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Music / Carrie Underwood

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Carrie, you're not just the girl to beat, you're the person to beat. I'm going to make a prediction that not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.
Simon Cowell

Never bet against Simon.

Carrie Marie Fisher (née Underwood, born March 10, 1983) is an American country singer and songwriter. At 22, Carrie, a country farm girl from Checotah, Oklahoma, auditioned for the fourth American Idol with "I Can't Make You Love Me". Although the judges were impressed, it wasn't until Underwood sang Heart's "Alone" that her true potential appeared. She won the final over Bo Bice and immediately proved Simon right: Like Kelly Clarkson before her, Underwood became a star in her own right (yet unlike Clarkson has completely escaped association with the Idol brand) and took the Country Music world by storm. She has since won multiple Grammys and set a yet-to-be-surpassed benchmark for Idol success. Her albums have consistently produced strong sales, with almost all of her singles to date having reached top 5 on the major country music charts.


In 2018, Underwood moved from original label Arista Records Nashville to Capitol Records. Her first Capitol album, Cry Pretty, dropped in summer 2018.

She also played the role of Maria in NBC's production The Sound of Music Live, to, shall we say, more mixed reviews.


  • Some Hearts (2005)
  • Carnival Ride (2007)
  • Play On (2009)
  • Blown Away (2012)
  • Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (2014)
  • Storyteller (2015)
  • Cry Pretty (2018)
  • My Savior (2021)


Some tropes, they just get all the right breaks:

