With Carrie Underwood’s new album, Cry Pretty, being released on September 14, there are sure to be twelve new classic tracks to bless our ears. Yet, while we wait for what’s to come, it’s only fitting to take a look back at her incredible catalog of hits over the past thirteen years.
While pretty much every Underwood song is perfect in its own right, her hits span the gamut of emotions from love and longing to betrayal and revenge to religion and spirituality. It was nearly impossible to choose a list of favorites, but here are ten of Underwood’s best songs, so far.
10. “Dirty Laundry”
“Dirty Laundry” makes this list for its catchy hook and incredibly clever lyrics, with Underwood telling her cheating man that “all the Ajax in the world ain’t gonna clean your dirty laundry.” The track was written by Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley, and Hillary Lindsey and appeared on Underwood’s Storyteller album.
9. “Temporary Home”
While “Temporary Home” may not have been one of Underwood’s biggest hits, it’s easily one of her most poignant. As the second single from her 2009 album, Play On, “Temporary Home” touched on the singer’s spiritual side. She co-wrote the track with Zac Maloy and Luke Laird, earning her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
8. “Jesus, Take the Wheel”
In many ways, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” is the song the started it all for Underwood, as the first single off her debut album, Some Hearts. Written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey, and Gordie Sampson, the song was Underwood’s first step in establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in country music. The song also cemented her position as a Grammy darling, taking home the trophy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.
7. “Blown Away”
“Blown Away” served as the second single off of Underwood’s album of the same name, setting a darker tone for the era. The song tells the story of an abusive father passed out on the couch during a tornado, while his daughter hides in a shelter, praying for him and the home to be “blown away.” It was written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear.
6. “Last Name”
“Last Name” tells the story of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” with Underwood taking on the tongue-in-cheek role of a woman whose raucous night ended with her married to a man whose last name she doesn’t know. Written by Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird, the Carnival Ride single showed Underwood’s lighter side and earned her a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
5. “Two Black Cadillacs”
“Two Black Cadillacs” hearkens back to the old days of country music’s story songs, and it’s a masterful track in the vein of classics like “Goodbye Earl” or “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” The song was the fourth single from the Blown Away album, continuing the darker trend started by the title track. It was co-written by Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, and Josh Kear.
4. “Just a Dream”
Underwood’s “Just a Dream” is the type of song (and video) that tests for working tear ducts, telling the story of a young military widow. It was released as a single from Carnival Ride and written by Gordie Sampson, Steve McEwan, and Hillary Lindsey.
While “Wasted” may have been the sixth and final single released from Underwood’s debut album, Some Hearts, it’s one of her best. Written by Hillary Lindsey, Marv Green, and Troy Verges, “Wasted” is certainly a simpler song by Underwood standards, but a perfect snapshot of everything great about country music in the first decade of the 2000’s. It’s fluff, but not too fluffy; it’s country, but not too country; it’s pop without being too poppy. Lyrically and musically, “Wasted” remains all kinds of delightful.
2. “Before He Cheats”
While Underwood has had a ton of massive hits, one could argue that “Before He Cheats” is her most iconic release thus far. On the revenge anthem, which became her largest selling single to date, Underwood takes a Lousiville slugger to both headlights and slashes all four of her man’s tires, promising that she’ll never be cheated on again. The 2007 single was written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear, and can be heard in karaoke joints and cover bars across Nashville to this day.
1. “Something in the Water”
There’s just something magical about “Something in the Water, ” earning it the top spot. The track, which was released as a single from Underwood’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1, was co-written by Underwood, Chris DeStefano, and Brett James. It doesn’t sugarcoat its spirituality and the “Amazing Grace” background choir into the ending is truly chill-inducing. Grammy voters agreed, with “Something in the Water” nabbing a coveted award for Best Country Solo Performance.
How does our list of our Top Carrie Underwood Songs match up to yours? Check back here in a next week to read our First Impression of her highly anticipated next album, Cry Pretty.
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