Carrie Underwood is one of country music’s biggest stars. She has one of the strongest voices in the industry today, regardless of genre. In a musical landscape where quality singing is becoming less important each day that really means something. Yet despite that fact she stills feels overrated, mainly because of her consistently poor choice of singles. Though not her worst single, “Mama’s Song” fails to add spice to her spotty catalogue and will unlikely be remembered a few years down the road.
Following sassy singles such as “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It”, the role she takes on here as the doormat bride is quite unexpected. The song doesn’t promote a very good message for women, but there have been plenty of classic country songs about women who played second fiddle to men (“Stand By Your Man” and “Whoever’s In New England”), although “Mama’s Song” doesn’t quite live up to those country standards.
What separates Carrie’s latest effort from those aforementioned gems is the lack of desperation and sadness. On Reba’s career-changing record “Whoever’s In New England” she portrays a desperate woman who knows she’s losing her man to another woman, while on Tammy Wynette’s signature hit she makes the heartbreaking realization that she’ll never truly understand why the man she loves acts the way he does.
“Mama’s Song” in turn finds its narrator trying to reassure her mother that she’ll be alright because she’s found a “real man” who will take care of her, heck “he even makes promises he keeps”. The most nauseating part of the song is the bridge where she starts talking about having her own daughter, at which point she actually says: “And I hope she’ll find the answers to my prayers”…which means her own amazing guy who will make promises he keeps and who’s never gonna leave.
So what keeps this painfully banal song from being a complete disaster and makes it somewhat enjoyable? Underwood’s fantastic voice. She gives one of her strongest vocal performances to date, she’s so good that she almost makes you forget about those tacky lyrics, almost.
The fact that she does such a great job vocally actually makes it more frustrating because it just proves that her talent is being wasted on another highly disposable song. I’ve listened to Play On and it’s actually a decent and enjoyable album, although you’d never be able to guess so based on the four songs they’ve chosen to be singles so far. Underwood and her team need to get their heads straight and start releasing better material fast, “Someday When I Stop Loving You” would be a great start.