Updated: Feb 17, 2019
Carrie Underwood is my favorite even though she sort of terrifies me but I guess that's OK? I cover Carrie Underwood's early career and sit in the weirdness but still like her a lot
My favorite pop diva (if I can really call her that?) is Carrie Underwood. Man, who doesn’t love Carrie Underwood? That was a rhetorical question; I’m sure someone out there does not love her. Carrie stepped onto the set of American Idol in 2004 at the age of 21 and the reality just washed over me that I am now older than Carrie Underwood was when she became famous. Shit. What am I doing with my life?
It’s bizarre to see, but Carrie Underwood led a really normal Midwestern farm girl life growing up. At the time that she auditioned for American Idol she had LITERALLY NEVER BEEN ON A PLANE BEFORE. I know traveling by plane is not something everybody does or even has to do at any point in their lives, but I don’t know: whenever I think of famous people, I just assume they grew up diving into pools of money, Scrooge McDuck style:
No but seriously I’m pretty sure this would hurt. Also, off topic but this is my blog and I don’t really care: has anyone seen the DuckTales reboot yet? I’ve heard it’s good.
OK – so if you were in a coma for the past twelve years, here’s how Carrie Underwood became famous: she impressed Simon Cowell enough to go onto the Hollywood round of American Idol, she sang good enough to keep going, a couple months went by, and she was crowned the new American Idol – side note: I’m also pretty sure she was the last American Idol winner that anyone can name – there was Kelly Clarkson… Carrie Underwood… did Sanjaya win one year? Who even knows?
So then Carrie Underwood, having won American Idol – is now pretty famous. She releases her debut album, Some Hearts, in 2005. Carrie is a country artist through and through: she really brings her Oklahoma soul into her work. She loves Jesus, she experiences heartbreak, she likes to have a good time. Her voice is great, and the lyrics are pretty much paint-by-numbers female country artist. Here’s an example of one of her songs (which has inexplicably popped up as a worship song in some churches – which I ABSOLUTELY have a problem with – but that’s a different blog post altogether. I’d delve into a commentary on what in God’s name would possess a church to appropriate the song without a fundamental understanding of the heart from which Carrie Underwood produced the song and who the song is addressed to and the posture the singer takes, etc. etc. than any sort of commentary on Carrie Underwood at all; lots of inside baseball. Like I said, separate blog post):
You get what I mean though? It’s a pretty innocuous country song by a country artist. Lots of heart, a great voice. I like it; I can see why somebody wouldn’t. And that’s really the majority of the album – with one exception. Everyone talks about dark Taylor clawing her way out of the grave this year, but I hear fewer people talking about dark Carrie that’s been there forever. Like, she’s been there the whole time and I feel like people have been giving her a free pass. Or at least they’re just choosing not think about it. I’m sure you’ve heard this song before:
Yikes. Great song, but yikes. I’m inclined to just call her and just ask if she’s OK. And then call the police to report vandalism. But then I want to hug her and buy her a drink. But then also hide. I feel a lot of things when I see that video. It’s deeply unsettling – and I believe she wanted it to feel that way. What’s incredible is how easily she taps into that side of herself in a believable way and can just as easily spit out Jesus, Take the Wheel in an equally believable way. It’s fascinating.
So a couple years go by – 7, specifically. It’s 2012. Two somewhat forgettable (sorry Carrie!) albums have come out between Some Hearts and now, but Carrie’s about to put forward her next breakout album and it’s a doozy. The album is home to this song, called “Thank God for Hometowns”
Which is almost Sound of Music levels of sickly sweet and I love how unapologetic she is about it… but that track is buried beneath some really dark stuff. There’s the song from which the album takes its title, “Blown Away”. In “Blown Away”, Carrie describes the setting of a tornado in Oklahoma. OK, sure. But then she sets up the story of a young girl whose mother is dead and she lives with her dad. OK, yeah. The dad is abusive in some way – not specified how. In the song, the girl heads down to the tornado shelter and locks it while her dad is asleep on the couch. The lyrics say:
She locked herself in the cellar,
Listening to the screaming of the wind.
Some people call it taking shelter –
She called it sweet revenge.
WHOA. Did she just kill her dad? Well, not exactly. It’s likely that he died from the house being crushed in the tornado (or maybe he just got swept away to the land of Oz to manslaughter the first person he meets, which could very well be a fate worse than death) She does willfully put him in harm’s way and it is very likely that he died, but of course you could just chalk it up to “she had no other choice, the man was abusive,” which I’ll cosign for.
However! The single track that solidifies that Carrie Underwood as my favorite even though she terrifies me but I guess that’s OK is the single song “Two Black Cadillacs”. It’s really the natural sequel to “Before He Cheats”. Carrie Underwood has upgraded from vandalism to murder and it’s super dark. She has said that her inspiration for this song came from Stephen King novels. Like Carrie. Don’t think about that one too hard.
Moral of the story is: don’t cheat on Carrie Underwood, kids.
And with that – Fenton out.
PS! Carrie Underwood is married to a man named Mike Fisher. If she took his name, then Carrie Underwood’s legal name is Carrie Fisher. Yes, Carrie Fisher. R.I.P.