Carrie Underwood’s “Cry Pretty” Song Review

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and I was having a conversation about this blog with my friends a few weeks ago, and, since one of them was from Texas, it came to me that I had never reviewed a country song on this blog before.  Sure, I talked about “Meant To Be” in my “All You Fault: Pt. 2” EP Review, but I don’t even really count that song as country (the main singer isn’t even a country artist).  I’m a music reviewer, and I like to think that I treat all pieces of music fairly, so I decided that I should give at least one country song a real shot here.

The real problem for me making a country review on this blog is the fact that my knowledge of country is lacking.  Saying that my favorite country song is by Rascal Flatts, it’s pretty obvious I do not know much about the genre.  I do know a few things, though.  At this point in time, a lot of people think country is going through a rough phase, as “bro-country” is still a popular thing, evidenced by the massive success of 2017’s “Body Like A Back Road”.  “Meant To Be”, being the biggest country song right now, features the poster children for bro-country: Florida Georgia Line.  That means this genre still must be going strong.

A second thing I know about country (and maybe the last thing) is that Carrie Underwood is not bro-country.  Far from it.  I’m uncertain of how long she has been performing, but she has been famous for a long time now, and with her sixth studio album on the way, she is still an icon for the genre.  Now, if you aren’t able to tell from the information I’ve given you, I have never listened to any of Carrie Underwood’s songs before, so I’m going into this blind.  However, I think she was just in some kind of accident where she had to get about 40-50 stitches in her face, so maybe we will be in for an intimate treat.

I’m sorry, but I’m just a girl
Not usually the kind to show my heart to the world

Now, if there’s one thing I actually do know well about country, it’s all the tropes they’re known for, and with the first verse starting off like “Oh I’m just a poor ol’ lil innocent girl in a big, wide world”, I’m nervous about whether this will be a personal track or repetition of stale country stereotypes.

I’m pretty good at keeping it together
I hold my composure, for worse or for better
So I apologize if you don’t like what you see
But sometimes my emotions get the best of me
And falling apart is as human as it gets
You can’t hide it, you can’t fight what the truth is

The rest of this verse proves that this track is not just going to be filled with stereotypes, but I’m not sure whether I should call it vague or not.  Many songs can be vague to a fault, where the lyrics are so ambiguous that they could relate to literally anyone, but I do not think these lyrics are that unclear.  They can definitely relate to different scenarios, but it stays grounded in her own situation.  She always has to hold her composure because of her celebrity status, so her admission of being human and liking who she is shows that she has grown and is not afraid to admit who she really is.  The line “I apologize if you don’t like what you see” fits even better, as it works to express her acceptance of her new facial reconstruction she had to suffer through after her accident.

You can pretty lie and say it’s okay
You can pretty smile and just walk away
Pretty much fake your way through anything
But you can’t cry pretty

Like The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar’s “Pray For Me”, this chorus acts as the main idea and pinnacle of the song.  Carrie sings how you can, as she has, fake your way through things by looking good and hiding your shame from the cameras, but you cannot hide true sadness forever.  It’s truly a good message to have in country, especially in the wake of “bro-country”.  The one complaint I have are the terms “pretty lie” and “pretty smile”.  I am not from the area where this kind of music is popular, but I have never heard anyone say those words like that before, and it makes for some awkward phrasing in the lyrics.  I’ll have to ask my Texan friend about that.

Oh no, you can’t dress it up in lace or rhinestones
It don’t matter if you’re in a crowd or home all alone

The second verse elaborates more on this theme of not being able to shove your sadness away in a dark corner, and the imagery she gives here to explain it is quite nice.

You can’t turn off the flood when the dam breaks
When all your mascara is going to waste
When things get ugly, you just gotta face
That you can’t cry pretty

I like this second chorus even better than the first, as it uses euphemisms to give more detail to her sadness, and it really lets the audience see what Carrie is going through.

Overall, the lyrics are great on this track.  They’re probably the best part of the song.  They do not go into great detail, but they serve their point and cut deep into the listeners’ hearts.  That being said, that does not mean I do not have gripes with the song.  Firstly, the instrumentals are not that appealing.  The lyrics on this are not generic at all, but instrumentation on this is.  I can almost tell what instruments are going to come in at what spots before I hear it.  There is also a plethora of “Yeahs” and “Nos” and other country ad-libs at the end of this song that’s just empty space.  While I do not see myself listening to this song a lot in the future, my enjoyment for it now is definitely present.  I’d give this song a 3 out of 5.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “Cry Pretty” song review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.

 

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