Carrie Underwood, “Last Name”

The glaringly obvious comparison to Alan Jackson’s “I Don’t Even Know Your Name” cannot be overlooked here. Likewise, the comparison to Carrie’s own “Before He Cheats” is also rather evident. Moreover, this song doesn’t do much to reinvent the wheel. On the other hand, after three focused listens to this song, it has grown on me and it is sure to be a success.

Some drinks and a pick up line result in a hazy Vegas wedding: “It started off Hey cutie, where ya from?/And then it turned into Oh no, what have I done?/And I don’t even know my last name”

Carrie sounds as though she has loosened up a bit and is having a little fun, which is nice to hear. While the slowish tempo choice is somewhat confusing, the banjo-infused rock production is infectious and seems to be influenced by her current touring partner, Keith Urban.

Written by Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsey & Luke Laird

Grade: B

Listen:  Last Name

Buy:  Last Name


  1. I don’t see how you can say this is influenced by Keith,, the album came out before the tour was ever even planned.

  2. i have read before they were touring that she really likes his style of music and how he could appeal to any genre. i was surprised when i read the comparison as well, but when i thought about it, it really makes sense. keith has a very uniques style however, that is hard to immitate well.

  3. I guess I wasn’t clear. I feel that the banjo mixed with the rock style is influenced by Keith. We know that Keith is the one who really ignited that sound in country music. She didn’t have to be on tour with him in order to be influenced by him. He’s on the radio all the time.

  4. Cowboy Blue-
    Yes, I concede that I just kind of threw the Keith Urban comparison in there without fleshing out the idea. Will wonders never cease? Who would have thought that I would have given Carrie a higher grade than you?:) I enjoy your reviews, by the way.

  5. Just my two cents: I didn’t get the impression from the original review that Underwood was influenced by Urban on the current tour, just that it’s a sound that is influenced by Urban, her current touring partner.

    He really mainstreamed that sound with “Somebody Like You”, though props must also be given to the Dixie Chicks for bringing banjo back in the first place!

  6. Kevin–

    That’s what I meant to say.:)

    I thought of “Long Time Gone” too. I’ll give the Dixie Chicks credit every chance I get.:) The only difference to me is that they didn’t really add electric guitar to the banjo like Keith did–that’s why I mentioned him and not them.

    I’ll have to admit that the inclusion of the banjo is what got me into both Keith and the Dixie Chicks. Before “Long Time Gone” and “Somebody Like You”, I liked them, but only as a casual listener. When I heard those songs, I paid closer attention to their music and became a real fan.

  7. i agree with your review leeann, its not groundbreaking but its a fun song and she oviously has a blast playing it live

    and looking at this song from someone who has been in college for what feels like forever, this song definetly rings true, and probably hits closer to home for more people than would like to admit it…… :)

    this could become another bhc situation in that if this starts to play in bars, every girl in there is sooooo singing along….shots of tequila all around!

  8. Leeann,

    Why did you have to mention “Long Time Gone”? Now it’s stuck in my head!

    Seriously though, I was thinking more of “Wide Open Spaces” as bringing the banjo back, and you’re absolutely correct: what Keith Urban did was add the banjo sound to rock instrumentation, thus creating his signature sound. I’d argue that the Chicks themselves were influenced by Keith Urban’s sound on their latest album particularly on “Lubbock or Leave it”, the opening music of which is my ringtone!

  9. Influences on Carrie’s singing on Last Name? The banjo injection is definitely a later influence but her sassiness came from way back. Here’s some stuff from when she was 15 just as examples:

    Can’t Get Enough

    Lesson In Leaving

    Tonight The Heartache’s On Me

    Goodbye Earl

    Nice review Leann. And I got what you were saying about Keith Urban as well. I do believe it was a combination of the The Chicks and Keith since she performed so many Chicks songs when she younger doing the car show and county fair circuit. I think Keith’s influence might have been more pronounced though as she loves to rock out as evidenced by her covering Guns ‘N Roses in her concerts. Good catch! :-)

  10. Well, the Chicks and Keith are definitely friends. The Chicks probably first heard “Some Days You Gotta Dance” (banjo/electric guitar combo) from Keith. He recorded it with The Ranch, his old band. He even played guitar on that cut on their album “Fly.” They still played that song on their 2006 tour.

    And for a random bit of cute nostalgia (the Chicks, Keith and Buck Owens hanging out back in the day):

    Unfortunately, I heard very little banjo during this song at Carrie’s concert. It was smothered into heavy bass and guitar (as were most of her vocals). Keith was a little more successful in bringing it out, but he definitely focused on his guitar playing skills.

    Final thoughts…I’m thinking Lubbock was more influenced by Tom Petty than Keith Urban, and Dierks Bentley has definitely adopted that banjo/rock sound more than anyone I can think of.

  11. The only thing I can’t get over is the fact that there was at least one better song than this on the album that should be a single in “Just A Dream.” While this song probably will be a big hit for her, I feel the “been there done that” feel of the song will ultimately wear on people.

