol. She was already famous; They knew she’d pull in some extra ratings. That’s not a slight on her or her talent; it’s just my understanding of how TV works.

    I should add that I have no problem with Carrie coming off of Idol; as Tom articulates very well above, that’s as legitimate a way to enter the business as any other, and even a much riskier one. I just don’t find most of her music interesting so far. I’ll probably love Carrie Underwood if she ever makes countrier music, or even country-pop that’s more my style. But in any case, I think opinions about the quality of her music are bound to factor into a discussion about that music’s historical performance.

  25. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    I think Carrie so far has been a prisoner to the trendy, and it remains to be seen whether time will help her break out of the mold. She and her production team are certainly adept at picking chart toppers, however. But in that regard I believe that Underwood so far has been a victim of her own success.

    I still don’t agree with this. For better or for worse, I truly believe her last album is everything she wanted it to be. Like Dan pointed out, her team has taken few risks with single choices (although I’d argue “I Told You So” was a risk, or a break from the mold, at least), but I wouldn’t call her album as a whole a product of an artist who’s a prisoner to the trendy. I’d say it’s a product of an artist whose current taste fits squarely into the trendy. I do have faith that she’ll experiment with her traditional leanings in the future, but I’d rather it come at her own pace/as part of her own artistic journey.

    And I agree with everything Tom ascribed her success to, with the addition of her ridiculously devoted fanbase.

  26. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Forgot to say:

    “And awesome to: “having said that, her last few efforts didn’t do much for my happy.””

    Agreed, it might be my fave comment of the year aside from the earlier Gokey one. We’ve got to start compiling!

    (It’s Tom Appreciation Day, if you all didn’t know.)

    Tara: I do actually agree about “I Told You So”. I’ve never liked the song that much, but that was a cool choice for a single from that album.

  27. radnorNo Gravatar

    Dan Miliken – you don’t
    know that for sure, you are speculating as to why the CMA allowed her to sing ,Idol may have been a part of it but like all people who don’t like her music you downplay the fact that she was a young artist with a smash hit single that debuted at #39 before the album was released before the CMA’s and made it to #1 a month 1/2 later (spending 6 weeks at the top) may have had something to do with it also. I don’t think the short performance of Carrie’s JTTW on the CMA’s made a difference in her achieving 10 #1’s or even achieving her #1 with Jesus Take the Wheel. Carrie began winning awards right off the bat for Jesus Take the Wheel because it’s a great song- it won all kinds of awards, Grammy’s , Dove,CMA”S ACM’S not because the singer was from AI but because the song itself is great, because Carrie loved the song and because Carrie did a fantastic job singing it- And still does today. It’s one of the highlights of her concerts.If Carrie had appeared on the scene having won Idol with her first single debuting at #65, a catchy tune but nothing special, not racing up the charts, do you think they would have allowed her sing at the CMA’s?? – I highly doubt it.

  28. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Well, sure, it probably wouldn’t have happened if the single weren’t doing well. But it’s basically unheard of (in recent years, at least) for a new artist who isn’t nominated for anything to get a performance slot, even a limited one, and even if they have a monster single at the time (which “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was not yet at the time, despite its fast chart performance). Darius Rucker got one the year before his New Artist win, but he was a last-minute replacement – and, like Carrie, had a high profile already because of his Hootie pedigree. Other than him, I can’t think of any other examples. Even a lot of nominated artists don’t get performance slots. Idol.

    And again: I’m not saying that every subsequent achievement of hers is directly due to Idol. But that was a good exposure moment, and yeah, I think the show had something to do with it.

  29. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    My memory is pretty fuzzy these days, but wasn’t there also some CMT/CBS tie-in that had cameras following Underwood around as she launched her album, including that CMA performance?

    I think that was when the awards were on CBS and their parent company owned all the MTV networks, including CMT.

    You forgot the other way to get a CMA performance without having big country hits: be an artist from a completely different genre.

  30. radnorNo Gravatar

    I believe what you are referring to Kevin is the CMT series, “In the Moment” which was a series CMT was doing at the time Carrie came on the scene – I believe Hank Williams Jr, Julie Roberts, Terri Clark, Keith Urban were part of the In the Moment series to name a few, it wasn’t special to Carrie , they filmed her making her record etc- CMT did take to Carrie right away having her sing with Jamie on Does He Love You for the 100 Greatest Duets special. Jamie and Carrie did a remarkable job with the song. I believe Carrie’s singing gift did open doors for her.

  31. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    It seemed like a corporate synergy thing. I think it helped that Josh Gracin had done well post-Idol and that Underwood had stated clearly that she was a country artist throughout the competition.

    Idol definitely was a big help to Underwood, but she was also the most popular Idol ever. I think the producer said that they don’t show vote totals every week because if they’d done so during her season, it would’ve revealed how far ahead she was every single week. They did a good job at the time making it look like a real race between her and Bo Bice.

    She’s just one of those artists and personalities that strikes a chord with a large part of the public, often to the chagrin of genre purists and music critics. I tend to like some of those artists, at least when they sing so purty.

  32. BeeNo Gravatar

    i have a question, i know carrie has 10 #1s on billboard and 12 #1s on mediabase (DFTRM and ITYS hit #1 there also.. thus articles mentioning her consecutive streak of hits). plus her non-country idol coronation single, inside your heaven, hit #1 in the main billboard hot 100 chart also. but for the all-time list up there, are those numbers for billboard only? or does dolly have 25 #1s from various charts (billboard, mediabase, etc)? cus if so, wouldn’t carrie has 12 then (13 if you count IYH) and be at #6?

  33. BeeNo Gravatar

    also, with 3 #1s on billboard’s hot country songs chart play on already, i wonder if and i’m hoping that this album will break the record for females for most #1s from a single album. the most #1s on that chart from a female album was 4 from shania’s the woman in me, rosanne cash’s king’s record shop, and carrie’s own carnival ride. she’s said once that she sees 6 or 7 potential singles from this album so if she gets 2 more #1s from the possible 3-4 more coming, she breaks the record for females and ties brad’s 5th gear and and rodney crowell’s diamonds and dirt, who hold the record for guys and all artists in general with their 5 #1s from those single albums alone. and i’m excited to say, it just might be possible.

  34. BeeNo Gravatar

    ^ and 3 more #1st from play on, although it might be hard (but you never know! it’s carrie! lol), and she holds the record all her own

  35. Carrie’s obviously a very talented technical singer, so clearly that isn’t doing anything to harm her success. With that being said if it weren’t for American Idol the chances of Carrie being the star she is today, or even a star at all, are slim. I mean she even goes back every season for multiple performances. But I think the real reason she’s had so much success on the country radio is because she always gives it what it wants. The only times she’s ever taken a risk were with “Before He Cheats” and “I Told You So”, but even those aren’t that risky compared to what some of her contemporaries have released. Heck she even tried to recreate the “Before Her Cheats” effect with “Last Name” (the video only made the attempt more blatantly obvious). A big bulk of her material has been the kind of tearjearker inspirational ballads such as “Jesus Take hhe Wheel”, “Don’t Forget To Remember Me”, “So Small”, and “Temporary Home”. And after the gigantic success of Taylor Swift, her music has become much more pop-oriented.

  36. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Lol, she does sing “purty”, I’ll give her that. But count me amoung the chagrin-ed…

    I just think these statistics highlight a disturbing trend, i.e. that it no longer takes first rate material to ascend so quickly and so completely to utter chart domination. Just a good, belting voice, a Pop orientation, an Idol boost and an appealing personality (and granted, hard work). And youth appeal,tons of appeal to the youth-obsessed market.

    I just cannot comprehend why and how Carrie has leap-frogged above Martina, Trisha, Patty, Sara and Shania on the charts and is now tied with Reba in the modern era. How does one explain this? Better material? Better vocals?….. Seriously?! I think it just comes back to mass market appeal, and has very little to do with substance or quality.

    There are more worthy and accomplished female artists to break the glass ceiling, many of them near the bottom of this here modern-era list. They deserve to be charting once again, and they deserve another chance to rack up the number ones like their male counterparts George Strait and Alan Jackson.

    I do applaud Carrie’s risk in covering “I Told You So”…but I am no longer hoping for a lot of real Traditional material from her..I just dont think it’s part of who she is as an artist. I would be happy with some better quality contempory Country from her though, somewhere along the lines of Martina’s best, or Trisha’s.

    Oh, I was also shocked to see that Crystal Gayle has more number ones than her more legendary sister Loretta Lynn! Go figure..

  37. jakeNo Gravatar

    steve when you say more deserving artist, you mention shania. shania and carrie have the same types of songs. and i dont think american idol has an effect on her long term success because no other winner besides kelly clarkson has had long term success so winning the competition doesnt mean you’ll be succesful. maybe it did give her the momemtum she needed to get started but i dont think it explains her success. i think she’s just one of those rare people that most other people really like

  38. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Jake, I see your point about Shania, and while she is a very good vocalist, I’d have to give the edge to Carrie in her case. (But not with the others I mentioned) But I really think Shania’s material, while somewhat similar in nature, is far more distinctive and memorable than Carrie’s.

    I agree, I dont think Idol completely accounts for Carries success, but I do think that extraordinary popularity with the young, music buying demographic has a lot to do with it. Beyond that and the other factors I mentioned, her chart success seems to me to be disproportionate to her experience, and even to her talent, as consideralbe as that is. Her acclaim is still outrunning her artistry in ways that I cannot fully explain or comprehend.

  39. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Canadian Boy,

    I can’t agree that Underwood went more pop as a response to Swift’s success. Her latest album is quite a bit more country than its predecessor.

    @ Steve From Boston,

    Underwood being able to leapfrog all of those other women in the same time frame is impressive, but remember that radio used to distribute airplay to far more female artists at one time than it has in the last few years.

    Her achievement here is just in #1/#2 hits. If you expand the list to top tens in the monitored era (1990-present), things are far more equitable. She’s in a four way tie for ninth place:

    Most Top Ten Hits by a Female Artist in the Modern Era

    1. Reba McEntire – 35
    2. Faith Hill – 22
    3. Martina McBride – 19
    4. Trisha Yearwood – 18
    5. Shania Twain – 16
    6. Patty Loveless, Tanya Tucker – 14
    8. Pam Tillis – 13
    9. Jo Dee Messina, Lorrie Morgan, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood – 12

    I’d love to see a lot of these women back on the radio, but it’s not Underwood’s fault that they aren’t getting the airplay they deserve. They weren’t getting played before she arrived, either.

    I wouldn’t replace her with them, personally. I’d like to hear them alongside of her on the radio. Perhaps I’d be able to listen for longer than twenty minutes then!

  40. You can credit “American Idol” with getting her going, but given how many former contestants have already come and gone without achieving–and sustaining–the kind of success she’s had, I think it’s clear that she’s doing something special all on her own.

    Not to detract in any way from what she’s achieved, but when one contrasts her era with previous eras, it becomes increasingly clear just how important it is to catch the attention of consolidated radio playlist-makers. Where Tammy Wynette could afford to be shunned in one market here or there, no artist can afford to be ignored by Clear Channel today. It’s mathematically impossible to earn enough spins to even crack the charts without their stations playing your music.

