2011 Grammy Nominations

Here are the 2011 Grammy nominations, in the four major categories and all of the country and country-related categories.  The big nominees in country are Lady Antebelllum, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, and…Gretchen Wilson?

General Categories:

Album of the Year

  • Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
  • Eminem, Recovery
  • Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  • Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream

Quick Take:  Lady Antebellum is only the second country band to receive a nomination in this category, the first being the Dixie Chicks, who have been nominated three times and won once.

Record of the Year

  • B.O.B featuring Bruno Mars, “Nothin’ On You”
  • Eminem featuring Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie”
  • Cee Lo Green, “F*** You”
  • Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”

Quick Take:  Not much agreement between Record and Album this year.  I’d say that Lady A have a real shot, but I’d call their entry one of the weakest in the bunch. Kinda shocked that “Bad Romance” isn’t in the running.

Song of the Year

  • “Beg, Steal, or Borrow” – written by Ray LaMontagne
  • “F*** You!” – written by Brody Brown, Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence, and Bruno Mars
  • “The House That Built Me” – written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin
  • “Love the Way You Lie” – written by Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey, and Marshall Mathers
  • “Need You Now” – written by Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott

Quick Take: Two country songs are rarely nominated in one year. The last two occurrences were in 2007 (“Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Not Ready to Make Nice”), and 2001 (“Breathe” and “I Hope You Dance.”) Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1972 to see it happen again.

Best New Artist

  • Justin Bieber
  • Drake
  • Florence + the Machine
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Esperanza Spalding

Quick Take:  The first time there hasn’t been a country nominee since 2004.

Country Categories

Country Album

  • Dierks Bentley, Up on the Ridge
  • Zac Brown Band, You Get What You Give
  • Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song
  • Lady Antebellum, Need You Now
  • Miranda Lambert, Revolution

Female Country Vocal Performance

  • Jewel, “Satisfied”
  • Miranda Lambert, “The House That Built Me”
  • LeAnn Rimes, “Swingin'”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Temporary Home”
  • Gretchen Wilson, “I’d Love to Be Your Last”

Quick Take:  Five Grammy favorites, I suppose. I haven’t even heard the Wilson song.  Have you?

Male Country Vocal Performance

  • Jamey Johnson, “Macon”
  • Toby Keith, “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)”
  • David Nail, “Turning Home”
  • Keith Urban, “‘Til Summer Comes Around”
  • Chris Young, “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)”

Quick Take: Urban better make room on his mantle.

Duo/Group Country Vocal Performance

  • Zac Brown Band, “Free”
  • Dailey & Vincent, “Elizabeth”
  • Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
  • Little Big Town, “Little White Church”
  • The SteelDrivers, “Where Rainbows Never Die”

Quick Take: Typically diverse selection for this category.

Country Collaboration with Vocals

  • “Bad Angel” — Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert & Jamey Johnson
  • “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” — Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury & The Punch Brothers
  • “As She’s Walking Away” — Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson
  • “Hillbilly Bone” — Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins
  • “I Run To You” — Marty Stuart & Connie Smith

Quick Take:  Marty Stuart and Connie Smith. Marty Stuart and Connie Smith?  Marty Stuart and Connie Smith!

Country Instrumental Performance

  • Cherryholmes, “Tattoo of a Smudge”
  • The Infamous Stringdusters, “Magic #9”
  • Punch Brothers, “New Chance Blues”
  • Darrell Scott, ‘Willow Creek”
  • Marty Stuart, “Hummingbyrd”

Quick Take: Way cooler than most of the category lineups.

Country Song

  • “The Breath You Take” — written by Casey Beathard, Dean Dillon & Jessie Jo Dillon
  • “Free” — written by Zac Brown
  • “The House That Built Me” — written by Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin
  • “I’d Love To Be Your Last” — written by Rivers Rutherford, Annie Tate & Sam Tate
  • “If I Die Young” — written by Kimberly Perry
  • “Need You Now” — written by Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott

Quick Take:  Seriously, where did this Gretchen Wilson hit come from?

Bluegrass Album

  • Sam Bush, Circles Around Me
  • Patty Loveless, Mountain Soul II
  • The Del McCoury Band, Family Circle
  • Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Legacy
  • The SteelDrivers, Reckless

Quick Take: Nice to see Loveless as a Grammy nominee again.

Americana Album

  • Rosanne Cash, The List
  • Los Lobos, Tin Can Trust
  • Willie Nelson, Country Music
  • Robert Plant, Band of Joy
  • Mavis Staples, You Are Not Alone

Quick Take: Willie Nelson makes a country album and it’s still filed under Americana. Interesting.


  1. anytime two songs from the country category are fighting against one another, no way they’ll win. That goes for song of the year. I imagine “Love the way you lie” will win there, but i’ve never heard the other two on the list.

    If everyone in the country genre bands together and votes for Lady A for album of the year, they’ll win. Even then it seems like an outside possibility. Country acts rarely take home this award.

