Music Review: Carrie Underwood, 'Play On'

by Alison Bonaguro

Special to the Tribune

Published November 3, 2009


The lead single off Underwood's new album, "Play On" ( Sony BMG Nashville), has the word cowboy in it. And that's most country thing about it.

Most of the 13 tracks take Underwood down a much more modern path, combining sass in her pipes with a hefty team of songwriters to give this batch of music a glammed-up pop lean. There is the Gwen Stefani-esque rapid fire cadence of "Cowboy Casanova." The guttural uh-uh-uhs and nah-nah-nahs in "Undo It," co-written by "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi. And the gritty groove that comes with "Songs Like This."

Traces of country come through with some fiddle flourishes here and banjo rolls there. And her ability to turn on the crooning charm for the poignant ballads will sway fans into loving her reverence for country's traditional vocal style. That balance of vintage Underwood and edgy Underwood will boost her appeal for listeners who love music more than they love genre labels.


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