First, I should note something. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to assume that the main female character in everyone of Carrie Underwood’s songs is her, and that all of the things they (she) go (goes) through actually happened to her. I’m doing this for two reasons: first, because she actually is that girl in all but one of her music videos, and second, because there’s a saying that goes “When you assume, you make an ass out of the people who doubted you because you’re almost definitely right,” or something like that. I’m not good with sayings.
1. Before He Cheats
I’m starting with this one because it’s by far the most profitable and popular of her songs, as well as the only one that non-country fans are likely to have heard.
Right now, he’s probably slow dancing with a bleached-blond tramp
And she’s probably getting frisky
Right now, he’s probably buying her some fruity little drink
‘Cause she can’t shoot whiskey
See now that just sounds bitter. Judging some nice young lady—tramp, excuse me—because she’s frisky? Maybe she hasn’t had some action in a while. These things happen. People get excited. And who doesn’t like a fruity drink every once in a while? I mean, I like beer and whiskey and all that MANLY alcohol too, but you know what’s delicious? Mimosas. Daiquiris. Stuff like that. I’m beginning to think that Carrie’s a little jealous here.
I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up 4 wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seat
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires
And maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats
Holy shit, woman. That’s a little excessive, don’t you think? I know you’re upset, but that’s jail time you’re talking about now. That’s thousands of dollars worth of property damage. Tens of thousands, in fact, because while Carrie assures us that she only used a key, bat and knife to fuck this truck up, here’s a screenshot from the video.
That’s not jealous girlfriend damage, that’s “Rollover On Highway Kills Four” damage. Broken axles, bent frame, smashed up engine bay? I don’t want to alarm you, but Carrie Underwood…might be a superhero. As evidenced by the fact that when she gets angry, later in the video, the world around her spontaneously self-destructs.
Which is close enough.
Right now, she’s probably up singing some white-trash version of Shania karaoke
Right now, she’s probably saying, “I’m drunk,” and he’s a thinking that he’s gonna get lucky
Right now, he’s probably dabbing on 3 dollars worth of that bathroom Polo
Would it be remiss of me to point out that you, American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, sang Shania Twain for your semifinal round? Not just any Shania song, you sang Man, I Feel Like A Woman, a song whose entire message could be boiled down to “I’d like to enjoy myself tonight.” I hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but American Idol is just really fancy karaoke.
And back to the line about cologne. This guy sounds like — to put it delicately — a douchenozzle. Did he not put cologne or deodorant or something on beforehand? Does he think that whatever they have in the bathroom at the bar will increase his chances of getting with this girl — tramp, I keep forgetting — more than drink-plying and close dancing already has? This is a man whose main girl-getting strategy, according to the dancing and the pool instruction, is “why don’t I put my dick against her and see what happens?” No wonder he’s cheating, he clearly has no scruples. So why are you dating this guy?
And this may seem trivial, maybe it’s just me, but is he really cheating? The word “probably” appears seven times in this song. According to the video, he is actually face-sucking with some blond chick, but that’s never clearly stated in the song.
So what we have is a lonely, jealous, bitter 27-year-old woman, alone in a parking garage beating the living fuck out of her boyfriend’s truck because she’s convinced himself that he might be cheating.
2. Last Name
This one gets set up as a prequel to Before He Cheats not in the lyrics, but in the video, which states that this happened a mere three months before the world-ending infidelity of BHC took place.
Are you excited? You should be, for this will be our first glimpse into why Carrie fell for such a douchenozzle — and yes I will keep using that word whether it makes you uncomfortable or not — in the first place. This is sure to be a tale of romance and seduction, a tale of silver tongues and fluttering eyelashes, a story that will rival SOME OF THE GREATEST LOVE STORIES OF ALL TIME. Spin us a yarn, Carrie.
Last night I got served a little bit too much of that poison, baby
Last night I did things I’m not proud of
And I got a little crazy
Last night I met a guy on the dance floor
And I let him call me baby
So maybe “romantic” isn’t the word I was looking for. You got drunk, met a guy who opted to put his denim-clad dick against you just to see what happened (it’s what he does), and immediately failed to exercise even a smidge of self-restraint. But hey, maybe he was different then, right? Maybe he wasn’t such an ass then. Let’s find out.
