Two Black Cadillacs

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"Two Black Cadillacs"
Single by Carrie Underwood
from the album Blown Away
Released November 18, 2012 (2012-11-18)[1]
Format Digital download
Recorded 2011
Genre Country pop
Length 4:59
Label Arista Nashville
Writer(s) Carrie Underwood, Hillary Lindsey, Josh Kear
Producer(s) Mark Bright
Certification Platinum (RIAA)[2]
Carrie Underwood singles chronology
"Blown Away"
(2012)
"Two Black Cadillacs"
(2012)
"See You Again"
(2013)
Music video
"Two Black Cadillacs" on YouTube

"Two Black Cadillacs" is a song by American recording artist Carrie Underwood, taken from her fourth studio album, Blown Away (2012). The song served as the album's third single on November 18, 2012 through Arista Nashville. Written by Underwood, Hillary Lindsey and Josh Kear, "Two Black Cadillacs" is a country pop song with lyrics addressing the story of two women (one being his wife, the other unaware he was married) who, when they realize they are both involved with the same guy, set aside their differences and decide to kill him. It was produced by Mark Bright, and the instrumentation was compared to songs by Dixie Chicks and Miranda Lambert.

Upon its release, "Two Black Cadillacs" was met with positive reviews from music critics, who praised its story and Underwood's versatility as an artist. Commercially, the song was successful. In the United States, it reached number 2 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, and also reached number 41 on the Hot 100. "Two Black Cadillacs" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting sales of over 1 million units in the country. The song also charted in Canada at number 3 on the Country chart and at number 52 on the Canadian Hot 100.

The accompanying music video was directed by P.R. Brown, and filmed in Nashville, Tennessee. The video draws inspiration from Stephen King's novel Christine (1983), and shows how the wife and mistress kill the cheating husband with a black Cadillac. Underwood has performed "Two Black Cadillacs" in a number of live appearances, including at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, where various images were projected onto the singer's gown, and at the 2013 Country Music Association Awards, in a medley with "Good Girl", "See You Again" and "Blown Away". It was also performed during the Blown Away Tour (2012-13).

Writing and composition[edit]

After Underwood's Play On Tour ended in December 2010, she started to work on her then-untitled fourth studio album. Sony Music Nashville chairman/CEO Gary Overton said that the singer "took nearly a year to compile and record the songs."[3] Songwriters Chris Tompkins and Josh Kear, who previously wrote "Before He Cheats" for Underwood's debut album, Some Hearts (2005), worked on a track titled "Blown Away" and sent it to the singer.[4] Underwood loved the song and recorded it, also naming her album Blown Away as it was the song that defined the album's darker direction.[5] She then started writing material with several songwriters, including Hillary Lindsey and Kear. Together, the trio wrote "Two Black Cadillacs", which is about two women finding out that they both are involved in a relationship the same man and set their differences aside to kill him. Underwood said that "it was so much fun to write and just be in that room" with Lindsey and Kear, as they "didn't really know what to expect or where we were headed or what we would end up with."[6] Kear described the writing session:

Carrie had told me in an earlier writing appointment that she was expecting this album to have darker tones than any of her earlier records. So I remember sitting at the piano while writing the song thinking that if Carrie really wanted something dark, this was what she was after. Carrie really got into the story and making sure we didn't give away how the two women got rid of the man the song is about. This kind of song is really tricky because you need enough detail to tell the story and keep it interesting without it becoming so graphic that it's unpleasant to listen to more than once. I think we managed to pull that off. Either way, it was certainly fun choosing which elements of the story to put in and which ones to leave out.[7]

A 30 second sample of the song's chorus features Underwood telling the story about the funeral of a cheating man, who was killed by his wife and mistress.[6] The country pop instrumentation includes piano, brooding strings and a guitar.[8][9]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Melodically, "Two Black Cadillacs" is written in the key of F minor, and is set in the common time with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. Underwood's voice spans from the low note of Ab3 to the high note of C5.[8] Billy Dukes of Taste of Country noted that the lyrics of the song push "the normally plucky country superstar to the edge of evil. It's as far as she can go without falling off the cliff of believability."[9] Dukes also described the song as a "mini-movie",[9] in which Underwood sings: "And the preacher said he was a good man / And his brother said he was a good friend / But the women in the two black veils didn't bother to cry / Bye, bye / Yeah they took turns laying a rose down / Threw a handful of dirt into the deep ground / He's not the only one who had a secret to hide / Bye bye, bye bye, bye bye."[7] The country pop instrumentation includes piano, brooding strings and a guitar, and has been compared to "Goodbye Earl" (2000) by the Dixie Chicks and "Gunpowder and Lead" (2008) by Miranda Lambert.[8][9]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Underwood performing during the first act of the Blown Away Tour (2012-13), in which she sang "Two Black Cadillacs".

