After having the opportunity to review the Hushabye albums of both Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, I wasn’t expecting too much from Hushabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of Carrie Underwood since she doesn’t have the long legacy in country music that the other two had. I was happily surprised by the album. The quality level is top-notch and on par with the rest of the Hushabye line. The instruments are all beautifully played and the presentation is beautiful.
I feel as though two-thirds of it is either worth listening to or really even considered a lullaby. I think that “Some Hearts” is beautifully handled. The arrangement is fitting and light. As a fan of “Jesus, Take the Wheel” I was pleasantly surprised by the slower arrangement; the only downfall to the track was the high instrument used for the vocal line in the first verse and part of the chorus left my ears ringing for a bit. When the song switched to guitar and banjo with just a little support from the bell, it was magical. Also notable is “So Small” which has a great message and its gentle, sweet nature fits perfectly.
What I don’t like, a pet peeve of mine from reviewing other Hushabye albums, is that I don’t understand how a parent would want to play “Before He Cheats” to a child. The message is a little violent and parents shouldn’t sing the words to their child. Also, the tempo of the song is wacky; showing that the song just doesn’t fit as a lullaby: it’s too fast. If you did try to sing the lyrics to a child it would have to be a sung/spoken word hybrid because of the new tempo. The track “Flat on the Floor” has a similar tempo change from fast to slow and same problem of questionable message. I feel like the song is a totally different beast from the original, whereas the elements from the original “Before He Cheats” is obvious in the lullaby version. The original “Flat on the Floor” attacks like lion, this version is a baby kitten struggling to get up. I prefer the arrangement that was given to “Flat on the Floor” over “Before He Cheats.”
The biggest flaw in comparison to all of the Hushabye albums is that Carrie Underwood has the smallest discography. Compared to people like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, having two albums under your belt seems anemic. They included the song “I’ll Stand By You,” which is a great song as well, but it was an Underwood cover of The Pretenders. If they wanted to add cover songs, the album on a whole could have benefited from any song that Underwood sang during her time on American Idol. I would have suggested Roy Orbison’s “Crying” or Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” to keep the country theme. I’m actually shocked that the coronation song “Inside Your Heaven” wasn’t selected for the album, the theme and lyrics of that song would have fit wonderfully. Also, I would have liked to hear “Ever Ever After” from the Enchanted Soundtrack. The songs chosen were Carrie Underwood’s well known songs, but the album could have benefited from a better discography.
Although I didn’t mention this in other Hushabye reviews, in the liner notes there is a page with a recipe for baby food themed to each Hushabye album. I wanted to point out Underwood’s. I am intrigued by the “All American (Girl) Apple Pie” recipe. Sure, it’s for babies, but everything in it sounds good and I wouldn’t mind making it as a snack. It’s the little things like the recipes, the storyline, the visuals from the cover, along with the music that makes the whole line of Hushabye albums appealing.
Any Carrie Underwood fan with would love this album. The songs are all beautifully reconstructed into a lullaby fashion, albeit some better than others. You can hear the love and dedication that the producers and musicians gave each of the songs. I may have gripes about the lyrics in the original tracks, but there aren’t any here, so just don’t sing along to the more mature tracks and this album becomes a solid choice for children.