“Something In The Water” Becomes Bro-Country’s Coffin Nail
It was May of 2014, and Bro-Country was at the apex of its hold on mainstream country music. Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan constituted a monopoly at the top of the country charts, and the women of mainstream country were virtually nowhere to be found. The only three female artists who’d been able to mount any sort of charge against the mainstream country patriarchy over the last few years had been Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert. But Taylor Swift was nearly two years into her album release cycle with no new singles to speak of, and behind the scenes was readying her shift to pop. Carrie Underwood was in a similar boat, with her last album released in 2012, and the final single released in April of 2013. So it was up to Miranda Lambert to see if she could disrupt the sausage fest at the top of the country charts, and she had a plan.
With Carrie Underwood not promoting any current singles that could be seen as competition, Miranda reached out to Carrie to see if she would be interested in a collaboration. The idea was to put these two female country music superstars on the same song and combine fan bases to create a super song to puncture the Bro-Country blockade. I’m a big fan of hers, and asking her to do this was nerve-racking,” Miranda said to Associated Press at the time. “I sent her an email, this long, blobbing email about if she wanted to sing on the record, it could be cool, but maybe she didn’t want to, if she liked the song, but she didn’t have to like the song. When I sent it I thought, ‘This sounds ridiculous.’”
But Carrie Underwood accepted, and the collaborative single “Somethin’ Bad” came into being. Think of it: The two biggest female names in country joining forces. It was a powerful idea. As Saving Country Music said at the time, “Despite what the duo may or may not say or allude to publicly, ‘Somethin Bad’ has one primary purpose: to break through Bro-Country’s stranglehold on country music. The Bro-Country phenomenon has lasted for too long, and the pairing of country music’s two top females may be the only way to break the Bro-Country monopoly. ‘Something Bad’ is the symbolic, ‘We are the women of country, hear us roar!’ statement.”
Miranda said about the song before anyone had even heard it, “We’re coming together as a force ”¦ If you’re sitting on the front row, you might want to scoot back. It’s a force, you know what I mean? It just feels exciting to me ”¦ It’s been too long since two girls in our genre have come together like that.”
The setting was the Billboard Music Awards where the song and collaboration would debut on May 18th in a live performance. Earlier in the day at rehearsals, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert were photographed wearing matching Thelma & Louise T-shirts. Country music was frothing with anticipation at what the collaboration might entail, and the rhetoric preceding its unveiling was all about how how “ass kicking” the collaboration would be.
Then when it was time for Miranda and Carrie to take the Billboard Music Awards stage and share “Somethin’ Bad” with the world, some were bobbing their heads along, but some were shocked at the smeared mascara shout fest unfolding before them. “Somethin’ Bad” wasn’t Carrie and Miranda battling Bro-Country by offering something better, it was attempting to battle it by stooping down to Bro-Country’s level. The usually congenial fan bases of both Carrie and Miranda supporters were curiously unfavorable of the song, but it showed itself to be fairly commercially formidable in the end, knocking off Luke Bryan’s “Play It Again” at the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart on July 12th, 2014.
But it’s reign at #1 was fairly short lived, and the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude of “Somethin’ Bad” meant the success of the song was a shallow victory. As Saving Country Music said in its review of the song, “In lieu of the duo battling bro-country with the brawn of their sheer star talent and doing what they do best, which is wowing audiences with singing prowess and powerful lyricism, Carrie and Miranda stole plays straight out of the Bro-Country coloring book and descended into vapid and story-less rhythmic superfluousness complete with unnecessary gesticulations and other showy nonsense that illustrated how amateurish and under-practiced they are at being really bad.”
“Somethin’ Bad” had been made under the false pretense that to defeat Bro-Country, you had to beat the bros at their own game, when in truth the better solution would have been to offer something completely different—something with substance, that showcased female country talent, and that carried some ties to country music’s past. And it still had to be something from one of country music’s leading females since they had already established that the country radio oligarchy would play them. Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song” was a step better in the right direction, but still was saddled by relying too much on Bro-Country’s own modes to separate itself from the trend and become a song for the ages.
And then Carrie Underwood released “Something In The Water.”
This song was unexpected in so many ways. First, Carrie Underwood, who’d revealed a month before that she was pregnant, was getting ready to release a new album, but it was a Greatest Hits compilation. That didn’t necessarily guarantee there would be a brand new, high caliber single that her label could get behind and make a serious contender for the top of the charts. It’s rare the new songs on a Greatest Hits release become the biggest singles of a singer’s career, or even one of their signature songs. Then there was the heavily religious quotient to the song that could turn some listeners and radio programmers off. How would such a non-secular song fare in this type of Bro-Country environment? Oh, and lets not forget Carrie Underwood is female, which holds its own disadvantages these days, top tier talent or not.
But what “Something In The Water” had that no other song that could offer battle to Bro-Country had previously was substance, and one of the most powerful performances we’ve heard from a country artist in the last few years. This is what was needed to defeat Bro-Country. It wasn’t going to take pandering. Leadership is what was needed, and an exhibition of raw talent that could not be denied. This was the alternative that would erode the appeal to Bro-Country, would make people realize just how shallow this trend had become, and just how appealing a powerful voice and message can be compared to catchy rhythms and lazy lyrics.
As Saving Country Music said in the review of “Something In The Water” when it was released in late September of 2014, “…it will be jeered as pure pop by many, but even with this assessment it still puts it in front of the garbled, directionless multi-genre hodgepodge presented by many of the genre’s top male stars. This is the true ‘anti Bro-Country’ salvo country music has been lacking one that doesn’t write its plan as the exact opposite of the scribblings in Bro-Country’s playbook, but one that blows the entire argument out of the water. Call it pop if you want, but the delineation the song truly strives for is ‘timeless.’
And what has happened subsequently? Four months later, and “Something In The Water” is not only still going strong, it has become the biggest charting single on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart of Carrie Underwood’s entire career, and counting. “Something In The Water” has now been atop the Billboard chart for seven straight weeks—a feat for a woman that has only been bested in the history of the chart by Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” which sat at #1 for ten weeks in 2012/2013, and Hall of Famer Connie Smith’s “Once a Day” which was a #1 for eight weeks spanning 1964-1965. “Something In The Water” is on its way to becoming ‘timeless’ indeed, and in doing so, it is driving a nail in the coffin of Bro-Country, which was already in the process of faltering.
