Album Review: Storyteller by Carrie Underwood

From winning the fourth season of American Idol back in 2005 to touring the world, 32 year old American country star Carrie Underwood has had one hell of a decade. Her career in music started back in her small hometown of Checotah, Oklaholma, singing in church and local talent contests before she went on to take American Idol by storm. She dueted with Rascal Flatts and created Billboard chart history with her debut single, ‘Inside Your Heaven’, making her the first country star to debut at number one. This year sees Carrie release her fifth studio album, Storyteller.

Storyteller is the first album in three years from Carrie Underwood and the break hasn’t been wasted at all. The album manages to perfectly blend the variety of country styles that have developed over the last decade and together create something that encompasses them all yet still sounds very fresh. It’s clear to hear that a lot of time and effort has been spent in producing something so well thought out. 

Rough around the edges

The crossover sounds on the album come out especially well on album opener ‘Renegade Runaway’, which has elements of the rock-country genre in its heavier guitar sounds and riffs. This is also true of ‘Dirty Laundry’ which, as with the album opener, feels a little grittier and more rough around the edges in the most positive of ways.

Tugging at the heart strings with her emotional lyrics and powerful voice is nothing new for Carrie. From her earlier tracks of ‘Jesus Take The Wheel’ to ‘Don’t Forget to Remember Me’, she has always managed to create something that listeners connect to, and this is no less the case on Storyteller. ‘Like I’ll Never Love You Again’ and ‘What I Never Knew I Always Wanted’ are both tracks that lyrically touch a nerve. ‘Like I’ll Never Love You Again’ is, unsurprisingly, a story of wanting to love someone like it’s the last time you’ll love them and for those listeners that are loved up it’s a perfect song. 

‘What I Never Knew I Always Wanted’ has been described by Rolling Stone as a poignant and reflective ballad of self-discovery, and this is more than accurate. It’s heartfelt and passionate and very easy to imagine it as something that especially teenage girls will connect to. It’s that moment of trying to figure out who you are in this world.

That little something special

At its heart though, Storyteller is undeniably a strong country album. Each track, be it subtly or very obviously, has the expected country sounds of the guitar as well as strong heartfelt lyrics. They create the sound fans of Carrie have come to know and love. ‘Like I’ll Never Love You Again’, ‘What I Never Knew I Always Wanted’ and ‘Smoke Break’ are real stand-out moments on the album. Though each track provides the opportunity to showcase Carrie’s incredibly vocal ranges, these three have that little something special about them.  

Storyteller has proved that after a decade in the business Carrie shows no signs of faultering. She is still creating solid country music that has a wide appeal and her success is sure to continue for many years to come.

Are you a fan of Carrie Underwood? Let us know in the comments below!