"Two Black Cadillacs" received generally positive reviews from music critics. Billy Dukes of Taste of Country stated that "vocally, Underwood is brilliant as always, and lyrically, she, Hillary Lindsey and Josh Kear have penned a tight story", but went on to say that "compared to Underwood's other hits, this song doesn't stand out after one digests the macabre storyline. So, maybe it'll only sell a million singles and reach No. 2", giving the song three-and-a-half stars.[9] Daryl Addison of Great American Country praised the song, saying that "even with heavy thematic elements, the songs impressively maintain a pop/crossover shine and accessible sound, courtesy of Carrie's pristine voice and modern delivery."[10] Writing for Country Universe, Kevin Coyne gave the song an A, complimenting the singer's versatility, saying that "it's a credit to her ambition as an artist. For someone so frequently accused of getting to the top without having to earn it, she continues to work harder than the rest of her peers just to stay there."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

Following the release of the album, "Two Black Cadillacs" sold 8,000 units.[12] After being released as a single, the song debuted at number 55 on the US Country Airplay chart on the dated week of November 24, 2012, and eventually reached its peak of number 2, spending a total of 21 weeks on the chart.[13][14] "Two Black Cadillacs" became Underwood's 17th number one on Mediabase's Country Airplay charts.[15] On the dated week of December 29, 2012, the song debuted at number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching its peak of number 41 following the release of the video.[16] By May 15, 2013, it had sold 762,000 in the United States.[17] On September 30, 2013, "Two Black Cadillacs" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting sales of over 1 million units in the country.[2] In Canada, the song achieved moderate success, reaching number 3 on the Country component chart, and 52 on the Canadian Hot 100.[16][18]

Accolades[edit]

Year Recipient Awards Category Result
2013 "Two Black Cadillacs" American Country Awards Female Single of the Year Nominated[19]
CMT Music Awards Female Video of the Year Nominated[20]
2014 Academy of Country Music Awards Video of the Year Nominated[21]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Two Black Cadillacs" was directed P.R. Brown and produced by Steve Lamar for Lamar Brothers.[22] Filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, the video draws inspiration from Stephen King's novel Christine (1983), which tells the story of vintage automobile apparently possessed by supernatural forces.[23][24] A trailer was released on November 26, 2012, showing Underwood as a widow done wrong, bringing the lyrics of the song to life.[25] It premiered on January 23, 2013 on Entertainment Tonight and Vevo.[26] The video shows Underwood driving her black 1964 Cadillac through the countryside, heading towards her destination. Elsewhere, two women are shown attending a funeral devoid of any emotion complete with matching black veils. Intercut are scenes of Underwood's car in a dark alleyway and the cheating husband in its headlights. The video ends with the car running over the man and repairing itself afterwards.[24]

Live performances[edit]

Underwood performed "Two Black Cadillacs" at the 40th American Music Awards on November 18, 2012.[27] Amy Sciaretto of Taste of Country summarized the performance, writing:

Underwood performed in a lacy, frilly black dress with a full skirt and black leather fingerless gloves, which she paired with smoky black eye makeup and black hoop earrings. The singer was the centerpiece of the performance, and her look was jaw-droppingly gorgeous. [...] There were bright lights above the stage and images of two black Cadillacs on the screens behind her, but that was about the extent of her production. And the simplicity worked for her.[28]

