Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Carrie Underwood & Randy Travis – I Told You So

So yeah, apparently that last one of hers was just a hit by accident. This one’s run to the top 10 was entirely intentional…


Dave Moore: Return to form for Carrie Underwood after her Motley Crue excursion, but unfortunately it’s with a really bland and perfunctory lovesick duet. The backing track is gracelessly plunked out like she’s singing along to the karaoke version.

Al Shipley:A good duet should make both voices sound at home together, no matter the generation gap. But when Randy’s warm, craggy voice finally comes in after a couple minutes of Carrie’s all too perfect Idol pipes, it feels like they’re singing from completely different decades, “Unforgettable”-style. [5]

Martin Skidmore: I’m a real fan of her singing (I even gave the last one decent marks), and this is much more towards her core territory, emotive country music. She sounds great on the verses and on the big chorus notes. Randy sounds as smooth as ever, but it makes no sense as a duet, since it is one person pleading to be taken back, and we can’t assume it was a three-way relationship because of the pronouns. Still, lovely to listen to.

Martin Kavka: Randy Travis’s original is a pretty wonderful narrative of a guy who realizes that he shouldn’t have dumped his lover, but part of why it’s wonderful is the relative rarity of a country song narrated by a man with his tail between his legs. For Carrie Underwood to cover it saps it of most of its drama; the message veers toward “women are fickle and stupid.” But what does it mean to sing this as a duet? How can they both admit their stupidity and chastise each other for being stupid? And with such illogic, how is a listener supposed to invest him- or herself in the story? Once again, 19 Productions proves itself skilled at turning our children’s brains into mush.

M. H. Lo: Although its chorus makes me think that Randy owes Steve Gibb – who wrote Kenny Rogers’s “She Believes In Me” – some royalties, I’ve always liked the song, largely because I can’t resist tracks that are essentially written in a kind of conditional tense (“suppose I called you up tonight…”). I’m even more willing to overlook the “homage” in this remake. Now we hear from both parties in the relationship (Carrie heart-piercingly anguished, Randy all bruised and gruff), each obliviously wondering if the other will take him/her back. Hence, in this version, we as listeners know something the singers don’t – that these two crazy kids could have the happy reunion they desire, if only they pick up their phones – and the sadness of the song is therefore multiplied.

Joseph McCombs: The songcraft’s good enough, but something’s wrong with the production: was this literally spliced together from Randy’s original and Carrie’s re-recording? The old guy with the Gary Busey choppers sounds like he’s not only in another room but also far too close to the mic. Turned out like a poorly Photoshopped collage in which someone’s head is disproportionately large. Fortunately, Carrie salvages it with a soaring but not over-the-top performance miles beyond her phoner on “Home Sweet Home.”

Hillary Brown:For two people with such strong voices, one of whom I practically want to marry because of his, this song is a 98-pound weakling with a bad ticker. A sorry effort, full of schmaltz.

Frank Kogan:It was Randy’s song originally, but he sounds old and in the way here (He’s five years younger than I am, fwiw). Also, the lyrics are a lot stronger solo, as an internal dialogue, Carrie singing her own indictment. Her singing is a bit too heavy anyway, but I’d have given her version a 7. Wish they hadn’t let this one supersede it on the radio.

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