Carrie Underwood’s “Storyteller” By Kyle Yorlets
Since her American Idol victory in 2005, Carrie Underwood has completely taken the world by storm. She is without a doubt one of the biggest female country singers in history, Having cranked out 15 million career record sales and dozens of awards. Her newest album, “Storyteller,” released October 23rd, 2015, it has already been certified gold by the RIAA, and I can’t say that I’m surprised--it’s some of her best work to date.
Normally albums have a similar feel as you go from track to track, whether it be through similar instruments, a common theme in the lyrics, etc. But this isn’t your typical album-- it takes 13 completely different songs, or stories, and ties them together using
the most important character of all: The storyteller, Carrie. Even though every song has its’ own unique elements and content, Carrie’s soulful country voice brings them together in a unique and beautiful way.
What’s even cooler with this new record in particular is how it melts together the unique elements of each song with a country pop style production. The opening track, “Renegade Runaway,” is a classic country-themed tune that tells the story of a badass outlaw, but to a pop song format. It’s a constant upbeat build-up throughout, and even uses a western-style guitar riff almost like a sample in the chorus. We also catch this blending in “Choctaw Country Affair,” a murder mystery/love story that brings us back to the days of songs like Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue.” It’s a really cool modern approach to the roots of the genre!
If you’ve been anywhere near a radio for the last six months, you’ve probably caught Carrie’s smash singles. Her first, “Smoke Break,” is an anthem for those hardworking men and women that just need to kick back every now and again. Whether you’re struggling to get by or just trying to keep everything on your plate, we all can relate to the core message of this song. Her biggest song off the album so far, “Heartbeat,” was a perfect opposite with that same relatable effect. “Heartbeat” is a perfectly crafted tale of young love, which is equally smooth and pretty as it is powerful and intense. Oh, and in case you were wondering ladies, Sam Hunt is singing background vocals!
The production and vocals aren’t the only impressive elements on this album, either. The writing really sticks out, with lots of edgy ideas and instant-classic lines. “Dirty Laundry” is filled with extended metaphors, using clothing to tell the story of how the main character discovered her cheating boyfriend and kicked him to the curb. One of my personal favorite tracks is “Chaser,” Which focuses in on the frustration of the main character toward a boy that’s never satisfied with what he has. Although the song begins with alcohol-related undertones, the term chaser is never actually used in that way. The first line of the chorus, “Yeah, boy, you’re nothing but a chaser,” describes him as always running after whatever he sees; it comes to a close with “I’m done with letting you be my heartbreaker, so go ahead and chase her.” This is an AWESOME play on words, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I started writing this review.
As this series of stories comes to a close, I feel a sense of satisfaction and completion. Carrie Underwood has spared no time or energy in putting together her newest masterpiece. I went into this album with high expectations, and I can’t think of a single time that I was let down. I am very excited to see what route Carrie will be taking for her next album. This album should go right to the top of your list of new music, you will not be disappointed.