Dolly Parton is the legend and “mother” of all female country music stars out there – no doubt. But during since 2005, it more and more feels that Carrie Underwood is her princess, who is extremely successful as an artist – at least if you do not focus on the male ones. Carrie Underwood stated that the current times are the best ones to do a project which she envisaged to do for a long time: a Christmas album. So let’s gather round the tree on 25th September 2020, when the festive tracks have been released.
Carrie Underwood – About The Artist
Carrie Marie Underwood was born on 10th March 1983 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Southeast of Tulsa. She is one of the most successful female country artists of this century, being based on her 2005 victory at American Idol. She already had minor performances in her childhood, which attracted an admirer to arrange a trip to Nashville for her in 1996. She almost got a record deal at that age, which finally did not work out due to management change. She was very talented in high school, performing as a cheerleader as well as competing in basketball and softball and completing her grade as second best. Later at University, she graduated with magna cum laude. In parallel to her studies, she enrolled to the auditions for American idol in summer 2004. Part of her victory there was a record deal. Her debut single Inside Your Heaven made it to the top of the US and Canadian (overall) charts. The second release, Jesus, Take The Wheel, topped the country charts in both countries and sold more than 2.5 million times. The corresponding album Some Hearts released on 15th November 2005 sold ten million times and topped the US Country Charts.
From then on, Underwood grew as an international phenomenon. Any of her five albums thereafter topped the US Country Charts (none of them was worse than second in the overall charts), but also sold well in Australia or the United Kingdom. She regularly topped the charts with singles as well. In 2012, for example, Good Girl and Blown Away sold some three million units each in the US only. Regarding her US sales, the most successful song, however, was the 2016 Before He Cheats (some 4.5m units sold)
Carrie Underwood – My Gift – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 41 minutes.
1. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
Just learned something at the very first tunes of Underwood’s album: I was not aware that the English Christmas culture turned the Friedrich Schiller poem An die Freude / Ode To Joy, which most well-known as part of my birth town’s Bonn hero Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and European Anthem, into a Christmas song. Thus, I am a bit more defensive regarding this lovely sung version at the beginning of the album.
2. O Come All Ye Faithful
Let’s skip the spoiling of European unity for Santa Clause and enjoy the second tune: in this Christmas classic, Carrie Underwood underlines his massive vocal talent – the track is purely focussing on her voice, just having some background strings. Nice!
3. Let There Be Peace
Let There Be Peace has not just been released as a single before the album, the track is also the first non-traditional season track of the album. Rhythmic, feeling like a gospel, especially later in the song. Beautiful!
4. Little Drummer Boy (feat. Isaiah Fisher)
The Little Drummer Boy is undoubtedly a festive classic. If you are asking yourself who this Isaiah Fisher is, the answer is quite easy: for this track, Carrie Underwood is joined by her very own little drummer boy, her five year old son. Somehow cute and fitting to the family days during the festive season.
5. Sweet Baby Jesus
Sweet Baby Jesus is the second new composition for My Gift. I have to admit that the track is the least catching one of the album so far to me. Starting rhythmic, but then getting lost. Neither a country, nor a pop, nor a reflective one.
6. Hallelujah (feat. John Legend)
Carrie Underwood, a piano and John Legend – that’s about the setup of Hallelujah. This is a new track, not the Leonard Cohen classic, for example. Two amazing voices, but the song as such unfortunately too strongly connects to Sweet Baby Jesus to me – in regards that I feel that it is too weak.
7. O Holy Night
So far, most of my favorites on the album are classic country songs. O Holy Night again is purely focusing on Underwood’s voice. Carrie fans will love it as it definitely illustrates the beauty of her singing. I just ask myself if that’s the right soundtrack to get in the right mood for presents – or to enjoy them together with your beloved ones. I doubt.
8. Mary, Did You Know?
While I was quite harsh to the two recent new compositions on My Gift, I somehow do like Mary, Did You Know? It has a festive feeling, strong voice, but also some rhythm. The quite slow track feels like a traditional one.
9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
I feel that at Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas the concept of arranging Christmas songs for Carrie Underwood works much better than in some of the songs before. Much more of a festive feeling – and one of the nicer new songs.
10. Away In A Manger
The album concludes with two classic Christmas songs. I have to admit that I did not know Away In A Manger before, as it does not play a role in German Christmas culture – but the song as performed by Carrie may really be a festive mood booster. Nice!
11. Silent Night
Let’s finish the album with the song I would name the Queen of all classic Christmas songs. Silent Night is just such a Christmas blast, Carrie Underwood just cannot spoil it. It is a nice recording and I enjoy to listen to Underwood in these final 3:31 minutes of the album – but I have to say that it is not my favorite interpretation of it.
Carrie Underwood – My Gift – Spotify
This is the Spotify widget for Carrie Underwood’s Christmas album:
Carrie Underwood – My Gift – My View
Good girl or naughty? I have to admit that I was really looking forward to Carrie Underwood’s Christmas selection (though I feel that a release some six weeks later would have been fine as well…) – and I am not overall happy with it. It is a bit of boring, too many tracks are not really increasing the festive feelings in me. Carrie has a tough time to do it during more-than-20 C-temperature-out-there late September days, but she also took her part that the challenge failed. Failed.
Christmas Media Reviews
Here are all media reviews dealing with Christmas:
Finland at Flyctory.com
Here are all postings on Flyctory.com about Finland: