Single Reviews: Carrie Underwood, “Love Wins” and “Southbound”

“Love Wins”

Carrie Underwood

Written by Hillary Lindsey, Brett McLaughlin, and Will Weatherly

Cry Pretty has some of the best material that Carrie Underwood has released to date, but for whatever reason, those gems aren’t being the ones sent to radio.

“Love Wins” has an admirable sentiment, and had it been delivered earlier in her career with a simpler arrangement, she might have gotten away with it.  But Underwood is too seasoned a vocalist to pull off such wide eyed naivete.  You’re left thinking, “Love wins? Does she really believe that? Is she even paying attention?”

The production does her no favors here, overwrought and loud as it is, but there was no saving this record in the first place.  The material is simply too weak.

Grade: C-


Carrie Underwood

Written by David Garcia, Brett James, and Carrie Underwood

Meanwhile, her newest single is a mindless rave up about hitting the beach and hanging out during the summer.

Putting aside the glut of songs such as this, Underwood’s songwriting efforts are interesting enough to pick up some unique details like “cheap gas station sunglasses” and “redneck margaritas” being “2 for 1 at that old marina.”

But praising those details is like complimenting the lighting and shading on a portrait of dogs playing poker.  All that effort in service of this theme?

I’ve been largely unimpressed by her new label’s handling of her work.  They didn’t rein in the bombastic production that drowns out the finest vocalist of her generation, and they can’t seem to pick the singles that showcase her at her best.

Come on, Universal.  I’ll help you.  The fourth single is “Spinning Bottles” and the fifth single is “The Bullet.”  Get to work.

Grade: C-



  1. 1st Single – Cry Pretty
    2nd Single – Ghosts on the Stereo
    3rd Single – Low
    4th Single – Kingdom

    I should work for Universal.

  2. Might only be my opinon but I feel like they should have released End up with you instead of Southbound. End up is still a fun summer song but way better.

  3. I’m okay with Southbound only because I don’t really know off the top of my head the number of “fun” sounding songs Carrie has released.

  4. Carrie’s career is filled with odd singles choices and, more so, gems that never got a release; “Flat on the Floor,” “Someday When I Stopped Loving You,” “Do You Think About Me,” and “Choctaw County Affair” are obvious examples. She’s also only had more than 4 singles from an album one time, which is odd for someone of her stature.

    “Southbound” is doing well on radio and looks to be her biggest hit there in awhile, so I get its choice as a single. “Cry Pretty” at least made a nice statement and also translated well live, so I understand it, too. “Love Wins” is the puzzling choice.

    Having said all that, “Drinking Alone” should be released next, and “Low” should at least get a high profile TV performance.

  5. The title track is my least favorite of the three she’s released from this record so far. Personally, I would love to see Ghosts on the Stereo wind up in the singles cycle at some point.

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