“Before He Cheats” is the Perfect Song
Carrie Underwood is one of the biggest stars American Idol ever produced. Her record sales and popularity are in the stratosphere of pop-country. She has been featured on the pop, country, christian charts as well as starring in the tv performance of The Sound of Music Live. She has been able to achieve this success while preserving her girl-next-door image. Balancing Christianity and Veganism in a surprisingly harmonious way. With all that said, I don’t really care for her music. Except for “Before He Cheats”. Which is the greatest song ever made.
Released on her debut album Some Hearts in 2005, “Before He Cheats” is perfect in every way. To prove my point, I’ll first need to set up a rubric. Claiming a song to be perfect must not be done lightly. Objectivity must be kept. The last thing I want is to leave you an opening for useless whataboutisms. For this rubric, I’ll use 3 categories each worth 5 points. If “Before He Cheats” is truly perfect, it should score 15 out of 15.
Our first category will be a lyrical study. For a song to be perfect, it must empower the listener. To build us up and inspire us to take action. Carrie delivers this in spades (well her songwriters, Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear). The lyrics tell the story of a lesser woman making the same mistake that we made in our timid past. Namely, giving undue attention to our cheating ex, the subject of the song. She’s dumber than us, the bleach blond hair fitting the stereotype. She’s weaker too, can’t even shoot whiskey. We don’t need to take pity on that “bleach blonde tramp” though, because we are here to protect her from the pain that we feel. Carrie, and we as the listener, have taught our cheating ex the consequences. The delicately detailed destruction of our ex’s truck inspires every listener with the confidence and righteousness to take our deserved vengeance. Score 5/5
The next category must be considered for any song to claim perfection. Karaoke bars are the true measurement of a song’s popularity. They don’t use the billboard charts to determine what is remembered in our shared consciousness. Babe Ruth’s Ghost’s famous line from Sandlot rings as true for karaoke as for baseball: “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” Carrie Underwood will be bringing the house down in karaoke bars for generations to come. This song is guaranteed to get the crowd singing along. And what’s more, she even mentions karaoke in the song! This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Carrie Underwood got her start in the biggest karaoke contest the world ever saw, American Idol. Score: 5/5
Schadenfreude is human nature. Taking pleasure in another’s misfortune. It’s a pure feeling. Guilt may be it’s lasting residue, but in the moment, schadenfreude is strongest when it is bliss. “Before He Cheats” provides a stream of schadenfreude from the opening second to the final beat. The misfortune of the cheating ex, currently flirting with a girl lesser than us. He’s foolishly buying her drinks, dousing himself in cologne, and experiencing her trashy Shania karaoke. He thinks he’s gonna get laid. Oh, but he don’t know what we know. That’s when Carrie gives us the sweet release. We destroy his truck outside the bar. He’ll come outside to discover it, and the bleach blond girl will go back inside to start her vapid search over again. “Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.” Score 5/5
Final Score 15/15
The score is a perfect 15 out of 15. Objectively speaking it’s the perfect song. You can’t argue with science.