Carrie Underwood is about to hit the road again for the fall leg of her Storyteller tour in support of her fifth studio album of the same name. Like her predecessors, country music’s reigning queen has relied on uncovering stories through her music, and she is yet to disappoint. Here are 11 of her best songs in which she does just that.
Jesus, Take the Wheel
The first single from her debut album Some Hearts, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” gave listeners an introduction to Carrie Underwood’s individual sound fresh after being crowned the winner of American Idol. Underwood often showcases her Christian beliefs through her songs, and this is no exception. The lyrics follow a young, struggling mother who decides to let a higher power decide her fate in a car accident. The song was not only a commercial success, but proved Underwood was capable of sticking to country music’s roots of storytelling.
Two Black Cadillacs
Like several of her songs, this hit single from Underwood’s fourth album Blown Away focuses on the topic of infidelity. However, in a dark twist, both the wife who was cheated on and her husband’s mistress disapprove of the man’s choices, and secretly decide to put an end to his lies, resulting in two black Cadillacs bringing them to his funeral.
Just a Dream
Taken off her sophomore album Carnival Ride, this song evokes plenty of emotion as it tells the tale of a young woman, who not long after getting married finds herself widowed, losing her husband to war. It can tear at anyone’s heartstrings, but particularly speaks to military widows everywhere, especially in the line “She heard the guns ring one last shot and it felt like a bullet in her heart.”
Before He Cheats
Known as the song that propelled her to the top of the charts and made her a bona fide superstar, this song also established Carrie Underwood’s reputation for singing songs about getting revenge on unfaithful lovers. It takes listeners through the experience of a woman taking out her anger on her cheating partner’s truck. It’s pure country and arguably Underwood’s best song of her collection.
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is the major theme behind this tune, in which a woman drinks too much one night and wakes up with a stranger and a ring on her finger the next morning. It’s a fun take on a familiar, albeit cliché, concept.
This single from Storyteller follows a woman named Jenny as she experiences the ups and downs of life, with the sound of church bells ringing in each new milestone. Jenny goes from a poor upbringing, to marrying a wealthy but abusive man, and ultimately escaping a dangerous marriage by slipping something mysterious in her husband’s drink. The chorus sends a message to remain positive even through hard times, particularly in the lines “fold your hands and close your eyes, yeah it’s all going to be alright. Just listen to the church bells ringing.”
Choctaw County Affair
Soul meets sass in “Choctaw County Affair,” another gem from Storyteller. The song tells a detailed account of two outlaws put on trial for the mysterious disappearance of a woman named Cassie O’Grady. Despite the trouble they get themselves into, the two anti-heroes don’t give much thought to the drama surrounding them, because it’s simply another Choctaw county affair.
What I Never Knew I Always Wanted
The most personal of songs on this list, Underwood penned “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted” about the most important men in her life—husband Mike Fischer and their son, Isaiah. Listeners are able to get inside Underwood’s head as she sings about how she never pictured herself as a wife or mother, but now couldn’t imagine her life any other way. It’s a sweet tribute to her family and a perfect closer for her Storyteller album.
Don’t Forget to Remember Me
Leaving home and struggling to make it on your own is the subject of this song from Some Hearts. The lyrics detail how scary it can be venturing into adulthood, and that loneliness is often inevitable. It perfectly sums up the milestone, and emphasizes the importance of family.
This sentimental track off of 2009’s Play On is an ode to both Underwood’s mother and husband. The singer thanks her mother for all she’s taught her, while saying it’s time to let go now that she’s finally found “The One.” It’s personal, genuine, and provides a unique look at the relationship between a mother and daughter.
The Night Before (Life Goes On)
This early effort from Some Hearts tells the tale of young love and growing up, as two teenagers spend their last night together before the summer comes to a close. While she leaves home for college and he stays behind to work in a family business, the two are forced to face the moment they’ve dreaded all summer: saying good-bye.