    Wouldn’t matter if there was a country act in the “best new artist” category. Justin Beiber’s got that locked down (or at least he should). Although, after that amazing performance on the AMA’s (?) whatever that awards show was, (maybe the Grammy’s last year), Florence and the Machine should totally win it. I had never heard them (her, band/woman?) but that seriously blew me away. I went from half watching/half surfing the internet to 100% enthralled in the show. She’s very talented.

  2. some of these nominations (and not just the female country ones) are so WEIRD. they picked the most popular folks & then the most random, least buzzed artists lol

  3. http://www.cbs.com/specials/grammys/nominees/

    It’s not a full list, but it’ll do for the moment.

    Noteworthy: Dierks Bentley scores twice (and deservedly so) for Vocal Collaboration, and both Dailey & Vincent (!) and The SteelDrivers (!!) get in ahead of the likes of Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, or Court Yard Hounds for Vocal Duo / Group.

    Dierks Bentley, Jamey Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert are listed as the nominees for Country Album on the press release at the Grammy website. Toss out the comatose Lady A album, and that’s an awfully strong line-up.

  4. I’m really surprised that Taylor Swift and Reba McEntire aren’t in the running, more so with Reba since she actually had some eligible hits. Nothing from Swift’s album could be nominated because it won the album award last year.

  5. I really can’t think of a better way to say “hi, we’re completely out of touch” than nominating Katy Perry for Album of the Year. I mean, bad album, indistinct artist, hasn’t even sold well.

    Also: “The Breath You Take”? C’mon, y’all.

  6. That Male Vocal category is strong. Jamey Johnson, David Nail and Chris Young all getting well-deserved noms. Even the Keith Urban nomination is for a stronger track.

  7. ^Agreed, the Male field is pretty great. Also love the Group one aside from Lady A – who, of course, will win. (“Free” isn’t a great song, but good enough performance by ZBB.)

  8. Yeah, where is “Bad Romance”? It’s not in the Dance Recording category, either – the much less awesome “Dance in the Dark” is. Did they stupidly submit it last year like what supposedly happened with “Single Ladies”?

    I don’t like the big Bruno Mars hits, so not thrilled about his many noms (aside from for “F*** You!”). I’m all for telling girls they’re beautiful and special as they are, but find his approach insipid.

  9. I get the anti-Lady A sentiment on the noms, but anyone who can craft a song so hook-driven that it conquers every format it touches deserves some credit. Having said that, I’m with Kevin on the GaGa omission. Still pleasantly stunned that Cee-Lo Green got four nominations without having an album in contention.

  10. I’m indifferent towards these nominations, to be quite honest. I’m neither impressed nor shocked, save possibly the Gretchen Wilson nods.

    What I am disheartened with, however, is the presence of ‘Need You Now’ in the Album of the Year category, rather than ‘Revolution’ snagging the country nomination. While not trying to discredit Lady A’s successful album and its massive title-track, it can’t be ignored that it simply doesn’t compare musically to Lambert’s latest offering. To the same token, ‘Revolution’ sales (while not bad) pale in comparison to that of the trio’s nominated album.

    As far as Best Country Song, I have to wonder what an average song such as “The Breath You Take,” something that will be forgotten by this time next year (all in my own opinion, of course) has found a place among a few of the year’s best singles (the Gretchen Wilson cut excluded–can’t really pass judgment on a song you’ve never heard of heard of, can you?) Don’t get me wrong–the song isn’t BAD–it’s just average; promoting a sentiment we’ve all heard before that has become quite generic, I just don’t see this song as being a stand-out hit from every other single or album cut released during the eligibility period.

    Aside from all of that, again, I’m void of strong opinions either way.

  11. That Wilson song is the best thing on her record (which may not be saying much) and could really be one of her best vocal performances ever. So I can see where it snuck in. It’s a well-written song too.

  12. Thats a weird female line up. I say Carrie Underwood should win if its based on the name of the category. Female country vocal performance. Its one of the best vocals on radio this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Miranda takes it though.

  13. Underwood’s performance on “Temporary Home” was technically very good and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but compared to her other singles, does it really stand out?

    Once again, we’re back to the Average vs. Outstanding debate. If an artist continually releases material that is equally well-executed, it becomes commonplace for that individual. Therefore, in order for any subsequent hits to make a lasting impact, it would have to be something extraordinary–wouldn’t it?

    This means Underwood, for example, would have to have an exceptional song (ala “Before He Cheats”) paired with a dynamic vocal performance to honestly be qualified to win an award in said category. Lambert recorded that exceptional song and complimented it with a well-crafted, refined vocal that made “The House That Built Me” outstanding. I quite expect her to win in this category.

