Carrie Underwood’s ‘Cry Pretty’: America’s country sweetheart gets vaguely political

Broken relationships, substance abuse, gun violence — Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” delves into much different kinds of pain than the one that fixed the public’s gaze on her face last year. A fall at her Nashville home required 40+ facial stitches and left her unable to sing for months in addition to delaying the album’s release.

Underwood has fully healed in the months since the accident, and while she claimed it took some time for her diction to return to normal, she’s never sounded better than on “Cry Pretty,” the album’s 12 tracks spanning pop, country and R&B. 

Carrie Underwood: Accident changed her singing: ‘Things felt different’

As for that pesky fall, Underwood doesn’t address the incident head-on anywhere on the album, aside from one line on album closer “Kingdom” about “a creaky board on the front porch you swear you’re gonna fix soon.” Ostensibly addressed to her husband, Mike Fisher, the song is Underwood’s celebration of domestic bliss, on which the newly pregnant star — she and Fisher already have a 3-year-old son, Isaiah — plans ahead for life with one more child in the house, singing about having “two kids flying down the hall.”

Aside from the HAIM-channeling love song “End Up With You” and “Love Wins,” which preaches unity in “a world that seems broken,” the rest of the album isn’t as rosy. Underwood assumes the role of a wistful ex-lover on several album highlights, including the soulful “Low” and “Ghosts on the Stereo” and the sexier “That Song That We Used To Make Love To,” a track that sounds swiped from an R&B vixen, with Underwood skillfully handling the track’s somersaulting melody.

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