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Single Review: “I Told You So” by Carrie Underwood

January 8, 2009

Carrie Underwood discographyWritten and originally performed by the great Randy Travis in 1988, “I Told You So” hit #1 for the first time in that same year and became a landmark hit for Travis in his career. Twenty-one years later it looks like this powerful and mesmerizing ballad is going to do it again in the very capable hands of Carrie Underwood, who Travis conveniently invited to the Opry last year.

What can I say about this song? Wait…what can’t I say about this song? It keeps intact the perfection of Randy’s original version, adjusts flawlessly and almost un-noticeably to Carrie’s own voice, contains intense and powerful emotional significance and presentation without going overboard, and stands out over anything that has been offered to radio in the past few years. What Travis was able to do with this song Carrie was able to capitalize on and bring this powerful ballad to a whole new level.

There is just so much glory behind this song. Not only is Carrie able to prove once and for all that she undoubtably belongs in the country music world, at least to those still too stubborn to accept her, but she is also able to bring her take on such a delicate and heavily treasured country classic and pull it off with grace and style without destroying what was so great about it in the first place. In summary, perfect song, perfect voice, perfect cover, written by one of the best and reborn through one of today’s best.

Grade: A+

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. J.R. Journey permalink
    January 8, 2009 3:32 am

    After reading your praise for Carrie’s recording of this song, I went and listened to it again. I’m still not sold. This is my favorite song in the catalog of Randy Travis, so I’ll give her props for picking a great song to cover. Vocally, I think her Shrieking Diva Syndrome is toned down a whole helluva lot on this tune. But I’m still not sold. I don’t know why, but I just don’t believe her when she sings. She’s a good singer. I love the song. I just don’t want to hear her sing it.

    I also prefer Randy’s hard-opening too.

  2. January 8, 2009 4:29 am

    That’s the funny thing about cover songs Journey. I think they are an aquired taste. While someone like me would enjoy Carrie’s take, others who experienced the original version first hand in its prime might be against it.

    I personally enjoy Carrie and her performance and I do praise it, but I respect anyone who is against it because it’s not an original. I think covers are all about personal taste. I mean I can say I didn’t enjoy Emerson Drive’s cover of “Devil Went Down To Georgia”, a song that my dad played for me in the early 90’s when I was introduced to the genre. I can say the same about Tim McGraw’s version of “Suspicians”, but I really think this one is top notch.

  3. January 8, 2009 4:30 am

    I still like Randy’s version better, but I’ll give Carrie props as she does this one well. If they released an acoustic version of the song to radio I think it would be a real testiment to her loyalty to the genre. I was hoping for “Flat On The Floor” to be released but this is a pleasent enough surprise.

  4. January 8, 2009 1:01 pm

    I just don’t like the song…but if I had to choose, I’d choose this one too. Shocking on so many levels for sure!

  5. January 8, 2009 4:18 pm

    Wow…I never thought Leeann would be the one to side with my on a cover song. Really is shocking.

  6. January 8, 2009 6:46 pm

    Ha! I knew it would be.:)

  7. January 8, 2009 7:00 pm

    I thought it would be interesting to find out Randy Travis’s thoughts on the cover and this is what I found:

    http://www.theboot.com/2008/07/15/ra…w-country-set/ Q&A w/Randy Travis
    What CDs have you purchased recently?
    The last one was Alan Jackson. Kyle had talked about how good the quality of writing was, and I just like his records overall. It is a good album, 17 songs on it. And I bought Carrie Underwood. Carrie did a remake on ‘I Told You So,’ and she’s a great singer.

    That’s a song you originally recorded. What did you think of her remake?
    I thought she did a great job on it. Actually, the first time I heard it was over the phone. I can’t remember who was playing it for us, but I was very impressed with her performance. To be honest, ‘I Told You So’ was more suited for her as a vocalist than for me. When you look at the vocal range, her ability to get into the upper register of her voice and just hold those high notes is great.

    http://www.the9513.com/randy-travis-…-hall-of-fame/
    Travis exuded a bright, but humble, personality throughout the afternoon. When asked about his impact on newer generations of country singers, he was quick to compliment Carrie Underwood, who included a version of his self-penned hit “I Told You So” on her most recent album, Carnival Ride.