We left the club right around three o’clock in the morning
His Pinto was sitting there in the parking lot
Well it should have been a warning
I had no clue what I was getting into
So I blame it on the Cuervo
Dammit, woman, you cannot keep blaming the alcohol for everything and I don’t care what Jamie Foxx says. If every time we leave you alone with a beer, you either get married or commit some sort of major property misdemeanor, then we’re not going to give you beer anymore. Also, a Pinto? YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A WARNING. I’m not saying that you should judge a man entirely by his car, but I am implying it. The Pinto was a piece of shit the moment it rolled off the assembly line, the most recent occurrence of which was 31 years ago, mainly because of its rather annoying propensity, when rear-ended, of exploding in a friends-and-family-killing ball of fire. No one should ever get into a Pinto for any reason, especially some guy hitting on you on the dance floor. And speaking of this guy, he makes sexy eyes at other women in Carrie’s presence at the 45-second mark, the 1:17 mark, the 1:36 mark, the 1:58 mark, and DURING HIS MOTHERFUCKING WEDDING at the 2:17 mark. He actually gets caught during that one, and the following wordless exchange takes place.
Carrie Underwood clearly has no standards whatsoever, nor any way of telling whether someone might not be such a standup guy. Also, one minor point. Carrie changes the line of the chorus from “I don’t even know his last name” to “my last name” (clever girl) at the end, implying that she’s married. But you do know your name doesn’t actually change immediately like magic, right? You have to get that done legally, and some people don’t even do that.
This also throws a twist in the previous story. That guy who was (maybe) cheating on her in BHC wasn’t her boyfriend, he was her husband. Shouldn’t they have gotten such a clear mistake annulled by now, especially if he was just going to keep up his poon-hounding habits to that degree? Did they think they could make it work? Is there any way that this reflects positively on anyone involved?
I guess the moral to the young women of the world is this: marry the first guy you get drunk near, despite the obvious hole where his fidelity gland once was, and when he inevitably cheats on you very soon afterwards, DESTROY EVERYTHING HE EVER LOVED.
3. Jesus, Take The Wheel
But wait! not all of Carrie’s songs are about drinking and making abysmal life decisions. Sometimes she makes abysmal life decisions without even the help of alcohol. Let’s take a look at this one.
She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati
Ok, hold on just a damn second. “Friday” does not rhyme with “Cincinatti.” The only way to make it work is to pronounce it “Fratty” and I refuse to do that. Consider yourself warned.
She was driving last Friday on her way to Cincinnati
On a snow white Christmas Eve
Going home to see her Mama and her Daddy
With the baby in the backseat
Fifty miles to go and she was running low
On faith and gasoline
It’d been a long hard year
Standard country music fare. Some stressed single mother, trials and tribulations, etc. You get the “running out of gas” metaphor, a couple of tangential religious and family references, and so on. Not exciting.
She had a lot on her mind and she didn’t pay attention
She was going way too fast
Before she knew it she was spinning
On a thin black sheet of glass
Aaaaaand shit just got real. All right listen, woman, you got yourself into this and you can get yourself out. Just don’t panic.
She saw both their lives flash before her eyes
She didn’t even have time to cry
She was so scared…
KEEP IT TOGETHER, BITCH. This is no time for blubbering, you have to listen to me, there is a baby in the back. Let go of the gas, don’t touch the brakes, and try to steer into the skid. This is still recoverable, you just have to-
She threw her hands up in the air
Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go
So give me one more chance
To save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel
God dammit, woman. The road is not the problem; it’s just a road. It almost by definition isn’t doing anything. Everything that has gone wrong so far is your fault.
Is anyone starting to see a trend here? First, get yourself into a terrible situation. Then blame the situation on something other than yourself. If you make a mistake, blame alcohol. If you’re angry, blame your douchenozzle husband. If you’re spinning wildly out of control on black ice with a fucking infant in the car, blame…what, distraction? I mean I know mistakes are made, but come on now. “I had a lot on my mind” is not a valid excuse to be driving recklessly fast, nor to fail to notice that the asphalt has transmogrified into a sheet of icy death.