    Of course, this is all my own opinion. Underwood has won three awards in this category (“Jesus, Take The Wheel” in 2007; “Before He Cheats” in 2008; “Last Name” in 2009), with the most recent being far less enduring as “Temporary Home”. The girl can definitely sing, and I don’t think it’d necessarily be an ‘upset’ if she took the award. Is it the best? Depends who you talk to, but remember that ‘best’ doesn’t always equal ‘win’.

  14. Every nomination’s list comes with scratch your head moments and this is no exception. I find with the last couple of years with the Grammy’s is that I am generally pleased with the nominees because non-mainstream quality music gets recognized like Marty and Connie this year, but then when it comes to who wins, its mostly the most popular mainstream tokens. Like Keith Urban and Carrie, Taylor and its a buzz kill. Was it ‘Last Name’ that won over ‘This Is Me You’re Talking To’

  15. I appreciate the first comment on this post because that was my first reaction as well. Lol. Horrific album.

    Song of the Year, Quick Take: Two country songs are rarely nominated in one year.

    I think “Need You Now” qualifies as a pop song, so maybe that’s the reason. ;)

    Quick Take: The first time there hasn’t been a country nominee since 2004.

    I quickly Googled Esperanza Spalding to see if she was a country artist I missed. Nope. Regarding BNA, if you haven’t checked out Mumford & Sons, do it. I think some of the bloggers here will really enjoy them.

    Once again, I prefer the second half of this list. *Shocking* Off to check out some of the instrumentals (and lick my wounds over “Bad Romance” being denied a Record of the Year nom. I knew y’all had good pop taste.)

  16. We are a polite bunch, aren’t we?

    I’m much more interested in the dynamic on the Male side of the equation than the Female. Jamey Johnson, the critic’s darling; Keith Urban, the high-profile heartthrob; Toby Keith, the controversial figure; and then two singers not as well known to the mainstream, which sadly matters. Personally I would vote for Chris Young, but there’s no getting around the impact that “Macon” has, both as a song and in Johnson’s vocal performance. It’s Urban’s award to lose, but I think Jamey’s got an outside chance at this one.

    Having said all that, I just listened to the Gretchen Wilson track. Wow…I’m really impressed. I liked the Clay Walker version, but she really strips it down to the core.

  17. WHAT THE HELL!! Where’s reba, consider me gone and i keep on loving you could have been nominated over gretchen wilson, leann and jewel…seriously?!?!

  18. I’m disappointed that “What Can I Say” by Carrie Underwood and Sons of Sylvia wasn’t nominated for ‘Country Collaboration with Vocals’, since they did sumbit it for consideration. I really f’ing love that song.

    Similarly disappointed by the lack of a Reba nomination for Female Country Vocal Performance. I mean, Jewel? Really?

    Katie Perry’s nominations make me want to hurl. I’m someone who can actually tolerate most of her single releases, but ‘Teenage Dream’ is just an atrocity. It’s terrible, and this is coming from someone who liked ‘One of the Boys’.

    I hope Lady Gaga wins every category she was nominated in. I went to see her on Tuesday and she was bloody brilliant. That would mean she’d have to beat one “Country” act for Album of the Year, but really now, she may not be country but I’d take Gaga over Lady Antebellum any day of the year.

  19. Temporary Home is a great song as far as I’m concerned. A standout track in her catalogue? maybe not but I really do think that the song is wonderful. That said, Miranda should and will win the female country vocal. Assuming that the Gretchen Wilson track which got the country song nomination won’t get any love from here on, Miranda and Carrie are the only ones in the running. I think Taylor submitted “Mine” and “Today was a fairytale” to the vocal performance category. So it’s not the lack of a submission that led to her not being nominated. Honestly I expected Reba and Taylor to make the cut.

    In the general category, I’m shocked about the exclusion of ‘Bad Romance’ for SOTY and ROTY, more so for the latter. It had seemed like such a strong contender. ‘Teenage Dream’ for Album of The Year? Ugh!!!
    I noticed Alicia Keys wasn’t nominated for any of her own songs in the R&B field.

  20. I love the message of “Temporary Home,” but think Carrie’s better vocal performance was on “Undo It.” It’s not a great song, but I thought she did more with that track than most of her contemporaries could have/would have.

  21. So I guess that means Court Yard Hounds didn’t get any nom’s for anything? I know they had been in the initial pool for a few awards…boo. I really love “Ain’t No Son”

  22. Pleasantly surprised to see a nomination for “Swingin’,” and it is nice to see Patty on the list of nominees as well. Can’t believe “The Breath You Take” got a Song of the Year nomination. You might as well give the award to whoever coined the old proverb in the first place.

    No… I have never heard that Gretchen Wilson song before.

  23. I have to say that while I was never a huge Gretchen Wilson fan, I have really felt bad for her over the past couple of years. She was the “it” woman, and now has to watch as others like Miranda do the outlaw thing in a much more artful manner. I kind of have a soft spot for her because of her fall from the top.