READ: R.I.P. “Bro-Country” (2011-2014)
Is “Something In The Water” ideal for traditionally-oriented country fans looking for a return to genre’s glory days? No, no it’s not. But it is a step in the right direction for instilling both women and substance back atop the country music genre once again. It’s also fair to point out that just like the pop songs of Taylor Swift, which benefited under Billboard’s new chart rules, the reign of “Something In The Water” has benefited from heavy play and appeal to the Christian music market. But one of the great things about “Something In The Water” is the power of the performance and song transcends traditional religious biases, just like “Amazing Grace” does, which contributes its legacy to the song, and also gives it a traditional country element.
Let’s not start hanging “Mission Accomplished” banners just yet though. “Something In The Water” has still been fighting an uphill battle on country radio, and is still not receiving the type of airplay of similar blockbuster singles. As Windmills Country adeptly points out in a data-driven piece, women are still receiving disproportionate support on country radio. When regarding the recent chart successes of Carrie Underwood and Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song,” it does appear that we are witnessing a change of the tide. But Bro-Country assuredly has some last whimpers to sound, and invariably something else, potentially more sinister may crop up in its place, just like how Bro-Country in some ways replaced the mainstream presence of country rap. Jason Aldean’s wildly-successful single “Burnin’ It Down,” and the uncanny rise of Sam Hunt signal this burgeoning trend of R&B and EDM-infused songs that really have no measure of country in them becoming the next big offense by country music’s male performers.
But as long as we learn the lessons from the success of “Something In The Water” to not chase trends, but to fend them off with substance and leadership, then at least a semblance of balance in the genre could prevail and propel the genre forward with music that is sustainable, unsusceptible to the volatility of trends, and at least tries to offer some variety and balance when it comes to gender and quality.
Bro-country may be dead or on its last legs, but unless country music learns its lessons and makes wise assessments in the aftermath of a hyper-trend that sullied the reputation of country music across American culture, it is destined to happen again.
January 26, 2015 @ 11:01 am
I love that Carrie was able to be the death nail, even though I think Miranda Lambert and Maddie & Tae had an impact. It is great that this fad is finally dying down.
January 26, 2015 @ 4:05 pm
This is my first time posting, so hi.
Anyways even when bro-country finally dies, and i believe it eventually will, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to respect the genre or fans again. After bro-country dies, it seems that all these city girls that claim to ‘love country’ like Jason Aldean FGL will soon be listening to Carrie Underwood saying how deep it is and how much they love her.
How can I respect the labels or industry that produces such garbage. Call me naive to business, but I don’t know how Borchetta and his types sleep at night.
January 26, 2015 @ 5:40 pm
On piles of money, my friend.
January 26, 2015 @ 11:10 am
More country than anything by a “bro” in the last three years but yeah sounds a little pop-rock but damn it ’bout time a song with some decent lyrics hammered it’s way to the top.
January 26, 2015 @ 11:20 am
“Drivin’ nails in my coffin over you…”
January 26, 2015 @ 11:20 am
The easiest way to end Bro-Country is to:
– Stop clicking “Buy Song” in iTunes
– Turn off your commercial country radio stations.
No listening and no buying = change
The problem is, which has always gone on…not everyone seeks out good music
in the world. They turn the radio on and want it presented to them. Then end up settling and grow to like the mediocrity presented to them. Many don’t know the places to look for alternate options.
January 26, 2015 @ 11:48 am
That is why it is up to artists, labels, and radio to show leadership and responsibility to what they serve the public. I think “Something In The Water” does that.
January 26, 2015 @ 12:21 pm
I think artists on a major label are forced to conform to the trends and what is selling. They can’t really change unless they have a “creative freedom agreement” in their recording contract.
The labels won’t change until Bro-Country stops selling and they need to find the next “thing”.
Commercial Radio can’t change if people are buying the albums and putting them in the top 20. That’s what they have to play.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:09 pm
Brandy Clark SHOULD WIN BEST NEW ARTIST and ALBUM. Period.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:12 pm
I don’t listen to the radio. period. I buy what I want on iTunes. Like Vince, Brandy Clark, etc. Oh, and Carrie – so sorry people don’t like her. SMH
But ya’ll have a great day!
January 26, 2015 @ 1:14 pm
Sorry Trig re the Carrie comment – I am so frustrated that other WOMEN like LeAnn, Brandy, Kellie, etc. DON’T GET PLAYED ON COUNTRY RADIO!
January 26, 2015 @ 11:55 am
‘The problem is, which has always gone on”¦not everyone seeks out good music
in the world. They turn the radio on and want it presented to them. Then end up settling and grow to like the mediocrity presented to them. Many don”™t know the places to look for alternate options.’
Exactly … you can’t totally hang this on listeners if this is ALL they are aware of and aren’t really music lovers . When I’m in a shopping mall , I don’t “hear” the muzac but if it wasn’t there I’d miss the atmosphere. And I’m a writer , for God’s sake . It’s just musical wallpaper to a lot of us a lot of the time . The best way to affect change is to inform and offer accessible music options to those who ARE music lovers and knowledgeable fans.
In any case , Bro -Co has taken so much flack I think we’ll soon see a time when those fans who MAY have been associated with its success will soon want to distance themselves from it like cutting off a bad , embarrassing mullet .
January 26, 2015 @ 5:49 pm
I am the music director at a small market country station. I use that term loosely because I actually have very little to do with programming out music. Our owners pay a “music consultant” to send us our weekly playlists. In my opinion, it’s a huge waste of money because any idiot can look at a chart and program accordingly, but I digress.
Once the consultant adds a song, my hands are tied. I have little to do with the scheduling. More and more stations are using these “consultants” and its one of the reasons stations are losing their individuality. The consultants are essentially kingmakers who get to tell the public what they want to hear. What really needs to happen is stations (including mine) need their ratings to plummet. Once this happens, owners will see what a sham these consultants are and get rid of them. Then and only then will radio return to truly playing what the people want to hear, not what they are told they want to hear.
January 26, 2015 @ 6:33 pm
Very enlightening …thanks Mr Granger . Used to be that a local radio station DID listen to its listeners to gauge interest . Used to be more local acts on these stations too . Acts as individual as their geography .
