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Greatest Hits: Decade #1 *
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  • Recording information: Starstruck Studios.
  • Photographer: Jeremy Cowart.
  • If the subtitle "Decade #1" seems too optimistic, consider this: back in 2004, few ever would've bet that the winner of the third season of American Idol would still be on the charts. A decade later, Carrie Underwood was a genuine superstar who left her television roots far behind. Greatest Hits: Decade #1 helps bury those early American Idol memories by sandwiching her coronation song "Inside Your Heaven" between two bombastic new songs ("Something in the Water," the better of the two, opens up the proceedings, followed by "Little Toy Guns") and "Jesus, Take the Wheel," the song that truly kicked off her streak at the top of the country charts. Between 2005 and 2012, every song she released went to either number one or two on the Billboard country charts ("Some Hearts," serviced to adult contemporary, went to 12 on the AC charts and isn't here). Every one of those songs is here, along with the songs that stopped the streak: 2012's "Two Black Cadillacs" and 2013's "See You Again," which peaked at four and seven respectively, positions that are hardly shabby. As the years progressed, Underwood embraced her divahood and the shift occurs with 2009's "Cowboy Casanova," a number one smash that opens the second disc of this double-disc hits disc. It's a neat division but the 21 singles -- which are supplemented by three demos that reveal Carrie works well in a stark setting, too -- are of a piece, expertly constructed post-Shania and Faith Hill country-pop proving that Underwood is the new-millennial heir to their throne. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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