  24. Looked up the Gretchen song and agree with John. It’s pretty, and she sings it well. I don’t mind it in either category. The Jewel and Rimes performances could have been subbed out for Reba or some alt-country person, but some of the country categories have gotten almost exclusively mainstream over the last few years.

  25. The only two of those country albums I have are Miranda’s and Lady A’s. I go with Miranda every time. I’m always surprised she didn’t shoot up the charts earlier on in her career. I mean, I remember just a few years ago (3 prob) and I watched her in some dive in Cleveland. Bought tickets at the door, and walked in, stood 5 feet from the stage. Best concert I ever went to.

    I hope “Temporary Home” doesn’t win. I don’t like it in the least. Although, for some reason all of Carrie’s “meaningful” songs rub me the wrong way. Didn’t like “Jesus Take the Wheel” either. Now her upbeat kicka** ones are good, “Cowboy Casanova” is awesome. So’s “Undo It”.

    While I love “The House that Built Me”, I nominate CYH’s “Ain’t No Son” for best country song of the year. If that had been a DCX song, it totally would have got a nom (imho).

  26. Um, wow.

    Firstly, I am with Kevin on “Bad Romance.”

    Secondly, I wish Lambert was swapped for Lady A in their nominations (particularly Album Of The Year, and Record Of The Year).

    Thirdly, I wish Reba was nominated for “Consider Me Gone,” wasn’t it in the eligibility period? There is no good explaination the Grammys can give me as to why she hasn’t been nominated in over a decade in Female Vocal Performance.

    Fourthly, I think either Lambert or Underwood will take it, both are sentimental tunes, but I have a feeling that Lambert will take it due to her recent award show success. I am happy to see LeAnn to get a nom for “Swingin’,” love that song. I’d swap out Jewel for McEntire, and anyone else for Wilson. Is her song really any good?

    Fifthly, I am rooting for Lambert all the way, or Bently for his Up The Ridge.

    Sixthly, PLEASE tell me that “Stuck Like Glue” wasn’t in the eligibility period? I loved that song.

    Seventhly, Dixie Chicks, please return to music so the group categories will be better. (Lady A’s “Need You Now” isn’t all that bad though.)

  27. I don’t know whether it matters, but Kimberly Perry got a Country Songwriter nomination for “If I Die Young”, the big hit for her and the rest of The Band Perry.

  28. I have to say, Justin Bieber deserves that nomination, in my opinion. I’m far from a fan of his work by any means, but the kid came from obscurity to being one of the top-selling artists in popular music. That’s commendable by my standards.

    Not to mention, his performance on last night’s Grammy Nominations concert showcased his talent well. I do hope he wins.

  29. I get the anti-Lady A sentiment on the noms, but anyone who can craft a song so hook-driven that it conquers every format it touches deserves some credit.

    Yep, and it’s a hook that really resonates. Don’t agree with the album piggybacking off of the single’s success, though. Revolution deserved that AOTY nomination more than Need You Now.

    I’m all for telling girls they’re beautiful and special as they are, but find his approach insipid.

    Ha. Actually, I like the song – but I discovered after listening to his stripped-down version yesterday that I really only like the original because of its driving production.

    Underwood’s performance on “Temporary Home” was technically very good and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but compared to her other singles, does it really stand out?

    To fans, yes. To others? Not sure, but I don’t think so. She doesn’t deserve to win this, but given that she won with “Last Name” and lost with “Just a Dream” (!), who knows.

    I need to check out the Gretchen Wilson track. I always like her ballads. And I agree that Justin Bieber deserved his BNA nomination. The kid has talent; it just hasn’t been cultivated yet. I did cringe when he thanked the “Board” last night, though.

  30. Maybe you are thinking of them as a “group” instead of a “band” but in addition to Lady A and The Dixie Chicks, the Trio of Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris were nominated for Best Album in 1988.

  31. I do agree that Beiber deserved his BNA nom, considering his success (I do not berate him for that), but I doubt he will win against Drake… considering Drake has been more artistically established (IMHO).

    But I question the nominations for some (Genre) Album Of The Year noms (particularly Katy Perry and Beiber)….. but that’s just me…

    I’m still honked off that Reba didn’t secure a nom.

  32. Lambert pretty has Female Country Vocal Performance all locked up for herself. There is no way that Underwood will get the win. Releasing Undo It and then Mama’s Song was just a puzzling choice. Neither of them had the potential for critical acclaim. Someday When I Stop Loving You or Songs Like This in the place of one of her more recent singles would have increased her chances.

    I really hope that none of Teenage Dream, Recovery, and Need You Now win Album of the Year.

    I agree with all the negative assessments of Need You Now, whether it be the single or the album.

    I believe that Miranda has a good shot at winning all three of the categories that she was nominated in.

  33. Vance, I wouldn’t mind or be surprised if ‘Recovery’ took the award for Album of the Year. Eminem, like him or not, is a rock solid artist who is very consistent; this latest album is no exception.