January 26, 2015 @ 11:36 am
As a fan of most genres, the percentage of ‘country’ in a song doesn’t matter to me. As long as vocal ability, songwriting prowess, and overall effort put in are high, I approve of a song, even if it isn’t my cup of tea.
Carrie, however, is my cup of tea. As a hugely dedicated fan, I’m frustrated that even Something in the Water didn’t make it to the top of radio charts. Sales and streaming are a true indication of actual consumer taste, yet radio programmers are less likely to put a female into high rotation, Carrie Underwood or not.
On the other hand, SEVEN weeks at the top of the multi-metric chart, proving overall popularity (sales, airplay, and streaming) is a huge feat, especially for a female. As much as it’s annoying to justify success ‘for a female’, it’s simply what the landscape of 2015 country music has for us.
A truly dominating song in popularity, Florida Georgia Line’s ‘Curise’ topped Hot Country Songs for nearly two dozen weeks. When Carrie’s ‘Before He Cheats’ was huge in 06-07, she topped Hot Country Songs for 5 weeks (when it was using an Airplay only formula, now called the Country Airplay chart). If the same blended formula were used 8 years ago, she would have a record of 40 weeks at the top of Hot Country Songs with ‘Before He Cheats’ (https://www.savingcountrymusic.com/the-meaningless-billboard-florida-georgia-line-songs-record).
This was WITHOUT a pop remix, unlike other record holders ‘Cruise’, Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’ and anything associated with Taylor Swift.
Carrie is about as close to a purely popular mainstream artist (country and otherwise) that sells, streams and tops charts by her music’s own merit and legacy. Not one remix under her radio belt, yet she tops popularity charts.
However, bro-country is still alive and well. The songs may be a bit different (R&B and EDM influenced vs. 2013 ‘bro’ standards) but the bros still have to work half as hard to get twice as far, often without impressive sales or streams to back it up. I’m looking at you Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and Tim McGraw. (http://www.mjsbigblog.com/country-radios-gender-imbalance-due-sales.htm)
January 26, 2015 @ 11:56 am
Even though songs like Jason Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” or Sam Hunt’s “Leave The Night On” are coming from “bro’s,” I think there is a fundamental difference thematically and stylistically in recent male super hits compared to what is traditionally labeled as “Bro-Country,” taking into consideration the original Jody Rosin definition. I think this is an important distinction to make, because to challenge music, you first have to understand it, and its appeal. “Cruise” and “Burnin’ It Down” have huge differences.
And yes, there are still great challenges to women and radio, but I also think it’s important to celebrate the positives when they present themselves, and this run by Carrie Underwood is one of those instances.
January 26, 2015 @ 12:06 pm
Great point and I totally agree.
My comment was more the point of while content and typical song composition is changing a bit (overall for the better), the gender disparity is as vast as ever, if not at its worst.
SITW success in-spite of being a non-#1 is definitely something to celebrate and a step in the right direction.
January 26, 2015 @ 12:07 pm
Radio #1, I should clarify.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:19 pm
January 26, 2015 @ 11:36 am
Her next single is “Little Toy Guns”. Another song that could fend off the bros. It’s about the cruel words that a child can overhear and what an impression it leaves on them. It is definently more pop in the sense of “Blown Away” but I’ll take it over R&B and hip hop country
January 26, 2015 @ 1:35 pm
Can we agree to disagree? It’s more country/rock, not country/pop! And if people will only listen to the words, Carrie is once again tackling tough issues – parents arguing while their child hears those cruel words and that affects any child, regardless of age.
December 9, 2014 – Album Release Party (just ignore Bobby Bones please)
January 26, 2015 @ 3:55 pm
“just ignore Bobby Bones please”
I find this is a good rule of thumb for life generally.
January 26, 2015 @ 5:25 pm
January 26, 2015 @ 10:56 pm
YES!!! Bobby Bones is dumb! At Carrie’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1 Release Party in NYC, he asked dispicable questions about Carrie’s pregnancy. Carrie became pregnant in early June when her and Mike were in Haiti on a mission helping children with dental care and playing with them and the photos of them with these children were amazing & the kids and Mike & Carrie were so very happy!! This release party was on December 9th. I was apallied at Bobby Bones questions. And he obviously didn’t want to be there – it was VERY apparent. Overton was there and of course photo op. Not surprised! Throughout all, Carrie was her usual pleasant, sweet self and even gave a shot out to Bobby Bones – all of which she didn’t falter or get mad – just the kind, sweet, humble person that she always is.
January 26, 2015 @ 12:02 pm
“Carrie, however, is my cup of tea. As a hugely dedicated fan, I”™m frustrated that even Something in the Water didn”™t make it to the top of radio charts. Sales and streaming are a true indication of actual consumer taste, yet radio programmers are less likely to put a female into high rotation, Carrie Underwood or not.”
I know a lot of music fans who appreciate Carrie Underwood talents but shudder every time she tries to go “over- the- top” with her performances. It seems that far too often she is straining and yes , I’ll say it , screaming at the absolute top of her rock and roll register. It can be a turn-off ( think Celine Dion ) and I believe THIS may be a part of the issue with SOMETHING IN THE WATER not getting as much airplay as other songs. Aside from Trigger’s mention of the religious connotations , of course , listeners almost need to brace themselves for a Carrie song on the radio when she starts to sing up in the Dog-asphere.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:34 pm
As I said in the review for the song, her strong voice leads to some polarization from people, and that’s understandable. You really rear back and start singing these days, and some folks just don’t find it appealing. I think if music was populated with singers instead of just simply entertainers and pretty faces, we’d be more accustomed to big voices like this. But today it’s so strange I’m not sure some know how to take it.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:39 pm
Yes, Sir! Totally agree! Obviously, many haven’t heard non-radio-tracks from her albums. That’s ok – above Trig post is certainly entitled to their opinion. 🙂
January 26, 2015 @ 5:14 pm
There are only 2 ladies in country music, that I know of, that have the power in their voice that Carrie has. Martina and Reba. Coming from a background of Southern Gospel Quartet singers I am used to hearing someone just rear back and let it fly with all the power they have. Carrie isn’t screaming, she just has a strong voice and it comes thru on songs like Something in the Water.