  • Accidental Marriage: "Last Name" has the narrator getting married after a drunken night in Las Vegas and not recalling the events that led there.
  • Album Closure: Blown Away ends with "Who Are You," an epic ballad implicitly about turning to God at the end of an ordeal (the rest of the album is less overtly religious).
  • Album Title Drop: Carnival Ride contains the song "Wheel of the World", which has the line "God put us here on this carnival ride".
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: The opening lines are interpolated over the ending of "Something in the Water".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She got surprisingly vicious about the people insulting her performance in The Sound of Music Live, essentially saying they would all go to Hell.
  • Break-Up Song: "Before He Cheats" hints at this at the end ("'Cause the next time that he cheats / You know it won't be on me").
    • Also "Undo It"
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: Her 2018 single "Cry Pretty" (her first release for Capitol Records) was her first single not to make Top 3 on any major country music chart. Followup "Love Wins" became her first to miss top 10, peaking at #11.
  • Buffy Speak: "Undo It"; see Lyrical Shoehorn below.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Jenny's husband in "Church Bells." He beats her bloody on Saturday, and the next day, attends church like nothing happened.
  • Daddy's Girl: "All-American Girl" and "The Girl You Think I Am".
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • "Before He Cheats," in which she vandalizes her boyfriend's property because he's probably been cheating. Even though she constantly says "Right now he's probably…", she likely has reason to believe that he's doing so, because the song implies that this is something he's done before. Others instead choose to interpret the song as her being Axe-Crazy (especially since she "carves her name into the seat" of her boyfriend's car, making it extremely obvious she's the one who vandalized it).
    • A man's wife and mistress had him killed for lying about his infidelity in "Two Black Cadillacs".
    • Whether or not Jenny killing her abusive husband via poison in "Church Bells" is an example or not is an exercise left to the listener.
  • Domestic Abuse: "Blown Away" is about an abusive father who is killed by a tornado.
    • Explicitly stated in "Church Bells" when the husband comes home drunk and leaves Jenny in "bruises, covered in makeup, dark sunglasses."
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus:
    • "Jesus, Take the Wheel," from literally taking the wheel in a car crash, to "taking the wheel" of the singer's life.
    • Also "Temporary Home". In the first two verses, a foster child and a mother in a halfway house see their respective dwelling as "temporary homes" in the physical sense; the dying old man in the third verse sees his life on Earth as a "temporary home" in the spiritual sense (i.e., he's about to go to Heaven).
    • "Church Bells" ringing three different times: At Jenny's wedding, at the service the morning after her husband got violent, and at her husband's funeral after she killed him.
  • Genre Shift: "Blown Away" saw her move from the country part of the music store to the pop/rock part.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Bobby Shaver in "Choctaw County Affair" is described as having a temper "like a buckshot grizzly bear."
  • Hands-On Approach: Implied in "Before He Cheats":
    Right now, he's probably up behind her
    With a pool-stick
    Showing her how to shoot a combo
  • Hate Sink: A lot of the men in her songs, particularly the father in "Blown Away," the boyfriend in "Before He Cheats," and the husbands in "Two Black Cadillacs" and "Church Bells".
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: "Smoke Break" is about people who feel stressed out by everyday lives and express this phrase:
    She said, I don't drink
    But sometimes I need a stiff drink
    Sipping from a high, full glass
    Let the world fade away
    She said, I don't smoke
    But sometimes I need a long drag
    Yeah, I know it might sound bad
    But sometimes I need a smoke break
  • Identical Stranger: Much humor has been made by fans of Hannah Montana co-star Emily Osment (and Emily herself) on social media of her resemblance to Carrie. And Emily, as she have acknowledged, is exactly 9 years her junior, to the day.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Occurs at the end of "Just a Dream".
  • "Leaving the Nest" Song: "Don't Forget to Remember Me", which is told from the POV of a newly-flown woman calling home to talk to her family.
  • The Lost Lenore: "Just a Dream" is about a young woman mourning her soldier fiancé, who was killed in war before he could come home to her.
    Baby, why'd you leave me? Why'd you have to go?
    I was counting on forever, now I'll never know...
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: The chorus to "Undo It":
    You stole my happy, you made me cry
    Took the lonely and took me for a ride
    And I wanna uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it…
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: Apparently "So Small" is actually about a car wreck... which then freezes and reverses. It was directed by Roman White, formerly the go-to man for country music video Mind Screw.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The subject of "Cowboy Casanova"
  • Murder Ballad:
    • "Two Black Cadillacs" is about a wife planning to kill her husband with the assistance of his mistress.
    • "Church Bells" could be considered a Darker and Edgier version of the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl".
  • Murder by Inaction: In "Blown Away" a young girl gets rid of her abusive father by locking herself in the cellar while he’s passed out drunk and there’s a tornado headed straight for the house.
  • New Sound Album: Storyteller has some tracks produced by Zach Crowell (a more electronic sound akin to his work with Sam Hunt, who coincidentally sings backing vocals on the Crowell-produced "Heartbeat") or Jay Joyce (a grittier rock sound similar to his work with Eric Church), as opposed to longtime producer Mark Bright's trademark slickness.
    • "Cry Pretty" is even a bigger departure from all her previous albums, going into a more modern pop/R&B route.
  • Ode to Sobriety: "Wasted" is a type 1, about a couple split over the male's drinking. The second verse, from the male's perspective, makes it clearest:
    Another glass of whiskey but it still don't kill the pain
    So he stumbles to the sink and pours it down the drain
    He says it's time to be a man and stop living for yesterday
    Gotta face it
    Cause' I don't wanna spend my life jaded
    Waiting to wake up one day and find
    That I've let all these years go by wasted
  • The Power of Love:
    • From "So Small": "When you figure out love is all that matters after all / It sure makes everything else seem so small".
    • Also present in "Love Wins":
    I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers
    And I, I believe we're made to be here for each other
    And we'll never fall if we walk hand in hand
    Put a world that seems broken together again
    Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins
  • Prequel: The video for "Last Name" shows what happened three months before "Before He Cheats". It explains the 4-wheel drive truck she smashes up in "Before He Cheats" was won as the prize in a wheel-of-fortune game. And in the whirlwind that was between the time Carrie was with her girlfriends and she saw the ring on her finger, they'd ended up married in Vegas (and taking the roulette table for quite a few chips).
  • Record Producer: Nearly all of her material from 2004-2014 has been produced by Mark Bright (whose other credits include Blackhawk and the first three albums by Rascal Flatts), except for her coronation single "Inside Your Heaven" (produced by Desmond Child) and a handful of guest appearances. Storyteller breaks the pattern somewhat, as some tracks are produced by Zach Crowell or Jay Joyce instead, and David Garcia handled Cry Pretty.
  • Recycled Premise: "Last Name" is basically a gender-flip of Alan Jackson's 1995 hit "I Don't Even Know Your Name".
  • Refrain from Assuming: It's not "Right Now". It's "Before He Cheats".
  • Revenge Ballad: She writes a lot of these.
    • "Church Bells" is about an abused wife who poisons her husband.
    • In "Blown Away", a woman refuses to wake her abusive father as a tornado bears down on their house, instead leaving him to die.
    • "Before He Cheats", where the singer keys her ex's car for being unfaithful.
    • "Two Black Cadillacs" tells of two women who discover the same man is dating both of them and team up to take him out, only meeting face-to-face at his funeral.
  • Shout-Out: One of the lyrics of "Love Wins" is "Love's an open door". However, this was likely unintentional, considering the implications.
  • Take the Wheel: The central character of the song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" pleads for Jesus to do this metaphorically: first to her car when she slides off the road in an ice storm, and then again as a symbol of keeping her on the right track in life.
  • Toon Transformation: Inverted in the music video for "Ever Ever After", which sees Carrie change from animation to flesh-and-blood while visiting a live-action city. Played straight at the end, when Carrie brings her new Love Interest back to her cartoon world so they can get married. This parallels Enchanted in Broad Strokes, which feels appropriate because the song plays during that movie's epilogue.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Done in "Before He Cheats":
    I dug my key into the side
    Of his pretty little souped-up 4-wheel drive
    Carved my name into his leather seats
    Took a Louisville Slugger to both headlights
    Slashed a hole in all four tires
    Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats
  • Vocal Evolution: She's gone from belting nearly everything to a more diverse vocal and dynamic range.
  • Wartime Wedding: Implied at the beginning of "Just a Dream".
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: "Last Name".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: See Beware the Nice Ones.
  • Woman Scorned: "Before He Cheats" is all about this.


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