    As far as Carrie Underwood’s recent single choices are concerned, I completely agree. Since her sophomore album was released, her record label has been sending all of her co-writes (save “Just A Dream” from 2008 and “I Told You So” from 2009) to radio and neglecting the better material: songs written by professional Nashville lyricists. What a terrible mistake that’s been, in my opinion. Underwood was having multi-week #1s and receiving critical acclaim and award recognition with the music that she had no hand in creating; why stray away from a formula that’s proven successful and quite lucrative?

    I think it’s fairly obvious that Arista is trying to build her credibility as a songwriter, but is it at the expense of her credibility as an artist? Underwood is a vocalist; the approach her management team has taken as of late is rendering little positive feedback and damaging her career. If she were never to writer a song again, she’d be fine.

  34. Just to do my predictions/comments

    Record of the Year will probably go to “Love The Way You Lie” but I’d give it to “Fuck You”, still don’t understand why Lady Gaga didn’t get a nom, or Rihanna (“Rude Boy”).

    Album of the Year – I have them all (well heard all of Eminem’s) and both Katy Perry (it’s not really a horrid album, more boring and unoriginal, still love some of the tracks) & Lady Antebellum are only there cause they sold a lot. I’d give it to Arcade Fire, but fully expect Eminem or Lady Gaga to win.

    Song of The Year – I love all these songs but “The House That Built Me” is definatley the best written one, followed very closley by “Fuck You”, again it’ll go to Eminem or A Lady.

    BNA – Never heard of Esperanza Spalding so I’d have to go check her (him/it/Them?) out, I’m pulling for Florence + The Machine and think they have an outside chance but it’s probably between Drake and Mumford and Sons, so M&S if between the two. Also why isn’t B.o.B. in here? :(

    Female pop – I Want: “Bad Romance” – Will: “Bad Romance”

    Male Pop – Want: “Whataya Want From Me” – Will: “Just The Way You Are”

    Pop Group – Want: “The Only Exception” – Will: “Babyfather”

    Pop Collab – Want: “Airplanes, Part II” – Will: “If It Wasn’t For Bad”

    Pop Album – Want: Battle Studies – Will: The Fame Monster

    Dance Recording – Want: “Dancing On My Own” – Will: “Only Girl (In The World)

    Female R&B – Want: “Bittersweet” – Will: “Everything To Me”

    Male R&B – Want: “Second Chance” – Will: “Why Would You Say”

    Female Country – Want: “I’d Love To Be Your Last” – Will: “The House That Built Me” – I don’t think I’d really replace anybody in this category with Reba if I had the chance, it’s a really good list of nominations. If anything I would’ve loved to see Chely Wright get in here with “Notes To The Coroner”.

    Male Country – Want: “Turning Home” – Will: “Til Summer Comes Around”

    Country Group – Want: “Elizabeth” – Will: “Free” (I think they could upset)

    Country Collab – Want: “I Run To You” – Will: “As She’s Walking Away”

    Country Instrumental – Want: “Tattoo Of Smudge” – Will: “New Chance Blues”

    Country Song – Want: “If I Die Young” – Will: “The House That Built Me”

    Country Album – Want: The Guitar Song – Will: Need You Now

    just my thoughts on the categories I know enough of the nominees to vote properly. Seriously only weirded out by “The Breath You Take” and Teenage Dream (Album) getting nominations.

  35. Since her sophomore album was released, her record label has been sending all of her co-writes (save “Just A Dream” from 2008 and “I Told You So” from 2009) to radio and neglecting the better material: songs written by professional Nashville lyricists.

    I thought her sophomore album single choices were excellent. What would you have replaced her co-writes with?

  36. I agree with Tara. The singles choices from the previous album were pretty correct in my opinion. The only change I would have made was lead off with “Get Out of This Town” instead of “So Small.”

  37. Tara, I thought that the lead-off single for ‘Carnival Ride’, “So Small” was on the weaker side but served its purpose; at that point, country radio was going to (and still will) play anything she released, so it was enticing enough to sway buyers while being supplementary for the airwaves.

    “All-American Girl” and “Last Name” were the cuts I was primarily referring to. The fact is, in my opinion, there were so many other songs on the album that could’ve been released in place of both and still accomplished the same goal, perhaps with an even better showing in terms of chart longevity (“AAG” peaked at #1 for two weeks; “LN” for one) and received more acclaim from fans and critics alike. “Flat On The Floor” and “Get Out of This Town” were practically begging to be released, and many of Carrie’s die-hard fans agreed that they’d both make great single choices.

    “Just a Dream” was the right choice for the fourth single, and from what I remember from the reviews (both album and song-specific) it was far more well-received than its predecessors. It was also the first single she had released since “Wasted” (2007) that she hadn’t co-written, and her last multi-week #1 single, spending two weeks atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. “JAD” was then followed-up by “I Told You So,” a song she obviously didn’t write, and only went to #2 on Billboard (#1 on Mediabase).