  12. Matt F

    How in the world do you get the feel of “been there done that”? Last Name and Before he Cheats are so different musically and subject wise that your comment doesn’t make a wick of sense to me. Also Just a Dream is a great song but I don’t get the enthusiasm of it compared to many other songs on the disk such as I know you won’t and many others on the disk that IMO are much better.

    I’ve seen Carrie a few times live and I could hear the banjo on Last name very good I guess it’s a matter of whether you really like Carrie or not, I think some people just have to find something to complain about when it comes to Carrie, She is awesome in concert and her vocals are better than probably 99% or more of any one out there performing live, this girl is as good live as her voice on the CD. No Pro Tools needed here.

  13. Lynn–
    Interesting connection between Keith and the Chicks with Keith Urban and the Ranch. Though I have that CD, it slipped my mind that he did that song before the Chicks had done it. I didn’t even realize he had played guitar on their cut of the song!

    Thanks for those links. I’m excited to check it out. I love the link that Kevin posted of “Sin Wagon.” She definitely seemed to have personality there!

  14. Sugarlips,

    If someone can’t hear the banjo when she’s performing live, that means that they just don’t like Carrie? What the heck kind of logic is that?

  15. Lynn–
    Keith has a lot of that Banjo rock stuff on his album cuts as well, not just his radio singles. Yes, one of the things I love about Dierks is that he uses the banjo.

    I feel I need to mention Carrie’s name here though, since this post is about her after all.:)

  16. Sugarlips,

    Before this review was posted, there was a post about how this song was the female version of Alan Jackson’s “I Don’t Even Know Her Name.” The same thing happens–person gets drunk, ends up married, doesn’t even know the name of the other person.

    And when it comes to “complaing about Carrie,” I’m not in that group. I love Carrie Underwood’s music. I have both of her albums, I watched her and rooted for her on American Idol, and I think she’s the best country act out there right now. I voiced my concern because I didn’t think that this was the best choice for a single off the album. She’s had 5 Billboard #1’s out of 6 official Country singles (the other went to #2) and I’m really rooting for her to keep putting out great music. After all of her previous singles, this is actually a let down for me only because of the fact it is too similar to another song. This is my opinion, not a professional critique.

  17. Last night I went to see her concert at the Ft.Wayne, IN Memorial Colusem and let me tell you! It ROCKED! The best part was we were in the 5th row right where the stage comes out!

  18. First of all, very nice choice of picture. That look for Carrie very much reflects the nature of the song.

    Sure, she is a lovely girl who you could take home to meet your mum. But she can do sassy very well too.

  19. “Last Name” will be a hit, but there are a couple of potential classics on CR that should be released next. “I Know You Won’t” and “Just a Dream” would both fit the bill. Videos are not as important as the music, but does anyone care to speculate on the possible look and approach of the “Last Name” video, if they do one? Can’t imagine Carrie playing the girl in the song, but….

  20. Yes, there are at least three great songs to be released on CR, Just a Dream, The more boys I meet, and I know you Won’t. You can throw in Get out of this Town and Crazy Dreams while we’re at it. Man, the cd has alot of great single potentials.

  21. I thought Last Name was just AWFUL. It sounds like a cross between yelling and whining. My whole family just loves every other song Carrie has out. We have followed her career beginning with watching her winning American Idol, so I am not bashing here. We were driving day before yesterday, my three teenage girls and me, when we heard this song on the radio the first time. It was so bad that we stopped our conversation and just cringed. It is terrible. We found it so unpleasant that we turned to a different station until the song was over. When it was finally over, we could hardly believe that is was even Carrie Underwood singing it. Not only was it obviously similar to Jackson’s “I don’t even know your name”, it just sounded bad. I have a hard time imagining why the ‘people who look out for her best interest’ let this song get this far…

  22. Crystal,

    I don’t think “Last Name” is awful. Think “Before He Cheats” on steroids. The thing about Carrie is she is getting harder and harder to pigeonhole. She can sing almost any style, and that can be a plus and a minus with fans. Remember, it was a rock song, “Alone,” that propelled her on AI. I think she will go through a few more “interesting choices” before she settles in on her “thing.” Country is natural for her, but it has its artistic limitations. She will probably do some more songs like LN down the road. She seems to me to be someone who likes to experiment with lots of genres. Her concert encores are 80s rock songs. Who knows what her library will contain ten years from now? She’s in the early stages of her career’s “carnival ride.” Just my thoughts because I sense “Last Name” is going to be her most controversial choice yet.

  23. Actually, this song is music to my ears after All-American Girl. Not to say that there was anything wrong with All-American Girl, I just didn’t like it. This song is catchy, and it brings back the edge that I loved from Before He Cheats. That said, I don’t think it is as good as Before He Cheats, and there is definitely an obvious similarity between this and Alan’s Jackson’s hit, but I still enjoy this.The vocals are certainly different, but they’re not bad.

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