Carrie Underwood turns the big 4-0 today (3/10) as she continues the 2023 leg of her “Denim & Rhinestones Tour.” While she has a day off on her birthday, she is back on stage at a concert in Glendale, Arizona, tomorrow night (3/11).
Carrie has created her own music legacy already in country music in the last 15 years and is the most-awarded star in country music. She was most recently nominated for a 2023 CMT Music Award for Video of the Year for her video “Hate My Heart.” She has won the CMT’s top award (Video of the Year) a total of ten times through the years and is the show’s top winner with a total of 23 wins.
As we celebrate all things Underwood on her big day, we take a look at 22 of what we believe are her best songs ranked.
Randy Travis first recorded this song for his 1983 "Live at the Nashville Palace" under his stage name at the time, "Randy Ray." Travis re-recorded it for his Always & Forever album and released it as a single. It was a big hit. Carrie released a cover version of the song on her 2007 album, Carnival Rida and she later did this duet version with Randy.
A powerful song that Underwood sings on stage, usually in a suit and hat. The song was written by Carrie and her co-producer David Garcia and Brett James. The song centers around a bar encounter between a woman and a man after their respective relationships have just ended.
This song was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the 58th Grammy Awards. The video stars Grace Rundhaug, who starred alongside Underwood in “The Sound of Music Live!” television special, as a girl who escapes her parents' fighting by mentally transporting herself to a "storybook land" where she plays a mythical hero and reunites her captive parents.
The first single from her "Denim & Rhinestones" album. She performed the song live for the first time at the 64th Grammy Awards, held in Las Vegas, on April 3, 2022. On her 2022/2023 Denim & Rhinestones Tour," and in the music video Carrie rides a swing high in the air while she sings.
Carrie was inspired by the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren, who wrote that this world is a "temporary home" and that when we leave here, it is not the end of existence. Underwood said, "I thought of a little boy in a foster situation, and he knows where he's going, and the place where he is isn't where he should be, but he'll get there someday." The song was nominated for Best Female Country Vocal Performance at the 53rd Grammy Awards.
A beautiful blend of two amazing voices. Carrie said of the song, co-written by Legend, "I was deep into making the album, and this one kind of came in. He sent it to us kind of at the end. It was like, 'Well, I love the song. I feel like this is a puzzle piece I didn't know was missing, but now that I've heard it, I have to have it. And so, we just put the ask back, 'Thank you for sending, do you want to sing a part with me, too?'"
The song centers around a "beautiful, wonderful, perfect all-American girl." The first verse tells the story of a father hoping for a baby boy to continue his legacy, but "when the nurse came in with a little pink blanket, all those big dreams changed." Throughout the video, Carrie appears as an American Olympic swimmer, an artist/painter, a nurse, a photographer, a cowgirl, a waitress, a ballerina, a clothing designer, a chef, a cheerleader, a veterinarian, a beauty queen, a mother, a football player, a police officer, a teacher, a graduate, a college student, a bride, a flight attendant, a news anchor, an astronaut, a firefighter, a soldier, a surgeon, a welder, a scientific chemist, a car thief and the President of the United States.
A massive hit for Underwood that sold over 2 million digital downloads. In an interview with CMT, Carrie said of the song, "I think to every woman, this song would be telling a story about someone they know or met or has tried to pick them up in a bar. We're not trashing this guy; we’re just warning these other girls about him."
A super catchy song. Underwood performed the song at the 2010 “American Idol” finale and the 2010 “CMT Music Awards.” Carrie said of co-writing the song, "It was something that it didn't take that long to write, and it's so much fun to sing on stage, and people get into it."
Underwood co-wrote "Hate My Heart," which is told from the point of view of a character who is regretful over her breakup, wishing she could move on. She said in an interview about the song, "'Hate My Heart' was definitely part of my desire to have fun on this album. I wanted songs that would be exciting to perform live and would fill up an arena, and that's exactly what we're about to do with The Denim & Rhinestones Tour. This one is definitely going to get everyone up on their feet and having a good time."
A song that she showcased on her “Cry Pretty Tour” by bringing different people on stage from the audience to sing it each night. When she played her home state of Oklahoma, she got her own mother on stage to sing it with her. The song was recorded as an opening theme for NBC Sports' television broadcast of Super Bowl LII.
"Good Girl" is about Underwood warning a good girl about her ex-boyfriend, saying that he is no good and that she is better off without him. The video features Underwood playing a "Good Girl" and another girl trying to persuade her character that the man she is with is no good. It won Video of the Year at the 2012 CMT Music Awards.
"Church Bells," tells the story of Jenny, a poor girl who marries a wealthy oilman. However, she soon discovers that her new husband is an abusive alcoholic. Jenny slips an untraceable poison into his drink and kills him. Carrie said of the song's heroine, “She’s young, she’s pretty, she’s poor, doing what she can to survive. (She) meets a man that has a lot of wealth and is supposed to take care of her.”
At the 51st Grammy Awards, the song won Underwood her third consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Rolling Stone picked the track as their favorite in a review, saying the song was "the most fun," where she gets wasted and runs off to Vegas with a guy she doesn't know.
Carrie made the song's debut performance along with Aldean at the 2021 CMA Awards in Nashville.
A song that showed the world that Underwood and Miranda Lambert sound great together. "Somethin' Bad" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming Carrie’s thirteenth number one and Lambert's fifth. The song is the first number one by teamed-up solo women in more than two decades on this chart.
During the performance of this song in Carrie’s 2021 / 2022 Las Vegas show, she stands and sings in front of a giant wall of falling water. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance.
This duet with Keith Urban (from his ‘Ripchord’ album) won the ACM’s Vocal Event of The Year in 2018.
The song’s video draws inspiration from Stephen King's novel “Christine” and shows how the wife and mistress kill the cheating husband with a black Cadillac. It was nominated for Video of the Year at the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards. Underwood has performed "Two Black Cadillacs" at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
An early hit for Carrie, at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, she won the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and the song's writers won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
The song that brought Underwood to the dance, as they say. Her first number one song, "Jesus, Take the Wheel," won the Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song, and it won Single of the Year at the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards.
What a powerful story song “Blown Away” is. It won several awards, including two Grammy Awards, for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. Carrie said upon hearing the song the first time, "I listened to it on my crappy computer speakers, and then I had to go find my headphones because as soon as I listened to a few bars, I had to listen more closely, and I got chills. I remember where I was when I heard it and called my manager, Ann, and I was like, 'Do not let anyone else have this song! It’s my song.'”