    To reiterate my initial point, historically Underwood has had more success with songs she hasn’t written herself. I don’t necessarily believe this to be unfounded criticism but rather an observation from someone who’s watched her career closely since her ‘American Idol’ days and has remained a faithful listener and poster on numerous message boards, from her official fan club to the now-deceased CMT community (we’ve actually reestablished ourselves on the VH1 message board now, lol). Carrie’s forte is interpreting to lyric, not penning it (again, all my own opinion).

  38. I didn’t have a problem with her “Carnival Ride” singles. I do have a problem with “Mama’s Song.” It is a nice, harmless album track, and that is where it should have remained. Releasing it as a single was almost cynical, like the label was saying “hey, it’s another Carrie co-write, and it’s about her wedding, and we really need to milk that.” By the way, since “What Can I Say?” was submitted for a Grammy, does that indicate it will be a single soon?

  39. I know there are a lot of people who really like what Carrie has done, but in all honesty, I must confess to not being one of those. I feel that too much of her material that gets played on the radio is soccer mom-type stuff (a trait that I also think weighs down Martina McBride to a significant extent). It’s just not the kind of thing that makes me run out to purchase one of her CDs.

  40. I get the argument for “Flat on the Floor,” and I could see an argument for “I Know You Won’t,” but I thought the single choices were largely on-the-dot.

    The only change I would have made was lead off with “Get Out of This Town” instead of “So Small.”

    I thought it was a perfect lead-in. But “So Small” is like my child; I’ve lost the ability to look at it objectively ;)

    ^Diamond, I think it indicates the opposite.

  41. Erik, I agree with what you said about Carrie. Although there are a few songs of her’s that I like, 3 that I can think of (Undo It, Cowboy Casanova, Before He Cheats), I otherwise find her song choices on the radio “turn-off” material for me. I think she has a great voice though. Ditto for Martina. I own 1 cd from each of them and I don’t see myself buying any more.

    I know Carrie has a lot of fans so I don’t want to offend anyone. I’m not calling radio stations and telling them to stop playing her, lol. I actually find Carrie very much like Faith, except I really love Faith’s song choices. Except “Mississippi Girl”. Not a horrible song, but it was pure, obvious pandering at best.

  42. I believe Martina’s issue is simply she records subpar material. I own every album but her last, including her 2001 greatest hits compilation, and you can hear the decrease in quality. Up until 2003’s ‘Martina’ she released what I consider to be excellent work. ‘Timeless’ was a vocal masterpiece and a good cover album, but ‘Waking Up Laughing’ and ‘Shine’ are just dull, IMO.

    As far as Faith Hill is concerned, I love her music period, even if it may be less-than-stellar at times; she just has a quality about her music that I wholeheartedly appreciate, and is one of the rare artists who can provide that for me.

  43. “Since her sophomore album was released, her record label has been sending all of her co-writes (save “Just A Dream” from 2008 and “I Told You So” from 2009) to radio and neglecting the better material: songs written by professional Nashville lyricists.”

    I do agree that it seems as if Artista is trying to establish Carrie as a writer, when that is definatly not her strong point.

    I think she has gotten better, and several of her co-writes on “Play On” showcase that quite well, particularly “What Can I Say” & “Temporary Home.”

    However, because Carrie is listed as a co-writer, it’s difficult to tell how much she contributed to each cut, so I suppose whether she has grown or not is subjective and purely from an individual standpoint.

    But I do think Carrie has grown into being a great interpeter of her lyrics, and that growth should be enough proof that she should stick to that area and let other songwriters pen great material for her.

    On the other hand, I don’t think Carrie has an ear for picking great songs in general, as some of her peers do. If she doesn’t continously pick out great songs from subpar cuts, it won’t matter whether she had a hand in writing them or not.

    I thought the single choices from CR were quite good, particularly “So Small” and “Just A Dream.”

    There were stronger cuts on the album, but there are also many instances were fabulous songs that fans peg as a huge hit make no impact, and then there are times when a subpar song that fans think will perform badly on the charts actually ends up increasing the profile of that artist.

    There really is no way to predict whether a song will have a positive or negative impact on a career.

    That said, I’ve been suprised at the poor single choices from “Play On.” Although I generally love anything Carrie records, I don’t think she’s ever had so many weak cuts released in one era.

    “Cowboy Casanova” was a great choice for a first single, “Undo It” was just catchy album filler, and “Mama’s Song”, while personal to Carrie, was far too weak to be taken seriously as a solid single choice. I thought “Temporary Home” was a solid choice, but its staying power was hurt by the fact that some critcs didn’t understand the religous meaning, and that it got no buzz from anywhere outside of her fanbase.

    As far as Carrie’s future goes, I truly hope the label realizes they need to start making stronger choices, or her career will be at a standstill. They only have one more shot this era, and I pray they won’t let the chance to release a great song slip away once again.

