Carrie Underwood “Two Black Cadillacs” All Sass And No Innovation? – Review
Following the huge success of her album’s title track, “Blown Away“, Carrie Underwood has released “Two Black Cadillacs” a dark narrative creeping up on the footsteps of its predecessor. Whereas ‘Blown Away’ told the story of a young girl leaving her abusive, alcoholic father to die in a tornado, it’s successor revels in the death of a man, whose cheated on and lied to wife and mistress have plotted to murder him for his misdemeanors.
The Sound of the Song.
Just as the two songs previously released from this album, this new single is more pop coumtry and makes no pretenses about it, and equally to “Blown Away“, the sound is big, dark and dramatic.
Much use is made of the electric guitars, heavy driving drums, the wailing string section, the creeping piano riff in a minor key, that combined with the choir (singing bye bye, bye bye) really builds this song up. It doesn’t stop there, however, and there’s a lot going on musically in this track, with an extended instrumental at the end that makes full use of the musical ideas available, leading to a fade out. Carrie’s vocals are strong, convincing and really put the song across well and so far it all looks promising.
The lyrics are good and I’m glad to know Carrie had a hand in writing them (I just have a personal preference for artist writing their own material). The narrative describes the man in question’s wife calling a number on his phone and discovering he had a mistress, who equally didn’t know he had a wife, in order to make us feel sympathy for both parties. They decide to kill him to get revenge, and the song revolves around the scene of the funeral, where each woman’s black Cadillac pulls up, and they meet for the first time, my favorite line being the pinnacle of the story “it was the first and last time they saw each other face to face, they shared a crimson smile and just walked away, and left the secret at the grave”.
There are some problems though…
- Firstly, although I like the lyrics, I feel like there could be a lot more powerful imagery involved and although they tell the story well, there’s plenty of room for embellishment that just wasn’t realized. The song does build up, but the instrumental lacks some energy in my opinion, and although there’s a lot going on musically, it all contributes to just a thick guitar-based sound. You have to listen carefully to realize that they’ve put a lot of effort into building up the song.
- However, my biggest problem is that is just sounds like another “Blown Away“. It’s nice to see more lyrical substance from Carrie and some more dark and twisted themes but musically it just doesn’t do a lot compared to what has come before. I’m disappointed that she chose to release them both as singles, particularly straight after one another. There’s a tactic for such things, and I feel she would have benefited from releasing one of the sweeter-sounding songs on the album as the third single, for example “Do You Think About Me” or “Thank God For Hometowns“. “Two Black Cadillacs” could have come fourth or fifth and perhaps it would have been more effective. But honestly, to me the songs just sound too similar for the casual radio listener who doesn’t know the two that well and will just assume they’re the same song. I’m sure if her record label are putting time, effort and money into releasing another single, they don’t want it to be disposable next to “Blown Away“.
I’m not saying it’s a bad song. I’m saying it’s a good song. However, when we listen to a song for a first time we hear the music first, THEN the lyrics, and if the lyrics are what sets the two songs apart then people aren’t going to initially discern between them, and we all know the first 10 seconds of a song really count. People aren’t going to look for the narrative when deciding whether to change stations. So, those are my only qualms really. Other than that I can see it doing well (and I really love the artwork!!)
The video hits our screens in January 2013, in the meantime you can buy it from iTunes here.