Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Has Carrie Underwood Been Too Successful For Her Own Good?

Is there such thing as too much sustained success? Ask Carrie Underwood.

There's no question the former Idol champ is a superstar -- in fact, she's arguably country music's reigning queen. She sold more than 6 million copies of her debut album, has picked up every imaginable award (including a couple more Grammys this past weekend), had a song on a hit movie soundtrack (Enchanted) and continues to produce hit after hit (her newest single, "All American Girl," is currently in the Top 10 and rising on the Country chart). In addition, she looks gorgeous and is a fixture in the gossip magazines and blogs for who she's dating (Tony Romo? Chace Crawford?)

So what's the problem?

The problem is that her sophomore CD, Carnival Ride, is not performing at quite the clip her first CD Some Hearts did. Don't get me wrong -- having been certified double platinum in December, the album is very far from being a failure. And the album's first two singles ("So Small" and "All American Girl") have both had major success on the country charts.

However -- this past week the album posted sales of just 20K, and she has slipped to number 29 on the album sales chart. And although they are operating in totally different musical genres, it is noteworthy that she has fallen behind fellow Idol alum Daughtry on the chart --despite the fact that Daughtry's album came out a full year before Carrie's did.

Now, the winter months are traditionally a slow sales period (the #1 album of the week, Alicia Keys, managed sales of just 63K), so there is certainly no need for Carrie (or her many loyal fans) to worry. But I have to wonder -- why is this happening at a time when Carrie is getting more publicity than ever?

The only answer I can come up with is that she's simply been too consistently successful. There hasn't been a period of more than a few weeks without an Underwood song on the top of the charts, and the overlap between Some Hearts disappearance from the charts and the arrival of Carnival Ride was minimal. Are people so used to Underwood's success at this point that they don't feel the urgent need to run out and buy her album? If they are going to purchase an Underwood CD, are they just going to grab the one with "Before He Cheats" and "Jesus Takes the Wheel," instead of picking up the new one? Because she never disappeared from the spotlight and then returned, are people not even aware she has a new CD?

Obviously there is no way to know the exact reason her sales are not exploding, and, as I said, she is still so successful that there is not really huge cause for concern. However, I did think it was worth noting, and I'm curious -- what do you think is the reason Carrie's album sales seemed to have slowed down a bit? Leave a comment and let me know!



18 comments:

Anonymous said...

one simple reason: the new album just isn't as good. What carries "Some Hearts" is the rich nuanced delivery in Carrie's story-telling (Jesus Take the Wheel, Don't Forget to Remember Me, Before He Cheats, etc.) The new album doesn't connect in the same way.

Anonymous said...

People complain about her being too perfect and now she's not good enough. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The whole music industry is going through a huge change & downturn. For anyone in this sort of environment to be certified 2X Platinum in less than two months time is pretty impressive. As you yourself pointed out, she continues to release #1 hit singles & even though All American Girl hasn't gotten there yet, I have no doubt that it will. Carrie is now Co-headlining a tour with Keith Urban & is soon to be headlining her own tour. Me thinks thou doest worry about non issues.She is going to be at the top for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

I think she is way overexposed. She is everywhere - on every magazine cover, every award show, everywhere, everywhere. Not knocking on her talent, but perhaps people are sick of seeing her ?

allison said...

I think Carrie is doing fine- but the industry as a whole is in trouble, seriously. Sales are down in all genres-- everywhere, no matter how big a star you are, or how good your album is.

Carnival Ride is a VASTLY SUPERIOR album to Some Hearts-- in terms of artistry, vocal ability and versatility. IT shows maturity as a person and an artist. So I agree with you that her new album should be blowing up in sales- it is that good. But it is not doing as well as Some Hearts- for one reason: She hasn't released a cross-over hit yet like Before He cheats-- which accounted for about 2 million of the 7 million sales. By the wsy-- Some Hearts has now sold 7 million, not 6 million. It was recently certified 7x platinum by the RIAA. Anyway-- once her new album releases one of the bigger hits, like a crossover hit (ie Last Name of Flat on the Floot)- or a smash single like Just a Dream-- the best song on the album- I think the album will pick up in sales.

-allison, albany ny

Anonymous said...

I like Carrie but I can't help but agree with the fact that I think she is a bit too overexposed. I don't think she should have beat out Martina McBride for CMA Female Vocalist of the Year whe Martina has been in this industry a lot longer than Carrie. Carrie is a really good singer but she isn't good enough to the point where she ends up winning almost every single award she is nominated for.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone say she is overexposed because of Magazine covers and so on, look at Fergie, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, all these other women are way more in the media and such as Carrie yet no one seems to say they are overexposed and what not. Just seems like a double standard and I have to question the posters and anyone who says that "what is their Motive"? Jealousy, what? I just don't see it nor get it.

Anonymous said...