    “She did it well. Almost too well, to be honest” said Travis

  8. January 8, 2009 7:36 pm

    I like both, but I do prefer Carrie’s. I just think the lyrics and style of the song are more suited for a female. Men have such limitations when it comes to vocal range and as Carrie displayed the range and tranfer of registers is needed to get the emotions of the song believalbe.

  9. Jensen permalink
    January 8, 2009 10:03 pm

    I prefer Randy’s version. Underwood just screams.

  10. Chris permalink
    January 8, 2009 10:50 pm

    I think this is an amazing song and actually one of my favorite singles from Carrie. Awesome writing on Randy’s part and awesome vocals/emotions from Carrie! #1 HIT FOR SURE!!!

  11. January 8, 2009 11:29 pm

    I thought it would be interesting to find out Randy Travis’s thoughts on the cover and this is what I found:

    theboot Q&A w/Randy Travis
    What CDs have you purchased recently?
    The last one was Alan Jackson. Kyle had talked about how good the quality of writing was, and I just like his records overall. It is a good album, 17 songs on it. And I bought Carrie Underwood. Carrie did a remake on ‘I Told You So,’ and she’s a great singer.

    That’s a song you originally recorded. What did you think of her remake?
    I thought she did a great job on it. Actually, the first time I heard it was over the phone. I can’t remember who was playing it for us, but I was very impressed with her performance. To be honest, ‘I Told You So’ was more suited for her as a vocalist than for me. When you look at the vocal range, her ability to get into the upper register of her voice and just hold those high notes is great.

    the 9513 randy-travis hall-of-fame /
    Travis exuded a bright, but humble, personality throughout the afternoon. When asked about his impact on newer generations of country singers, he was quick to compliment Carrie Underwood, who included a version of his self-penned hit “I Told You So” on her most recent album, Carnival Ride.

    “She did it well. Almost too well, to be honest” said Travis

  12. Brian permalink
    January 9, 2009 6:32 pm

    I love carries version. She sounds amazing and Antoine saying she screams it is out to lunch.

  13. KAREN KUREK permalink
    January 9, 2009 7:03 pm

    I just love Carries version of “I Told You So” and I too believe that Carries vocals are better suited for this song! Carrie has such amazing talent and Ill bet they will even play Carries version on pop radio because she has such a wide fan base!!

  14. Kent permalink
    January 9, 2009 10:09 pm

    I’m not sold on this. I too was hoping for “Flat on the Floor”. But “Just a Dream” grew on me, so hopefully this will too.

    As for Emerson Drive’s remake of “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, I think it is miles better than the original, the vocals are so much more interesting.

  15. January 10, 2009 12:36 pm

    Ew! No! The original of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” is much better than the ED version!! And I don’t even typically like Daniels’ music.

    Few! I’m back!:)

  16. January 10, 2009 3:41 pm

    Thanks you Leeann. I was wondering if you were getting soft on me when I needed ya most right there.

  17. January 10, 2009 8:25 pm

    Ha. I was a little worried myself!:)

  18. JarheadDad permalink
    January 11, 2009 1:26 am

    Geez Leeann, I read your comment over at Roughstock about Carrie’s voice not being suited for traditional country and I just had to scratch my head. Didn’t I send you her cover of Willie’s/Patsy’s “Crazy” quite awhile ago? (and if I didn’t just drop me a note and I’ll send it in mp3 format) That version would melt butter. I’ve got all of her old covers and to say I disagree with your analysis would be spot on. I think when she throttles back and does the old classics is when she is at her best. Her covers of “Show Me Heaven”, “Because You Love Me”, “There You Are”, and “If I Save My Heart For You” are quite simply excellent. But then we’ll probably do another one of those agree to disagree things ’cause I doubt I’ll change your mind. Oh well!

    Sorry to snag your thread Blue. I should’ve signed up over at Roughstock but I rarely am on the ‘puter these days and didn’t have time then either. I totally agree with your take on ITYS. I just smile whenever I see J.R. et al disagree about Carrie’s vocals. They all called for more emotion. She gave it to them (JAD) so then the vocals were “weak”. They called for more traditional style so she gives it to them (ITYS) and then it’s just not “traditional” enough. Trust me, there is absolutely nothing Carrie Underwood can do to win over any of that crowd. What makes the world go ’round I reckon. To each his/her own!

