NYCS First Impression: Carrie Underwood ‘Cry Pretty’

Carrie Underwood Cry Pretty

There’s no denying the power of Carrie Underwood within the country music community. The golden-voiced superstar has been a fixture in the genre since her American Idol win back in 2005. Today, Underwood releases her sixth studio album, Cry Pretty, which only further serves to cement her role as the reigning queen of country. However, unlike previous efforts, Cry Pretty shows Underwood stretching her sonic wings, veering in different directions musically, topically, and emotionally.

Sonically, Cry Pretty shows Underwood exploring different sides of her voice, hints of a more R&B/ soulful tone lacing many of the album’s tracks. The LP contains thirteen songs (including a bonus track “The Champion”), with each showing a different side of Underwood. For the first time in her storied career, many of these lyrics sound like they’re coming directly from the singer’s heart, rather than presenting her in character. The album also allows her to wear both her producer hat, co-producing with David Garcia and her writer hat, having written on nine of the album’s tracks.

While Underwood has always excelled in the art of the story song, as evidenced by the likes of “Last Name” and “Two Black Cadillacs,” she truly shines when she lets down her guard and sings from the heart. Nowhere on the album is this more evident than on track 12, entitled “Kingdom.” The song, co-written by Underwood, Chris DeStefano, and Dave Barnes, plays as a love song to Underwood’s own husband and children, remarking that their perfectly imperfect life is their kingdom.

Cry Pretty also shows Underwood tackling some difficult subjects, touching on the long-term and long-reaching effects of a single bullet in “The Bullet.” She also hits on the topics of school shootings and politics in “Love Wins.” While she doesn’t overtly advertise an opinion within these songs, she uses her platform to draw attention to some tough topics, and “The Bullet,” co-written by Marc Beeson, Andy Albert, and Allen Shamblin, provides one of the album’s most poignant moments.

On the album, Underwood also shows off a more lighthearted side, releasing what could be described as her first party song. It would be safest to liken “Southbound,” co-written by Underwood, Garcia, and Josh Miller, to a Little Big Town song in the vein of “Pontoon” or “Day Drinking.” While the song is certainly a departure for Underwood, it does work here, and we expect to hear it blasting at tailgates for the next fifty years. “The Song That We Used to Make Love To” also veers into a more poppy sound for Underwood than listeners may be used to hearing, but with a voice like hers, it works.

“Low” and “Backsliding” show off the groovy side of Underwood, revealing a more R&B side to her voice. “Backsliding,” written by Underwood, Garcia and Hillary Lindsay, is an ode to going back to an ex that you most definitely shouldn’t, and interestingly, wouldn’t sound out of place on a Thomas Rhett album. Alternatively, “Low,” written by the same writing team as “Backsliding” really allows Underwood to show off a different and underused side of her voice. Rather than focusing on belts and glory notes, she explores different tones, riffing and running the notes from high to low.

Other highlights of the album are “Ghosts on the Stereo,” written by Hillary Lindsey, Tom Douglas, and the late Andrew Dorff, and “Drinking Alone,” co-written by Underwood, Garcia, and Brett James. On the latter, Underwood laments the old adage that misery loves company, while the former tells of her “having a ball with Hank, Haggard, and Jones.”

For Underwood fans, Cry Pretty is a unique but engaging offering, stretching the singer outside of her normal realm, yet still keeping her planted in her musical roots. For country music purists, the overall body of work might veer too much away from the Underwood of “I Told You So” and “Jesus Take the Wheel,” but for fans of music as a whole, Cry Pretty offers something for everyone.

The album is available to buy or stream everywhere today.

Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Track List:

  1. Cry Pretty (Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose)
  2. Ghosts On The Stereo (Hillary Lindsey, Tom Douglas, Andrew Dorff)
  3. Low (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey)
  4. Backsliding (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey)
  5. Southbound (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Josh Miller)
  6. That Song That We Used To Make Love To (Hillary Lindsey, Jason Evigan)
  7. Drinking Alone (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Brett James)
  8. The Bullet (Marc Beeson, Andy Albert, Allen Shamblin)
  9. Spinning Bottles (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Hillary Lindsey)
  10. Love Wins (Carrie Underwood, David Garcia, Brett James)
  11. End Up With You (Hillary Lindsey, Brett McLaughlin, Will Weatherly)
  12. Kingdom (Carrie Underwood, Chris DeStefano, Dave Barnes)
  13. *Bonus Track* The Champion (Carrie Underwood, Brett James, Chris DeStefano, Christopher Bridges PKA Ludacris)



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Top 10 Carrie Underwood Songs…So Far

With Carrie Underwood’s new album, Cry Pretty, being released on September 14, there are sure to be twelve new classic tracks to bless our ears. Yet, while we wait for what’s to come,  it’s only fitting to take a look back at her incredible catalog of hits over the past thirteen years.

While pretty much every Underwood song is perfect in its own right, her hits span the gamut of emotions from love and longing to betrayal and revenge to religion and spirituality. It was nearly impossible to choose a list of favorites, but here are ten of Underwood’s best songs, so far.


