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Carrie Underwood – ‘Denim & Rhinestones’ review

Eight-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood celebrates seventeen years in the music industry this year, and is still having so much fun, going by the release of her ninth studio album, ‘Denim & Rhinestones’.

The 12 tracks, about love and heartbreak and the other woman, are mostly upbeat, fun songs, which was Carrie’s intention, as artists return to the stage. To paraphrase the title song from her double platinum 2012 album, the CMA Fest 2022 audience was blown away during her blisteringly entertaining Saturday headline set. 

The album opens with the title track, ‘Denim & Rhinestones’, a pop-infused nostalgic love song, reminiscent of the eighties decade and Underwood’s third album, Play On.  ‘Velvet Heartbreak’ follows a similar musical vein, in the direction of, well, heartbreak.  Underwood has already performed third track, the enigmatic ballad and lead single ‘Ghost Story’, live a couple of times, this year at the 2022 Grammy Awards and the 2022 CMT Music Awards, ahead of the album release, and it’s one of the strongest songs on Demin & Rhinestones, because of the hook of a chorus and the intriguing love story.   

Other standout songs on the album are the is the home-based ballad ‘Burn’, the warning-song of ‘Poor Everybody Else’ and ‘Wanted Woman’, for the western-reference title and the upbeat electronic dance direction. This juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, weaves through the whole concept album – of having a good time and taking care of the business of the heart – and doesn’t quite reach the magnitude of ‘Blown Away’, the RIAA Platinum ‘Storyteller’, or 2018’s ‘Cry Pretty’ albums. 

But, you know, ‘Denim & Rhinestones’ isn’t taking itself seriously; sometimes we just need to shake off a bad relationship, grab our pals and head out for a good time; ‘Crazy Angels’ and ‘Pink Champagne’ make decent pop-country companions.

Perhaps acknowledging the previous, faith-based albums, that Underwood released in the last couple of years, is the gentle album closer ‘Garden’.

Carrie Underwood is an outstanding performer, an icon of country music and her vocals were made for arenas. On release day, ‘Denim & Rhinestones’ shot to the top of the charts, and legions of fans will have already learned these lyrics, ahead of the 43 date tour when it kicks off in October.

Carrie Underwood - Denim & Rhinestones
Credit: UMG

Track listing: 1. Denim & Rhinestones 2. Velvet Heartbreak 3. Ghost Story 4. Hate my Heart 5. Burn 6. Crazy Angels 7. Faster 8. Pink Champagne 9. Wanted Woman 10. Poor Everybody Else 11. She Don’t Know 12. Garden Record label: Capitol Records Nashville Release date: 10th June 2022 Buy ‘Denim & Rhinestones’ now

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