    Keep on truckin’! I’ve added your blog to my favs and stop by when time allows which is rare these days. I like your take on a lot of your reviews. You have a different perspective and it’s interesting!

  19. January 11, 2009 3:35 am

    JHD,

    I realize that I said over at Rough Stock that I just don’t think that she’s meant to sing country music. I phrased my comment wrong, now that I went over there and reread it. I can see how phrasing it that way could be easily be misinterpreted from what I meant to say, now that I think of it. I realize, now, that it sounded like I was saying that she can’t sing country music when I really meant that it’s not the only thing she can sing. I certainly think she can and does it well, but I also think her voice can fit other types of music. She’s not stuck in the format like other artists, such as Randy Travis, as I also cited in my comment over there. I think that it’s possible that I misinterpreted Matt’s statement that originally prompted me to comment as well. Finally, I will admit that while I think she sings traditional country music well, I think she sings contemporary country even better. Don’t forget, I’m no Carrie hater.:)

    I hope you’re doing well, JarHeadDad. I miss your participation at Country Universe.

    Cowboy Bleau, thanks for letting us borrow your site for this conversation.

  20. January 11, 2009 3:39 am

    One more thing. It’s pretty amazing that I’ve admitted to preferring Carrie’s version over Randy’s, especially since Randy is one of my absolute favorite artists. I’m risking any shred of street cred that I may have had onCarrie Underwood. Luckily, I probably didn’t have any to risk in the first place.:)

  21. JarheadDad permalink
    January 11, 2009 4:06 am

    Hangin’ in Leeann. I still lurk around CU when I have the opportunity. I’ve been a bit under the weather but since He decided to leave me here for awhile longer (which mystifies me to no end! 😉 ) I’m building up to commenting again. Scared Steve might answer me with one of his 2 bazillion word posts and I may not be around long enuff to finish readin’ it! Heh!

    I misunderstood your premise. I thought it odd myself when I read that. Randy Travis is right at the top of the heap as far as I’m concerned as well and he just adores this cover by Carrie so who am I to argue? My favorite Carrie song is her cover of the Chick’s “Cold Day in July” but we were discussing traditional and most folks tend to think the Chicks were the beginning of pop country.

    Thanks for clearing that up for me LW. My faith is restored! And street cred is way overrated anyhoo! 😮

  22. January 11, 2009 4:07 am

    JHD, I don’t think you sent me that cover. I kind of remember hearing it when you posted something on Dan’s blog, I think. I’d love an mp3 of it though, since you offered.

    leeann@countryuniverse.net

  23. JarheadDad permalink
    January 11, 2009 4:17 am

    Sure thing. Which one do you want? “Crazy” or “Cold Day in July”?

    Oh what the hey, I’m wired for sound this evening so I’ll send them both in separate e-mails.

    Enjoy!

  24. cowboybleau permalink*
    January 11, 2009 9:18 pm

    Its all good guys. I’m just happy to be getting some consistant feedback for a change.

  25. January 14, 2009 6:33 am

    I don’t understand why people are so greedy about it. It is not because I Told You so was first sang by Randy Travis way back 25 years ago. People that was 25 years ago, Everything change we are now living in a high technology.
    And Ms. Carrie Underwood is a younger version of that song.
    Beside, Randy Travis complemented Carrie how good she handle the song.

  26. Ranee permalink
    March 13, 2009 2:32 am

    I love Carrie. Randy should be the only one singing this song. Carrie is so talented, but this song should only be Randy’s!! I think any artist who attemps this song is going to have a hard time selling the song. Lets face it Randy is one of a kind.

  27. regina permalink
    March 4, 2010 7:49 pm

    Carrie underwood sucks. Her new song temopary home would be a great song sung by any one else. She cannot hit high notes to save her life. Kelly Pickler can actually sing country music not the crap Carrie does. Underwood i wish you would go underground and stay there

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  1. Single Review: I Told You So by Carrie Underwood - Carrie Underwood Fans
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