    So long as Carrie Underwood remains a viably marketable presence–and short of having a Mel Gibson type meltdown, it’s a safe bet she will be for at least the next few years–then Clear Channel will continue to ensure she gets enough spins to hit #1. Arista will continue to spend whatever it takes in promotion to see that it happens.

    Again, I don’t mean to say any of this to knock on Carrie Underwood or what she’s achieved. In fact, one of the most impressive things is that she’s sustained a likable, respectable image in the 24/7 entertainment news cycle era. Tammy Wynette may have cussed out an entire group of fans after a show and no one but those fans ever knew about it; there’s simply no way Carrie Underwood could get away with saying something snide without it being all over the Internet within ten minutes, complete with photos and video. She–and every other entertainer–has to constantly be aware of being under the microscope in a way that no previous generation had to contend with, and I for one don’t envy any of them.

    It’ll be interesting to see what impact her new marriage has on her public image, as well as her next album. We’ve seen time and again where male audiences tend to shy away from female performers once they’re married (as though somehow they had a legitimate chance at hooking up before the vows were exchanged), and we’ve certainly seen artists basking in the glow of newly exchanged nuptials by turning in cheesy albums no one really liked. (I’m looking at you, Clint Black.) Will she avoid those pitfalls, and still grow as an artist? We’ll see.

  41. One more thing I forgot to mention: as we’ve griped about in the discussion elsewhere about contemporary, mainstream radio, the playlists today are much shorter than possibly ever before. Radio only seems to even play a handful of artists, whereas previous women had to contend with an ever-changing, open field.

    Rosanne Cash, for instance, would have been competing for airtime against her dad’s generation; Carrie Underwood is not having to compete with Rosanne or her generation today.

  42. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Steve From Boston,

    Back when Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette were all at their artistic peak (and Wynette/Lynn’s commercial peaks), Olivia Newton-John came along and sold them out of the water. Many of your criticisms of Carrie could have been sent Newton-John’s way, and I’m sure that they were.

    But, people liked her more. You’re a bit off in assuming that it’s just the young demographic fueling her success. There’s a reason her album sales spike dramatically every Mother’s Day. She has a wide range of people she appeals to, which might be why she’s threading the needle so well at country radio. Jake puts it perfectly: “She’s just one of those rare people that most other people really like.”

    I have no problem saying that I’m one of those people. I haven’t strongly disliked anything she’s sent to radio, and I’ve flat-out loved at least seven that I can think of off the top of my head. There are also some album cuts from her second and third sets and a few charity singles that are in heavy rotation with me, too.

    Quite frankly, I think she’s very good, and have thought that since I first saw her on Idol. She’s one of only a handful of country artists to come out this decade that I truly enjoy.

  43. One thing that I’ve discussed with a friend of mine is that Carrie Underwood is beautiful…but she’s not “hot.” I think that’s part of her appeal; there’s nothing blatantly sexualized about her image. She is therefore much less threatening to women in her audience, and men I think are more inclined to actually listen to her than just ogle her.

  44. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Travis,

    I’ve never understood how men can ogle a woman when listening to her! Seriously though, I don’t think women have ever been threatened by a female artist having sex appeal. Shania Twain pretty much blew that myth out of the water in country music, just like Madonna did in pop music.

  45. @Kevin John Coyne – You know that stereotype of the guy who just stares and slobbers over women? The one so absurd he can’t possibly be real? Well, he is real. He’s my uncle, and I’ve literally seen him put music videos on mute just so the sound of a woman’s voice doesn’t distract him from staring. Sad, but true.

    As for Shania, I know what her sales figures and buyer demographics were, but I also know how many girls and women I’ve heard over the years do nothing but disparage her. And every time I ever heard a girl run her down, it had nothing to do with her music–it had to do with her sexualized image. I don’t mean to suggest that it was a significantly large part of her would-be audience; clearly Shania did just fine without their support. All I’m saying is that it’s a resentment that Carrie Underwood doesn’t seem to have provoked; certainly not as pervasively as did Shania Twain.

    (And for what it’s worth, I always thought it was absurd to resent an entertainer for having any particular image, knowing that it’s all for show anyway.)

  46. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    I for one don’t dispute that Carrie does have a good voice; and God knows all the attention she has gotten since her 2005 American Idol win has been well earned.

    However, like Steve from Boston, I have to pass on her. My reason for saying this is because I have always appreciated the edgier material that Trisha has been known to do, and which Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris have each built their whole careers on. They don’t try to make albums based on whether the material they do will be deemed by some record exec or some radio programmer to be hit worthy. They do it strictly out of love of the music, and their audiences always appreciate this non-manipulative and intelligent approach. This is probably anathema to what country radio today is about, but it’s how those women have lasted so long (in Trisha’s case, twenty years; in Linda’s and Emmy’s cases, forty-plus).

    Carrie, however, seems not to want to offend or challenge people with the kind of material she does, which is undoubtedly radio friendly but, to me, not especially memorable. The fact that she has eleven #1 country hits, all of which have crossed over to pop, isn’t the problem I have with her. It’s that she isn’t taking even the modest kinds of chances that Trisha takes, let alone the huge leaps of Linda and Emmylou, in terms of the content of the material she does; and until she really makes an effort in that area, I must honorably deem myself a naysayer when it comes to Carrie.

  47. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Kevin, I didnt mean to convey that I think it is Carrie’s fault that the women I consider more artistically accomplished are not recieving the airplay that they deserve, I blame the current marketplace and media enviroment for that. Carrie cannot be blamed for riding the wave, I realize that. It is, a youth obsessed culture, and is getting more so. In Pop anyway, I see children on magazine covers and TV segments as the newest pop icons. Maybe I’m getting old, (no doubt) but they just look younger and younger to me, and it all seems very strange.

    And the demographic I was rerring to is what Time or Newsweek referred to as the “tweens” in an article from just a few years ago, when Carrie was really picking up steam. The magazine cited this demographic as having the most buying influence in music and entertainment. I know Carrie has a lot of older fans as well, including a lot of guys my age who seem to think she is “hot”.. but I still believe that she gains much of her support from the same folks that have boosted Taylor to the top as well. But you’re right, she has struck a broader chord of popular support. But it is not universal, and I know you arent saying that it is.

    Thanks for those other stats, they put things in a more re-assuring light. Carrie is good, and talented, but do you actually believe that she has such extraordinary talent, experience or artistic maturity as to warrant ALL the chart and award success she is achieving over the other ladies on your list? (when you throw awards into the mix, the disparity seems even more apparent)Or is the point of your article that Carrie Underwood truly IS the best thing to happen to Country music since 1990? Again, I may be missing the point, it wouldn’t be the first time.

  48. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Erik, dont forget Patty Loveless, she also exemplifies the artist virtues you rightly attribute to Trisha, Linda and Patty’s own musical hero Emmylou Harris.

  49. I would guess that part of the reason for Carrie’s success is the fact that she had a large built-in fanbase thanks to her American Idol win. Beyond that I can’t really think of a reason for her massive success at radio. Right now she doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.

    So far it looks like Carrie’s going to keep it up. It did look like Taylor Swift was nipping at her heels for a while, but her two most recent singles didn’t fare as well, both missing the Top 5. But she may be able to rebound when the songs from her new album hit radio. I’m keeping an eye on Miranda Lambert as well. Her past two singles both hit the top two, and her current single seems strong enough to do the same.

    If anyone is going to jump ahead of Carrie, I’m going to guess that it will be either Carrie or Miranda. We’ll see.

  50. Typo correction: “If anyone is going to jump ahead of Carrie, I’m going to guess that it will be either TAYLOR or Miranda.”

    Don’t ask me why I thought Carrie would jump ahead of carrie.

  51. NicolasNo Gravatar

    I think that Carrie Underwood will be sittin’ pretty for a long time. Her success is really quite impressive, considering most female artists who have had success don’t have it like she has: right out of the gate. Miranda has been around almost 6 years now and just got her first #1 hit, but I think she’ll definitely get more as time progresses. But for current females, the success doesn’t come easy, and Carrie’s the lucky one.

  52. jakeNo Gravatar

    another thing to consider about her is she’s only had three albums so its not like she’s peaked artistically. with her first album she didnt have much control over it. and with her second album she got some control. so i would say i was a risk for her to write over half the songs on play on because she never done it before. she could have easily let other people continue to write for her but she didnt. and i think play on is her best album so far and as someone said “countrier” then carnival ride. i agree with steve though on saying you cant compare her to reba,trisha,patty or the others but thats because she hasnt been around as long. each of them have at least 15+ years on her in some cases over 20 or 30. on a side note did anyone here or see george jones slam carrie and taylor for ruining country music. does anyone agree?

  53. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    I saw that Jake, and I think Mr Jones backtracked a little, not intending to make it as personal against Carrie and Taylor as it first came out. He still seems to be lamenting the current condition and what passes for Country Music nowadays and I agree with him in that regard.

    I hear a lot of folks say that Country music is a big tent and there is room for both the Pop and Traditional sounds. I would ask the folks who say that if they would like to see their favorite Country pop artist trade places with an accomplished Traditonalist who still has to struggle in the current climate to get any airtime or chart position at all.

  54. @Steve from Boston – I’ve asked elsewhere, but why can’t those classic country stations that build *their* image around George Jones play his current output? Why wouldn’t listeners who tune in to hear his vintage hits be interested in what he’s doing these days? I will never understand why radio freezes the catalog of veteran artists at a certain point in time.

    Unless, of course, the murky relationship between labels and stations actively seeks to prop up younger talent by preventing established stars from enjoying their due share of the spotlight. But that’s idle speculation on my part, and certainly nothing I would levy as a sincere accusation.

  55. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    @ Steve in Boston–My mistake for not mentioning Patty. She too is a risk taker.

    My point is that if Carrie really wants to be remembered as a great singer and not just someone who had #1 hits in double-digit totals, she will have to be willing to take the kinds of risks that these other ladies have taken, even if what she does goes against today’s country radio grain. And doing only what is “hit worthy” will not cut it after a while.

  56. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Good questions Travis, I dont know…I dont understand the inner workings of radio stations, label politics and market profiles as well as many here do, so I have to defer to them. It just seems to me that it is a corruption of the marketplace, this is what happens when parents give their kids too much allowance and they pour it into music and entertainment purchases and outspend, out text, and out vote the rest of us. (HALF joking here)

    Getting back to the question that Jake brought up regarding the Jones assesment of the current “culprits” of today’s pop-diluted Country. He may be right after all…

    When the inmates run the asylum, and the kids run the classroom, and Reba tries to sound like Carrie instead of Carrie emulating Reba, (Turn on the Radio) then yes, Country music as we know it may be on the path to ruination, and at an evolutionary dead end.

  57. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    We’re on the same page Erik, I understood and agree with your points about those (four) wonderful ladies. (and thanks for including Patty too!)

