Top 10 Songs by Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood is one of the best voices working in country music, and she has a catalog of songs to prove it. Since winning the hearts of American Idol fans with her season four victory, Underwood has solidified herself as a country music superstar, with a collection of albums and singles that show off her incomparable voice and touching lyricism. Below, we look at 10 of Underwood’s best songs.

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1. “Jesus Take the Wheel”

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,” her first single off her debut album, Some Hearts. 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.

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
And save me from this road I’m on
Jesus, take the wheel

2. “Cry Pretty”

“Cry Pretty” is one of Underwood’s most personal songs, part of what makes it one of her best. Written in the wake of her three miscarriages she experienced before she and her husband, Mike Fisher, welcomed their second son, Jacob, in 2019, “Cry Pretty” is the singer’s personal lament of letting the dam break. 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.

You can pretty lie
And say it’s okay
You can pretty smile
And just walk away
Pretty much fake your way through anything
But, you can’t cry pretty

3. “Blown Away”

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. The song strikes like lightning, so much so that Underwood says she had “chills all over my body” the first time she heard the demo, a feeling that reaches through the speakers to grab the listener’s ears. “Blown Away” will leave you feeling as the title implies, solidifying it as one of her best efforts.

Shatter every window ’til it’s all blown away
Every brick, every board, every slamming door blown away
‘Til there’s nothing left standing
Nothing left of yesterday
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away, blown away, blown away

4. “Two Black Cadillacs”

Much like “Blown Away,” “Two Black Cadillacs” tells a compelling story. Almost as if you’re reading a chapter out of a gothic novel, “Cadillacs” follows two women, a wife and her husband’s mistress, who team up on his demise and finally meet in person graveside at his funeral. Between Underwood’s enduring voice and the chill-inducing lyrics that play like a movie in one’s head, the singer will have you immersed in every word.

Headlights shining bright in the middle of the day
One is for his wife
The other for the woman who loved him at night
Two black Cadillacs meeting for the first time

5. “Church Bells”

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.

She could hear those church bells ringin’, ringin’
And up in the loft, that whole choir singin’, singin’
Fold your hands and close your eyes
Yeah, it’s all gonna be alright
And just listen to the church bells ringin’, ringin’
Yeah, they’re ringin’

6. “Love Wins”

In “Love Wins,” Underwood gives us a glimpse into her heart, with the opening lines about a mother losing her child to gun violence while questioning how the world got so plagued by “politics and prejudice.” But on the other side of pain is hope, which she expresses in the uplifting chorus that proclaims I believe you and me are sisters and brothers/And I believe we’re made to be here for each other. “Love Wins” offers a beautiful call for unity, something we can all get behind.

I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers
And I, I believe we’re made to be here for each other
And we’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand
Put a world that seems broken together again
Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins

7. “Low”

A deep cut off her personal Cry Pretty album, “Low” is a gem that shines like a diamond in the rough. The song offers a poignant perspective on loss, which Underwood demonstrates through her stunning voice that captures the emotion of each lyric. You can feel the soul of the song come through the speakers, making it not only one of the best tracks off Cry Pretty but one of her best ever.

I’m so low, I’m so low
Yeah, I’m low and blue
I’m so lonesome for you

8. “Choctaw County Affair”

Underwood proves she can tell even the darkest of stories well with “Choctaw County Affair.” A fan-favorite off of her 2015 album, Storyteller, this deep cut written solely by Jason White tells a mysterious tale of a man and woman on trial for murder in Mississippi. Underwood keeps you hanging on with every twist and turn, the swampy bluesy melody adding to the intrigue. This is modern country storytelling at its finest, and Underwood delivers the story convincingly.

Well, Cassie O’Grady was no Southern lady
Despite all the media hype
They all loved to make her out like a sweet little devout
All-American cheerleader type
But her mind was cattywampus
She was greedy, she was pompous
Strutting ’round with her nose in the air
She was a cold gold-digger tickling a hand trigger
It’s a Choctaw County affair

9. “I’ll Stand by You”

Though a cover of this 1994 hit by The Pretenders, Underwood truly captures the heart of “I’ll Stand by You” with her rendition that she recorded as part of Idol Gives Back in 2007. A video of her singing it a cappella during a mission trip to Africa gives the poignant song new meaning. Underwood’s voice shines purely and shows off her heart in the process, serving as one of her shining moments as an artist.

I’ll stand by you
I’ll stand by you
I won’t let nobody hurt you
I’ll stand by you

10. “Last Name”

“Last Name” is pure fun, with a little debauchery thrown in. “Last Name” sees the singer stepping outside of her squeaky-clean image to take on the persona of a woman who has a wild night out in Las Vegas that ends with an unplanned wedding to a man she barely knows. Between the sawing fiddle and engaging banjo, “Last Name” had serious crossover appeal, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the top 20 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

And I don’t even know his last name
Oh, my momma would be so ashamed
It started off “hey cutie, where you from?”
Then it turned into “oh no! What have I done?”
And I don’t even know his last name

Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

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