Carrie Underwood performing in 2016

Carrie Underwood performing in 2016 (Photo by Debby Wong on Shutterstock)

Carrie Underwood is a Grammy-winning country music singer and songwriter known for her powerhouse vocals and heartfelt lyrics. After winning the fourth season of “American Idol,” she quickly rose to fame, debuting her first album, “Some Hearts,” and launching a successful career that has spanned almost two decades. Carrie has released numerous chart-topping hits, such as “Before He Cheats” and “Cowboy Casanova,” making up some of the best Carrie Underwood songs of all time and solidifying herself within the country music world. Her music has also resonated with fans worldwide, earning her numerous accolades, including eight Grammy Awards and a whopping sixteen Academy of Country Music Awards. Carrie’s success is not limited to her music career; she has also ventured into acting, making appearances in film and TV specials like “Soul Surfer” and “The Sound of Music Live!” Today, she is the voice of the “Sunday Night Football” theme, continuing her legacy as an American icon.

Did you know that listening to certain songs can provide a sneak peek into your attachment style and typical relationship behaviors? Researchers report that individual attachment styles often correspond with the lyrics of one’s favorite songs. In simpler terms, people tend to turn to music that describes their feelings about their relationships – for better or worse. The four attachment styles are stated to be “anxiously attached, “avoidantly attached,” “mixed,” which fluctuate between hot and cold, and finally, “secure.” So, if you find yourself jamming to some “Scrubs” by TLC, one might assume you are avoidant versus someone listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You,” who may be more anxious. Of course, Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” according to the study, is the go-to for those hot and cold “mixed attachment” girlies out there, along with Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”

Though the girls screaming, “I dug my key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive,” may have a debt to settle with an ex, country music is actually the least violent out of all music genres. Many parents and critics often warn against allowing children to listen to rap and hip-hop songs over references to violence and other vulgar themes. But a new study finds that much of the pop music that moms and dads often pay far less mind to may actually not be much better lyrically. Not only do pop songs contain similar levels of violent lyrics as hip-hop songs, but nearly a third have lyrics that degrade women by sexually objectifying them or presenting them as submissive. However, country music was found to be the least violent and misogynistic of the genres. 

Whether you are a huge Carrie fan or are just diving into her music, we at StudyFinds have researched across multiple expert sources to bring you today’s ranking of the top five best Carrie Underwood songs of all time. Don’t agree with our ranking? No worries, we would love to hear from you in the comments down below. 

Carrie Underwood at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards
Carrie Underwood at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (Photo by s_bukley on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Carrie Underwood Songs, Per Experts

1. “Before He Cheats” (2005)

Could the first spot on our list go to any other song than “Before He Cheats?” The song, which tells the story of a woman scorned taking her Louisville slugger to her boyfriend’s car, has become iconic in music history and synonymous with Underwood herself. “Here it is, the unrivaled karaoke song of bachelorette parties everywhere. ‘Before He Cheats’ is legendary by plenty of standards. It’s Underwood’s top-selling song (five times platinum), her best-performing radio single, and a two-time Grammy award-winner,” says Wide Open Country.

“There’s no one who does revenge like Underwood. In the verses of ‘Before He Cheats,’ the third single from her 2005 debut album, Underwood simmers with a quiet rage at a cheating boyfriend. But that simmering rage explodes into the barn burner of a chorus, in which the narrator makes destroying a car seem like the most cathartic experience possible. The anti-cheater anthem held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard country chart for five weeks and spent 64 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 — the sixth longest-charting song of all time,” says The Boot.

“Whether you’re an ‘American Idol’ or partaking in karaoke at the local bar, it’s essential for any innovative artist to break free from routine and take a few chances, and that’s exactly what Carrie Underwood did for this smash hit from her debut album. While she’s now a mother and all grown up, ‘Before He Cheats’ proved that Carrie Underwood wasn’t just a sweet little country girl singing about Jesus and ice cream,” states WatchMojo.

2. “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (2005)

Next up on our list is 2005’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel”. Underwood’s first song after her “American Idol” win and the single that started it all: “This song penned by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey, and Gordie Sampson established the ‘American Idol’ winner as a star with staying power. A crossover hit, the song earned two Grammys and all but assured the success of her debut album ‘Some Hearts,'” describes Wide Open Country.