  58. jakeNo Gravatar

    i listen to all kinds of country music if that makes since. i think there are many sub genres. traditional country isnt gone. theres still people like easton corbin chris young miranda lambert and so on. theres pop country which i think some of carrie’s songs fit in like cowboy casanova and undo it but not all of them. and whoever said traditional country doesnt fit who carrie is, is wrong. she covers songs all the time at concerts or the grand ol opry and she sounds really good. she can sing any genre and sound good to be honest. but anyway i think as carrie gets older she’ll move on to music more traditional. its slowly happening now anyways but only time will tell

  59. It’s fine if Carrie doesn’t go traditional. If it’s not where her heart is, I don’t expect it of her. I’d just like to enjoy her music more than I currently do, but it doesn’t have to be traditional for that to happen. She is, no doubt, very talented though.

  60. I think her cover of Randy Travis’s “I Told You So” is an interesting microcosm. Go back and play Randy’s original version–or, better still, the entire “Forever & Always” album–and it’s hard to imagine that being considered anything but what it was: 1980s pop-country. I find it interesting, and perhaps telling, that she did not choose to cover instead something from his outstanding “Storms of Life” album.

    And I thought she did a great job with her cover of it. In fact, if truth be told, I might even prefer her version. Randy’s original vocals were a bit more forlorn (whereas she was clearly singing a power ballad), but her arrangement was a bit more measured, a bit more…thoughtful, I guess. There’s plenty of room in the pop-country sub-genre for quality work, the same as in any genre or sub-genre.

  61. Ditto to everything that Travis just said.

  62. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    I do think Carrie does some Tradtional Country very well, but I dont really think that is her strongest point as an artist. I dont see Carrie as firmly rooted in the Tradition, and I think there are others whose voices are better suited to that style of Country. I too would be happy with better quality Contemporary Country from her as I indicated earlier, something along the lines of Martina or Trisha’s best.

    I agree completely with Leeann’s statement on this, a few posts above..

    And to Kevin, I wish we had a self-edit option here, and I would change my “point of your article” remark to one less accusatory in tone. Sorry about that. I would ask rather:

    What is your assesment of Carrie’s overwhelming chart success, do you think any of it is inflated by secondary factors, or do you see all of her acclaim as as an entirely accurate reflection of her artistic merit?

    And aside from the gender justice issues, and your understandable enjoyment of her music, do you see Carrie’s near total chart domination as a good thing for the genre?

    And finally, to what do you attribute the difficulties some veterans are having getting any air time or chart position, even with their current high quality album and single offerings?

  63. radnorNo Gravatar

    To Erik North on Carrie’s ” 11 #1 singles crossing over to POP”

    The only song of Carrie’s that crossed over to POP was Before He Cheats and it was never remixed for POP like Taylor and Lady A do to get POP play , all Carrie’s other #1’s were never released to POP radio and only received minimal airplay on other than country formats. Carrie refuses to remix her songs for another format because she feels it compromises the song. POP doesn’t take to playing a song that is not remixed, therefore Carrie’s songs have a minimal chance of bigtime crossover to POP like the songs of Lady A and Taylor are experiencing.

  64. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Travis,

    If “Always & Forever” is a pop-country album, I’ve misunderstood the term completely all these years.

    @ Erik,

    Underwood will be remembered as a great singer regardless of whether or not she takes musical risks like Yearwood/Ronstadt/Harris. As much as I love those women, and see them as the pinnacle among album artists, they are not the only great singers who have stood the test of time.

    There are artists who are usually maligned by the critics – Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey – who would top any survey of the population if asked, “Who are the great female singers?”

    If the question was narrowed to country, then Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, and maybe even Shania Twain and Faith Hill would surface far more frequently than Yearwood and Harris.

    Ronstadt? Who knows what she’s most remembered for? Perhaps big radio hits like “You’re No Good” and “Blue Bayou”, or her big band and Spanish albums, but certainly not for country-rock masterpieces Prisoner in Disguise and Hasten Down the Wind.

    If Underwood continues at this pace, or even slows down quite a bit, she’ll be remembered as a great singer. After all, she is one.

  65. Pingback: Rascal Flatts Joins Big Machine; Russell Crowe Cast as Country Singer; Canadian Country Awards | The 9513

  66. radnorNo Gravatar

    @ Kevin -You’re list, of most top ten hits by country female artists is filled with artists who have careers ten years or longer over Carrie so Carrie being on that list for a five year career is still very impressive

    @ Steve from Boston – you’re comment on” these statistics being disturbing that it no longer takes first rate material to ascend to the top of the charts” – well, what about the male country #1’s of the last three years?? You call that first rate material?? Once again the critics have given a different standard to the female artists, so they have to have top notch songs artistically brilliant songs for every #1 while the men can easily be on the top with the most trivial , trite nonsense.

  67. Pingback: Rascal Flatts Joins Big Machine; Russell Crowe Cast as Country Singer; Canadian Country Awards - cFox.net

  68. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    No Radnor, I certainly do not call the offerings by most of the male Country singers nowadays first rate…to me the males seem to be competing with each other to see who can come up with the most idiotic and cliched redneck anthems..It all makes me appreciate Alan Jackson, George Strait and Brad Paisley even more…I give these gentlemen a lot of credit for keeping it classy, creative and Country..for the most part anyway.

    But we were talking about Carrie’s extradordinary chart success, and that’s why I didnt mention the male singers..in general, I think most of the ladies can sing circles around most of the men.

    So I actually agree with you on this.

    I directed three questions in my post above to Kevin, But I’d like to open that up, and would welcome answers to those three questions from anyone. I’m really trying to understand WHY Carrie has been dominating the charts and the awards with less than stellar material, and racking up record breaking statistics in such a short period of time…And whether or not folks think this is good for the genre. But no one really seems to want to address these questions in depth, at least to the degree I am looking for. I have my own thoughts on this which I have expressed, and am ready to listen now. But maybe my perspective on this is a very small minority one, and maybe the consensus is that most folks believe her material has been timeless and first rate.

  69. @Kevin – I would respectfully submit the following rationale behind my characterization of Randy Travis’s second album as “pop country.” (And I do mean, “respectfully.”)

    That Randy Travis was the poster boy for the neo-traditionalist movement is not in question (though his career as a whole has clearly had pop leanings at times). Placing “Always & Forever” side by side with “Storms of Life” reveals a conscious change in aesthetic, intended to bring crossover commercial success.

    And why wouldn’t Warner Bros. have wanted that? His debut was a monster seller for them. The thinking was that if he could out-sell everyone else in country music with “Storms,” just think how many units he could move if the album leaned more toward pop.

  70. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Here is the way I formulated the three questions above, and now open them up to anyone who wants to answer:

    “What is your assesment of Carrie’s overwhelming chart success, do you think any of it is inflated by secondary factors, or do you see all of her acclaim as as an entirely accurate reflection of her artistic merit?

    And aside from the gender justice issues, and your understandable enjoyment of her music, do you see Carrie’s near total chart domination as a good thing for the genre?

    And finally, to what do you attribute the difficulties some veterans are having getting any air time or chart position, even with their current high quality album and single offerings?”

  71. @Steve from Boston – Concerning why Carrie Underwood has been able to dominate the last three years the way she has, it’s a variety of factors.

    Firstly, there is the vacuum left by the removal of the Dixie Chicks from radio. Gretchen Wilson came on strong, but barely released her second album before audiences seemed to tire of her. It seems that radio’s attitude toward established women stars (Martina, Faith, Sara, etc.) seemed to have been that they weren’t growing radio’s audience.

    Carrie Underwood came along at just the right time; radio needed new blood, and thanks to “American Idol,” she came with a pre-existing following radio–like the rest of the industry–was just itching to attract. Magazines love having her on their covers, TV loves her, she’s popular online…in short, she already had in place the kind of exposure it takes to make a star. All the industry had to do was get on board with her popularity and try not to screw it up.

    Then you put her on the road. Every time she (or any artist) comes to town, there’s a radio station playing her stuff in promotion of the appearance, further bolstering her exposure. She’s done a lot of touring, hitting big markets. That adds up to a lot of exposure. It’s not just a concert; it’s an event when she comes to town.

    And don’t forget how popular social networking is with her target demographic; her Facebook page and her own website get a lot of traffic, and this is something that previous generations of performers didn’t have. She can create the sense of including her fans in her career, even her personal life, without ever meeting them. That personalizes the fan/artist connection, and that plays a key role in fan loyalty.

    Lastly, in interviews, she constantly expresses the right balance of humility and charm; she’s not very funny, but she doesn’t come off as particularly serious, either. I get the sense that most people expect she’s the same woman away from the cameras, and while I have my doubts, she hasn’t done anything to ruin that image.

  72. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    @Kevin – I suppose the generation that listens to Carrie probably wouldn’t know who Linda is, as Linda is about two generations beyond theirs. I can believe and aceept that. However, I do think Linda’s entire body of work is recognized by her peers, and will in the end be recognized by the public.

    My whole thing about the difference between Linda and Carrie is whether Carrie is up for doing the kind of edgier material that Linda has done (of which, contrary to what the critics may say, there is a lot of). So far, I haven’t seen it; but then, it’s early in the game for Carrie, whereas Linda’s been around since 1967.

  73. LindaNo Gravatar

    Wow, Carrie is unstoppable right now. She’s the Michelle Kwan of country music.

  74. @Steve from Boston – What I neglected to mention in that last post of mine is that I think she’s a very astute entertainer. After “American Idol,” she could have had her pick of genres, and she chose country. Maybe she wanted to be a big fish in a little pond, but I think she really does feel comfortable in the genre.

    As for whether her success is good for the genre or not, I have to think that anyone’s success is good in one way or another. When people log into iTunes to download her new material, they’re going to the country page to do it. That increases the chance they’ll see something that might otherwise have escaped their attention. Fans tune into the ACM and CMA shows to watch her perform, and might bother to watch someone else’s performance, too. It adds up.

    I’m reminded of an interview between Kinky Friedman and Willie Nelson, shared in the liner notes to Willie’s “Revolutions of Time” box set:

    “What do you think of the state of country music today?” Friedman inquired. “All these sort of generic young artists popping out of the studio and becoming superstars, sometimes without even paying their dues. It’s not as if they could go on the road again. Most of them were never there the first time.”

    “Phases and stages,” Willie replied, as he steered his golf cart off the course and towards the recording studio. “They’re as real to this generation as Bob Wills, or Spade Cooley, or Tim Mix, or Lefty Frizzell.”

  75. radnorNo Gravatar

    @ Travis McClain – Go search “Ed Eason Walmart Soundcheck” on youtube and you will hear Ed Eason Carrie’s guitar player who has been with her from the beginning voice his opinion on how sincere Carrie is

  76. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Thanks for your thoughtful answers Travis..I understand that she has broadened the appeal of Country, but that is a whole ‘nother debate..at what cost to the quality of the music and to the identity of the genre?

    Do you think her ALL of her chart and award acclaim is an accurate reflection of her artistic merit and maturity, and of the music itself?

    Granted I’m not Carrie’s biggset fan, but I just dont think it’s healthy for ANYONE to be dominating so completely, unless of course their music is of exraordinarly high quality…if Carrie was another Loretta Lynn or a female Hank Williams, it would be more understandable to me. But I wonder if even they could succeed in this current, youth-obsessed enviroment.

    Ben made the point that Taylor was nipping at Carrie’s heels for a while, but Carrie seems to have weathered that challenge, at least for now. But even if the spotlight were equally shared between the two, I would still find it troubling that two singers can so utterly dominate the charts with the kind of material they are offering.

