Some Hearts Carrie Underwood Primary Artist
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Carrie Underwood brought a lil' bit o' country to the American Idol crown in the series' fourth season, so it's not surprising that her debut is the kind of radio-friendly, country-crossover affair that falls somewhere between {|LeAnn Rimes|} and {|Faith Hill|}. Though her handlers would undoubtedly prefer a comparison to the unstoppable Hill, Underwood has more in common with Rimes -- both are girl-next-door types with strong voices capable of punching out big, Dianne Warren–penned power ballads. Not surprisingly, Warren leaves her mark on this Okie's debut with a trio of slickly produced, pop-leaning ditties of a romantic nature: Lessons Learned, Whenever You Remember, and the title cut. But Underwood's strengths come out when she draws from her roots, whether it's the religious conviction infusing Jesus, Take the Wheel or the autobiographical musings behind I Ain't in Checotah Anymore, both dressed up with just the right mix of pedal steel and fiddle, with the latter cheekily contrasting small-town life with making the rounds in the Big Apple. Best of all is Before He Cheats, the kind of sassy, swaggering revenge fantasy that wouldn't sound out of place on a {|Gretchen Wilson|} album. With her musical talents perfectly pitched for today's pop-country, it wouldn't be surprising to see Carrie Underwood succeed far beyond the small screen.

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