Single Review: Carrie Underwood, “Church Bells”

“Church Bells”
Carrie Underwood

Written by Zach Crowell, Brett James, and Hillary Lindsey

Miranda Lambert may have the reputation as the genre’s rebel girl, but I’d be a lot more nervous about crossing Carrie Underwood.

Sure, she’s America’s Sweetheart, thanks in large part to her legacy as the most successful American Idol of all-time. But America’s Sweetheart is building up quite a large body count.

Yes, another man who crossed her will pay for his sins with his life. Those sins are usually one of two things: cheating or abusing. The former is more staunchly in the country music tradition, but the latter seems a bit more justified, don’t you think?

This one’s the latter, with an abusive husband being prepared a spiked drink after forcing his wife into dark sunglasses at Sunday service. The church bells framework hasn’t been used so well since The Browns sang of “The Three Bells” back in the fifties, though I’m assuming that Jimmy Brown died of natural causes.

Honestly, nobody does this kind of thing better than her. “Church Bells” is a classic Underwood murder song: a dramatic production, a flawless vocal performance, and just enough of that girl next door sincerity to keep you from asking yourself, “Wait…Did she just kill somebody again?”

Grade: A


  1. Awesome review! Nice to see Carrie get some love after the ridiculous award show snubs the past 7 years. Love Church Bells!

  2. I agree, bad of award shows, how can they get away with that??? Politics control them. They block vote as they can’t make a choice in their little minds. Carrie has the best vocals in any genre. JMO.

  3. the murder verse is well written. the story could be on Dateline.
    “Jenny slipped something in his Tennessee whiskey
    No law man was ever gonna find
    And how he died is still a mystery
    But he hit a woman for the very last time”

    best murder song? Danny O’Keefe’s “She Said,’Drive On, Driver'” from his 1972 Breezy Stories album which featured “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues”

    “In his pants he had a deadly weapon
    But his silver bullet would not shoot
    He slugged me till he’d gotten what he wanted
    Ain’t it strange the way you find a substitute

    He said, That’s all there is, it’s over
    I said, You’re wrong, Man, it’s just about to start
    I keep a blade for sentimental reasons
    And in a rage I drove it through his heart.”

    • I really should write a review of Storyteller. It was on my year end list but didn’t make the overall one for the site, so I don’t think we’ve written about it all. A review I’d write today would be quite different from what I would’ve written after its release. I’ll put it back on my to do list.

  4. I’ll still been watching for the Storyteller review. If you get to it. I really love this song, but I’m guessing with its release we won’t get Choctaw County Affair as a single. I was really hoping for that one as its my favorite on the album and maybe favorite Carrie song of all. I don’t know enough about the industry but I can’t see the reasons for not choosing it.

  5. Its a decent song but it sounds like it should’ve been featured in her Blown Away album. I was hoping for Choctaw County Affair to be her next single

  6. I love this song, now if only we could get Dirty laundry, Chocataw Country Affair, Renegade Runaway and Mexico in that order I would be a happy camper.

  7. I honestly think this is a Blown Away castaway thrown in Storyteller. Nonetheless, it is solidly written yet devoid of emotional delivery (not that I am complaining because that added morbidity to the song) and for once, Carrie is singing and not shouting the lyrics. Great.

  8. The live performances of this song have made me like it more. Every one has been epic, but also different from one another. The CMT Awards one might be the best one yet. I prefer the live versions to the record version.

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