  77. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Oh, and I like the Friedman reference, well done.

  78. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    A little off topic, but it’s nearly confirmed that Mama’s Song will be the next single. I’m disappointed to say the least.

  79. @radnor – No offense, but I’m not sure that the remarks of an active member of her band, recorded for promotional purposes, can be taken as unbiased. ;)

    That said, I didn’t mean to suggest that she’s some kind of stark-raving diva who puts on a show for the camera. Rather, she reminds me of Derek Jeter, who has perfected the art of the inoffensive interview. Video mash-ups have been compiled showing how often Jeter uses the same innocuous phrases time and again, things like “I’m just here to help the team win” and “We play one game at a time and hope good things happen,” that kind of thing.

  80. @Steve from Boston – When you whittle down this entire discussion to, “Is her success based solely on artistic merit?” you get into the nature of commercial art.

    First, let’s consider the “commercial” part. I think it’s insane to believe that *anyone’s* commercial success has *ever* rested solely on artistic merit. Upset the wrong people, and no matter what your work is, it may never see the light of day, or public opinion might be turned against it, etc.

    Conversely, keep the right people happy, and your chances of getting your art out there to the masses and engendering goodwill improve dramatically. Carrie Underwood has, so far, kept the right people happy.

    Now, the “art.” No matter how much we like to tell ourselves that the masses are mere sheep, easily manipulated by the promotions department, it’s really very difficult to sustain popularity in entertainment. It might even be harder today than ever before, thanks to the Internet. 20 years ago, the Justin Biebers of the world were guys you knew that impressed the girls in your school or where you worked. Today, they can become actual stars.

    I can’t tell you that Carrie Underwood’s material has been entertaining, or inspiring, or enjoyable; that’s for you to determine. I can tell you that, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed her work to date. I think she’s yet to record her best material, but then I think it’s rare for any artist’s early work to be their best.

    Even if she decides to go off and live in seclusion and never record again, I think what she’s turned in already has been pretty good. She’s never tried to be anything other than what she is: a young, hopeful woman singing songs that appealed to her. I can’t find any fault in that.

  81. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Steve From Boston,

    Underwood’s success is troubling to you because you don’t think the material warrants it. But you’re asking those of us who do think she’s put out good material to justify the success she’s had with it. There’s no mystery to solve for the people who like her music in the first place.

  82. jakeNo Gravatar

    i heard the new single was “what can i say” and i would much rather have that then “mamma’s song” does any one know what the official single is gonna be?

  83. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    Jake, I believe she confirmed it in a backstage interview at the Today show this morning, but I’ve been out of town and haven’t seen the video yet.

  84. I think SOME of Carrie’s singles deserved the success they achieved, but definitely not all of them. There have been plenty of singers who released much better material than Carrie’s, but only achieved a small fraction of her success. Besides that, I am often mildly irrated by the fact that any Carrie Underwood song is a guaranteed hit, even when the quality suffers. Her song “Undo It” is a classic example of pop-country inanity, but look at what a smash it’s become.

  85. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    And “Undo It” is one of my favorite things she’s ever done. Different strokes, I guess!

  86. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Quoting Kevin John Coyne: “Underwood’s success is troubling to you because you don’t think the material warrants it. But you’re asking those of us who do think she’s put out good material to justify the success she’s had with it. There’s no mystery to solve for the people who like her music in the first place.”
    ——————————————–

    That’s a fair characterization of my position. I just want to be clear though, that one thing I’m NOT asking is for anyone to justify their own enjoyment of Carrie’s music, I do realize that a thread such as this invites dissent as well as celebration.

    I am amazed though, that even Carrie’s biggest and most rational supporters here are unwilling to concede that ANY of her extraordinary acclaim may be even a little bit inflated. It is interesting that you and some other Carrie fans here characterize her music as “good” or “very good” and seem hesitant to call her material “great”. So what it seeems to come down to is a situation where Carrie is recieving extraordinary acclaim for material that is “good” to “very good” at best. Great acclaim should be reserved for great music..not for merely good music from someone who may or may not have great potential.

    I do believe Carrie deserves some recogniton for her undenible talent…but not more acclaim than the veterans who are still producing truly great Country music, have very high critical regard yet still struggle to get any airtime or chart position at all. That is the situation today, and it is ridiculous.

    I know it’s not Carrie’s fault, I blame the youth-obsessed marketplace, and the media that caters to it. Travis made a great point that radio seems to “freeze” out the verteran artists whom they deem to have had a long enough radio run. (Again, to artificially make room for young artists) That freezing point seems to come earlier to women artists than to men, and that is an injustice. There shouldn’t be freezing point at all, an artist run on radio should be only dependent on their continuing ability to produce great music.

    Veteran artists like Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood have been putting out some of the best music of their careers and in Patty’s case at least, are still going strong. (I believe Trisha is taking time of to promote her cookbook) They deserve the opportunity to rack up the number ones every bit as much as their male counterparts like Alan Jackson. Alan deserves every bit of his acclaim, but the female verterans deserve to be in a similar position after all these years as well.

    There is an undeniable male bias in the industry, but I do not see the inflated acclaim and elevaton of Carrie Underwood as the best remedy for the disparity. There are more than a few accomplished female artists on your lists, who have more substance and artistic maturity, and they are more deserving to be in a postition to break the glass ceiling.

    Even if I haven’t persuaded anyone, I hope I’ve at least helped some folks to see Carrie’s rapid and recordbreaking rise with a more critical eye. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to voice my dissenting perspective to what I see as an absurd, unjust and somewhat unseemly situation.

  87. I’m not sure that looking at how many #1 hits an artist has achieved is the best way to assess his or her impact. There are many, many classic songs that never made it to the top spot on the chart. And many #1 hits are forgotten as soon as they drop off the charts. George Jones only had 9 #1 hits as a solo artist, but it would be difficult to argue that he didn’t have as much or greater impact as every artist that Kevin listed. Likewise it’s hard to make the case that a song like “A Picture of Me (Without You)”, which only made it to #5 is less memorable than, say, “Undo It”. Some of Carrie’s hits will no doubt be remembered years from now, but I don’t think “Undo It” will be one of them.

  88. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Quoting Ben Foster:

    “I think SOME of Carrie’s singles deserved the success they achieved, but definitely not all of them. There have been plenty of singers who released much better material than Carrie’s, but only achieved a small fraction of her success. Besides that, I am often mildly irrated by the fact that any Carrie Underwood song is a guaranteed hit, even when the quality suffers. Her song “Undo It” is a classic example of pop-country inanity, but look at what a smash it’s become.”

    ———————————————–
    Exactly, your post probably comes closest to my point of view on this.

    ———————————————–
    And Razor, it’s not just the number ones, but all the awards and incessant press coverage too that I feel adds to the sense that her recognition is inflated beyond reason. 4 (or more) Grammy’s?? Already? And her rabid fans see to it that she wins every poll that she is a part of, from every publication..

    Last night I went back to my Yahoo homepage after posting here on the subject and whose face do I see but Carrie Underwood’s! Something about how she misses her new husband already, an article I didnt bother to read…but enough already! All Carrie all the time is getting old.

  89. DanniNo Gravatar

    Country radio determines who gets to #1 and they are always looking at ways to increase and retain listeners. Carrie appeals to both young and old country listeners. Since she doesn’t get played on pop radio (with the exception of Before He Cheats) the way Taylor Swift does, her pop fans have to listen to country stations in order to hear her on the radio (and I’m one of them). So the way I see it, Carrie allows country radio to bring in young country listeners and cross-over listeners and also allows them to do that without offending/losing a lot of their older listeners. So they reward her by giving her #1s. I personally love Trisha and Martina’s vocals but Carrie is the only one who I will actually change the radio station to a country one in order to hear.

    Does it matter if a particular song isn’t worthy of the #1 position. Because if so, then that’s not a problem that’s specific to Carrie. I certainly don’t consider songs like Big Green Tractor to be a #1 song but it spent 4 weeks (if my recall is correct) at #1 and no one seems to be arguing about why Jason gets that to #1. It’s a game between country radio and the labels and I suspect most people are wise to that.

    Regarding Carrie being everywhere… I would assume that it only increases her appeal to radio folks trying to win over new fans.

    Regarding her vocal talent… I don’t know of any other artist right now who can go from Before He Cheats to I Told You So to Paradise City to I Know You Won’t to Earth Song to the Worm Anthem to Neon Moon and then to How Great Thou Art do an outstanding vocal job on each one of them.

    I have to add… I can never understand why people expect her to be putting out the best music of her career when she’s only 5 years into the music business. As a fan, it’s wonderful to watch her grow and figure herself out as an artist. It’s actually quite amazing her growth from her first album to this third one. And I, like some others here, am sure that her best is yet to come.

  90. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    I am amazed though, that even Carrie’s biggest and most rational supporters here are unwilling to concede that ANY of her extraordinary acclaim may be even a little bit inflated. It is interesting that you and some other Carrie fans here characterize her music as “good” or “very good” and seem hesitant to call her material “great”.

    I’m willing to concede that point and have before. But I’m also willing to call plenty of her material “great”: “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Just a Dream,” “Before He Cheats,” “I Told You So,” as singles – and many, many other recordings (“How Great Thou Art,” “I Know You Won’t,” “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” etc.) I believe the best is yet to come, but that doesn’t mean some of her current material isn’t great. Not to mention that I think her voice is beyond great. So yeah – her success is inflated, but I don’t see it as the gross injustice that you do.

    And her rabid fans see to it that she wins every poll that she is a part of, from every publication..

    I don’t mean to be rude, but…so what? Polls measure fan support, and fan support is just that. People can bemoan her award and chart success all they want, but to bemoan her fan support, “rabid” or not, is silly to me. And I’ll add that I know Carrie’s core fanbase extremely well, and it isn’t the blind mass following that some people seem to think it is. There’s some of that, but there’s a heck of a lot of sincere, heartfelt and, believe it or not, rational support for Carrie, as an artist and as a person.

    Last night I went back to my Yahoo homepage after posting here on the subject and whose face do I see but Carrie Underwood’s! Something about how she misses her new husband already, an article I didnt bother to read…but enough already! All Carrie all the time is getting old.

    I just have to re-emphasize that this isn’t Carrie’s fault. At least four articles about her that have come out in the past week have used her personal blog as their meat – a personal blog that fan club members pay to read. By nature of her career, she asks for a certain amount of publicity, but not nearly as much as she’s getting. I would guess that she’d be much happier if she weren’t the top searched name on Yahoo week after week.

  91. I have to add… I can never understand why people expect her to be putting out the best music of her career when she’s only 5 years into the music business.

    Why not? How long are we supposed to wait for her best music? Somebody, I forget who, said earlier that it’s rare for artists to release their best music early in their careers. That simply isn’t true. Just listen artists like Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis, Gary Allan, and Lee Ann Womack — just to name a few, whose debut albums were among the strongest — and in some cases THE strongest — albums of their careers.

    Why are we constantly being told that Carrie’s material thus far may be weak, but she will release something great in the future? How about reserving all the praise and accolades until that actually happens?

