Carrie Underwood is one of the biggest country artists of all time. After winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, Underwood released her first album -- and it became the fastest-selling debut country album in history.
In the decade and a half since then, Underwood has found massive success, both on country radio and as a crossover artist. She's released six studio albums and a greatest hits project, which have resulted in 15 No. 1 singles, making her the woman with the most No. 1 singles on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
Below, we're ranking Every. Single. One of Underwood's singles, from her first post-Idol release to today. Keep reading to find out where your favorite lands!
“Some Hearts” -- originally a 1987 Belinda Carlisle song -- was the title track of and a minor single from Underwood’s debut album of the same name. Released to pop and adult contemporary radio only, it was never an official country single, but the peppy, upbeat track about feeling lucky to find love peaked at No. 12 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Underwood's fourth single from 2007’s Carnival Ride was the Grammy Awards-nominated, platinum-certified “Just a Dream.” It’s a mid-tempo ballad that pulls a switcheroo on the listener: What initially seems to be a song about a woman going to a church to get married soon reveals itself to be a song about loss. Instead of going to her wedding, the woman is going to the funeral of her soldier husband. “Just a Dream” was Underwood’s sixth straight No. 1 hit.
"Don't Forget to Remember Me" (2006)
“Don’t Forget to Remember Me” was the fourth single from Underwood’s debut album. It’s a mother-daughter love song, one that follows the narrator as she graduates high school and leaves home for the first time: The chorus details the parting advice her mom gives her, concluding with, “Here’s a map, and here’s a Bible / If you ever lose your way / Just one more thing before you leave / Don’t forget to remember me.” The song went to No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
"The Fighter" (2017)(with Keith Urban)
When Underwood teamed up with Keith Urban on his 2017 single “The Fighter,” it was a big event: According to the ACM Awards, in fact, it was the Vocal Event of the Year. The song, co-written and co-produced by busbee, falls somewhere in the intersection of country, dance and pop, and Urban and Underwood make the genre-mashing seem easy. “The Fighter” was a crossover success and a No. 2 country hit.
"Inside Your Heaven" (2005)
“Inside Your Heaven” was Underwood’s first single; she and Bo Bice, the final two contestants on American Idol at the time, each recorded a version. Underwood won and released her version, which became an immediate hit: The love ballad went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, later that year, was awarded Billboard Music Awards for Top-Selling Country Single of the Year and Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year.
"All-American Girl" (2008)
The second single from 2007’s Carnival Ride follows the idea of what it’s like to love an “all-American girl” through several generations, whether it’s a father falling in love with his daughters or a high school football player falling in love with the girl on the sidelines. It was only the second song that Underwood co-wrote, and it helped earn her a BMI Award for Songwriter of the Year. "All-American Girl" was also Underwood's fourth consecutive No. 1 hit.
“Southbound” is one of those long-drive-in-the-summertime, roll-your-windows-down jams: bright, warm and fun. The tune is a simple, sunny party song about having fun and celebrating how good it feels to “get a little southbound, unwound, Tennessee honey kind of buzz.” The 2019 single peaked at No. 11 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
“So Small” was the first single from 2007’s Carnival Ride. It’s an inspirational song, a reminder to keep going through hard times; it urges the listener to remember that “sometimes that mountain that you’re climbing / Is just a grain of sand.” Here’s a detail that’s not so small, though: “So Small” was the first single Underwood ever released on which she was credited as a co-writer -- and it became her fourth No. 1 hit.
“Mama’s Song” is written as a letter from a daughter to her mother, promising her that she’s found “the answer to your prayers”: a good man who is “good, so good / He treats your little girl like a real man should.” Underwood’s vocals on “Mama’s Song” are gentler and more understated than they are on most of her songs, but they’re the right match for the sweeter subject matter. Underwood and her co-writers nabbed the BMI Award for Songwriter of the Year for their work on “Mama’s Song,” and the single peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts.
"Remind Me" (2011)(with Brad Paisley)
Underwood joined Brad Paisley for his 2011 single “Remind Me,” a bittersweet song about a married couple remembering the better, brighter times in their relationship. The two made a powerful team -- Underwood’s vocals on the song are understated, but still powerful -- and the collaboration became a No. 1.