“With her win on season four of ‘American Idol,’ Underwood had built a foundation of loyal fans who helped get her to victory. That foundation only grew stronger with ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel.’ The song catapulted her to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and, crossed over into the mainstream Hot 100 and resonated with Christian fans. It’s a song that she sings from the heart and has since become one of her signature hits. This song captures Underwood’s essence that combines her faith, powerful voice, and ability to tell a meaningful story she believes in,” explains American Songwriter.

“The first of Carrie’s record-breaking 15 number-one singles, ‘Jesus, Take The Wheel,’ has become a firm favorite for any Carrie Underwood fan. The song tells the story of a woman driving home with her baby to see her mum on a snowy Christmas Eve night when she hits black ice and loses control of the car she’s driving. It all ends up okay – both mother and baby are unharmed – as Carrie pulls out the sort of soaring pop powerhouse vocal that would send tingles down even the most unsentimental of spines,” reports Holler.

3. “Church Bells” (2016)

The third spot goes to the iconic “Church Bells.” With not only killer vocals but a killer plot, if you know what we mean, this song has more than earned its spot on our list. “Carrie Underwood’s No. 1 hit ‘Church Bells’ was about sweet (and deadly) revenge by a woman scorned. One of Underwood’s patented story songs, it sings about the story of Jenny, a poor girl who married a wealthy oilman. However, she soon discovered that her new husband was an abusive alcoholic. Jenny slipped an untraceable poison into his drink and killed him,” notes Country Thang Daily.

“From the opening notes of the booming church bells, Underwood sets the tone of this dark tale about a woman who finds herself at the hands of a domestic abuser. Over the course of three minutes, the powerhouse singer takes us through the journey of the night the couple meets to the day this unnamed ‘oil man’ is put into the ground, ensuring he hit a woman for the very last time. Underwood naturally captures all of the power in this fiery track, making it an effortless standout,” comments American Songwriter.

“In 2021, you’re nobody unless you’ve had a TikTok moment. Luckily, Carrie had hers when ‘Church Bells’ inexplicably began inspiring hundreds of thousands of TikTokkers to post videos of themselves dancing to the song’s opening bars. Influencers, best friends, truckers, and even horses all jumped on the bandwagon with their unique takes on the moves,” adds Holler.

4. “Blown Away” (2012)

The number four spot goes to “Blown Away.” Once again, doing what Underwood does best, she tells a beautiful story through her vocals that can’t be matched. “‘Blown Away’ is a powerful and haunting song by American country music superstar Carrie Underwood. Released in 2012 as the title track of her fourth studio album, the song tells the story of a young girl named Sarah whose life is shattered by a devastating tornado. With its gripping lyrics and intense melody, ‘Blown Away’ takes the listener on a journey of raw emotion as Sarah struggles to survive the storm and come to terms with the traumatic events of her past,” states Singer’s Room.

“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,’” writes Country 102.5.

“In a catalog full of songs that show off her vocal gymnastics, ‘Blown Away’ is one of her finest displays. This bone-chilling song about a young girl caught in the eye of a storm, both literally and metaphorically, paints a powerful mental image that uses a devastating tornado as a metaphor for domestic abuse. “Blown Away” will leave you feeling as the title implies, solidifying it as one of her best efforts,” says American Songwriter.

5. “Cry Pretty” (2018)

Last but certainly nowhere close to being least is one of Underwood’s more recent songs and Billboard’s best country song of 2018 is “Cry Pretty.” A moving and emotional piece by Underwood solidified her not only as a musician but also as a songwriter. “The lead single from her sixth album ‘Cry Pretty’ peaked at number nine in 2018. Carrie’s powerful voice is enough to make you tear up within three minutes, but the song also serves as a reminder that it’s okay to let out your emotions—even if you’re a Kim K–level ugly crier,” comments Women’s Health.

“A deeply personal song that came after Underwood suffered three miscarriages, ‘Cry Pretty’ is relatable for anyone who’s ever felt like they had to put on a brave face during tough times. It’s also one of Underwood’s best vocal performances,” adds Yard Barker.

“Underwood doesn’t shy away from her pain and sorrow, rather feeling them deeply through such lyrics as ‘When things get ugly/You just got to face that you can’t cry pretty.’ Underwood doesn’t hide from her painful feelings, rather embracing them and encouraging listeners to do the same. In a catalog of songs where Underwood is often hiding behind fictional characters, ‘Cry Pretty’ proves that she does her best work when she’s letting her heart take the lead,” concludes American Songwriter.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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