Carrie Underwood shared details, interviews, and much more about her fourth studio album, Blown Away, released May 1 and we put her in the spotlight! Throughout the New Music Spotlight, we're sharing exclusive interviews with Carrie about this new project, moments from the Opry stage, including when Carrie was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry and her induction night, tracklist for Blown Away, and much more. Check it out! Plus, don't forget to enter to win a copy of the album, Carrie Underwood autographed acoustic guitar, exclusive print, and more! PLUS, see her on the Opry stage June 5! Click here for tickets. Read on, Carrie fans:
On the Blown Away record, Carrie delivers a 14-song collection that covers a vast expanse of emotional territory. Song titles range from small-town life, wine & whiskey, cupid, goodbyes, shotguns, Cadillacs, and (you guessed it) being blown away. It's her most ambitious project yet.
"I'm excited about Blown Away becuase I really think it will blow people away," Carrie says. "I felt so great writing for this album. I feel like we really just took it to new places. I feel like I have better stuff than ever and the songs are incredible. There's something for everybody on this album, and I am very excited."
She celebrates small-town living in "Thank God For Hometowns," explores the fragility of life in "Forever Changed," tackles abuse and betrayal (plus sweet revenge, of course) with tracks "Blown Away" and "Two Black Cadillacs," and heads for an island-flavored escape in "One Way Ticket." Musically, the songs range from rollicking up-tempo anthems like her smash first single, "Good Girl" to steel guitar-laced country lament. This musical diversity throughout the album is the foundation of Carrie's artistry.
And since this Oklahoma-native is a fan of all types of music, she's purposefully planted herself in the country music format (and fits right in with the Opry family), but still explores many other musical influences.
"I feel like I've taken all of my albums into as many different directions as possible while still keeping them cohesive," Carrie says. "I love this album from start to finish and love every song on it. There's not one single song that's like another song I've done. I think it's my best album. I really do think there's something for everyone."
1. Good Girl (Carrie Underwood/Chris DeStefano/Ashley Gorley)
2. Blown Away (Josh Kear/Chris Tompkins)
3. Two Black Cadillacs (Carrie Underwood/Josh Kear/Hillary Lindsey)
4. See You Again (Carrie Underwood/David Hodges/Hillary Lindsey)
5. Do You Think About Me (Cary Barlowe/Hillary Lindsey/Shane Stevens)
6. Forever Changed (Tom Douglas/James Slater/Hillary Lindsey)
7. Nobody Ever Told You (Carrie Underwood/Luke Laird/Hillary Lindsey)
8. One Way Ticket (Carrie Underwood/Josh Kear/Luke Laird)
9. Thank God For Hometowns (Luke Laird/Ashley Gorley/Hillary Lindsey)
10. Good In Goodbye (Carrie Underwood/Hillary Lindsey/Ryan Tedder)
11. Leave Love Alone (Hillary Lindsey/Gordie Sampson/Troy Verges)
12. Cupid's Got A Shotgun (Carrie Underwood/Josh Kear/Chris Tompkins)
13. Wine After Whiskey (Carrie Underwood/Dave Berg/Tom Shapiro)
14. Who Are You (Mutt Lange)
"Getting personal definitely has to be something inspired," Carrie says of writing for the album. "I won't just get personal for the sake of getting personal. It has to just happen on its own and kind of come out, gates open, and it comes out in song form. It's not something I try to do by saying I need to write a love song, I can't do that. Just sometimes, that's where we go and I have noticed I am a little quicker to go there than I was before."
Think you know Carrie and her musical style? Think again. Blown Away is likely to catch you by surprise, particularly the title track that includes swirling, atmospheric production and intense lyrics about abuse and revenge.
"I got chills," Carrie says of the first time she heard it. "I remember where I was and called my manager and said, 'Do not let anyone else have this song. It's my song.' It's such a visual song. You listen to it and you can see everything that is happening. It's so dramatic. I'm not a drama person, but when you can make a movie in song form in 3 and a half minutes, it's surreal."
"Blown Away" finds a daughter getting revenge on an abusive, alcoholic father, and the next song, "Two Black Cadillacs," also has a larger-than-life cinematic quality. "Cupid's Got A Shotgun" is another one of the album's high-energy tracks, and it gets an extra kick from friend and fellow Opry member Brad Paisley contributing his signature guitar licks.
"Once we got into the studio, I was like, 'Brad Paisley HAS to play on this. He'll make the song," Carrie says. "We left so much space in the song for him to come in and play. He did his thing and sounded awesome. He added that last piece of the puzzle, and it's just so country. It's really cool."
"Nobody Ever Told You," boasts an engaging melody with life-affirming lyrics, which Carrie says, "People need to hear compliments more. People need to hear 'I love you' more. People need to hear 'you are beautiful more'." Then there's the bittersweet look at life beyond heartbreak that offers truth in lyrics such as "As bad as it was/As bad as it hurt/I thank God I didn't get what I thought I deserved." And on the other end of the emotional spectrum, "Thank God For Hometowns" is a sweet salute to the small-town life. "Forever Changed" is a ballad that brings tears to Carrie's eyes even still, and it's hard for her to listen to it.
"That is the most wonderfully well-written song I've ever heard in my life," Carrie says. "There's this young girl meeting the love of her life, getting married and having a baby. It takes you back in time, and there is something old fashioned about it. At the end, the mom's obviously slipping away a little bit. It is a sad song, but it's not meant to be a sad song. It's about love, being forever changed, forever loved."
Carrie co-wrote eight of the 14 tracks on the album, including the first single, "Good Girl," which is already climbing the charts.
"'Good Girl' was one of the last ones I wrote for the album," she says. "We wanted something a little more fun and up-tempo. Chris DeStefano is just a mad scientist with his Pro Tools, and he can play every instrument. We walked out of that writing session with a demo. It sounded awesome. It was ready to go. We let everybody hear it, and everybody was so excited."
In a few short years since Carrie's days on American Idol, Carrie has seen the power that music has to change lives. From the lyrics to the melodies to the guitar parts to the drums - and everything inbetween - Carrie knows and sees all around her the power of a song. From her journey to her first time on the Opry stage, to becoming a true part of the family through Opry membership, Carrie has let music and passion and creativity and performing fuel it all. And she "plays on" with her latest album.
"The most fun thing about releasing new music is having new music to play!" Carrie says. "I know when I go and do a concert some place, the people in the audience haven't heard me sing it a thousand times, but I have heard me sing it a thousand times. Sometimes it's a challenge to be able to play the same show or the same songs and find new exciting things about it. I feel like it's possible because each crowd is different, but it is so nice to be able to put new shows together with new music. It's exciting. They're fresh."