January 27, 2015 @ 7:59 am
I tend not to listen to Carrie or Martina because it sounds like screaming to me. Something in the Water is a beautiful song. I didn’t know what Little Toy Guns was about, though, until I read it here. I didn’t get that far into the song before I turned it off. Stress-inducing sounds isn’t music to me.
January 26, 2015 @ 12:05 pm
Thanks for the shoutout, Trigger.
“Something In The Water” really moved me even if I couldn’t disagree with those who found Carrie Underwood’s vocals overpowering at moments of the song, those who wished it sounded rootsier (I really like the acoustic version Carrie did here for that reason), and those who wish the lyrics were less generic. But musically, there is something really effective about the song (the unusual structure helps), I like the repurposing of the phrase “something in the water,” and I also appreciate that the song acknowledges that being preached at about God isn’t necessarily what leads to embracing God – the song is about accepting God on one’s own. The interpolation of “Amazing Grace” fits so beautifully, and I’m also grateful for that raw vocal on the studio version when practically everybody else in mainstream country is tuning and varnishing their studio vocals to the 11th degree.
Anyway, you recognized the potential importance of “Something In The Water” early, Trigger, and you nailed it here:
It’s noteworthy that Carrie Underwood has seen such success commercially and critically with an overtly Christian song after bro country had chased God off country radio. But the real lesson, as you say, is not to make music that consciously counterprograms against or chases trends, but to make music that makes a strong individual statement of identity and purpose. And if that music is going to be sold as modern country, then it should build honestly from country’s roots even as it seeks to expand country music’s footprint.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:43 pm
Thank you Windmills! Amazing post! And thank you too, Trig, you understand it! 🙂
January 26, 2015 @ 12:30 pm
I just wish Carrie would learn the difference between emotion and volume. I can’t stand the way she screams most of the song.
January 26, 2015 @ 11:26 pm
There’s a difference between “screaming” and “belting.” Carrie does the latter, more than I would like her to, especially when she’s demonstrated such a lovely head voice. At least on SITW, she does both, so I can’t fault her for that.
January 26, 2015 @ 1:06 pm
BRAVO TRIG!!!!!! BRAVO TRIG!!!! Whether you like Carrie Underwood or not, the last time a FEMALE COUNTRY SOLO ARTIST hit the BB PENTOUSE was in May of 2012 – Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away”. You may not like the production on the album, but have any of you heard her LIVE in concert? Totally different from the album and BETTER, although she never misses a note, is not pitchy – just astounding and by the way in concert she doesn’t just sing what’s on the radio. And, story songs – well, Blown Away deals with abuse and alcoholism – very rare these days. Two Black Cadillacs deals with a wife whose husband was cheating on her with his mistress. The two got together and took that cheater down. The video is AMAZING! I could go on and on…
Do any of you know that she wrote with an elder statesman of the Opry but the demo was LEAKED and she will never release it. She’s said that over and over. To the few who have heard it, it is brilliant. Her circle is tight and whomever leaked that demo – I have no words. And do any of you know that Carrie co-writes strongly. She has the ideas and the words just spill out. Brett James and Chris DeStefano and Carrie wrote Something In The Water at Carrie’s cabin out in the woods and they were jumping around and jumping around (and that’s before they put in the Amazing Grace part). Have any of you bothered to listen to the co-writers of her songs? They are speaking out and they say what a STRONG songwriter she is. Josh Kear & Chris Thompkins talk strongly about Carrie as a songwriter. Regarding Blown Away (and Josh & Chris Thompkins wrote it & as soon as the lyrics were “…There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma…”, they knew it was for Carrie & hoped she would record it – which she did). These two boys also wrote Before He Cheats and were ridiculously excited when Carrie cut it. For both of these songs, Josh & Chris won Grammy’s for Best Country Song. Carrie won Grammy’s for Best Country Solo Performance for both Before He Cheats and Blown Away.
Multiple songwriting awards, 6 Grammy’s and on and on.. I think maybe some of you who can’t stand Carrie should do some research from non-radio songs and her songwriting. Ever listened to Forever Changed which goes through a young woman to an elderly woman who sadly has Alzhimers. Or Wine After Whiskey which is brilliant as well. Ever listened to the co-writers (of which she wrote many) about their take on Carrie’s songwriting?
Before you write her off, do your research. And, she has spoken out multiple times regarding the lack of WOMEN in country radio and not just those who are on the charts. I DJ tweeted in response to a fan asking to get SITW to #1 – paraphrasing…it’s Carrie Underwood, no problem, she’s a shoe in…” Oh, how wrong he was because multiple times she has to wait in line before her lablemates are pushed to both MB & BB on Something In The Water. This is the second time it has bit her in the butt. And, oh MB, not BB where she didn’t get #2 (not even close).
And, did you know that Carrie is solely responsible for the treatments of multiple videos. Check out the producer of Something Bad and see what she says.
Many of you can say she’s “a made package from American Idol”. So far from the truth…again, do your research on how hard this woman has worked and she FOUGHT for her First Album because she’s wanted country genre – that’s her HEART. Clive pushed so hard for pop – well, he only got half, so they had 2 producers, 1 pop and 1 country. And low and behold, Jesus Take The Wheel went No. 1 almost a year on the Country Airplay Charts & oh, by the way, went 7xPlatinum. And she didn’t stop from there, 3xPlatinum, 2xPlatinum, 1+Platinum & her Greatest Hits: Decade #1 has already been certified Gold.
Carrie does SO MUCH CHARITY WORK and for the most part is kept anonymous. I have met her and she is the kindest, sweetest, patient, humble, awkward (by her own admission), shy (until she hits the stage) person you will ever meet. She’s Dolly in the making. She’s sang with Dolly once and sang by herself at All For The Hall in Nashville (both times I Will Always Love You) & she sang a surprise duet w/Jennifer Nettles of Nine to Five at the Opry. Dolly is her IDOL and she’s said it many times. Check out what Michael W. Smith said about Carrie for their “All Is Well” in December and very pregnant Carrie at the CMA Country Christmas (by the way, first time Carrie has appeared because she didn’t have a Christmas album out and didn’t feel it was right, however Michael W. Smith did when they sang at that event)..
