Before He Cheats

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"Before He Cheats"
Single by Carrie Underwood
from the album Some Hearts
Released August 19, 2006
Format Digital download
Recorded FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL
Genre Country, country rock, country pop
Length 3:19 (album version)
Label Arista
Writer(s) Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins[1]
Producer(s) Mark Bright
Certification 4× Platinum (RIAA)
Platinum (CRIA)
Carrie Underwood singles chronology
"Don't Forget to Remember Me"
(2006)
"Before He Cheats"
(2006)
"Wasted"
(2007)
Some Hearts track listing
"Lessons Learned"
(6)
"Before He Cheats"
(7)
"Starts with Goodbye"
(8)
Music video
"Before He Cheats" at CMT.com

"Before He Cheats" is a song written by Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear and the third wide-release single from Carrie Underwood's debut album, Some Hearts (2005). It was the fifth release from the album overall. The songs tells the story of a woman taking revenge on her potentially unfaithful boyfriend/husband

The song became an enormous crossover success, topping the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five consecutive weeks, reaching the top five on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart and becoming a top ten hit on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Contemporary charts. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, "Before He Cheats" reached number eight and achieved a longevity of 64 consecutive weeks on the chart, making it the fourth longest-charting single in the history of the Hot 100.

"Before He Cheats" became the first ever country song to sell over two million digitally and was once the best selling country song of all time.[2] Having sold 3,993,000 digital downloads as of April 2014, it was once the best-selling song by an American Idol contestant and is now the third best-selling (behind Phillip Phillips' Home and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)").[3] It has also been certified 4× platinum by the RIAA.

The song has received a number of accolades. At the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, Underwood won the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and the song's writers won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.[4][5] It received a nomination for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year as well. It was also named the 2007 Single of the Year by the Country Music Association Awards. It ranked on CMT's 40 Greatest Songs of the Decade at number 25, along with Underwood's other signature hit, "Jesus, Take the Wheel", which ranked number four.

Background[edit]

"Before He Cheats" tells the story of a woman taking revenge on her potentially unfaithful boyfriend/husband.

She imagines him hanging out and flirting with a "bleach-blonde" girl, shooting pool, buying her a drink, dancing, and hoping to "get lucky" with her. In retaliation, she vandalizes his customized four-wheel drive vehicle by keying the sides, carving her name into its leather seats, smashing the headlights with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat and slashing all four tires. She hopes that this will make him "think before he cheats" again.

Although the song is about a tale of revenge, according to Carrie Underwood, while she had been cheated on before, "I wouldn't recommend doing any property damage, though. I'm a 'let it go, move on' kind of person."[2]

"Before He Cheats" is set in the key of F# minor. It is set in 4/4 common time.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Before He Cheats" was directed by Roman White.[6] In the beginning of the video Underwood is seen leaving a parking lot brandishing a Louisville Slugger, having just vandalized her husband/boyfriend's truck for cheating on her. In other scenes, the "husband/boyfriend" (Actor - Tabb Shoup) is seen kissing another woman. As the video progresses Underwood takes the stage to sing as various objects behind her, such as lamps, are seen exploding. At one point, a screen shot of the front seat of the truck is seen with Underwood's name carved in it, which she mentions during the chorus of the song. Eventually, she catches up with her cheating husband/boyfriend with the other woman. After looking shocked for a second, she scoffs and drops the keys to his now-demolished truck into his drink. Towards the end Underwood struts down a street, singing along with the song, while different objects are shown flying across the air, glasses are seen shattering, and light bulbs explode, paying homage to Brian De Palma's Carrie. At the very end of the music video, the truck is shown completely destroyed.

The early scenes in the video featuring a crowd in a narrow street and Underwood in a parking garage, were filmed in and around Printer's Alley in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The final scene, featuring the exploding glass and light bulbs, was filmed on Fourth Avenue just north of Church Street in Nashville.

"Before He Cheats" made GAC music video history by debuting at number one. It also marks the third consecutive number-one music video on GAC for Underwood. It made history on CMT's Top Twenty Countdown for being at number one for a consecutive five weeks. In December 2006, "Before He Cheats" was named the best video of 2006 by CMT's Top 20 Countdown. It also finished number two in GAC's Video of the Year for 2006 behind Trace Adkins's "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk". Proving its crossover success, the video made a debut at number 15 on the VSpot Top 20 Countdown, peaking at number 4.

The video premiered on MTV's Total Request Live in April 2007, this is the second country music video to be premiered in this program, the first being "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Jessica Simpson.

On April 16, 2007, the video for "Before He Cheats" swept the CMT Music Awards, winning three categories: Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Director of the Year. Underwood made history by being the first female to win Video of the Year.

The video also garnered Carrie a nomination for Music Video of the Year at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards and a nomination for a 2007 MTV Video Music Award in the category of Best New Artist.

During an NBC Sunday Night Football telecast of a Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game, the song was played over the Dallas offensive lineup announcements after Underwood broke up with Dallas QB Tony Romo.

The music video was ranked number nine on CMT's 100 Greatest Videos.[7] It also ranked #1 on GAC's Top 50 Videos of the 2000's.

In 2009, the music video for the song was voted number one by fans as VH1's Greatest Diva Music Video of all-time, before the airing of the annual VH1 Divas Live special.