She performed an acoustic version of the song during the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. During the performance, the singer's gown became a screen on which images varying from roses to butterflies and fireworks were projected.[29] Underwood also performed "Two Black Cadillacs" at the 2013 Country Music Association Awards, in a medley with "Good Girl", "See You Again" and "Blown Away".[30] "Two Black Cadillacs" was the third song in the medley, and Coti Howell of Taste of Country noted that, in that part, "lighting ripped across the screen and everything went black, except Underwood and her sparkly microphone."[30] The song was also performed at the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards and during the Blown Away Tour (2012–13).[31][32]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Two Black Cadillacs". Arista Nashville. Sony Music. November 18, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "American single certifications – Carrie Underwood – Two Black Cadillacs". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  3. ^ Mansfield, Brian (April 30, 2012). "Carrie Underwood: 'Blown Away' and crossing over". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ Conaway, Alana (June 12, 2012). "Carrie Underwood, 'Blown Away' – Lyrics Uncovered". Taste of Country. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ Evans-Price, Deborah (May 2, 2012). "Carrie Underwood Interview: 'Blown Away' Album Puts Drama, Emotions Center Stage". The Boot. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Wolff, Kurt (April 3, 2014). "Behind the Song: Carrie Underwood's 'Two Black Cadillacs'". CBS Pitsburgh. CBS Local Media. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Conaway, Alana (November 21, 2012). "Carrie Underwood, 'Two Black Cadillacs' – Lyrics Uncovered". Taste of Country. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Carrie Underwood "Two Black Cadillacs" Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Carrie Underwood, 'Two Black Cadillacs' – Song Review". Taste of Country. Taste of Country Network. October 31, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "GAC Album Review: Carrie Underwood's Blown Away". Great American Country. Scripps Networks Interactive. April 26, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ Coyne, Kevin John (November 18, 2012). "Single Review: Carrie Underwood, "Two Black Cadillacs"". Country Universe. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  12. ^ Mansfield, Brian (May 9, 2012). "Kelly Clarkson hits 3 million for 'Stronger' single". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Country Airplay : Nov 24, 2012". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved June 24, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ a b "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Country Airplay for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  15. ^ ""Two Black Cadillacs" Drives Carrie Underwood To Her 17th No. 1 Hit". Arista Nashville. Sony Music. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Carrie Underwood - Two Black Cadillacs". aCharts.us. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ Mansfield, Brian (May 15, 2013). "'Idol' sales: Seven singers in the Billboard 200". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Canada Country for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  19. ^ "2013 American Country Awards: Nominees & Winners". Country Weekly. American Media. December 10, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  20. ^ Smith, Grady (June 5, 2013). "CMT Awards 2013: See the winners here!". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  21. ^ Nordyke, Kimberley (April 6, 2014). "ACM Awards 2014 Winners: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ Quale, Lynn (February 4, 2013). "Behind the Scenes of Carrie Underwood's 'Two Black Cadillacs' Video [Video]". 98 Country. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ Hackett, Vernell (February 6, 2013). "'Two Black Cadillacs' Video Drives Carrie Underwood to a 'Dark Place'". The Boot. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Wyland, Sarah (January 24, 2013). "Watch Carrie Underwood's Chilling "Two Black Cadillacs" Video". Great American Country. Scripps Networks Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  25. ^ Wyland, Sarah (November 26, 2012). "Watch Carrie Underwood's Chilling "Two Black Cadillacs" Video Trailer". Great American Country. Scripps Networks Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  26. ^ Wick, Krista (January 23, 2013). "World Premiere: Carrie's 'Two Black Cadillacs'". Entertainment Tonight. CBS Studios Inc. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  27. ^ Newcomer, Wendy (November 16, 2012). "Carrie Underwood to Debut "Two Black Cadillacs" on American Music Awards". Great American Country. Scripps Networks Interactive. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  28. ^ Sciaretto, Amy (November 18, 2012). "Carrie Underwood Dons All Black to Perform 'Two Black Cadillacs' at 2012 American Music Awards". Taste of Country. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  29. ^ "The Secrets Behind Carrie Underwood's Grammy Dress". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company. February 12, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b Hotwell, Coti (November 6, 2013). "Carrie Underwood Performs Four-Song Medley During 2013 CMA Awards". Taste of Country. Taste of Country Network. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ Levy, Piet (May 4, 2013). "Review - Carrie Underwood's voice carries cluttered show". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Journal Communications. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  32. ^ Gorgan, Elena (April 8, 2013). "ACM Awards 2013: Carrie Underwood Performs "Two Black Cadillacs" – Video". Softpedia. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  34. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  35. ^ "Carrie Underwood Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Carrie Underwood. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  36. ^ "Best of 2013: Country Airplay". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Best of 2013: Hot Country Songs". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]