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Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

From the first trio of songs on this Grammy winner’s fourth album, including current single “Good Girl,” it’s clear that Carrie has matured and grown more comfortable with edgy material.

Two of her most arresting performances come via delectably dark songs. In the chilling, vengeful title track, a girl seeks shelter from an oncoming twister as it blows away the remnants of her harrowing past—including her abusive, alcoholic father. “Two Black Cadillacs” hints at the sinister revenge a wife and a mistress exact on the man who cheated on them both.

Carrie effortlessly switches gears with the countrified “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun,” featuring Brad Paisley’s guitar work, and the mildly reggae-influenced country-pop confection “Nobody Ever Told You.” Carrie’s most tender moment arrives with the quietly elegant “Forever Changed.” “Leave Love Alone” is propelled by a jangly guitar arrangement and a vibe that mingles Miranda Lambert’s grit with Shania Twain’s homey acoustic work.

She closes the album with the exquisitely smooth “Wine After Whiskey,” which employs a clever alcoholic metaphor for a relationship that’s merely a shadow of the scorching romance it once was, followed by the uplifting “Who Are You.” This is easily Carrie’s most well-rounded and confident work to date.

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