At this point, it’s easy to forget that Carrie Underwood first kicked off her country music career as an American Idol graduate. Besides being one of country music’s most technically gifted female vocalists, she’s gone on to become one of its strongest commercial forces, with a seven-year-long string of Top-2 hit singles, not to mention albums that consistently sell like hotcakes. But a noteworthy gap has often been seen between the impressiveness of Underwood’s talent and success and the quality of her material. In terms of lyrics and production, at least, Underwood’s new album Blown Away finds her taking steps forward that are small, but steps forward nonetheless.
2000 | #30
The eleventh single from Shania Twain’s Come On Over was one of the least successful in the U.S., barely scraping the bottom of the Top 30. This was due in part to a lack of promotion for the single, though it did go Top 5 in Twain’s native Canada. In some ways, “Rock This Country!” comes across as a standard Twain up-tempo – peppy, with a fun Mutt Lange-style pop-country production, but the lyrics are surprisingly flavorless.
1999 | #6
“Get a life, get a grip, get away somewhere, take a trip
Take a break, take control, take advice from someone you know
“Come on over, come on in
Pull up a seat, and take a load off your feet
Come on over, come on in
You can unwind, and take a load off your mind.”
Hmm. So the lyrics don’t seem to have a whole lot to say. The song is primarily simple series of feel-good platitudes.
Lionel Richie’s new country duets project, set for a March 27 release, sounds like the kind of thing that could either go very right (Jennifer Nettles, “Hello”) or very wrong (Rascal Flatts “Dancing On the Ceiling,” anyone?). We get a taste of the new project with this re-working of Richie’s classic pop duet with Diana Ross, “Endless Love,” sung this time as a duet with Shania Twain.