Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Heartbeat”

Carrie Underwood

Written by Zach Crowell, Ashley Gorley, and Carrie Underwood

“Heartbeat” has been stuck in my head for days, which isn’t surprising, really. It has a solid hook that Underwood delivers with charm and sincerity, two qualities that I always find abundant in her work.

It’s a beautiful song, too. Romantic, heartfelt, and chock full of the specific details that make a song with a well-tread theme sound fresh and interesting.

Unfortunately, the song and Underwood’s performance of it are let down by contradictory production choices. I don’t mind a pop production, and Underwood has the vocal chops to still sound clear and in control, even with a busy backdrop.

But the drum machine and processed instrumentation go directly against the message of the lyric, which is about leaving the noise and technology of modern city life behind. “Heartbeat’ is about journeying so deep into nature that you can’t even pick up a radio signal, with lighting courtesy of the firefly glow and choirs of crickets providing the only instrumentation.

There’s an acoustic version on the deluxe edition of Storyteller that puts the song in the appropriate musical setting and it’s gorgeous. Seek it out.

Grade: B



  1. Yeah. I am about to give this song a B- or a C+. I like its melody but I think it’s the first time I can pinpoint her singing as a reason why this song failed to make a good impression.

  2. In regards to “Heartbeat,” though, I actually really like it and am not bothered by the production. I think that it’ll be a nice addition at radio and fits in well with current trends, so it has the potential to be a great song for her commercially. The cliched imagery is a tad bothersome, but I think that the conviction with which she sings, the sincerity her vocals convey, and the overall performance really take an average song and place it over the top.

  3. Following “Smoke Break”, which is by far my favorite Carrie radio single ever, this song feels like a major step in the wrong direction. To me, for reasons i can’t quite put my finger on,this song has a very immature feel to it that i personally don’t care for. In fact I would say this song sounds more like something that Taylor Swift would release in 2010 than something that Carrie Underwood is releasing in 2015. I must say however i do think that this is one of Carrie’s better vocal performances. Here she’s able to sing with a ton of feeling without solely relying on her ability to hit power notes as her only means of conveying emotion, a habit that i found off-putting in much of her early work.

  4. When it was released as a promotional song I liked it just fine, but after listening to the entire album it paled in comparison to the other songs. To me, “Like I’ll Never Love You Again” is the better love song of the album. Carrie’s vocal on that song is superb. Shame that it probably won’t get released as a single.

  5. Can this week be like Albums we meant to review but so far we haven’t week? I’m still waiting for the Traveller and Maddie and Tae (Which Leann said she wrote) reviews.

    As for this song, it kind of echos my feelings on the actual album. Why did Carrie go the route of all the other “Country” artists and make a pop album? I like Carrie because she’s a great singer, but this album is way way too loud.

  6. Sorry, Greg, I didn’t say I wrote it, I said that I planned to write it. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. Honestly, my day job is so hectic this semester that writing hasn’t been able to be a priority.

  7. It’s not that this song is bad or anything, I just feel like there are far more interesting songs on that album that could have been chosen as a single instead. It’s just meh for me.

  8. Leeann,

    I’m sorry I misunderstood. (Another album (Eric Church) that could be reviewed, maybe). I had assumed when we chatted that week on Facebook and you said you were writing the review that it was close to being done. No Worries.

  9. Sorry, folks. I have to disagree with the majority opinion that I see forming on the comments to this Hearbeat review. Yes, this song really is not fully country and, yes, the acoustic version I think is better. Yet, Carrie Underwood’s vocal power and sheer emotional commitment to this song make it rock as a single. She renders a beautiful ballad that perhaps with another artist would have been subpar, but here an extraordinary singer makes this a heart-melting song. If it does the latter – as it does with me – then the genre title and the production choice – album versus acoustic – does not really matter to me, as interesting as such differences are. I give Hearbeat an A. Honestly, it left me stunned, sitting in my car waiting for my daughter, the first time I heard it on the evening when the album came out.

  10. An okay song. A breath of fresh air on the radio though. I agree with the B grade. Carrie’s voice elevates the song a little. but if it was some other singer .. this song would be a D.

    I have never seen Carrie look more gorgeous and sexy …than on this video! She looks other-worldly. Like a sexy nymph. still classy though.

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