By Annie Reuter
Last month, Carrie Underwood‘s “Something In the Water” topped Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for the seventh week in a row. And yes, that’s significant. Not only does it give the country singer her longest chart-topping run to date, it’s the third-longest running No. 1 for a woman, according to Billboard Country Update.
The strong popularity of “Something In the Water” got me thinking: Is Carrie Underwood’s song breaking the current trends in country music and opening new doors for meaningful, uplifting songs? Underwood has long been a leading female in country music who constantly pushes barriers and inspires those around her.
Underwood leads the pack with “Something In the Water” and “Little Toy Guns,” but songs like “What We Ain’t Got,” “Trailer Hitch,” “Talladega” and “Fly” give me hope that country music will continue to develop in new, heartfelt, and personal directions in 2015.
And here’s why:
For “Something In The Water,” it’s more than just numbers. As a song, the GRAMMY-nominated track is both serious in nature and reflective in tone, making it stand out in today’s country landscape.
Underwood cowrote the song with Chris DeStefano (“Good Girl”) and Brett James (“Jesus Take the Wheel”), and it tells a moving tale of a woman who ends a struggling journey by getting baptized in a river. With Underwood’s powerful vocals, the soaring musical accompaniment and a gospel choir singing “Amazing Grace,” it’s a song that has struck a chord with many country fans and country radio.
“Bro country” has been discussed over and over again to the point that it’s a tiresome topic in 2015. But that, perhaps, is exactly why Underwood’s song connects. With this song of facing trouble and finding redemption, Underwood gives listeners something they need. Instead of escaping a hard day with alcohol, or a drive down a long dirt road with the windows rolled down, “Something in the Water” chooses a different path.
Somebody said what I’m saying to you,
Opened my eyes and told me the truth.
They said, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”
So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger
Lyrically it’s about finding faith, but on a fundamental level it’s about looking inside yourself for the answers to life’s toughest questions. And that introspection is something you don’t often find in popular country singles.
Jake Owen‘s introspective “What We Ain’t Got” is another good example. A song that reflects on how we live our own lives, “What We Ain’t Got” is about looking at where we are and appreciating what we have, as Owen told Radio.com last year.
“I really related to that song a lot, and I have a lot of friends that I’ve watched work their lives away, too, and sometimes you just have to step back from it,” Owen said.
We ain’t happy where we are
There’s greener grass in the neighbor’s yard
A bigger house and a faster car
We ain’t happy where we are.
“It’s just a question, why do we all want to die rich,” Bush told Radio.com of the song. “Isn’t there something we can do with that?”
In “Trailer Hitch,” the narrator gives away all his baseball cards and even his car, because he realizes there are some things more valuable in life than material possessions.