I’m not going to apologize for this extremely long post because some of you, in my humble opinion, need to research this AMAZING WOMAN and her husband, MIKE FISHER, as well.
I hope some of you will do some research – she’s done tributes – Loretta, Little Jimmy (with Vince) at his funeral, Tribute to Linda Ronstadt along with Emmylou, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks for Linda’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Carrie started it off with Different Drum and was in ALL songs. Bono asked her personally to be a part of his Global Citizen Festival in a continuing effort to eridacate AIDS – and she played with The Edge since Bono was injured but was emailing and calling constantly. And she is a wonderful supporter of our US Military (tours, bases, Salute to the Military on The Mall in Washington, D.C.) I could go on and on, but I’ll stop.
I hope everyone here and Trig have a wonderful day and we are all blessed.
January 26, 2015 @ 4:01 pm
Amen!! Absolutely a wonderful summary about Carrie.
January 26, 2015 @ 6:28 pm
Come back when she records something at least in the same zip code as Lee Ann Womack”™s There”™s More Where That Came From.
January 27, 2015 @ 6:42 am
Had to google that. Then, I LOL’ed. Bingo.
January 27, 2015 @ 6:56 am
I get it…your favorite is Lee Ann Womack. I adore Lee Ann and I love her music. Just so you know (but probably don’t care) I am not a kid. I grew up on country music way before Lee Ann, the elders of country music. Country music has changed since before my Dad was born in 1936, however my Dad (who passed 1 year and 2 1/2 months ago) and I listened and watched many of those artists who have long been gone. We sang together to all of those songs, men and women alike. Country music has evolved and changed since the beginning – traditional, R&B, rock, pop, etc. The ONE thing that IS country music is the STORY. Go way back and what is now called traditional, R&B, pop, red dirt, western swing, etc. is not “traditional country music” now. Those artists who have passed were treated poorly because it wasn’t “traditional country music” and they are now LEGENDS of country music. Country music evolves – always has and always will.
Bro-country is horrible and I can’t stand any of it. But it is what is happening at the moment and hopefully, will go away. However, it won’t be overnight. Bro-country doesn’t tell a story unless you call a story demeaning women.
If Carrie Underwood went out on a tour with Nelly, Katy Perry, etc. the “traditionalists” would go crazy. Kacey was praised for touring with Katy Perry. I absolutely LOVE Kacey and do not like Katy Perry’s music. But there you go – it happens in the evolution of country music.
LOVE LEE ANN but don’t hate CARRIE UNDERWOOD. (If you want to strongly dislike bro-country, go ahead and do so, but NEVER hate on any country music artist and I strongly dislike bro-country).
Have a wonderful day! 🙂
January 27, 2015 @ 8:01 am
January 27, 2015 @ 8:32 am
TLDR!! Brilliant! Give me Amber Digby over Ms Underwood’s overblown pop any day!
January 27, 2015 @ 9:34 am
“Give me Amber Digby over Ms Underwood”™s overblown pop any day!”
Missing the point.
Six String Richie
January 26, 2015 @ 2:53 pm
I hate to nit pick but I feel like a few of the points made about this song are being skewed to make it seem bigger than it is.
First, the only reason SITW is her longest stay at #1 is because the chart now includes sales and streaming. Had the chart included these factors when Jesus, Take The Wheel came out, that song would have been #1 for at least 15 weeks. Before He Cheats could have spent 25 or more weeks at #1.
Part of the reason the song has been #1 for so long is because there aren’t any other big singles out right now. Luke, Blake, Aldean and FGL all have non-leadoff singles that aren’t generating huge sales so she really doesn’t have much competition at the moment.
The sales of SITW aren’t that good. It has sold 776,000 copies thus far and is now seeing its weekly sales decline. It’s only at #4 in the most recent country digital chart. Burnin’ It Down has sold about double what SITW has sold.
Finally, this song hasn’t even topped the radio chart yet.
Overall, I feel like Underwood is an artist who always has been allowed to be an outlier. She was allowed to still be a mega star even during the bro reign when no other females could get played on radio. She was allowed to cover Randy Travis when country was going in an even more pop/rock direction. She was allowed to make a hit out of See You Again even though that type of song went out of style on country radio 7 years prior.
This is just another case where she gets to be an outlier, not a trendsetter. Radio will play her but they won’t play other artists that follow her lead. So, in my prediction, not much will change because of this single.
January 26, 2015 @ 3:33 pm
Those are all valid points and I mentioned the chart change rule dynamic in the article, and linked to Windmills Country’s lengthy explanation of why the song has probably not topped the radio charts. Nonetheless, “Something In The Water” is on a equal playing field with its peers and is performing quite well. One could argue if it was receiving better radio play it would be selling better. I do think the song’s impact has been significant.
January 26, 2015 @ 3:11 pm
I agree with the core of your original review of “Something in the Water”. It’s still too overproduced for my tastes and Underwood still relies on the hot-cold faucet dynamic with her vocal pitch. But thematically and lyrically, it’s quite a poignant and affecting song that clicked with me in ways that most Underwood singles have failed to do to date.
It’s a shame, then, that this failed to top either the Mediabase or Billboard airplay charts for this coming week. Arista Nashville made the quixotic mistake of allowing Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney’s singles to move ahead of her around Thanksgiving, and essentially mismanaged its run for a #1 berth from there on out.
It was quite clear from the beginning of the week that “Something in the Water” had a bare minimal chance of eclipsing “Talladega” for the Billboard #1; because, unlike the Mediabase chart, the Billboard Hot Country Airplay chart bases its methodology on total detected audience while the Mediabase chart focuses on spins primarily…………….and “Talladega” was leading the former by over two million in audience entering the week. Yet, “Something in the Water” was within striking range on Mediabase from the very start of the week and could easily have vaulted above “Talladega” for the Mediabase #1 with a concerted final push.
Instead, Arista Nashville made a lukewarm push early in the week, followed by two days of heavy gains and, finally, mediocre gains that were eclipsed by stronger gains for “Talladega”………………thereby locking Underwood to a #2 Mediabase peak and a #3 Billboard peak.
One may make the case that the failure of “Something in the Water” to go #1 on either airplay chart is clear-cut evidence of sexist favoritism in the Nashville music industry. But, honestly, I have to say the buck stops with Arista Nashville on this one. They got too overconfident and, in turn, botched the final push.
