Carrie Underwood Adds to Existing Collection of Hits


Photo from iHeart Radio album release party courtesy of Chris Rollins
Photo from iHeart Radio album release party courtesy of Chris Rollins

The release of Carrie Underwood’s “Greatest Hits: Decade 1” album pays homage to Underwood’s remarkable career and track record of excellence, as well as throws a few new song gems into an already impressive catalogue.

In addition to establishing herself as a leading female vocalist in country music, Underwood has also discovered and refined her talent as a songwriter over the past decade.  The number of tracks that she contributed to on each album has increased with each release, so it’s only natural that she would have a hand in writing the two additional tracks on her “Greatest Hits” album.

She penned “Little Toy Guns” alongside Hillary Lindsey and Chris DeStefano, two writers that she has had a great track record of success in working with, which contributes to the song’s natural inclusion alongside her previous hits.  Hillary Lindsey had a hand in writing 22 of the songs that Underwood has recorded over the course of her career, including some of her most poignant tracks such as “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “So Small” and “Just a Dream.”  Chris DeStefano has contributed to Underwood’s more rock-inspired tunes, including “Good Girl” and the Miranda Lambert duet “Somethin’ Bad.”  Together, the powerhouse trio tied together Lindsey’s talent for moving songs and DeStefano’s rock sensibilities in writing “Little Toy Guns,” a song about the pain inflicted by malicious words.

The strength of “Little Toy Guns” lies in its crisp use of words to paint intense imagery.  The visual crafted of the girl in the closet in the first four lines of the song closely followed by the line “Cuts through the walls catastrophic” practically feels like a blow to the gut in terms of how it vividly it plunges the listener into the song’s emotion.  The track’s percussive punch sonically hammers that feeling home, as well as contributes a modern feel to the tune.  Underwood has never been one for writing and recording ‘fluffy’ songs, and “Little Toy Guns” continues her track record for tackling complex issues in a tasteful manner.

The three work tapes provide an interesting contrast to both “Little Toy Guns” and Underwood’s previous hits in that they feature Underwood’s vocals in their purest form, a rare treat given the prominence of the production on the majority of her previous chart toppers.  There truly must have been “something in the water” (ha) at the end of January in 2007 for Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey and Underwood, because the “Last Name” work tape was recorded on 1/22/07 the “So Small” work tape was recorded just 2 days later on 1/24/07. When “Last Name” was initially released, Underwood explained that the song came together rather effortlessly as she, Laird and Lindsey pumped the track out remarkably quickly.  From the laughter throughout work tape, it’s clear that it was a fun day in the writing room.

In celebrating her past accomplishments, Underwood has taken a step further down the road to excellence.  The new material has provided a few additional gems, and serves as a reminder of why Underwood has achieved a remarkable level of success at the ripe age of 31.  Country music is fortunate to have Underwood leading the way for females in the genre today, and for decades to come.

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