Carrie Underwood - "Mama's Song"
By: Bobby Peacock
Underwood has long since moved out from under the shadow of American Idol, and for good reason. While her material is hardly risky in any sense, she at least has a decent enough range of formulae to pick from, and her voice has always been one of her strongest suits. While Play On has pushed her into a more pop-oriented direction (particularly "Cowboy Casanova" and "Undo It," two of the most Shania-esque songs done by anyone not named Shania Twain), her ballads remain as solid as ever. "Temporary Home" already proved that, and now it's time for "Mama's Song" to do the same.
The song starts off with a simple enough declaration: "Mama, you taught me to do the right things / So now you have to let your baby fly." From that line, it's fairly obvious what direction the song is heading: it's an assertation that Mama's little girl is now ready to go off on her own, and is reassuring Mama that she shouldn't worry. What's more, Mama's little girl (has that been trademarked yet?) has found a nice man to settle down with. The lyrics are rather sparse, particularly in the chorus ("'Cause he is good, so good / And he treats your little girl like a real man should / He is good, so good" — really, that was the best chorus four writers could come up with?), but the vocals and production are the song's strongest points. Carrie proves yet again that she can just sing without having to reach for the rafters on every note, and the production is agreeably mellow and acoustic. Even when the string section and backing vocals kick in, it doesn't feel overdone.
In short, "Mama's Song" doesn't offer anything we haven't heard before, but at least it executes its formula solidly enough. It's no more or no less "country" than anything she's done in the past, but as I keep saying, why should "it doesn't sound country" always be a bad thing? In fact, I think pretty much all of Carrie Underwood's career has proven that "it doesn't sound country" can be a good thing.