Tellingly, the next two singles in line to top the airplay charts are, surprise surprise: Luke Bryan’s “I See You” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze” (the latter will all but certainly be a mongrel chart #1 over the next two weeks as well as it is currently ranked #2 on the iTunes Country chart and the current #1, Sam Huns “Take Your Time”, is well below them on the current airplay chart.) =P
January 27, 2015 @ 8:06 am
I respectfully disagree with that Sun Daze is starting to fall off the charts I think Something in the Water Might just might get a 1 week number one I check mediabase daily and sun daze is starting too fall if anything next week looks posed for Talladega Something In The Water and I See You fighting for the top spot with Thomas Rhett’s atrocious Make Me Wanna rounding out the top 4 I’m not complaint with Talladega getting number 1 though by the way it doesn’t look good this week for this weeks country top 30 with Raelynn re entering and Little Red Wagon entering along with Kelsea Ballerini entering with the breezy Love Me Like You Mean It a guilty pleasure of mine
Something In The Water still seems poised to get Number 1 if not a limited 2015 in country music is shaping up to be real interesting
P.s Love a lot of what you say you come off as very knowledgeable
January 27, 2015 @ 9:21 am
I like “Talladega” a lot better than “Something in the Water,” personally.
I’ve never paid much attention to Eric Church, but to me that song is what mainstream top 40 country could and should sound like in 2015.
January 26, 2015 @ 3:18 pm
Just so long as it doesn’t start a new trend of cash-in Christian songs. I’m not saying that “Something in the Water” is that kind of song, but what could follow is fucking scary. There’s a definite chance that people will take advantage of this. It’d be offensive.
January 26, 2015 @ 3:52 pm
I don’t think it will, and here’s why in three words:
“God Made Girls”
It’s absolutely and utterly ridiculous how much has been thrown behind this single in the attempt to shove this down all our throats: 1) Blake Shelton obsessively trying to promote her as the next big thing, 2) being a beneficiary of Clear Channel’s “On The Verge” deal, 3) a live performance on “The Voice” and 4) a digital sale discount at one point.
Yet, in spite of all that heavy artillery, “God Made Girls” is peetering out right toward the bottom of the Top Twenty on the airplay charts.
I’m not even sure what the callout listener surveys are reporting, but I can’t imagine they’re anything to boast about, to say the least. I can’t see males of any demographic flocking to this, while younger females would be indifferent. At any rate, the needle’s not budging, and lack of promotion is no excuse in this instance.
January 26, 2015 @ 4:13 pm
I love this song. But I think it’s a little harder to find an audience as long as bro-country keeps finding fans. I accidentally introduced my brother to Eric Church and thus Florida Georgia Line and the rest of bro-country, but trying to get him to listen to Something in the Water is a little harder.
January 26, 2015 @ 6:26 pm
Come back when she records something at least in the same zip code as Lee Ann Womack’s There’s More Where That Came From.
January 26, 2015 @ 6:29 pm
Carrie Underwood is more of a guilty pleasure. I certainly listen to Lee Ann Womack’s latest record more than anything Carrie Underwood has done.
January 27, 2015 @ 7:44 am
Guilty pleasure – because she’s beautiful, is extremely fit, vegan (oh wait, vegetarian until after she delivers her son & when her doctor gives the ok to go back to vegan); OH doesn’t eat MEAT, and that’s a crime in country music, has legs that the guilty pleasure people can’t stand because she works hard for them & the rest of her body. Maybe you should talk to her trainer (and by the way on tour and at home she does her own hair and makeup so she can bring a trainer with her) and she has EARNED her money, but is frugal with it. YES, she has earned her pay. Oh, and guilty pleasure, she does her own laundry, both at home and on tour and shops at grocery stores both at home and on tour. She cleans and mops her floors both at home and on her bus on tour.
Yes, of course, guilty pleasure. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion and that’s wonderful, however once again, maybe you & others should do some research.
Have a wonderful day! 🙂
January 27, 2015 @ 7:48 am
P.S. I also listen to Lee Ann all the time!
January 27, 2015 @ 8:37 am
Research? Sounds more like you’ve been stalking the poor woman!
January 26, 2015 @ 5:04 pm
Not sure where else to post this but has anyone else noticed that Tyler Farr’s -“A Guy Walks Into A Bar” especially the beginning sounds a lot like “Teenage Wasteland” by the Who?? Just slowed down a few BPMs.
January 26, 2015 @ 5:30 pm
Actually the first song by Tyler that I’ve enjoyed. Decent narrative, good pacing, good rhythm… I dig it.
Not familiar enough with Teenage Wasteland (though I do know the song) to make that connection.
January 30, 2015 @ 6:50 pm
Not to nitpick you two, but *Baba O’Reilly, not Teenage Wasteland. That mistake always irks me.
January 26, 2015 @ 5:49 pm
Eh, I find it going off on a limb to mildly hint at plagiarism between the two songs.
Heck, I was surprised Tom Petty and his fellow co-writer of “I Won’t Back Down” demanded 20% of royalties for three notes in Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” sounding reminiscent of their hit…………..yet Tom Petty never took legal action against the Red Hot Chili Peppers for their single “Dani California” obviously bearing more similarities to “Mary Jane’s Last Dnce”. Or the fact that so much modern corporate country music regurgitates the melodies and chord progressions of “Learning to Fly”.
For the record, “A Guy Walks Into A Bar” is the first Tyler Farr release I’ve liked to date. I won’t go so far to say I love it, but to his credit, his admittedly below-average vocal actually suits the context of this kind of song remarkably well because he sounds genuinely weathered like the heartbroken narrator is supposed to sound. And the melody stands up well too and doesn’t hit you over the head: even when a shrieking brief solo is thrown into the mix.
If Farr veers more in the direction of his current single and abstains from further mining “Redneck Crazy” and “Chicks, Trucks & Beer” territory………..then I come around to promoting him to the rank of a listenable C-artist at least. But until he demonstrates this isn’t the exception, I still consider him a D-artist.
January 26, 2015 @ 5:58 pm
Oh, and speaking of Tom Petty…………………………..what in Jove is up with country/”country” radio artists name-dropping him so aggressively all of a sudden?