  92. DiamondNo Gravatar

    Carrie came through “American Idol,” where it is all about pleasing as many people as you can each week in order to win. So it might be a while before she can break away from being a “people-pleaser” with her music. That is where I think “Idol” has actually hindered her growth, but only to a point. I have enjoyed her “Play On” a lot, and find it a step forward. If “Mama’s Song” is the next single, however, I think it will be her first misstep in choosing the right releases for radio. It’s maybe a top ten single, but not a number one. Then again, maybe its Underwood choosing a song because of what it means to her, whether it tops the charts or not. That would be fine with me.

  93. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Quoting Razor X

    Why not? How long are we supposed to wait for her best music? Somebody, I forget who, said earlier that it’s rare for artists to release their best music early in their careers. That simply isn’t true. Just listen artists like Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis, Gary Allan, and Lee Ann Womack — just to name a few, whose debut albums were among the strongest — and in some cases THE strongest — albums of their careers.

    Why are we constantly being told that Carrie’s material thus far may be weak, but she will release something great in the future? How about reserving all the praise and accolades until that actually happens?
    ——————————————-
    Exactly..

    Also, Razor I would include Sara Evans first few as examples of an artist putting out exraordinalry high quality material right off the bat. Vince Gill said of Sara’s debut Three Chords and the Truth that it was “so good it’s scary, while my debut was merely scary” or something like that.

    ———————————–

    And Tara, I do realize that many, many Underwood fans are rational and not rabid…I would say that everyone on this thread so far has been thoughtful and not too reflexive in their remarks.

    I have a good friend who loves Carrie, goes to many of her shows, belongs to her fan club, but also condedes that some, if not much of her acclaim is inflated…but it does not bother him, he just scratches his head then heads out to her shows to enjoy her music! I have no problem with that at all or with anyone enjoying her music.

    And I realize that all the media frenzy isn’t Carrie’s fault, but that does not make it any less off putting to those of us who are not into it. The complete domination of the polls, (which I concede do not matter in the grand scheme of things) is just another barometer of the complete, irrational frenzy that I call Carriemania, which is not to be confused with general, clear headed support and devotion to Carrie who is admittedly a gifted vocalist.

    I appreciate the concession you made, and agree that How Great Thou Art and I Told You So are amoung her finest performances, and are also great material. Stand By Your Man too, from accounts I have heard. I think her performances of the more Traditonal material have been her best, but that is not to say that I believe she is best at singing the Traditonal, if that make any sense. I think her voice is more cut out for high quality Pop or Country Pop, again, I think songs of McBride and Yearwood caliber would suit her vocals best. So far, I havent heard it, at least not in her singles.

    And while I appreciate your intellectual honesty, we vehemently dissagree that the inflation factor isn’t a big problem to the integrity of the genre.
    But I would also say that Taylor Swift’s incomprehensible level of acclaim, (again, she too is talented but is recieving absurd levels of recognition) and the crap that many of the male singers are putting out and getting rewarded for, and some of the other ladies as well…these are all signs of the acendancy of the superficial, the mediocre, the insipid, the juvenile and the hollow in today’s Country music scene. In my book anyway.

  94. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    Why are we constantly being told that Carrie’s material thus far may be weak, but she will release something great in the future? How about reserving all the praise and accolades until that actually happens?



    I’m not telling you that. As I said above, I think some of the material she’s putting out now is great – but I think she’s yet to put out an album that completely matches her potential. Subsequently, I absolutely think she deserves some of the acclaim she’s received, but I agree that some of her success is inflated. I just don’t think this is as black and white as some of you are making it out to be.

    The complete domination of the polls, (which I concede do not matter in the grand scheme of things) is just another barometer of the complete, irrational frenzy that I call Carriemania, which is not to be confused with general, clear headed support and devotion to Carrie who is admittedly a gifted vocalist.

    But how can the frenzy as a whole be irrational when you’re admitting that she has a good chunk of clear-headed supporters? Again, I don’t think it’s black and white.

    Like you said, we just fundamentally disagree on Carrie – but I sincerely appreciate your respectfulness.

    Carrie came through “American Idol,” where it is all about pleasing as many people as you can each week in order to win. So it might be a while before she can break away from being a “people-pleaser” with her music. That is where I think “Idol” has actually hindered her growth, but only to a point.

    Just my opinion, but I think Carrie’s a people pleaser at base case, and would have been one even if she’d never gone on Idol. I think it’s as much a personal struggle for her as it is an artistic struggle.

  95. I got to thinking about this overnight some more, and I think a large part of the reason that some people find the kind of attention and exposure Carrie Underwood has received is overwhelming is because the publicity machine has vastly expanded.

    You feel overwhelmed because you ARE being overwhelmed by the modern publicity machine. But it’s important to remember that, whatever the era, they’ve all been commercial recording artists. If any of George Jones’s various labels could have gotten him the kind of exposure during his heyday that the average artist enjoys today (and if they could have sobered him up long enough to get him to participate), then we’d have all kinds of fan letters to review complaining about how The Possum was “inflated” compared to, say, Bob Wills.

    In the vernacular, then, don’t hate the player; hate the game.

    And if anyone ever thought that chart success was some kind of legitimate measurement of the quality of a song, then that person needs to learn about a lot more than just Carrie Underwood’s publicity.

    Also, on the subject of artists’s early material being among their best, I have to ask: by what measuring stick do you determine “best?” Sorry, but I’m a huge Waylon fan and there’s no way you’re ever going to convince me that we’d have been better off growing impatient with his career early on. It took literally a decade at RCA before he began to turn in the material that made him a legend.

    What’s the rush? If you want fully matured material, there are plenty of veteran artists out there recording those kinds of albums. Let the young artists grow. Any other expectation is simply unreasonable; they can’t express in song experiences and perspectives they haven’t had.

  96. My guy, Vince Gill, certainly did not put out his best albums at the beginning. Then again, he also didn’t get a lot of acclaim either. I do agree that a lot of artists put out there best work at the beginning of their careers, though, but I contend that it goes both ways. I think Carrie is getting a lot of fan acclaim, but I don’t think her critical acclaim has been inflated at all, since many critics roundly pan her music. In fact, somebody like Jamey Johnson, who I like, probably gets more inflated critical praise than he actually deserves. As Tara has said, I don’t think it’s nearly as black and white as people make it out to be, from either side. Then, I rarely think in black and white anyway.

  97. Sorry, but I’m a huge Waylon fan and there’s no way you’re ever going to convince me that we’d have been better off growing impatient with his career early on. It took literally a decade at RCA before he began to turn in the material that made him a legend.

    The difference is that in the early part of his career, Waylon wasn’t being presented as the greatest talent to ever come along in the history of country music. And that is exactly the kind of over-the-top hype we’ve been getting about Carrie. Too many people act as though she is a phenomenal talent the likes of which country music has never seen, when truth of the matter is that plenty of talented people preceded her. In all fairness, all the hype isn’t her fault.

    What’s the rush? If you want fully matured material, there are plenty of veteran artists out there recording those kinds of albums. Let the young artists grow. Any other expectation is simply unreasonable; they can’t express in song experiences and perspectives they haven’t had.

    That seems like an admission that all the praise and accolades have been premature. You’re right; a lot of artists do need more time to develop and find their voice. But most of them aren’t winning every award imaginable before they’ve achieved anything great.

  98. @Razor X – Contrasting Waylon’s era with Carrie’s shows one thing. New artists were free to be just that: a new artist. We’ve seen labels drop new artists time and again for not having monster success right off the bat; there’s a level of expectation and pressure that I don’t think any previous generation had to endure.

    If Carrie Underwood *hadn’t* performed to the level she has, she might easily have been dismissed as little more than a footnote; the TV show contestant who flopped.

    And, no I don’t consider my remarks an “admission that all the praise and accolades have been premature.” I concede that the publicity is overwhelming (though she still hasn’t had the kinds of TV specials or movie appearances that one would expect). What I’m saying is that the expectations placed on her are outright unreasonable–on both sides. That she’s managed to sustain the kind of success she’s had in retaining fans, growing her own fan base as well as the format’s, selling out shows and getting people to actually pay for her music in the era of file-sharing is nothing short of amazing. She makes it look easy, but there’s a whole host of artists who haven’t been able to do those things.

    As for winning the awards, I’ve never understood why anyone who isn’t actually competing for one of them cares who wins them. I watch the awards shows, but for the performances and the occasional act of rebellion from Alan Jackson. Is Miranda Lambert somehow diminished because Carrie Underwood won an award? Not only is that absurd, but it speaks to the very same obsessed score-keeping that you seem to have a problem with in the first place. Hitting #1 doesn’t prove a song is great, or even good, any more than winning an award is proof positive that one artist was somehow “better” than another in a given year.

    My advice is to quit using those as your measuring sticks, stop worrying about how popular or exposed an artist is…and concentrate on their actual work. If it leaves you cold, then it leaves you cold and who cares how many others love it? And if it lights you up, why should it matter to you that no one else even knows who that artist is?

  99. ,i> Is Miranda Lambert somehow diminished because Carrie Underwood won an award? Not only is that absurd, but it speaks to the very same obsessed score-keeping that you seem to have a problem with in the first place. Hitting #1 doesn’t prove a song is great, or even good, any more than winning an award is proof positive that one artist was somehow “better” than another in a given year.

    It’s got nothing to do with Miranda Lambert or any other artist, or “score-keeping” of any kind. It’s just another example of the hype and overexposure that is so off-putting.

  100. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    Again, it’s only off-putting because you don’t think the music warrants it. Many others do.

    Carrie Underwood released more singles I loved off her first album than Brad Paisley has released in his entire career. But I understand why he has won so many awards and I’m happy that there are fans out there who enjoy his music.

    It doesn’t bother me that his success at radio (10 straight #1 hits, only one of which I’d care to hear again) is unprecedented in the monitored era. I’m not offended or outraged that artists that I like a lot more aren’t the ones getting the airplay and accolades. I’m not awaiting Paisley to turn away from the music that has made him a huge star to satisfy one of his detractors. And I certainly don’t think his fans have to justify his success to me because I don’t like his music.

  101. @Razor X – If paying attention to chart performance and awards isn’t score keeping, then what is it? I’m not attacking you here; I’d really love to know: if it’s not a means of quantification, then what possible meaning could those things hold for you as a fan?

  102. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    “10 straight #1 hits, only one of which I’d care to hear again”

    Oh, man. Is it “Waitin’ On a Woman” or “Letter to Me”? Kevin’s Good Taste fans can’t bear the suspense! :p

  103. Yes, the way Kevin describes his feelings about Brad Paisley’s success is exactly, word for word (including liking exactly one single of hers), how I feel about Carrie Underwood’s. She’s not for me, as much as I’ve given her a chance, but I only wish her the best. I don’t begrudge her success and I understand why others like her a lot (“except for Cowboy Casanova and “Undo It”). I can’t say that I extend the same grace to Rascal Flatts though.:)

  104. Dan,
    My bet is on “Waitin’ on a Woman.”

  105. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    Actually…I forgot about “Waitin’ On a Woman.” So there are two out of ten, as I was thinking of “Letter to Me.”