    My other wish is that she’s smart enough to stop working with god-awful Kara Dioguardi.

  44. Tara, you could be right if we were certain WHO was making the final call on the singles, and WHY “Mama’s Song” was actually selected. Always hard to know. I do hope it was not an attempt by the label to milk the wedding buzz, but rather Carrie’s choice to salute her relationship with her mother. I do not believe anyone can argue it was the best choice for another release from “Play On,” and I think she has suffered a bit for it. There are other selections on the album that will make excellent singles, and heck, “Mama’s Song” has made it to the top ten anyway despite my complaints, so what do I know?

  45. Just to jump in on the Carrie single discussion, I thought that the one big missed opportunity from Carnival Ride was “I Know You Won’t”, which is the song I go back to the most from that album.

    From Play On, I don’t mind “Mama’s Song” and think “Temporary Home” is good. Was iffy on “Cowboy Casanova”, though it is catchy.

    The only single I’ve really loved from the set so far is “Undo It.” If they go a few more singles deep, which I’d like to see them do, I’d release “Play On”, then “Change”, then “Someday When I Stop Loving You.”

    It’s an interesting album in that I feel there are a lot of great third/fourth singles on it, but not necessarily a mass appeal hit.

  46. K, I do agree with the majority of what you wrote.

    At this point, it’s really just a game of ‘What If?’ because as you mentioned, you never can be quite sure how things would’ve been had she (or any artist for that matter) released different singles at different times. It’s all speculation, but it’s interesting to read everyone’s take on the subject matter.

    I have to say that at the beginning of the ‘Play On’ era in September 2009, I thought that the iTunes promotional singles (“Mama’s Song,” “Temporary Home,” and “Undo It,” respectively) were going to remain just that–promotional singles. When I realized, however, that all three were slated for formal release, I was quite disappointed. What I had chalked up to clever marketing (releasing album cuts in order to entice buyers), was really just Arista previewing what radio listeners had coming for the next year and a half. Of all three songs, “Temporary Home” is undeniably the best, but compared to the other material on the album, it’s just okay.

    I agree 100% about “What Can I Say.” Actually, that song contains one of my favorite lyrics of all-time: “It’s like trying to spin the world the other way…” Great line!

  47. Kevin, just one question: how do you italicize on this website?

    This may come off as unintelligent, but I have been wondering. (:

  48. I sure hope Carrie releases “Someday When I Stop Loving You” to radio. I’ve been thinking “Songs Like This” might also make a great single, especially after hearing her perform it at the CMA Awards and in concert. It’s a really fun song.

    I look forward to seeing which song becomes Carrie’s next single. The “Play On” album had some great songs on it, but so far it seems to me that the weaker songs were released first, so I’m eager to see if one of the really good ones is released next.

  49. I would like to see Carrie release “What Can I Say” and “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” but I feel they will probably go for “Songs Like This” and either “Change” or “Unapologize” (both of which I didn’t like)…. considering the first two are too brilliant for what’s on radio now, and so they feel to mesh in they need to release stuff that radio will like [though, I did like “Songs Like This.”].

    As Stephanie said, I was also disappointed to find that the promotional singles were actually going to be radio releases….

    On the songwriting issue, Carrie did a great vocal job, but the writing was okay (IMO) on her new song for the new Cronicles Of Narnia movie (“There’s A Place For Us.”).

    I love Carrie anyways, and like Reba, I will love almost anything she sings, just to hear her voice.

    …..I think Trisha Yearwood & Alison Krauss should produce an album for these two, and we can see how well it goes…… Or at least have Yearwood become an official song selector.

    Since Sugarland’s last album was mostly a dud, we need interesting music for radio, at least until Sugarland creates another masterpiece [or the Dixie Chicks come back, highly doubtful they’ll be played at radio again, though].

  50. Thanks for the help, Kevin! It’s greatly appreciated!

    Zach, as far as Underwood’s team releasing “What Can I Say” or “Someday When I Stop Loving You” (especially the latter), I hope that Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” serves as an indication that something other than the typical hook-driven, overproduced songs that clog country radio can be just as commercially and critically successful–if not more–as its described counterparts. Or at least we can hope, right?

    Moreover, if the Dixie Chicks were ever to return to the country format I’d be positively thrilled. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy to purchase an album as I was 2002’s Home. Even at age 11, I knew what excellent music was!

  51. I actually think Carrie has alot of songwriting potential, as illustrated in “What Can I Say”, “Unapologize”, and “Temporary Home.” I also loved Cowboy Casanova, another Carrie co-write.

    I think it is rather unfair to say she should not write just because you may not like a few of her cowrites. There are many songs that Miranda and Taylor have penned that I cannot stand, though I would agree that they are both talented songwriters in general, with Miranda vastly superior to Taylor in that area. Carrie’s Last Name won a Grammy, and it is a kick butt song, which also tells a great story.