While “Love Wins” seems to respond to current events and political unrest, it doesn’t take any particular side; instead, the 2018 track is more of a general call for everyone to come together, “walk hand in hand” and always remember that we are all “sisters and brothers.” It’s a big, powerful anthem made bigger and more powerful by a backing choir. “I believe,” Underwood declares in the chorus, “in the end, love wins.”
“Little Toy Guns” was the second single released from Underwood’s 2015 greatest hits album, Greatest Hits: Decade #1. Many have referred to the song as a spiritual prequel to Underwood’s 2012 single “Blown Away,” as both songs deal with the topic of domestic violence as experienced through the eyes of a child: “I wish words were like little toy guns,” the girl in the song finds herself wishing, “No sting, no hurt no one.” The Grammy Awards-nominated single peaked at No. 2.
"I Told You So" (2009)(feat. Randy Travis)
Underwood first recorded her version of this Randy Travis original for her 2007 album Carnival Ride, but it was her 2009 re-recording of the song as a duet with Travis himself that really got people’s attention. The irresistible combination of Travis and Underwood on a country classic helped the No. 2 hit earn the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals.
“Temporary Home,” the second single from 2009’s Play On, explores the belief that we’re all just passing through -- that life on Earth is fleeting, and it’s just “our temporary home.” The song examines other temporary homes -- for example, that of a boy living in foster care -- to help makes its larger, and ultimately hopeful, point. Underwood and the song’s other co-writers brought home the BMI Award for Songwriter of the Year because of the track, and the understated single was a No. 1 hit.
“See You Again,” the fourth single from 2012’s Blown Away, deals with the pain of death and loss, but insists on finding hope. It’s a big, heartfelt anthem, meant to comfort anyone who’s lost someone they’ve loved. “I will see you again,” Underwood declares in the chorus, “this is not where it ends.” Nominated for World’s Best Song at the 2013 World Music Awards, “See You Again” reached No. 2 on the charts.
The bombastic third single from 2009’s Play On, “Undo It” is a kiss-off to an undeserving ex. It’s a song that’s big and loud, and it culminates in the catchy, staccato-sung chorus line, “Boy, you blew it / You put me through it / I wanna un-un-un-un-undo it.” The song was Underwood’s 10th No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
Underwood plays with the meaning of the word “wasted” in her song of the same name. The tune is an exploration of addiction and alcoholism, so the “wasted” is implied -- but it's ultimately a story song about people getting their lives together, declaring, “I don’t want to spend my life jaded / Waiting to wake up one day and find / That I let all these years go by / Wasted.” The final single from her debut album, “Wasted” was Underwood’s second consecutive No. 1 hit.
“Good Girl” is an all-out exhortation to the good girls of the world: Underwood is here to warn them that “it’s just a matter of time ‘til you find / He’s no good, girl.” The lead single from 2012’s Blown Away, “Good Girl” has a chorus that’s easy to sing along to, especially with Underwood killing alliterative lyrics such as, “You better get to getting on your goodbye shoes.” It was a No. 1 Billboard hit.
The third single from Underwood’s 2015 album Storyteller, “Church Bells” is a big, explosive song driven along by plucky banjos and big drums. Underwood tells Taste of Country that she thinks of the song, which tells the story of a poor woman named Jenny exacting violent revenge on her rich, abusive husband, as “Fancy’s little sister” (that is, Reba McEntire’s “Fancy”). The song was nominated for a Grammy and was Underwood’s 15th Billboard No. 1.
"Two Black Cadillacs" (2012)
There’s something sinister in the music of 2012’s “Two Black Cadillacs” -- which makes sense, since it’s a song about two women teaming up to kill the man they’ve realized they were both involved with. The women’s scheme is slowly revealed as the song plays, culminating when they finally meet at the man’s funeral: “It was the first and last time they saw each other face to face,” Underwood sings. “They shared a crimson smile and just walked away.” The song rose to No. 2 on the Billboard charts.
“Let me make one thing clear / You can buy me a beer / But you ain’t taking me home,” Underwood sings in the opening lines of “Drinking Alone,” a song that’s almost more R&B than it is country. The 2019 single is about two recently single strangers meeting, drinking and flirting at a bar. It’s got hook-up song vibes without featuring any actual hookups, and shows a fun, different side of Underwood’s capabilities.
“Smoke Break” is Underwood’s take on the “songs in praise of hard-working regular people” genre. Powered by handclaps and Underwood’s soaring vocals -- with a little more of a country twang than usual -- “Smoke Break” features hard-working men and women admitting, “I don’t smoke / But sometimes I need a long drag.” The lead single from Storyteller, “Smoke Break” set the all-time record for first week adds on country radio, and it went to No. 2 on the Billboard chart.