  106. Michael A.No Gravatar

    At the risk of sounding like an old-timer yearning for the good ole days (before I’ve even reached the age of 30), “Uh-uh-uh Undo It” is not greater than or equal to “Runaway Train”. I think/hope Underwood’s radio success will reach a more reasonable level soon. It goes both ways. At one point some of my favorite artists could release a weaker single and it would still reach #1 (See some of Reba and George Strait’s chart toppers.) On the other hand, sometimes a song I like such as “Welcome to the Future” or “American Saturday Night” is released and it surprisingly gets all the way to number 2. Only an artist who has a strong relationship with radio like Brad Paisley does could take a song that high on the charts.

    It really isn’t the artist’s fault. The blame lies with record labels and radio programmers who will would rather promote a single that won’t stir up any emotion either way, as long as it doesn’t cause the soccer mom to change the station in the minivan. Is it fair that Trisha Yearwood’s “On a Bus to St. Cloud” could barely crack the Top 60 but “Powerful Thing” was a Top Ten hit? I don’t think so. But alas, that’s the way it is. I do hope that Underwood will release something that I like soon. She has a great voice.

    Also, I’m 1 for 10 when it comes to Brad Paisley’s string of #1’s… except the one I like is “When I Get Where I’m Going”.

  107. @Razor X – If paying attention to chart performance and awards isn’t score keeping, then what is it? I’m not attacking you here; I’d really love to know: if it’s not a means of quantification, then what possible meaning could those things hold for you as a fan?

    They hold very little meaning for me. I’m not “obsessively scorekeeping” as you implied in your earlier post. Carrie wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar, but unfortunately she is impossible to avoid because she’s constantly on the radio, the awards shows, magazine covers, the blogs, etc. I don’t like having any artist forced on me, particularly one who doesn’t live up to that kind of hype.

  108. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Michael, who wrote:
    Is it fair that Trisha Yearwood’s “On a Bus to St. Cloud” could barely crack the Top 60 but “Powerful Thing” was a Top Ten hit? I don’t think so. But alas, that’s the way it is.

    It’s amazing how many of the big radio hits that Yearwood had were ditties and power ballads. Most of which I liked, mind you. Same for Patty Loveless. You really need to buy the albums or check out the lower charting hits to realize how good they were back then, should one be discovering them for the first time.

  109. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Quoting Michael A.

    ““Uh-uh-uh Undo It” is not greater than or equal to “Runaway Train”.

    Bravo, Michael, well done! Some things are self-evidently true, and this is an excellent example. And this is my reply to those of the “who are we to judge” school of thought regarding the quality of a given piece of music. That and critical judgement. Not that we shouldnt think for ourselves, but there really seems to be an inverse relationship between critical acclaim and chart success. “Sara’s Three Chords and the Truth” album may be a perfect template here, that has been repeated countless times. Beloved by the critics but a commercial flop. I like to believe that I think for myself, but if it came down to a choice between following the crowd on a given artist, album or song, and listening to the critics, I feel that the critics more often than not get it right.

    ——————

    Leeann, I know what you mean about your guy Vince, and the same is true of my gal Patty…not her best stuff in her right-off-the-bat debut. But subsequently and presently, wow, just WOW!

    My other gal Sara however, knocked it right out of the park her first time up. But now she seems to be in a bit of a slump which I hope she pulls out of soon.

    Also, among Carrie’s detractors, (or should I say “doubters”) I think you display perhaps the healthiest attitude, you seem to be at peace and I can really learn from your attitude. Even though we share similar thoughts on this subject, I think Carrie’s inflated popular, chart and award sucess bugs me more than it probably should.

    —————–

    Kevin, funny but I am a huge Brad Paisley fan, and think he DOES deserve all the accolades. (didnt realize he too had ten number ones, cool.)

    As you said earlier, “different strokes”. But I gotta admit, my favorite stuff from him are more his album cuts and concert selections than his singles, by and large..

    I think you are onto something there contrasting an artists album cuts with their singles. I always liked Patty, ever since the late eighties, but I didn’t become such a huge fan of hers until I really started digging into her catalog. This process of disccovery for me began after the turn of the century. Then and there I discovered veritble worlds of musical wonder to behold, in all of her albums, and most of her guest recordings and collaborations.

  110. DanniNo Gravatar

    @Razor X

    Why not? How long are we supposed to wait for her best music? Somebody, I forget who, said earlier that it’s rare for artists to release their best music early in their careers. That simply isn’t true. Just listen artists like Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis, Gary Allan, and Lee Ann Womack — just to name a few, whose debut albums were among the strongest — and in some cases THE strongest — albums of their careers.

    Why are we constantly being told that Carrie’s material thus far may be weak, but she will release something great in the future? How about reserving all the praise and accolades until that actually happens?

    _____

    My statement that I believe that we have not heard the best from Carrie does not mean in any way that I feel that her material thus far has been weak. My intent was to imply that I think that she is so good she can only get better.

    To compare Carrie’s early years to those like Trisha or Alan’s really isn’t comparing apples to apples. Trisha and Alan would have had years of experience in the music world before they ever released their first album. Carrie’s starting point was straight out of a normal college life.

    In any case, I really wouldn’t want to hear the best out of an artist early in their career. That would mean it could only go downhill from there. That’s part of the reason that it’s exciting to follow Carrie’s career. It’s really enjoyable watching what she started from and how she continues to grow.

    _____________________________

    @Steve from Boston

    I do realize that many, many Underwood fans are rational and not rabid

    _____

    Thanks you for that! :)

    _____________________________

    @Steve from Boston

    And I realize that all the media frenzy isn’t Carrie’s fault, but that does not make it any less off putting to those of us who are not into it. The complete domination of the polls, (which I concede do not matter in the grand scheme of things) is just another barometer of the complete, irrational frenzy that I call Carriemania, which is not to be confused with general, clear headed support and devotion to Carrie who is admittedly a gifted vocalist.
    _____

    My apologies if it is off putting as I can certainly understand that point of view. I have put many a vote in for Carrie than I would care to admit(and no I’m not a teenager with time on my hands) and we certainly don’t have total domination of polls (only because there are too many to keep track of so we have to be selective). :) But kidding aside… I believe that polls actually do matter in the grand scheme in the sense that poll voting keeps us connected to the artist who may otherwise be out of sight, out of mind. Not unlike how artists use twitter. So maybe it could be considered irrational when we feel the need to vote or follow a person on twitter but not so much different as a person who can’t stay away from reading an email as soon as it arrives in their inbox. Human behaviour in this world of technology we live in… ok, I concede, irrational.

    __________________________________

    @Razor X

    The difference is that in the early part of his career, Waylon wasn’t being presented as the greatest talent to ever come along in the history of country music. And that is exactly the kind of over-the-top hype we’ve been getting about Carrie. Too many people act as though she is a phenomenal talent the likes of which country music has never seen, when truth of the matter is that plenty of talented people preceded her. In all fairness, all the hype isn’t her fault.
    _____

    I am unaware of people acting as though Carrie is a talent that country music has never seen. Even on the Carrie fan boards there is great respect for those who have come before and those who are current such as Martina, Trisha and Miranda. In fact, Carrie herself has tried to bring her respect of those artists to her fans.

    ____________________________________

    @Razor X

    That seems like an admission that all the praise and accolades have been premature. You’re right; a lot of artists do need more time to develop and find their voice. But most of them aren’t winning every award imaginable before they’ve achieved anything great.

    _____

    The majority of the ACM and CMA awards that Carrie has received were not fan voted awards. As an outsider to the Country Music community, for Carrie to receive that many awards from these people right out of the gate…. I don’t understand how you don’t consider that as achieving something great.

  111. I keep seeing remarks that Alan Jackson’s best material came early in his career. As a radio artist, sure. But as an album artist?

    The first album he released that I found completely enjoyable, from start to finish, was “Everything I Love,” which came after his first four albums (five if you count his first Christmas release) and his “Greatest Hits Collection.” Those early releases were simply collections of songs (yes, many of them outstanding); not artistic statements as albums.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that radio listener-ship seems to be high among the anti-Carrie crowd. Radio is not about art; it’s about commercialism.

  112. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    Also, among Carrie’s detractors, (or should I say “doubters”) I think you display perhaps the healthiest attitude

    I agree about Leeann :)

  113. KNo Gravatar

    The point about begrudging another artists success is interesting to me, mainly because I think that’s how a lot of people feel about Carrie’s success in country music as a female artist.

    She’s proven her talent time and time agan, yet it always seems people want to constantly criticize her for factors she has no control over.

    She’s a talented young woman who’s still trying to find her voice and style as an artist, and she hasn’t fully developed her vision as an artist.

    Carriie has always recording music that’s true to her life and vision as an artist, but I feel like a lot of people tend to overlook that and only focus on her great voice- but not her journey as an artist.

    People seem to forget Carrie has only been a proffesional recording artist for five years- she had never perfected her craft or gotten to try to polish the craft of songwriting or performing like so many of her peers.

    Listening to “Some Hearts” and “Play On,” I think Carrie has shown an amazing amount of growth that she’s not given nearly enough credit for. She contributed her own words to every song on this album, and you can tell who she is through the album- something that was pretty vacant in her last two albums.

    I agree that most of her material is mediocre at best- but I believe she works hard to be the artist SHE wants, and I respect that. She has been influenced by everyone from Randy Travis and Dolly Parton to Rascal Flatts, Garth, and Shania, and her music showcases everything she loves. She is a country-pop artist who is influenced by lots of different artists- some of whom record vapid material also.

    Carrie has always wanted to be contemporary country- if she was going to be a classic country artist, she would’ve done so.

    I don’t understand why Carrie is critized for being the artist she is- why aren’t we asking the same growth of other women like Martina, Taylor, and so many others?

  114. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar

    Trisha released songs to radio-not future hits. If radio picked up on it, good they went. But she wasnt afriad to release the ones she loved such as “Bus To St Cloud” and MCA let her do it. I dont see Carrie’s label taking that type of a risk. She is on one hell of a ride with some huge hits, are they good? Sure. Are they risky? Not at all. But noone is saying that in order to be good, or respectable you need to be risky. I just think that is why Trisha did have as many #1s as she could have. And early in her career once her songs hit the top 5 MCA didnt push them, they moved on to the next single to keep it flowing. Its just two different labels taking two different approaches to success.
    Now of course Carrie is the bigger success wise of the two and I dont see her slowing down. But that is just my logic as to why Trisha wasnt toping the chart more. Correct me if I am wrong but in the 90s the only female act to have more top 5s than Trisha was Reba?

  115. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    “Carriie has always recording music that’s true to her life and vision as an artist, but I feel like a lot of people tend to overlook that and only focus on her great voice- but not her journey as an artist.”

    As a critic-y person I can respect that, but generally speaking, there’s no reason for anyone who’s not already a Carrie fan to care about her journey as an artist. That’s like expecting someone who isn’t a Jamey Johnson fan to care about the story behind That Lonesome Song. The music has to excite someone you can expect him/her to appreciate the artist behind it.

    “why aren’t we asking the same growth of other women like Martina, Taylor, and so many others?”

