Monday, December 9th, 2019

Carrie Underwood – Drinking Alone

We won’t judge, Carrie…


Katie Gill: This is SEXY! It’s sultry as hell, more burlesque than some of her usual fare and I love this. Underwood is doing what she does best: amazing belting in a comfortable range. It starts off as something smooth before going into “Before He Cheats” levels of chutzpah and Mariah Carey levels of vamping. Underwood is not playing here at ALL and I am here for it. After a series of songs that drastically misused Underwood’s level of sheer vocal power, it’s refreshing to see something actually use it to a useful extent. So now, I’m left with only one question: why the hell was this released after the mediocrity that was “Love Wins” and “Southbound” and not as the first or second single off of Cry Pretty?

Stephen Eisermann: The song that should’ve followed up the lead single, “Drinking Alone” is everything a country-pop crossover needs. The bluesy pop track is sultry in itself, but Carrie’s vocal strut really pushes it over the edge. Although it gets a bit bombastic at times, the song is just slinky enough to really standout and show Carrie at her most playful. If only we got the amazing, noir-tinged version from the CMAs on record; that would be an easy [10].

Thomas Inskeep: Most of the popular men in country music right now sound chronically similar, but not the women — that’s where the creativity is in the genre these days. Case in point, the fourth single from Underwood’s Cry Pretty, a sly, sultry, classic soul-full ballad that sounds like nothing else on country radio these days. Which means, sadly, it likely won’t even crack the top 20 at the format, but that’s their loss. This is a strong reminder from Underwood that she’s still got tricks up her sleeve; ignore her at your peril.

Katherine St Asaph: If “Southbound” was Underwood performing bro-country, “Drinking Alone” is Carrie Underwood performing Ashley Monroe. It’s a career as a season Idol theme weeks — but then, that’s where she thrives. And crucially, she leans away from the genteel part of her voice.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: A strong vocal performance that turns from impressive to overdone as the song progresses. Everything so constantly points toward Clarkson’s affected vocalizing that, soon, all sense of tension is lost. Ambition can turn things one-dimensional.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Alone Together < Drinking Alone < Alone Together

Kayla Beardslee: “Drinking Alone” is the step before “Don’t Start Now” in the musical stages of a breakup: sure, Underwood is trying to move on, but the song’s sense of overcompensation and references to tears, misery, and “the pain” show that Underwood isn’t over this ex quite yet. And what better way to get out your emotions than with some good old-fashioned vocal theatrics? Unsurprisingly, Underwood’s voice is the star here: it’s truly impressive how long she can sustain her belted vocals without diminishing their impact, keeping the chorus compelling with every repetition. In comparison, the lyrics are just serviceable, although it’s a smart choice to have the hook first trail off on “We should be drinking alone,” then repeat the phrase as “drinking alone, together” — it shows both the moment of doubt and the fuck-it decision.

Iain Mew: In “Drinking Alone,” Carrie Underwood whips up such an almighty force that the question of actually being alone never feels like a particularly pressing one. The lyric shows a nice eye in the detail of different ways of dealing with pain, but there’s no space at all in the sound to get any more drunk or reassured than it starts off.

Alfred Soto: Ninety seconds too long, and during this stretch she sings the hook like a Bear Stearns executive learning his pension’s evaporated, but “Drinking Alone” reminds me how Carrie Underwood, with the right material, can beat the bros merely by inverting a trope or relying on an unexpected stress.

Reader average: [10] (4 votes)

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