Carrie Underwood rose to fame by being the winner of the fourth season of American Idol. However, she stands out even among those select individuals because she is the most successful of them by far. For proof, look no further than the fact that Underwood has sold more than 70 million records around the world, which is enough to make her one of the best-selling female artists of all-time.
10. Temporary Home
“Temporary Home” is a song on Underwood’s third studio album Play On. It was inspired by one of Pastor Rick Warren’s books, in which he wrote that this world is but a “temporary home” rather than the whole of existence. From that, Underwood came up with the idea of a young boy who isn’t where he should be but knows that he will get there someday, with the result that “Temporary Home” turned out to be a rather hopeful song. On the whole, it was well-received, as shown by how it was nominated for the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
9. I Told You So
“I Told You So” started out as a song by Randy Travis, who is a well-known country and gospel musician in his own right. In 2007, Underwood did a cover, which was included on her second studio album Carnival Ride. This met with positive responses from some but less positive responses from others. However, it seems that Travis liked it, so much so that the two went on to do a duet version together.
8. Smoke Break
“Smoke Break” is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, a song about escaping the stresses that one encounters through the course of living one’s life. Amusingly, it came about because Underwood and her fellow songwriters were stuck on a song, with the result that they took break after break. Eventually, they decided to write a song about taking breaks, not least because it was apparently a gorgeous day outside.
7. All-American Girl
Underwood has a reputation for being fond of songs that tell stories. To name another example, consider “All-American Girl,” which can be divided up into a couple of parts. First, a soon-to-be father wants a baby boy but has a change of heart when he sees his baby girl. Second, said individual grows up, with the result that she falls in love with a football player and has her love reciprocated. To an extent, the song was supposed to be autobiographical in nature, thus making it that much more heartfelt.
6. Jesus, Take the Wheel
“Jesus, Take the Wheel” is one of Underwood’s more memorable songs, not least because it was her very first single. At the time of its release, there was a fair amount of discussion over her decision to start her career with a very clearly faith-based song. However, it seems safe to say that Underwood’s decision proved to be a good one in the end. After all, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” has been certified three-times Platinum in the United States, which isn’t even mentioning its slew of honors.
5. Remind Me
Technically, “Remind Me” was released as a Brad Paisley song. However, it featured Paisley and Underwood doing a duet, so it still counts. As the story goes, the two had talked about doing a duet together. Initially, the plan didn’t work out because their schedules clashed too much. However, Paisley’s release date was pushed back, with the result that the two were able to collaborate on the project. Amusingly, Underwood has stated that the recording process was one of the most unorganized things that she has ever been involved with. However, she also acknowledged that everything turned out fine anyways.
“Heartbeat” is about the special feeling when someone is alone with their lover. It isn’t 100 percent clear what it was inspired by. However, the common speculation is that the song was inspired by Underwood’s marriage with Mike Fisher. If so, that would explain a lot about why “Heartbeat” manages to be special. After all, it is far from being Underwood’s only love song, but it stands out by being the most real out of the lot.
3. Something in the Water
“Something in the Water” is about baptism. Regardless, it has a high position on this list for the simple reason that it is one of the best vocal performances that Underwood has given over the course of her entire career, which is no mean accomplishment considering the material that she has put out. It is no coincidence that “Something in the Water” met with widespread approval.
2. Before He Cheats
“Before He Cheats” isn’t the happiest of songs. After all, it is a revenge song. To be exact, “Before He Cheats” envisions a woman who has been betrayed by an unfaithful boyfriend or husband, with the result that she decides to teach him a lesson by wrecking his car with the assistance of keys, knife, and a very specifically-named Louisville Slugger baseball bat. The song loses some points because Underwood didn’t manage to 100 percent sell it. Apparently, she is the kind of person who would prefer to let it go before moving on, which admittedly is the much healthier option to take. Still, Underwood nonetheless managed to sell it quite well, as shown by how it made her the first woman to win Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards.
“Wasted” wins points for being a number of things. One, it is just all-around pleasant in a way that doesn’t come off as being banal. Two, it is interesting in that it discusses addiction in a couple of ways, with one being addiction in a relationship sense and the other being addiction in an alcoholic sense. Three, it is a fitting capstone to Underwood’s first studio album, which is particularly impressive because said album also contained other heavy hitters that managed to earn positions on this list.