    We are. Carrie Underwood just comes up more often, probably because she’s been consistently successful for five years, and because she’s a favorite topic for discussion on this particular blog. I don’t think most country music fans are even having this conversation. As Jake said earlier, most people just like Carrie.

  116. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    Also, Trisha was recording on a label that was making millions off of Vince, Reba, George, and Wynonna. She wasn’t their flagship artist.

    I think the virtue of having Tony Brown at the helm of MCA is that he had that hip quotient going for him, having cut his teeth in Emmylou’s band (after playing with Elvis. Elvis!)

    It was amazing seeing the success that his label had with The Mavericks, who never even had a top ten hit but had a platinum album and won a few awards.

    I think MCA started messing up on the singles with Yearwood projects. With the exception of Real Live Woman, which I don’t think had any radio-friendly songs on it, they made some odd choices along the way, and would often stop at two or three singles once they encountered any resistance.

  117. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar

    I didnt think “Inside Out” had much radio friendly material on it. With the exception of the lead off single which faired very well (I Would’ve Loved You Anyway)
    I thought the single “Real Live Woman” could have went farther. The video, genius as it may have been could have used a different approach to really hit the accept me as I am message. One that would have grabbed the more simple listner. Im afraid the video they did went over some heads. But as far as other tracks from the album I would have given ‘Come Back When It Aint Raining’ a chance?
    “The Song Remembers When” was the odd album single wise, it was a ID crisis for them with her image and who to make her, but plenty of radio friendly songs could have easily been top 10s off that album,but they pulled the plug after 2. Im not sure if MCA ever knew what to do with her.

  118. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar

    Oh and I forgot to add, they completly dropped the bomb on “Jasper County” releasing “Trying to Love You” almost seemed like an attempt to kill the album, as if they knew she was planning on leaving. Why give her any momentum.

  119. Soul Miners DaughterNo Gravatar

    I was late getting on board the Carrie Underwood train… mainly because I don’t care for Music Row telling me who I’m supposed to like, but I digress.
    While I did eventually warm up to her and do like her now, I have just not cared for anything off her most recent cd. I thought she was going to be a serious force to be reckoned with but everything off this latest cd just doesn’t ring true. In other words, it sounds forced and over-the-top formulaic. No doubt, her best work will come when Music Row moves onto their next fave and leaves her alone.

  120. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Cory,

    I agree that “Come Back When it Ain’t Rainin'” could’ve been good at radio. Forgot about that one.

    The Song Remembers When was terribly mishandled. “If I Ain’t Got You” and “Here Comes Temptation” would’ve been great uptempo hits, and “Lying to the Moon” should’ve been given a shot.

    Even off of Hearts in Armor, I would’ve jettisoned “You Say You Will” in favor of “Oh Lonesome You” and sent “Woman Walk the Line” to radio before/instead of “Down On My Knees.”

  121. Im not sure if MCA ever knew what to do with her.

    And Big Machine is even more clueless as to what to do with her.

  122. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    @Dan Milliken..

    If I’m not mistaken, I seem to recall that Carrie Underwood threads get TONS of responses at the 9513, and other blogs as well. And they aren’t always as nice as we are here. But I think here she is generally on friendlier turf, and as such enjoys something of a home court advantage, so in that sense I agree with you.

    “most people just like Carrie”…and one hostess at GAC says “everbody loves Carrie”..well most of the country music (and much of the pop) buying public perhaps, but the love for Carrie Underwood is far from universal. I have a hunch that a good many Country fans who have given up on Country radio and TV may not care for Carrie’s music at all. And I do beleive that the predominance of her music is one of the major reasons why. (though not the only one)

    —————-

    Also, didn’t Carrie win an award from CMA or CMT for winning other awards? (a “Triple Crown” award they made specially for her?”) Isnt that a little like being famous for being famous? This is yet another example that hightlights the absurdity of the whole situation, and is symtomatic of the kind of inflated popular momentum that virtually gaurantees that ANYTHING Carrie puts out, no matter the quality, will be at least a top five hit. It really seems now that we are at the point where folks are voting with their dollars for Carrie’s persona at least as much as they are voting for the music itself. The Underwood BANDWAGON has truly become a runaway train.

    And I cant resist some repetition here:

    “Uh-uh-uh Undo It” is not greater than or equal to (Roseanne Cash’s song) “Runaway Train”.

    More kudos to Michael for speaking the self-evident truth. My favorite line of the whole discussion so far.

    But Undo it is a perfect example remniscent of Sugarland’s All I Want to do oo oo oo oo..

    What is troubling is that in both cases, Carrie’s Undo It and Sugarland’s All I Want to Do, the artist either truly believes in these songs (which is scary), or realizes they are musical junk and cynically holds their own popularity in such high regard that they are now taking their audience for granted and dont care what they foist upon them. (I hope this is not the case, as occasionl lapses of judgement are easier to forgive than contempt for one’s audience) Fortunatly at least in Sugarland’s case they have since released some better material, and here’s to hoping Carrie will do the same.

  123. @ Steve: What I think you might be refering to is the Triple Crown Award given out by the ACM Awards. I think Carrie Underwood did recieve the award this year. The award is awarded to those artists who have won the ACM for New Artist, Vocalist, & Entertainer.

    I remember, because I think they awarded it to Barbara Mandrell a few years back. So it wasn’t specially designated for Carrie.

    Correct me if I am wrong anyone?

  124. And by the way, I do think that giving out awards for breaking records and winning awards (just for the sake of it) is pretty rediculous. Like Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift earning Crystal Milestone awards for something with regards to history making? And Reba McEntire (though I do love her) winning the preimer female vocalist award from the ACMs for winning the most female vocalist awards. (By the ACMs)

    Of course, these kinds of awards are typically given out by the ACMs and not the CMAs.

    Here are the videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8HBGik_dIs
    (Reba’s award from the ACM– Trisha Yearwood is so darling when she gets nervous)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcTo_0zmn3I&feature=related
    (Barbara Mandrell’s Triple Crown Award)

  125. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Thanks for the info, the links and perspective, Zack,.. so the silly traditon of self- perpetuating awards didn’t start with Carrie as recipient. She just seems to be the current benificiary.

    Not sure what I was thinking with the “specially created” part of my assertion..I may have confused it for something one of the orginazations did for Taylor Swift perhaps?

    And you’re right, Trisha was adorable in that clip. Nice to know that we fans aren’t the only ones to get nervous and starstruck in the presence of greatness…I think we tend to forget that our musical heroes are also fans of other musical greats.

  126. KevinNo Gravatar

    Steve wrote:
    If I’m not mistaken, I seem to recall that Carrie Underwood threads get TONS of responses at the 9513, and other blogs as well. And they aren’t always as nice as we are here. But I think here she is generally on friendlier turf, and as such enjoys something of a home court advantage, so in that sense I agree with you.

    This is generally friendlier territory for pretty much every artist. Threads here don’t get nasty or personal very often, and the moderators intervene when it happens. Labeling that home court advantage for Underwood is silly.

    Steve also wrote:
    What is troubling is that in both cases, Carrie’s Undo It and Sugarland’s All I Want to Do, the artist either truly believes in these songs (which is scary), or realizes they are musical junk and cynically holds their own popularity in such high regard that they are now taking their audience for granted and dont care what they foist upon them.

    Perhaps they should clear all of their songs selections with you so they meet the Steve From Boston standard of excellence. After all, us idiots buying those songs and enjoying them don’t know what’s good for us. So easily manipulated, are we.

    Here’s an idea: We can have A Clockwork Orange-type intervention, where all Carrie Underwood fans are locked in a room and forced to listen to Patty Loveless and Sara Evans 24/7 until we see the light?

    Sign me up right away! I look forward to being enlightened as to why “All I Wanna Do” and “Undo It” are musical junk cynically hoisted upon us, while “I Try To Think About Elvis”, “Timber I’m Falling In Love”, “I Could Not Ask For More”, and “Suds in the Bucket” are powerful artistic statements that elevated country music to stunning new heights!

  127. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    @Kevin:

    Just speaking strictly for myself, I think it is just a lot harder for some of us to really warm up to Carrie the way it seems country radio is trying to make us do, but I certainly won’t argue with what her music means to her fans; nor will I engage in insults with anyone here who is a fan of hers. She just doesn’t resonate with me personally like other artists do, that’s all.

  128. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Actually, Kevin, I meant that as a compliment, the way things are usually NOT nasty here. And the tone is usually respectful all around. I was just trying to say that Carrie’s home court advantage here makes dissenters somewhat of a minority, although usually they are usually given a respectful opportunity to engage in debate, dissussion and dissent. I didn’t state that overtly, (or maybe I did in an earlier post on this thread) because I have given you and your staff many sincere compliments over the years, and seldom are they acknowledged. And that’s what made me hold back a little this time. Tara acknowledged one I gave to Leeann just on this thread alone..I dont know if the compliments make folks uncomfortable, or if they come accross as insincere, but I assure you, they are heartfelt and I say what I mean.

    I have repeatedly expressed my opinion that I have no problem with ANYONE enjoying Carrie’s music, and used the example of a good friend of mine as an illustration of this. I have only been trying to to highlight what I (and some others) see as an absurd level of acclaim frow what WE see as sub-par material from a vocally gifted but artistically undeveloped artist. We truly feel that Carrie has been forced on us, and the radio choices are mostly limited to her domination of the airwaves. And I realize it is not her fault and have said so repeatedly.

    I believe I have been respectful to every poster here in this discussion, and to Carrie as a person. Sure I do have contempt for for a lot of (but not all of) her music and for what I see as an absurd level of acclaim for it…shouldnt I say so in a discussion such as this?

    I think the sarcasm was harsh and uncalled for. We all make qualititive judgements about an artists music, this blog and others would not exist if that were not the case. I notice someone on another thread made a personal attack against you questioning your integrity as an author, something I would NEVER do…and last time I checked, you did not reply to that person..instead you unleash a sarcastic barrage on me. It seems displaced.

    Actually, and this may surprise you, I also believe Sara is in dire need of stonger material, and have even said so on her blogs, here and on other sites.. and would also call the three add-ons to her greatest hits albums musical junk, her “Love You with All Of My Heart” sounds to me just like a thin string of lyrical and musical cliches..musical junk food.Happy now? Not real happy with a lot of the of the stuff I’ve heard from her upcoming album.

    Some of the Evans and Loveless songs you chose I would agree is not their best material..but I really dont think ANY of it sinks to the lows of the two Underwood and Sugarland songs I cited. That of course is my opinion, I have always been going on the assumption that any assertion we make is understood to be opinion, and that the author of given statement as well as the reader understands that. I didnt’ think it was necessary to preface every assertion we make with “this is my opinion” I thought that was understood.

    And I never said that I felt that ALL Of Carrie’s music was self-evidently bad, just Undo it and a few others. I dont like much of her singles catalog, but understand how others may disagree..but it’s really hard for me to understand how anyone could call Undo it great music or even good. But of course, I realize some folks will not agree with that assertion either.

    Still glad to see me back?

  129. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Erik,

    I feel the same way. I don’t understand the need to interrogate the fans of any artist or condescend to them based on tastes.

    I’ll also add that I don’t listen to country radio anyway, so I’m essentially immune from whatever they’re shoving down the ears of listeners at any given time. But looking at the charts these days, I suspect Underwood would be the least of my annoyances!

