By Robin Happel
At once a powerful anthem, and profoundly personal, “Love Wins,” Carrie Underwood’s new single, recalls the storytelling and soaring bridges that first made Underwood famous. Vaguely reminiscent of “Jesus Take the Wheel,” this track opens with a mother’s perspective on gun violence, evolving into a broader call for unity and peace. It’s the rare song that manages to balance the synth shimmer of pop with country twang, a feel-good ballad reminiscent of Luke Bryan and the increasing number of young country artists who dare to say love is love. To many of her LGBTQ+ fans, the song’s title and themes are also a stirring tribute to the fight for marriage equality in America (and, sadly, the fear of gun violence that has plagued many in the community, especially after Pulse). In our own at times pinkwashed age, maybe it’s easy to see “love wins” as a shallow slogan. But Carrie walks the walk. Just last year, she faced backlash for her support of same-sex marriage, and joined Dolly Parton as the rare member of country music royalty who’s revered enough to speak her mind. Recently, she also called out country stations for not featuring more female artists (a problem that became much worse, arguably, with the blackballing of the Dixie Chicks a little over a decade ago). Between the sparkling surface of her new album Cry Pretty, “Love Wins” shows Underwood is taking a real risk, and its melody and storytelling manages to be more than the sum of its parts.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Listen to Love Wins by Carrie Underwood