    I agree that Carrie’s problem in this Album’s era, is that she has not released the best songs at all, and she is not showcasing songwriting talent properly in the songs she has released. Had she released What Can I Say instead of Mama’s Song, then I think we would be having a different conversation right now. I don’t understand what her team was thinking in releasing Mama’s Song to radio. It is a pretty, sweet album track, but not meant to be a radio single. It lacks a catchy hook and the lyrics are very simplistic, perhaps intentionally so. But it doesn’t work for radio.

    “All American Girl” was actually a pretty big hit for Carrie, and that was a co-write. It is one of my favorite songs from the Carnival Ride era, and it became a female anthem for that time, especially at her live shows. It was a BIG hit with the young girls that Carrie would bring on stage with her to sing with her. It spent 2 weeks at number 1, and it a platinum selling single.

    So Carrie’s main problem is not songwriting. She has the talent and potential to pen great songs someday as she is improving with each album.

    Her problem, is picking the wrong singles lately. Mama’s Song was a terrible choice, especially right before awards season when she needed buzz and a huge hit to secure more nominations.

  52. PS: I meant to add, that Carrie should have released “Someday When I Stop Loving You” this Fall instead of Mama’s Song, or What Can I Say. Both would have been huge hits, and even the NY Times loved Someday. Failure to release those 2 songs has given the false impression that the album is weak, when it actually has alot of great songs that are not seeing the light of day.

    Mama’s Song sort of killed Carrie’s buzz in this ear, and she needs to immediately release a strong song as soon as MS peaks to get back some momentum. I realize she just got married, so maybe Mama’s song was a sentimental choice, but it was the wrong choice.

    Also, I agree that releasing the Itunes songs as singles was not smart as it left you with no surprises or anticipation. I feel that they should not have used MS as an itunes single choice as it was not the right choice to sell the album.

  53. Zack, we definitely do need better radio music. I’m wondering why mainstream country radio doesn’t look back towards their older stars? I mean, Loretta Lynn has put out some newer music lately, including that one collaboration with the rock artist, and she was completely ignored by radio. Instead, we got the “same old same old” with a few good songs by newer artists for good measure.

    I think the only reason Reba’s had staying power is because of her tv show, imho. She’s an excellent singer, and picks a number of great songs, but for some reason country dumps their female stars once they hit 40. Really, they dump their male stars of a certain age too. Can’t tell you the last time I heard a Johnny Cash/Merle Haggard song on the radio.

    Sugarland and the Dixie Chicks are severely disappointing me, lol. First, Sugarland’s latest cd, and then we have the “break” the Chicks are on. Martie and Emily have been doing those live chats, and from their answers to a few questions, I get the impression they have no plans to record any Chicks music anytime soon. My only hope is that after all the feedback about adding more instrumentals to their music, we might get a few songs akin to “Lil’ Jack Slade” on the next Court Yard Hounds album. Those are the only ones I won’t notice Natalie’s absence and can close my eyes and pretend, if just for one brief song, that we have the Chicks back.

  54. Gretchen? Jewel? LeAnn? GRETCHEN?

    And I agree with Jonathan up on top — Katy Perry for AOTY? Can you say “commercial”, Grammys?

    Country Album – Revolution
    Female Country Vocal – Temporary Home
    -Even though it’s been a big Miranda year, she hasn’t been able to beat Carrie in this category for 2 years, and both she & Carrie lost to Taylor last year. I’m still putting my money on Mrs. Underwood to take her 6th Grammy home this year.
    Male Country Vocal – ‘Til Summer Comes Around
    Group/Duo Vocal – Little White Church
    -They’ll give it to ZBB which I think would be pretty crappy, but one can always dream.
    Song – First off, has there always been 6 nominees in this category? Second off, GRETCHEN? Third off, “Free”? Fourth off, “The Breath You Take?” Fifth and finally, “If I Die Young” actually got a nod!
    Anyways, Song – The House That Built Me

  55. I didn’t notice that LBT was nominated for “Little White Church,” I do hope they win for that, since it is my favorite out of all the noms in that category.

  56. I admit to being disappointed at seeing the omission of two of my favorite singles of the past year (“Consider Me Gone” and “Wrong Baby Wrong”) in the female vocal category, especially since Jewel and Gretchen Wilson (?!?!) were included.

    A pleasant surprise was the nomination for Marty Stuart and Connie Smith.

    Headscratchers include David Nail’s name and “The Breath You Take” and I do consider the absence of “Bad Romance” in the Record of the Year category to be a serious snub.

  57. sorry for the many posts, but wanted to add that I agree with Micheal that if I had to pick 2, “Consider Me Gone” & “Wrong Baby Wrong” would both be my replacements for female country vocal…. but there is no excuse for the exclusion of “CMG.”

  58. I just checked out Gretchen Wilson’s song, and it’s really good. Kind of surprised to see it as a grammy nom since I’d never heard of it, but it’s really excellent.

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