    And I realize that I got a little snarky in the above comment, but I really don’t understand what the big deal is about Underwood’s success. Then again, I’m pretty isolated from all of the media coverage anyway, along with the airplay. And I haven’t cared much about who won an award in years.

  130. PeteNo Gravatar

    Wow, lots of comments. Well, here’s my 2 cents.

    ACM Triple Crown: has been given to 6 or 7 artists in its history. Yes, Barbara Mandrell and Carrie are the only two women who have recieved this.

    Carrie place amongst the all-time female greats: there were discussions on if Carrie’s chart success is comparable. Comparing different eras is difficult, Carrie’s songs has had lots of competition just like the all-time female greats. Her current song, Undo It, only got 1 week at No. 1 as she got nudged out by Rain Is A Good Thing several weeks ago and this week by Jerrod’s song Lover, Lover.

    One significant reason why Carrie is so loved by her fans is her great LIVE singing. Its been mentioned at interviews that Carrie nails a song live every time. Carrie is a great singer.

    Carrie has a great respect for country music and its heritage. I would love for her to put out an album containing covers of country classics. Carrie sang “Make The World Go Away” at the CMA so beautifully. She got a stand ovation for it.

  131. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    Steve Wrote:

    I think the sarcasm was harsh and uncalled for.

    Probably. But I’m beyond annoyed at this point with the condescension toward those of us who think her music is good.

    We all make qualititive judgements about an artists music, this blog and others would not exist if that were not the case. I notice someone on another thread made a personal attack against you questioning your integrity as an author, something I would NEVER do…and last time I checked, you did not reply to that person..instead you unleash a sarcastic barrage on me. It seems displaced.

    I made a brief response to that comment, but not the others because (a) it was clear it was a troll and (b) they said in their comment that they weren’t going to post here anymore.

    Because you’re a regular reader, and because you should have a good idea of what the tone is here, I’m annoyed that you continue to make the same arguments over and over again in one thread that assume that liking music that you do not requires justification.

    Actually, and this may surprise you, I also believe Sara is in dire need of stonger material, and have even said so on her blogs, here and on other sites.. and would also call the three add-ons to her greatest hits albums musical junk, her “Love You with All Of My Heart” sounds to me just like a thin string of lyrical and musical cliches..musical junk food.Happy now? Not real happy with a lot of the of the stuff I’ve heard from her upcoming album.

    Some of the Evans and Loveless songs you chose I would agree is not their best material..but I really dont think ANY of it sinks to the lows of the two Underwood and Sugarland songs I cited.

    And this might surprise you, though it shouldn’t if you’ve been reading here for a long time. I like the songs that I cited by Evans and Loveless. Quite a bit, actually. “Timber I’m Falling in Love” is among my favorites of hers, certainly my favorite from her MCA years. I also love “Undo It” and like “All I Wanna Do.” I don’t think they’re of any lesser standard than the Evans and Loveless hits. If anything, the two Loveless hits are sillier. Repeating “Do-o-o-o-o” or “U-u-u-n do it” is a little silly. But comparing falling in love to a lumberjack’s cautionary yell? Come on now. That’s just hilarious.

    That of course is my opinion, I have always been going on the assumption that any assertion we make is understood to be opinion, and that the author of given statement as well as the reader understands that. I didnt’ think it was necessary to preface every assertion we make with “this is my opinion” I thought that was understood.

    Your opinion has been understood since the beginning of the thread. You just keep repeating it more intensely.

    And I never said that I felt that ALL Of Carrie’s music was self-evidently bad, just Undo it and a few others. I dont like much of her singles catalog, but understand how others may disagree..but it’s really hard for me to understand how anyone could call Undo it great music or even good.

    Yeah, how could anyone do that? Oh wait, I DID. I gave that song an A- and if I was writing the review again today, it would get an A. I love it. I don’t get tired of it. I don’t feel a need to apologize for it.

    You don’t need to understand why anyone else likes it, any more than I need to understand why you don’t. Share your opinion of the song, fine. But don’t make a moral issue out of it.

    Still glad to see me back?

    Of course. I just don’t want to talk about Carrie Underwood with you anymore.

  132. PeteNo Gravatar

    @Kevin

    You state “I really don’t understand what the big deal is about Underwood’s success.”

    Well, as said in the article, the amount of Carrie’s success has not occurred since 1988. Its a big deal when no other female country artist in the last 22 years was able to achieve what Carrie has, and she has done it in 5 short years.

    Whether one does or does not like her music, that amount of success is incredible.

  133. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Quoting Kevin:
    “And I realize that I got a little snarky in the above comment, but I really don’t understand what the big deal is about Underwood’s success. Then again, I’m pretty isolated from all of the media coverage anyway, along with the airplay. And I haven’t cared much about who won an award in years.”
    ————-
    If that’s an apology Kevin, than it’s accepted.

    ————-

    and the “interrogation” the three questions were only meant to challenge, not to interrogate. I thought this kind of thing sparked more in depth discussion, but….

    I may have crossed the line with qustioning Carrie’s and Sugarland’s mostives in releasing those two songs, for that I apologize.

    —————————

    Quoting Tara to me earlier in the thread…”Like you said, we just fundamentally disagree on Carrie – but I sincerely appreciate your respectfulness.”

    Thank you for saying so Tara, much appreciated.

  134. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    The condesencion as you call it Kevin, was not directed at you or to any of Carrie’s fans. That was just an expression of my comtempt for many of her radio singles, and to what I see as the excessive acclaim.

    The repetition was because I kept thinking of different angles of expression, as the thread progressed. But included in that repetition was the disclaimer that I have no problem at all with folks enjoying Carrie’s music at all.

    I’m sorry you took it that way, or if it came accross that way, because I was not intending to say that I though Carrie’s fans had bad taste or judgement.

  135. DanniNo Gravatar

    Kevin, I think your sarcasm was extremely appropriate to Steve’s attempt to appear to have respect for Carrie and her fans.

    Steve from Boston, I think that you should admit that your dislike for Carrie runs deep and we can move on…. never mind, it is clear in the wording in your latter posts no matter how many times you try to deny it.

    Since I am new to this board, my comment may not be appropriate to the rules here so if this post in any way crosses that line, please let me know and I will not post further.

  136. Kevin John CoyneNo Gravatar

    I think we’re definitely at the bygones section of this, so it would be cool to just let it drop on both sides.

    Though I will say it’s been a while since we’ve had such a comment thread. Mercy!

  137. PeteNo Gravatar

    All the discussions regarding opinions on Carrie’s music and comparing her music with other artists is really straying away from the questions posed in the article, namely,

    Why do you think that Underwood has been the one to push up against country radio’s glass ceiling so much? Can she keep this up? Will she eventually get to the top of each list, or is there somebody below her that might jump ahead?

  138. Cory DeSteinNo Gravatar

    @Kevin

    Alot of things with Hearts and Armor could have been done differently. MCA believed that “Down On My Knees” was gonna be some huge crossover smash. Much better choices could have been made. I would have held that for a slot #5 release. And while “Wrong Side of Memphis” was a good choice for a single and was a top 5, i would not have made it a lead off. I would have went with “Walkaway Joe” that may have helped push it to #1 and helped the album get better first week sales. I believe its her lowest charting album, even though it did go platnium.

    After that and the handling of “Song Remembers When” I was suprised how daring they were, and how many singles they pushed from “Thinkin About You” but with two number 1’s off that album, one of them being a massive hit of 1994 “XXXs and OOOs” I still found the sales a little disappointing.

  139. Carol AnnNo Gravatar

    Kevin, you’re my hero. Love your comments in here and just couldn’t agree more.

  140. @Pete – Why do you think that Underwood has been the one to push up against country radio’s glass ceiling so much?

    No pun intended, but she’s the “All-American Girl.” She’s likable, has a good voice and a non-threatening personality. And where women in the 1990s followed Shania Twain and tried to present themselves as fantasy women, Carrie Underwood has instead put herself forward as the girl next door. Audiences feel like they know her; that their sister or neighbor was one good TV audition away from *being* her.

    Can she keep this up? Will she eventually get to the top of each list, or is there somebody below her that might jump ahead?

    From the commercial side of things, of course someone will eventually replace her as the industry darling. It’ll be interesting to see how she adjusts to married life, and eventually motherhood. Like anyone else who has experienced those things, they will be part of her growth as a person which one would expect would translate into growth as an artist.

    One thing I keep thinking of in this whole discussion is what role being ignored by radio has played in the careers of some of my other favorite artists. It seemed pretty liberating for Johnny Cash when he hooked up with Rick Rubin and consciously set out to just record what he wanted without any notion of getting back onto radio.

    I’ve enjoyed Dwight Yoakam’s material of the last decade probably a bit more than I did his 90s output. I look at Rosanne Cash, Allison Moorer, Shelby Lynne and most recently Chely Wright and I see where not chasing Billboard has led to much more material that I enjoy from those artists.

    I figure with her talent, by the time Carrie Underwood isn’t a radio darling, she’ll have evolved into something far more special than what the industry is content to applaud her for being today.

  141. charlesNo Gravatar

    it kinda makes me sick thinkin some one that won something on a fake game show that is ran by a huge corporation that has very little artistic ability. is breaking all these stats made by real hard working women

  142. @charles – I think that position is pretty naive about the role of payola in creating the stars of yesteryear. And it’s one more reason that fans really shouldn’t concern themselves with an artist’s statistics in the first place, and concentrate instead on the art.

    And I think you sell Carrie Underwood short; she still had to live up to the hype. Selling her first album, fresh off “American Idol” was one thing; but she’s done well with her two albums since then, and continues to draw large crowds on the road. People are paying really good money not just to see her, but to go back and see her, and even driving long distances to see her more than once on the same tour.

    You can say she was propped up all you want, but she still has to execute on an almost daily basis to retain the fans who bought into the hype, and grow her fan base. If it were really as easy as just sending out a singer heavily promoted by corporations, the music industry wouldn’t have spent the last several years fearing for its economic life.

  143. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    @Kevin:

    I agree it’s been a lively, at times contentious thread here. If there’s anything new that can be added, I would say that Carrie’s popularity is at such a point that the words Memphis disc jockey George Klein said about his good friend Elvis seem to apply: “If you’re a fan, no explanation is necessary. If you’re not, no explanation is possible.”

  144. TomNo Gravatar

    …hadn’t heard that quote yet but better late than never. thanks for sharing, mr. north.

  145. A FanNo Gravatar

    If you like Carrie Underwood, then you want to check out Tiffany Kira Johnson!

    At only 19 years old, New England native, Tiffany Kira Johnson, is a star on the rise. She is an entertainment powerhouse and uses her talent to better local communities.

    Since 2005, Tiffany has been performing annual Holiday Concerts for the children of Lawrence, MA and helping spread holiday cheer.

    More recently, Tiffany Kira Johnson released the CD/DVD combination pack for Tiffany Kira Johnson’s Holiday Concert LIVE 2009. The Live DVD and bonus CD can be found at her newly launched website, http://www.tiffanykirajohnson.com.

    Show your support for Tiffany, listen to her music, and join her fan club today!

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