10. “Dirty Laundry”

“Dirty Laundry” makes this list for its catchy hook and incredibly clever lyrics, with Underwood telling her cheating man that “all the Ajax in the world ain’t gonna clean your dirty laundry.” The track was written by Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley, and Hillary Lindsey and appeared on Underwood’s Storyteller album.


9. “Temporary Home”

While “Temporary Home” may not have been one of Underwood’s biggest hits, it’s easily one of her most poignant. As the second single from her 2009 album, Play On, “Temporary Home” touched on the singer’s spiritual side. She co-wrote the track with Zac Maloy and Luke Laird, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.


8. “Jesus, Take the Wheel”

In many ways, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” is the song the started it all for Underwood, as the first single off her debut album, Some Hearts. Written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey, and Gordie Sampson, the song was Underwood’s first step in establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in country music. The song also cemented her position as a Grammy darling, taking home the trophy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.


7. “Blown Away”

“Blown Away” served as the second single off of Underwood’s album of the same name, setting a darker tone for the era. The song tells the story of an abusive father passed out on the couch during a tornado, while his daughter hides in a shelter, praying for him and the home to be “blown away.” It was written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear.


6. “Last Name”

“Last Name” tells the story of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” with Underwood taking on the tongue-in-cheek role of a woman whose raucous night ended with her married to a man whose last name she doesn’t know. Written by Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird, the Carnival Ride single showed Underwood’s lighter side and earned her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.


5. “Two Black Cadillacs”

“Two Black Cadillacs” hearkens back to the old days of country music’s story songs, and it’s a masterful track in the vein of classics like “Goodbye Earl” or “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” The song was the fourth single from the Blown Away album, continuing the darker trend started by the title track. It was co-written by Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, and Josh Kear.


4. “Just a Dream”

Underwood’s “Just a Dream” is the type of song (and video) that tests for working tear ducts, telling the story of a young military widow. It was released as a single from Carnival Ride and written by Gordie Sampson, Steve McEwan, and Hillary Lindsey.


3. “Wasted”

While “Wasted” may have been the sixth and final single released from Underwood’s debut album, Some Hearts, it’s one of her best. Written by Hillary Lindsey, Marv Green, and Troy Verges, “Wasted” is certainly a simpler song by Underwood standards, but a perfect snapshot of everything great about country music in the first decade of the 2000’s. It’s fluff, but not too fluffy; it’s country, but not too country; it’s pop without being too poppy. Lyrically and musically, “Wasted” remains all kinds of delightful.


2. “Before He Cheats”

While Underwood has had a ton of massive hits, one could argue that “Before He Cheats” is her most iconic release thus far. On the revenge anthem, which became her largest selling single to date, Underwood takes a Lousiville slugger to both headlights and slashes all four of her man’s tires, promising that she’ll never be cheated on again. The 2007 single was written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear, and can be heard in karaoke joints and cover bars across Nashville to this day.


1. “Something in the Water”

There’s just something magical about “Something in the Water, ” earning it the top spot. The track, which was released as a single from Underwood’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1, was co-written by Underwood, Chris DeStefano, and Brett James. It doesn’t sugarcoat its spirituality and the “Amazing Grace” background choir into the ending is truly chill-inducing. Grammy voters agreed, with “Something in the Water” nabbing a coveted award for Best Country Solo Performance.


How does our list of our Top Carrie Underwood Songs match up to yours?  Check back here in a next week to read our First Impression of her highly anticipated next album, Cry Pretty.


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Exciting News From Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood

Just one month before Carrie Underwood releases her sixth studio album, Cry Pretty on Sept. 14, Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour 360 announcement surprised us with more than just dates and locations.

The exciting news comes out that her tour is kicking off in May 2019, since she has another baby on the way! “Mike and Isaiah and I are absolutely over the moon and excited to be adding another little fish to our pond!” she shared this morning via social media. “This has just been a dream come true, with the album and with baby news and all that stuff. We’re just so excited, and just so glad that you guys can share in this with us.”

She broke the news this morning that she will bring up-and-coming female artists, Maddie & Tae and Runaway June along with her for all dates.  Her tour which will be ‘in the round’ will allow Underwood to get up close and personal with fans as the stage is a circle, and allows the venues to sell all of the tickets, not leaving out the seats behind the stage. 

 Tickets go on sale Friday, Aug. 17, at 10 AM. Make sure you enter on her website, for a chance to win two tickets to see Underwood in your city.  New Yorkers can look forward to the Cry Pretty Tour 360 hitting Madison Square Garden on October 2nd, 2019



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Guess Who’s Back? Carrie Underwood Releases “Cry Pretty”

This morning Carrie Underwood joined iHeartRadio to premiere her brand new single “Cry Pretty”.  The song was written by Underwood along with the songwriting team, the Love Junkies, Liz Rose, Hilary Lindsey and Lori McKenna, also responsible for Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”.  The ballad is heavy, but uplifting, proving that although you can fake smile and smile through a lie, crying is very real and it is hard to look beautiful when letting those emotions out.

Underwood has been out of the spotlight since taking a fall outside her Nashville home last fall, making her triumphant return with this epic anthem on Sunday night’s ACM Awards on CBS.  Be sure to be following @NYCountry Swag on Twitter as we LIVE Tweet the award show and let us know in the comments what you think about Underwood’s latest single.


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