Frankie Ballard name-dropped him in a recent #1 hit (“Sunshine & Whiskey”). Canaan Smith’s terrible current single “Love You Like That” likens the way he wants to kiss his love interest, among other things, to being as “steady as a Tom Petty track.” And Kid Rock name-drops him in his new single “First Kiss”. There’s a few other examples but I’m not familiar with the names of the artists as of yet.
My theory? It’s Music Row’s version of retribution for Tom Petty calling corporate country music out as “bad rock with a fiddle”. Thus, much as they have done with Merle Haggard and Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, they said: “Screw Petty. We’ll show him! Hey boys: let’s embarrass Petty by relentlessly name-dropping him in our songs!” 😉
January 27, 2015 @ 9:15 am
Man, I’m surprised to hear Tom Petty is demanding royalties from Sam Smith. It seems rather, er… petty of him.
I recall that in addition to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers thing, The Strokes also ripped off “American Girl” with the beginning of their song, “Late Nite,” and Tom Petty himself said it didn’t bother him because, in his words, “A lot of rock ‘n’ roll songs sound alike.”
January 27, 2015 @ 10:08 am
I was a little surprised about this, too. I also remember him giving the Peppers a pass for that song that sounded like Last Dance with Mary Jane, too. Maybe because the Peppers and Strokes are rock guys and this Sam Smith is pop? That would be a little, well, you know.
January 26, 2015 @ 6:13 pm
Country music was such an important part of my life for many years, listened to radio, bought cd’s and attended nearly every concert in my area.
For about 2 years now I have listened very little, 2 reasons: Bro-country is just to much rock based and immature for me and Carrie Underwood. We have Reba and Martina, we don’t need this pretender.
January 27, 2015 @ 1:01 am
I’m not a fan of the production style in “Something In The Water”, but it is still a good song.
I do think if this song had been released in 1995 or 2005, it would have been a multi-week #1 radio hit. The prototypical country radio listener in those days – your thirty something conservative Christian housewife – would have eaten this up. So clearly country radio’s audience has changed over the past 5-10 years.
It’s also interesting that the release of “Something In The Water” was around the same time when Taylor official left the country genre. I had the impression that Carrie had downplayed the “Christian good girl” image over the past few years, perhaps to differentiate herself from Taylor. Her image was sexier than before and she released songs with darker themes. Now with Taylor out of the country scene, Carrie can be “country’s sweetheart” again. Anyway I think releasing this song before her maternity break was a very good marketing move.
January 27, 2015 @ 8:58 am
Apparently since around 2011, country radio has been aggressively pursuing a male 18-34 demographic (the same demo traditionally associated with rock radio) because industry heads sensed that there was a potential “growth opportunity” in that area.
Anyway, take it from me, the conservative Christian housewife types ARE eating this up! They can’t get enough of it, in fact.
January 27, 2015 @ 1:07 am
When I first heard this song I didn’t much care for it, hell I still don’t. It sounds just a little too over produced and Carries songs kind of all sound the same to me now. It might be a better listen than bro country songs but then again that’s not setting the bar very high.
January 27, 2015 @ 7:23 am
Best thing I’ve heard since the gal you should have mentioned who sold more records than any woman in history – Shania Twain, whose got the voice and the iron-grip star talent.
January 27, 2015 @ 8:50 am
She also has a leopard print sweatsuit.
January 27, 2015 @ 8:56 am
Yeah, well, that don’t impress me much.
January 27, 2015 @ 10:40 am
Shania sold as many records as she did because of her sex appeal. Some of her songs were more like advertisements to showcase her sexy persona. Let’s just say that I don’t think “Any Man of Mine” would have been a big hit if Wynonna Judd had recorded it.
January 27, 2015 @ 11:59 am
Yup . Shania was a game changer in a few ways not the least of which was the way she sold her songs/image . Lyrically the stuff was ( is ) trite , bubble gum pop , as we used to refer to it , and on par with a lot of ‘bro-country’ today in terms of substance. But SONICALLY , Mutt Lange nailed it and that was a HUGE part of the success also . This stuff stood heads above anything when it hit the airwaves, jukeboxes ( remember those ) and car decks- everything ” mixed right up in your face ” and was such an influence in how things were and are produced now . And as rocky as the tunes got , Shania’s vocal delivery never seemed to grate on people or ‘polarize’ them , as Trigger puts it in referring to Carrie Underwood’s effect .No , Shania is nowhere near the vocalist Carrie , Lee Ann Rimes /Womack, Reba , Martina , Miranda and many others are …but her voice didn’t turn people off.
If Carrie didn’t feel compelled to deliver those BIG arena-sized pop songs with the huge vocal range , I wonder what kind of solid country record she might make if she relaxed and let listeners come to her voice and the narrative ( Musgraves , Brandy Clark and others ) rather than taking her voice to them….like Lee Ann Womack has done with her newest release . There are many good songs on her albums but many listeners these days , as we all know , don’t get past the singles . Saying all of this , however , Carrie and an awful lot of her camp and her fans don’t seem too worried about her staying the course . It works fine for most followers apparently .
January 27, 2015 @ 9:43 am
I think Luke Bryan’s next album will determine if bro country is over with. Jason Aldean’s album is a major success, so to say it’s done with is incorrect.
Six String Richie
January 27, 2015 @ 7:37 pm
This year should also bring the sophomore albums of bro wannabes Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell and Tyler Farr. I will be very interested to see a) if they stick to the bro formula and b) if they find success with the bro formula [should they use it]. I’m also curious to see how Chase Rice’s year goes. If the second wave of bros fizzle out that would be encouraging. It will take a while for the first wave (Luke, FGL, Aldean) to fizzle.
January 28, 2015 @ 12:57 pm
Out of those, I’d say Thomas has the best chance of a bigger year. I think that Chase will fizzle out. I think they’ll try and press their luck again, especially since most are on tour with the bigger guys and they’ll see the sold out stadium, etc.
January 27, 2015 @ 5:22 pm
Read that “Little Toy Guns” will be Carrie Underwood’s next single, also from the Greatest Hits album. I’m very much interested on your opinion on this song, Trig. Production doesn’t have much country elements but I like the lyrics.