She's doing fine in my opinion. She has two albums out there right now, both charting in the top 50. Last time I checked they're selling close to 30,000 combined each week. When comparing her to other artists for example Taylor Swift, I believe that Swift re-released her debut CD with 5 additional songs. It's almost in a sense putting out another album, clever actually because it all counts toward her debut. She's what about 10,000 units sold behind Swift and Daughtry each week. You have to look at the big picture. Carrie has some monster hits on her Carnival Ride CD that she has not released yet. All I have to say is watch out. Just a Dream is going to be huge as well as Last Name being that possible crossover hit in comparison to Before He Cheats. As far as her on every magazine cover, get use to it. She is a positive role model in a world of rehab babies and celebrity pregnancies. Pretty soon the celebrity gift bags handed out at awards events to the performers and presenters will include free one week memberships to rehab facilities and contraceptives. I would much rather read about Carrie Underwood then turning on the TV and watching Brittany does Starbucks and/or Micky D's. If you're sick of her don't buy the magazines she graces the covers of and/or buy her CDs. Not to worry though, someone else will. I know I will.

angelia said...

In my opinion, Carrie is much too stilted and robotic. With the first album I think people put this down to shyness and inexperience. Here after a 6x platinum, she is still stilted and robotic. Also 2 new Nashville Blonds have come onto the scene and are giving her a little competition. Both Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift have loads of personality and Carrie is challenged in this area.

CarrieRox said...

Carrie has TONS of personality, charm, class, and more talent than either kellie pickler or taylor swift could ever dream of having. Carrie wins awards because she is that good--- and she deserves them all. So many people just like to bash her and bring her down for no reason, but jealousy. This has this become a free for all "let's bash carrie thread?" To me -- all the people who call her stiff, or bash her for this or that--- are just making up excuses to pick on her for somethng because they just can't stand to see her succeed. She is too perfect for them- so they make up stuff to bash her out of jealousy. She is an amazing vocalist, a really fun performer-- and she has TONS of personality. I have seen her live and she is fun, energetic, and jams on her guitar. Far from robotic. The constant bashing is annoying-- and it is usually by jealous females.
--CarrieRox, USA

Anonymous said...

I don't get the Daughtry comparison. Let's see if his 2nd album sells as well when it comes out.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why people think she is too stilted and robotic. She moves areound the stage very well. I have seen other country artist where they just stand there and play the guitar and not move from that same spot all night. Or without naming names, I have seen other "popular" female country artists where all they do is just stand and move a little and sing their songs. No one says anything about them. That she hasn't been in the industry long enough to win awards is just so wrong to say. She wins because she is classy, very talented, and SHE CAN SING.

Anonymous said...

I would say overexposure at the very least is her problem. Manufactured success, driven by her record label and producer is the primary reason. She has way too much competition to keep her on top forever, and I am not surprised that her second CD is not selling like the first. As to comparisons with CD, CU has not written any of the songs she has been singing. She is mediocre, at best. There are so many other singer/songwriters out there with more talent than just a pretty face.

Sue said...

CARRIE has more PERSONALITY in her PINKY than Kellie (Pickler) & Taylor (Swift) have in their whole bodies. (Jealous much??)

Carrie is doing just fine - it is the music industry as a whole that is having problems.

As others have said, once Just a Dream, Last Name, Flat on the Floor, etc. have been released, Carrie's sales will once again skyrocket.

And as far as being over-exposed, Carrie is a pleasant relief compared to the likes of Britney, Lindsay, Paris, Nicole, etc. etc. Obviously the people that claim that Carrie is over-exposed, are content to sit & read about which teenage star is pregnant this week, or which young actress has just entered rehab.

I'd take Carrie & her alleged over-exposure any day over the pregnant and/or rehabilitating alternatives.

Carrie is an awesome role model and will be around for a VERY LONG TIME. Get used to it.

Sue said...

Carrie has co-written songs on BOTH CD's. Get your facts straight before you go spouting off lies.

Anonymous said...

"it is noteworthy that she has fallen behind fellow Idol alum Daughtry on the chart"
Why is this "noteworthy"(why not compare her to someone else) they are not in competition with one another- this is not A.I.
They are their on persons with different genres,as you yourself pointed out, so why even bring his name into this?
If Daughtry (not sure of his first name, I think it's Chris(?))
does half as good with his second album as Carrie I will be totally shocked.

eve said...

I've only heard American Girl and I didn't much care for it,,You know what they say,,,"You are only as good as your last CD"....I hope she makes a better CD next time, She might have rushed this one out...Unfortnatualy she isn't gifted at songwriting like Kellie Pickler, and has to depend on other songwriters for her songs. ev ee

BOB said...

carrie underwood can sing amazing and she is very pretty asnd I like her new song I told you so i think her voice is outrages and amazing and people can hate her just because she is famous but they don't know that half of this people act the same as we do so people need to get over the fact that carrie underwood is a himan just like us