Reception[edit]

The song has drawn criticism for its alleged glorification of violence as a justified response to the infidelity suffered by the subject of the song. For example, Glenn Sacks, an American men's rights activist, columnist and radio broadcaster, cited "Before He Cheats" as an example of the "double standard about domestic violence [that] manifests itself in ... popular culture".[8] Sacks notes that a "song and a video approving of a violent, jealous man destroying his girlfriend's car" would likely receive dissimilar treatment, and undoubtedly draw widespread criticism.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Before He Cheats" first appeared on the charts in February 2006. Although it had not at that point been released as a single, many country stations began giving the song unsolicited airplay, leading it to debut on Billboard's Hot Country Songs at number 59. By the time the song was officially released as Some Hearts' third single in August of that year, it had already racked up 20 non-consecutive weeks on the chart, reaching as high as number 49. After the official release, the song climbed the country charts quickly, reaching number one in November and remaining there for five weeks. This was Underwood's third consecutive number one country single and fourth number one single overall. It also managed to debut on the Hot 100 at number 92, and by November it had reached number 16 on that chart. By the end of 2006, the song began to slowly descend the charts, and it had appeared the single had peaked.

However, Top 40 radio began to take notice of the song in February 2007, around the time of Underwood's Grammy wins. As the single increased its top 40 airplay, it began to rebound on the Hot 100. The new airplay, along with attention from numerous award show wins for the song, such as favorite country song at the 2007 People's Choice Awards in January and Video of the Year at the 2007 CMTs in April, reinvigorated digital sales as well. When it finally peaked at number 8 in May 2007, it had already logged 38 weeks on the chart, making it the longest trek to the top 10 ever. As pop airplay began dying down, the song got a third life on the adult contemporary format, which began playing the song in May. "Before He Cheats" spent 64 consecutive weeks on the Hot 100, before finally falling off in late November 2007. The song is the fifth-longest charting single on the Hot 100, following LeAnn Rimes's "How Do I Live", Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me"/"Foolish Games", Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours", and Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". It is the third longest running hit last decade.

"Before He Cheats" was ranked sixth on the 2007 Hot 100 Year-End Chart and fifth on the 2007 Hot 100 Airplay Year-End Chart by Billboard magazine. It was also ranked tenth on the 2007 Adult Contemporary Year-End Chart.

The song sold over two million in digital sales in December 2007, and was certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA in February 2008, making it the first country song to achieve this feat.[9] It was the best-selling single from an American Idol contestant until Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" surpassed it in the spring of 2012, and is still Underwood's best selling single to date. It has sold over one million ringtones. In Canada, it is officially certified as Platinum. On May 9, 2013, the song was officially cetified 4× Platinum by RIAA.[10]

The song has sold 3,993,000 digital downloads in the United States as of April 2014, making it the third best-selling song by an American Idol contestant in the United States (behind Phillip Phillips' Home and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)").[3][11] It is also the eighth best-selling country songs in the US.[12]

Cover versions[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

50th Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2008 "Before He Cheats" Best Female Country Vocal Performance Won
2008 "Before He Cheats" Country Song of the Year Won
2008 "Before He Cheats" Song of the Year Nominated

33rd People's Choice Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Favorite Country Song Won

2007 CMT Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Video of the Year Won
2007 "Before He Cheats" Female Video of the Year Won

2007 Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Music Video of the Year Won
2007 "Before He Cheats" Song of the Year Nominated
2007 "Before He Cheats" Single of the Year Nominated

2007 MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Best New Artist Nominated

2007 Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Single of the Year Won
2007 "Before He Cheats" Song of the Year Nominated
2007 "Before He Cheats" Music Video of the Year Nominated

2007 ASCAP Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Song of the Year Won
2007 "Before He Cheats" Most Performed Song of the Year Won

2007 Teen Choice Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2007 "Before He Cheats" Choice Payback Track Nominated

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2007 ASCAP Country Music Awards". Ascap.com. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Before He Cheats". Billboard. 
  3. ^ a b Trust, Gary (2014-01-28). "Ask Billboard: Disney's Biggest Billboard Hits". Ask Billboard (Billboard). Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ Calvin Gilbert (February 11, 2008). "Vince Gill Wins Best Country Album Grammy". CMT News. 
  5. ^ "Carrie Underwood". Grammy. 
  6. ^ "Videos: Carrie Underwood, "Before He Cheats"". CMT.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  7. ^ "100 Greatest Videos". Retrieved 2008-07-29. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Carrie Underwood's 'Before He Cheats'-When a Woman Commits Domestic Violence, It's Good Revenge". American Chronicle. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  9. ^ Paul Grein (June 25, 2014). "Chart Watch: Maroon 5 Beats Coldplay". Chart Watch (Yahoo Music). 
  10. ^ a b "American single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  11. ^ a b Matt Bjorke (April 23, 2014). "Country Chart News - The Top 30 Digital Singles - April 23, 2014". Roughstock. 
  12. ^ Wade Jessen (January 6, 2014). "Florida Georgia Line's 'Cruise' Sets All-Time Country Sales Record". Billboard. 
  13. ^ "Yahoo! Music Videos". Video.music.yahoo.com. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  14. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Im-Hip-Ana-Gasteyer/dp/B00ND1KU0I
  15. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  16. ^ "Chart Track: Week 03, 2014". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  18. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  19. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  20. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  21. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  22. ^ "Best of 2006: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2006. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Year-End 2007". Retrieved 2012-04-15. 
  24. ^ "Best of 2007: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Before He Cheats". Music Canada. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Every Mile a Memory"
by Dierks Bentley
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

November 11 – December 9, 2006
Succeeded by
"My Wish"
by Rascal Flatts
Preceded by
"Jesus, Take the Wheel"
by Carrie Underwood
Grammy Award for Best Country Song
2008
Succeeded by
"Stay"
by Sugarland
Grammy Award for
Best Female Country Vocal Performance

2008
Succeeded by
"Last Name"
by Carrie Underwood