January 28, 2015 @ 12:03 pm
This is the first time I’d heard the song before, and, for the first few minutes, I was appreciating it as a well written and produced pop song with some serious vocal pyrotechnics. And I have zero problems with songs that have a spiritual message.
But what bothered me was that choir singing the first few lines of ‘Amazing Grace.’ It was just so contrived and on the nose. It pulled me right out of the song and made me cringe. Anyone else feel that way?
If I had been the artist or the producer, I would have fought like hell to keep that choir off the track.
Then again, no one pays me the big bucks to churn out smash hits.
January 29, 2015 @ 1:22 pm
Country music don’t care about female country music like Cariie Underwood. Country music only appeal veterans like Miranda Lambert and men like Luke Bryan. That’s all country music does these days. I wish top 40 radio plays Carrie Underwood’s Soomething In The Water because I tag that “country” song with pop on last.fm and Carrie Underwood does tagged with pop on that website. Anyway, I want Carrie Underwood to make pop music. No remixes and her pop music will likely go in a more contemporary Christian route. After her first child this year, she can finally gets to make pop music inspired by contemporary Christian music this year. It needs to happen. If she does, then country music is getting tired of Carrie Underwood that way, mainstream music like MTV will love Carrie Underwood. No, country music is not mainstream music. It’s a type of music that popular music just wants to forget about and stick with mainstream music like pop. That’s why. Anyway, she needs to make Christian pop music and let’s not forget that remixes can ruin Carrie Underwood. Make it happen.
January 31, 2015 @ 12:26 pm
No, “Something In The Water” would not be a good song for Top 40 / pop crossover. It is too religious, and its message is perceived as too conservative, for pop radio. I agree it is not really a country song either, but I think much of country’s core audience identifies with its message.
Popular music is often more about identity politics than the music itself, unfortunately. At this point her career, I think Carrie would be better off identifying with the country genre and sticking with loyal country fans, than trying to cross over to pop.
February 1, 2015 @ 5:24 pm
Why can’t country music be popular music’s identity? Country music are suppose to be popular music. But no, popular music does not promote country music and you have to use country music stations like CMT to play country music. That’s why. UGH, USA don’t care about country music and USA only cares about mainstream like pop just to make money. Country music is not profitable. Not only that, country is still declining even with number 1 hits and big names. General public don’t care about country music and mainstream refuse to promote country music. Even internet streaming don’t seem to care about country music. Man, what is wrong with the music industry? Why popular music only appeals mainstream like pop and not popular music in general like country? I guess money is all popular music does. Popular music hates country music and you have to use country radio or country videos to hear country. Why, popular music, why? I’m tired of popular pretends country music don’t exist.
January 29, 2015 @ 1:39 pm
I just listen to Little Toy Guns the other day, it was amazing. I’m looking forward to see Little Toy Guns as the next Carrie Underwood single. It was very uncountry and the song is not country at all. It was more pop rock of pop punk feel on a Carrie Underwood single and that would be perfect for pop radio, not country radio. So the genres for Little Toy Guns is pop rock, power pop, and pop punk. So this would be perfect for Carrie Underwood’s pop music when she moves to pop. Of course, pop radio must play Little Toy Guns, not country radio. I want that to happen. Little Toy Guns for pop radio please.
January 30, 2015 @ 12:09 am
It makes NO sense for Carrie to move over to pop. This is because
1) Her biggest competitor officially left the country genre to focus on her pop career, leaving Carrie as the top female artist in country music
2) Carrie is soon to be a thirty something mother, which is more of a country demographic than a pop demographic
3) The religious message of some of Carrie’s songs plays much better with country audiences than with pop audiences
January 30, 2015 @ 6:58 pm
…I have to ask: do you know what pop punk sounds like? I agree that it’s not especially country sonically if at all, but it’s even less pop punk. I’ll give you pop rock, though.
January 31, 2015 @ 4:24 am
A lot of early 80’s music was pop-punk, such as this one:
January 31, 2015 @ 9:43 am
This is more of what I think of in terms of pop-punk. Punk with some of the hard edges rounded off:
January 31, 2015 @ 12:42 pm
Here is an article that articulates very clearly why this song is wrong for pop radio:
February 1, 2015 @ 5:18 pm
Well then, I think music videos is the only option to hear Something In The Water on pop. So I personally think MTV’s music videos might be better for Carrie Underwood than pop radio which is why MTV Hit airs Two Black Caddilacs’ music video. So music videos is more appropriate for Carrie Underwood than playing her music on pop radio when MTV plays Carrie Underwood music videos.
February 1, 2015 @ 12:46 pm
I guess I’m in the rather minute segment of the listening population that doesn’t care for this song. It’s a cliche-phrased (its title alone…though country music has made a cottage industry out of using cliches in songs) , rather superficial attempt at being a meaningful piece of music. Plus, CW yells out the lyrics of the song in an attempt to sound soulful. Remember the days when singers didn’t have to yell their lyrics to give them soul and meaning?
The song represents a change from bro-country, which is most certainly welcome, but let’s not herald it as the pivotal moment of the 2000’s when country music was revolutionized.
February 2, 2015 @ 1:44 pm
I agree with Canuck, 100%. I don’t understand what makes this piece appealing, other than that it comes from a mainstream female artist. The song reads as a vague inventory of spiritual platitudes- not heartfelt storytelling interpreted with a woman’s unique point of view.
In terms of depth and conviction from women in mainstream country music…we can point to a few much more compelling examples of good strorytelling in the past year (Brandy Clark “Pray to Jesus,” Lee Ann Womack ‘”The Way That I’m Livin’,” even Trisha Yearwood’s little-heard “I Remember You”)
March 24, 2015 @ 5:29 am
Just cleaning out my email & just have a comment for “Kev” –
I am not “…stalking the poor woman…” – Get over yourself. Guess you don’t know anything about your favs except their songs and songwriting or do you…the question that will never be answered, right “Kev”?
Love her or hate her, but do not demean her. Or say she’s just a pretty little package that Idol made into a star – total bullcrap!
Oh, and guess what “Kev” – ask Trig about who of fans of country music and specifically fans of Carrie Underwood that totally got the Werde BB chart change – he even stated so here on his site during that bruhaha. I’m probably older than you are “Kev” so say what you will, but please show the courtesy of not demeaning women – any woman.
Thank you very much and you have a wonderful day! 🙂