If there’s one thing Underwood does particularly well, it’s to sing about exacting revenge on a cheating partner. While "Dirty Laundry" isn’t her best-known song in that micro-genre, it’s still a heck of a lot of fun -- and it’s made memorable by her killer delivery of the line, “All the Ajax in the world ain’t gonna clean your dirty laundry.” The 2016 anti-cheater jam from Storyteller peaked at No. 2.
"Somethin' Bad" (2014)(with Miranda Lambert)
There are few things as good as Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood singing about how fun it is to be bad. “Somethin’ Bad,” the Grammy-nominated duet between the two country powerhouses, is three minutes of blistering, bad-ass fun. When it became a No. 1 hit, it was the first time in over 20 years that a duet by two female solo artists had claimed the top spot. Listening to the song, it’s easy to see how they pulled it off.
Sam Hunt lends background vocals to “Heartbeat,” the second single from 2015’s Storyteller. The dynamic vocal combination helps to make “Heartbeat” a genuinely soaring ode to feeling true intimacy with the person you love -- about what the narrator feels “standing on your shoes in my bare feet / Dancing to the rhythm of your heartbeat.” The love song became Underwood’s 14th No. 1 Billboard hit.
The title track of Underwood’s 2018 album, “Cry Pretty” is an anthem about falling apart -- an acknowledgement that sometimes a feeling is too big to dress up or ignore. You can “pretty much fake your way through anything,” Underwood sings in the chorus -- but, she admonishes, “You can’t cry pretty.” The song peaked at No. 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
The lead single from 2009’s Play On, “Cowboy Casanova” is rock-tinged country banger, with rapid-fire lyrics and big gang vocals backing up the chorus. The catchy song serves as a warning against a particular type of bad guy: “You better take it from me,” Underwood sings in the opening lines, “that boy is like a disease.” The No. 1 hit is the fourth biggest-selling single of Underwood’s entire career.
“Last Name” is an all-out celebration of the wild things that can happen when you get “served a little too much of that poison, baby.” The third single from 2007’s Carnival Ride is a country debauchery anthem with a hint of a hard-rock tinge. Among other misadventures, the narrator gets married in Vegas to a man -- even though, she admits, “I don’t even know his last name.” The song won Underwood the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and rose to No. 1 on the charts.
The second single from the 2012 album of the same name, “Blown Away” is a dark, simmering song with a bit of an ‘80s vibe. It’s about a young Oklahoma girl who knows that a tornado is coming, so she locks herself in the storm cellar for safety, leaving her alcoholic father passed out, unprotected, on the couch. “Some people called it taking shelter,” Underwood sings, “she called it sweet revenge.” The No. 1 single earned Underwood the Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance.
"Something in the Water" (2014)
“Something in the Water” is a soaring spiritual anthem -- an earnest and inspirational song somewhere between country, gospel and praise. It’s a big song about big feelings, and Underwood’s towering vocals elevate it to something more. The song crescendos with a choir joining Underwood near the end, until most of the other voices drop out, leaving Underwood singing “Amazing Grace.” The song was a crossover hit on both country and Christian radio, earning Underwood the Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance.
"Jesus, Take the Wheel" (2005)
The debut single from Underwood's 2005 debut album, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was instantly iconic -- a country classic from the first play. It was Underwood's first of many No. 1 singles, and a major crossover success. The song’s story -- which hinges on the moment a woman’s car spins out on the highway, and she throws up her hands and cries, “Jesus, take the wheel!” -- is an anthem of surrender. One of Underwood’s best-known hits, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” won the Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song.
"Before He Cheats" (2006)
There’s no one who does revenge like Underwood. In the verses of “Before He Cheats,” the third single from her 2005 debut album, Underwood simmers with a quiet rage at a cheating boyfriend: “Right now,” she admits, “he’s probably slow dancing with a bleached-blond tramp / And she’s probably getting frisky.” But that simmering rage explodes into the barn-burner of a chorus, in which the narrator makes destroying a car seem like the most cathartic experience possible. The anti-cheater anthem held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard country chart for five weeks, and spent 64 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 -- the sixth longest-charting song of all time. It was wildly decorated, taking home (among others) the Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Song of the Year.