It’s been a year since Carrie Underwood had a solo single on country radio, her last one being Mama’s Song, which peaked at #2 on the country charts.
Taking her time with the preparations for her upcoming album, set for a May 1st release date, Carrie Underwood has been building the momentum for both her lead single, Good Girl, and her album. The anticipation for the lead single has reached stratospheric proportions among country audiences, especially following an Amazon clip and a teaser that Carrie posted on YouTube.
And now Good Girl is here. Was the long wait for new Carrie music worth the wait? I guess you’ll have to read the remainder of this review to find out. Who am I kidding? Good Girl is way better than I thought Carrie’s lead single would be. Add to that my already very high expectations and the scenario becomes: this is a knockout blow delivered by Mrs. Underwood (or is it Underwood-Fisher now?).
The song opens with a killer guitar riff to a backdrop of drums and hand-clap percussion to which Carrie starts: “Hey good girl with your head in the clouds. I bet you I can tell you what you’re thinking about. You’ll see a good boy, gonna give you the world. But he’s gonna leave you crying with your heart in the dirt….” Then she takes it up a notch vocally to growl the rest of the first verse: “His lips are dropping honey. But he’ll sting you like a bee. So lock up all your lovin’, go and throw away the key. Hey good girl, get out when you can I know you think you got a good man…”
And then she starts signing the chorus, which has a very different melody, creating a hook in itself in the transition between verse and chorus: “Why, why you gotta be so blind? Won’t you open your eyes? It’s just a matter of time till you find he’s no good, girl. No good for you. You better to getting on your goodbye shoes and go, go, go. You better listen to me he’s low, low, low….” It doesn’t hurt that Carrie kills the rocking chorus vocally as well. Starting with heavy tempo, it turns to simply Carrie’s voice to a backdrop of drums as she sings “he’s no good, girl, no good for you.”
The tempo then picks up again for the second verse: “Hey good girl, you got a heart of gold. You want a white wedding and a hand you can hold just like you should girl, like every good girl does. Want a fairytale ending, somebody to love.” Then she takes it up a notch again for the second part of the verse – all with a killing line to end it: “But he’s really good at lying girl, yeah, he’ll leave you in the dust cause when he says forever, well, it don’t mean much. Hey good girl, so good for him, better back away honey, you don’t know where he’s been.”
Carrie then repeats the chorus before going into a pure rock bridge that will leave you absolutely stunned. “He’s no good, girl. Why can’t you see? He’ll take your heart and break it. Listen to me, yeah…“
The bridge starts with a shout and ends with a falsetto. Enough said, right? I was hoping for a bigger chorus, but this one delivers just right.
The song then ends with another version of the chorus which ends with Carrie singing “he’s no good girl, no good for you. You better get to getting on your goodbye shoes” acapella – nothing to back her up on it. And the song ends.
Perhaps the correct title for the song should have been “Damn Girl” because Carrie Underwood is back and she’s not messing around with anyone. From the second the song opens, you know this isn’t like anything Carrie has given her audience before. The fact that this is probably the best she has sounded on a recorded track only helps to elevate Good Girl from the hit that it is to a truly amazing song. It’s absolutely brilliant to see such vocal versatility with Underwood. She can literally sing the phonebook (or one of my medicine books) and get you absolutely interested in what she’s singing. Her vocal ability translates onto Good Girl and then some more. And on Good Girl, she sings with the song’s production, not on top of it.
The song is also different structurally from what Carrie Underwood’s fans are used to. There’s no three-verse storyline. There are no lyrics which can be considered sappy. It’s all in your face. Who would have thought a Carrie Underwood song would contain the line: “Better back away honey, you don’t know where he’s been?” No one. And yet it feels so natural to have such strong lyrics in Good Girl. Why? Because the song demands it. And Carrie delivers.
The country-rock sound is also a very welcome change for Underwood. This is also the most rocking she has been in a song before, with the song still having much needed country elements. Her detractors will shout “she’s not country” at her new offering. But who cares when you’ve got such a song on your table? You simply don’t. You welcome it and you listen to it with a smile on your face because it’s just that awesome.
Carrie Underwood is back, ladies and gentlemen. And she’s here to reclaim that #1 spot at the top of the charts like a good girl does.
You can get Good Girl on iTunes here.
Listen to Good Girl: