The Lowdown: With apologies to Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood is the only female superstar in country music today. There are some might-have-beens. Taylor Swift changed lanes. The Dixie Chicks went up in a patriotic bonfire. The generation of Reba, Faith, and Shania Twain are enjoying various ….
Carrie Underwood is one of country music's great criers. Her commitment to specific, overwhelming melodrama is a skill that seems slightly old fashioned — a lack of subtlety that is camp, and performatively feminine, like an ostrich fan or marabou pumps. At her best, it is barely contained fury; at her worst it is sloppy and overreaching.
The new album has some of her best material, and some of her worst — it is a wildly uneven effort, with no consistency of form or content. It is sex-drenched, but often not very sexy; it is ….