Roots, Toots n' Hoots Blog
Carrie Underwood rings true (with some)
Jeffrey Remz | February 23, 2012
Remember that Carrie Underwood sneak peak I wrote about? Well, apparently my complaints struck a few sensitive nerves out there from people who thought I was way too harsh on Underwood.
I said that Underwood should not have made like she was doing something on the sly because her record company and management obviously knew she would be doing this.
Before commenting further, I'll throw out a few of the emails received in protest. Fortunately, almost all were written without $3#5X@! kind of language and kept above board. So, even if you didn't like what I had to ay, thanks for writing.
This is from Liz from who knows where? She didn't identify herself:
"Oh good grief are you really going to complain about Carrie's little video? Do you think we are so stupid to believe that Carrie didn't get "approval" to give us that video? And I must say you sound a tad disapproving of her song. You haven't heard the whole song so how can you trash it without even hearing the whoke thing. I haven't read your "review" of other pop-country singers but do you dislike all of them or just Carrie. I have found that somehow Carrie is held to a much higher standard than everyone else. Maybe you can enlighten me on that point."
Response: she hid behind anonymity in calling me "so stupid," of course.
Here's another anonymous email:"That article was a total hatchet job piece of garbage. What was the point?
Of course everyone knows it was a promotional piece that was decided on by the label - so what? I guess you didn't get the joke.
Also, the cheap shot about the makeup - most women wear makeup out in public, especially mega superstar country female singers that could get their picture snapped at any second and have it published in tons of rag magazines - boy, you really made a fool out of yourself with this article!
Response: the make-up was about making like this was spur-of-the-moment. Whatever. Thanks for reading the hatchet job anyway.
And yet another:
I normally like your blog a lot. I think you are a respectable writer and usually seem unbiased and honest in your opinions. So I am not writing to bash you or attack you in anyway. However, I am a little offended by the tone you took about Carrie Underwood yesterday in your blog.
I get that she is not traditional country and never will be. But neither is Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Lady A, Kenny, Keith, etc.- the list goes on and on. So I am surprised that you called her out on her new song, but leave them all alone?
As for the video- of course it was planned as a cute little marketing tool. But Taylor does that kind of thing all the time-- and you never call her out for it. She hires professional photographers to photograph her all dressed up on the beach with her friends, and then tries to act like the pics were natural and spontaneous. I may not like the girl very much as she cannot sing on key to save her life- but Taylor Swift's biggest talent is her ability to market herself in such an aggressive manner that even Harvard Business School should be taking notes. lol Seriously. She and her team made gold out of dirt- meaning, she has very little to no vocal talent but is now a huge success- mostly due to marketing...
I am fine with you calling out Carrie for not being traditional country enough. Valid point. But- neither is Taylor, Lady A, Kenny, Rascal Flatts, even the Band Perry is remixing their songs to pop now, sadly. So why call out only Carrie in your blog-- but leave them alone? Shows a bias there.
Response: thanks for the praise and intelligent comments. We had several back-and-forth emails, which made for a good discussion.
I liked this one from Gracie F, who wrote with passion and viewpoint. "Are you really passing judgment on what amounts to a 20 second listen to the new single? So where have you been lately? Underwood has been giving her fans little teasers. I don't take this as a planned leak or misrepresentation to her fans at all. Carrie's playing around. I think she's adorable in the video. And on a side note, the woman can't help it that she's beautiful. From what I saw it did not appear to me that she was dressed ready for the red carpet.
I would think that you as a writer would be more careful passing judgment on incomplete material. Ironically you criticize Underwood for not being upfront with her fans but in a sense are you being fair? Very disappointed with your writing. By the way, not too much as leaked on this album to date. Perhaps you saw and heard the Hillary Lindsey demo floating around, which is rumored to have made the cut, titled "Leave Love Alone"? Now maybe that one falls under your "far more traditional in her approach" category.
p.s. Your analysis was like picking up a book and reading the ending, not fully absorbing the whole picture. You missed out on a lot of chapters in this novel. Oh wait, the book hasn't even come out yet. Your bad, seriously!
Response: sorry to disappoint you, but at least you thought enough what I wrote to comment, so thanks.
There were a few other comments along these same lines, and thanks to all.
A few general comments - I think the bottom line is that I didn't find the video all that funny or clever. The shaky camera shtick was so obvious. And the rest of it wasn't all that funny either.
As for the song, I heard - like you- maybe 20 seconds of it. I heard what I heard and only commented on that, not the entire song, not the album, not Underwood's career. It rocked as I said. The vocal were powerful. That's just about fact, folks.
For those who want to bash Taylor Swift while praising Carrie, not worth it. They are different artists and should stand on their own. There is no need to knock one artist at the expense of another. Underwood can deal. And if it wasn't Swift, it'd be someone else.
As for the country pop comments, I will once again make it clear. I am not wild about country pop at all. Never have been. It just strays to far from what I perceive country music to be. For someone else who finds it their type of country, that's okay. For those who wondered, yes, I have written about Swift and a long list of others who are more pop than country.
As I said to one emailer, the thing that matters is the music, and that's what I await. I liked Underwood's last release, "Play On" - good songs, good singing. I like the fact that she wrote a bunch of the songs. I await her new sounds and will listen with an open ear.
Too often with music today in all genres, the emphasis is on image and marketing. To me, the quality of the music is paramount. Thanks to all for their (mainly) considered comments.