With her third album, Carrie Underwood further proves her legitimacy as a recording country artist. Although some cynics still snub the girl for her American Idol lineage, it's obvious that she is talented enough to have outlasted the publicity generated by the show. In fact, given the warm reception to "Play On" so far, she has become one of the very rare American Idol contestants who can claim a lasting and consistent success. While "Play On" doesn't cover any new ground, it will certainly be enjoyed by her fans or by people who enjoy listening to contemporary country. The immediate grabber "Cowboy Casanova" has already topped the country charts, and other uptempo songs such as "Quitter", "Undo it", "This time" and "Songs like this" could all become hit singles. And when Carrie turns down the tempo, she comes up with wonderful country ballads such as "Temporary home", "Mama's song" and "Look at me"' all of which could also find themselves rushing up the charts. Most of the songs carry hopeful messages; the title track and "Change" are particularly inspirational, and they both manage to do so in a pragmatic and realistic way. It's especially interesting to notice that most of the album's highlights have been co-written by Carrie herself.
The album still has its limitations; although her producers seem to enjoy pushing her powerful vocals into her highest range, she is at her best when her vocals show some subtlety and restraint ("Someday when I stop loving you", "Look at me", "Temporary home"). And although the hit singles can still be found on this album, some of the songs are beginning to sound a little generic. Carrie may have to think about exploring different shades of country music on her next album; however, for now, she is more than likely to live up to the album's title.