Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Tommy Picks the Best of Carrie Underwood

America's Sweetheart.
This blog definitely has a Britney Spearsian slant when it comes to music, but she's not the only singer who has captured my soul with her sweet tunes. Carrie Underwood, the very Queen of Country, is second in my heart. To pay tribute, let's throw it back to the best singles Carrie has released in the past 8 years since winning the American Idol title.
10. "Two Black Cadillacs"
Though I've already established that Carrie and Taylor Swift are nothing alike, comparisons continue. But while Taylor continues singing about her first kiss, Carrie is tackling darker and edgier topics. In "Two Black Cadillacs", two women plot to kill the man who wrong them both. The Stephen King inspired music video takes it to a whole different level.

9. "Good Girl"
Calling out bad boys for the dogs they are is one of Carrie's favorite musical themes. On "Good Girl", she warns a hopeless romantic about dating one of these guys. The song is one of Carrie's most successful, and for good reason. She sounds better than ever! "He's no good, girl/No good for you..."

8. "Wasted"
"Wasted" opens Carrie's first album, Some Hearts, and it's the perfect tune to set her recording career in motion. The song focuses on a couple and their addictions, his to the bottle and hers to love. It's a dark narrative, like so many of Carrie's songs. The only thing that would make it better if it were autobiographical!

7. "I'll Stand by You"
Back in its heyday, American Idol could do no wrong. So when it began its annual "Idol Gives Back", a show that features special guest performances to raise money to combat poverty both domestically and abroad, it was all the rage. Back in 2007, Carrie graced the Idol stage once more with her cover of the Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You". The song was only available on iTunes for a short period of time, and all profits went to charity, but it remains one of Carrie's best-performing songs to date. (And it has a super cute and sad music video!)

6. "Just a Dream"
"Just a Dream" is to Carrie what "Everytime" is to Britney. This is easily Carrie's most haunting songs, one in which we're led to believe that the protagonist is getting ready for her wedding, but she's actually on her way to her fiance's funeral. Isn't that sad?! (Fun fact: In high school, I used this song for a project about death, and my teacher laughed.)

5. "See You Again"
Body counts are high in Carrie's song catalog, and "See You Again" is no exception! In the song, Carrie sings to dearly departed one, and longs for the moment when they are reunited in heaven. It's a refreshingly optimistic outlook on tragedy: "I will see you again/This is not where it ends/I will carry you with me/Until I see you again." This jam was one of three songs Carrie penned in 2010 for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; "There's a Place for Us" was chosen for the film instead, and "See You Again" ended up on Carrie's fourth album Blown Away.

4. "I Told You So"
As she proved week after week during her time on American Idol, Carrie can take a song and make it her own. When she recorded Randy Travis' "I Told You So" for her second album, it was obviously much better than the washed-up alcoholic's rendition. And though they eventually recorded a duet, Carrie's solo version is better. And the chart numbers back it up. Carrie's reached #9 in the US; Randy's never charted.

3. "Cowboy Casanova"
The superior predecessor to "Good Girl", "Cowboy Casanova" is all about calling out a cheater on his philandering bullshit! And although cowboy is just part of the country music vernacular, the song was released soon after Carrie's split from Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo. She's since denied that he inspired the song, but one does have to wonder if Tony's the snake with blue eyes leaning up against the record machine...

2. "Blown Away"
This is perhaps Carrie's darkest songs, so it's no wonder it placed so highly on this countdown. "Blown Away" tells the story of a girl and her abusive father. When a tornado comes swirling their way, she locks herself in the cellar and leaves her father to die. "Some called it taking shelter, but she called it sweet revenge." That's amazing. And the video is equally fantastic, with Carrie's sub-par acting ability coupled with some Wizard of Oz imagery.

1. "Before He Cheats"
Ah, the song that started it all. Although not her first single, "Before He Cheats" solidified Carrie as a tent pole in country music and a viable pop music crossover act. Not only that, but it's also the most successful song by an American Idol alum ever. #TakeThatKelly! Not bad for a song about keying your boyfriend's car that references a "white trash version of Shania karaoke!"

Phew! That wasn't easy, but I was totally up for the challenge. I hope Carrie fans are pleased with my selections (I don't know why you wouldn't be!), and if you don't know much about Carrie's music, it's high time to get familiar because you're doing everything wrong.

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