The final step in the Carrie Underwood School of Dealing With Shit is to just step back and hope everything works out. Accidentally marry a guy in Vegas, then rather than talking it out or something, steal his money and his car (listen to the lyrics from 2:03-2:25 if you don’t believe me) and leave. Destroy the same man’s other car—the one he had to use to get home from Vegas after you stole the first one—drop his keys in his drink, and walk away hoping he won’t press charges and have you thrown in jail. And if you find yourself about to kill yourself and your wee baby, just let go and trust in Jeebus. What the fuck. Let’s see how that worked out.
It was still getting colder when she made it to the shoulder
And the car came to a stop
She cried when she saw that baby in the backseat
Sleeping like a rock
You are the luckiest woman alive. Not blessed. Lucky. You did everything possible to make this end horribly, and yet here we are. You may want to check the pulse on that baby though. Babies are not known to be heavy sleepers, and what with your sudden evangelical/emotional outburst going unnoticed and the violent spinning of the car (babies are also not known for taking lateral Gs very well, the little bitches), it’s possible that the baby’s actually dead. Just sayin’.
Also, isn’t that wildly irresponsible of you? You can’t just ask Jesus to take over whenever there’s a kink in the road. So Wolf Creek pass is icy? Call on divine intervention. You’re tired and you want to watch a movie while you drive? Get some religion up in you. That parking spot looks a little tight? JESUS.
So what’s the next step? Praying. Carrie (remember how we’re assuming that these people are all Carrie) bows her head, still sitting on the shoulder, and says, “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been living my life. I know I’ve got to change.” Wait a minute, slow down. No one said you’re living your life wrong. In fact, you’re driving home to see your family for Christmas, that sounds pretty noble. There’s really no reason for us, the listener, to assume anything’s wrong with you. Except that you’re a dangerously, embarrassingly bad driver. But I guess if you want to be a better person, more power to you. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and set about taking control over your life.
So from now on tonight
Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own…
Or, you know. Make Jesus handle that for you too. No way that could backfire.
4. Undo It
Right back on form here. I’m not going to pick this whole song apart because you’ve basically heard it before, and I’m not going to pick the video apart because it’s just a concert video. Just two things real quick. First, let’s examine the lyrics of the first few verses. This is a song about how Carrie was in a shitty relationship and regrets it, and now sassily wishes it had never happened. Enter the usual mold.
I should have known by the way you passed me by
There was something in your eyes and it wasn’t right
I should have walked but I never had the chance
Everything got out of hand and I let it slide
Now I only have myself to blame for falling for your stupid games
I wish my life could be the way it was before I saw your face…
I wish there was another way to put this besides HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KEEP DOING THAT? It’s the same goddamn story over and over again. I messed up, I should have known better, etc. And yet she still says she never had the chance to walk away (yes you did). Deflecting blame as usual, just like mama taught us.
The second thing I want to point out comes from a brief flash in the video of Carrie tearing up a photo or note or something presumably related to the past relationship.
She appears to be wearing fingerless gloves and some kind of lady gladiator dress. She’s a gLADYator. It’s not related or anything, I just thought you might want to see that.
5. Cowboy Casanova
I have even less commentary for this song. It’s about Carrie warning other girls away from (SURPRISE) some super-douchey guy because (SURPRISE) he’s actually super douchey and (SURPRISE) Carrie fell for him anyway and (SURPRISE) wishes she hadn’t and (SURPRISE) doesn’t take personal responsibility for her mistake. The thing I like about this video is that it involves a lot of admittedly well-filmed and kinda awesome choreographed dancing in speakeasy-era dresses, and the video is inexplicably entertaining for that reason. But the whole song is about this seductive man-Siren who’ll draw you in and ruin your life, and we don’t even get to see him.
Here’s the best shot of his face in the whole video:
Here’s the moment where he’s dance-confronted by the group of ladies:
And here’s literally the only thing he actually does in the whole video.
Carrie showed us the devilish good looks of the other guys she was talking about in all the other videos, dick-grinding skills and hair gel and all. But the one guy she considers more seductive than any other, the one who gets a whole song and some of her most poetic lyricism ever—what makes him so special? He can pop his collar, like, really hard.
Songs to live by, ladies and gentlemen.