Quarterback (song)

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Quarterback by Kira Isabella.jpg
Single by Kira Isabella
from the album Caffeine & Big Dreams
Released March 25, 2014 (2014-03-25)
Format Digital download
Genre Country
Length 3:29
Label Legend North, HitShop
Songwriter(s) Rivers Rutherford
Bobby Hamrick
Marti Dodson
Producer(s) Mark Liggett
Jerry Lane
Kira Isabella singles chronology
"Blame It on Your Truck"
"Gone Enough"
"Blame It on Your Truck"
"Gone Enough"

"Quarterback" is a song recorded by Canadian country music artist Kira Isabella. It was written by Rivers Rutherford, Bobby Hamrick, and Marti Dodson, and was produced by Mark Liggett and Jerry Lane. The song was first released in Canada through Legend North (under license to Sony Music Canada) on March 25, 2014 as the lead single from Isabella's second studio album, Caffeine & Big Dreams.

Background and release[edit]

During the initial writing, "Quarterback" was to take a lighter approach, comparing the protective qualities of a linebacker to the more glamorous quarterback position. After discussing rape scandals surrounding university football teams in recent years, the co-writers made the decision to pursue a darker storyline.[1] The song was originally planned to be pitched to Carrie Underwood, who had previously tackled tough subjects in such singles as "Temporary Home" and "Blown Away". It was not passed along to her, however, as one of her associates suggested that Underwood recording the song would be inappropriate due to her romantic history with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.[1] The song then caught the attention of Kira Isabella's management team, who believed the song could work for her. Though written as a first-person narrative in the demo version, the songwriters opted to re-write "Quarterback" in the third person to avoid leading listeners to believe the story came from Isabella's personal experience.[1]

"Quarterback" was released in Canada through Legend North on March 25, 2014.[2] In the US, the song was released to digital retailers through HitShop Records on April 1, 2014, and was serviced to country radio on May 19, 2014.[3][4] "Quarterback" marks Isabella's first US release after signing to HitShop Records in late 2013.[5][6]


"It’s not about a quarterback... It’s about somebody who has any kind of power taking advantage of somebody who doesn’t."

-Isabella, on the song's extended metaphor.[7]

"Quarterback" tells the story of a vulnerable "no name" girl who gets publicly taken advantage of by the eponymous football star and the embarrassment she feels in a small town where everybody knows about it. According to MusicRow magazine, the song deals with the aftermath of date rape.[8] The song also tackles the modern social issue of cyberbullying, which is harassing or humiliating others through the Internet, as evidenced by the lines "She always heard that a girls first time / Is a memory she'll never forget / She found out the hard way about love / When she saw those pictures on the internet."[5]

A country ballad, "Quarterback" begins with a "delicate" guitar,[5] while the main melody is built around a string arrangement and ominous cello score.[1] Producer Mark Liggett hired three musicians and stacked their parts to resemble a full string section.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Country music blog Taste of Country compared the arrangement of the song to the music of The Dixie Chicks, and praised Isabella for "[facing] a very real problem head on" and for boldly conveying a story "not yet told in country music."[5] Spin magazine hailed "Quarterback" as the best country song of 2014: "This is country music," writes Andrew Soto, "The more familiar the stories, the worse they sound."[9] Soto praised both the writers and Isabella as a performer, noting that "it helps Isabella's performance that she isn't the most commanding presence: She sings like the "no-name girl from the freshman class" whose life is destroyed [in the song]."[9] Charles Aaron at Wondering Sound similarly labelled "Quarterback" the "most powerful" song of 2014, adding that he considered it "an obvious, immediate hit" upon first hearing the song.[10] He praised the "concisely-written, unexpected" plot, the production ("every musical element complements the story masterfully," writes Aaron), and Isabella's performance ("[her] effortless, sly quaver is transfixing").[10]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[11] 79
Canada Country (Billboard)[12] 10

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label Format
Canada March 25, 2014[2] Sony Music Canada Digital download
United States April 1, 2014[3] HitShop Records
May 19, 2014[4] Country radio airplay


  1. ^ a b c d e Roland, Tom. "Billboard Country : Mid-Week Update" (PDF). Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Quarterback - Single by Kira Isabella". iTunes Store CAN. Apple Inc. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Quarterback - Single by Kira Isabella". iTunes Store US. Apple Inc. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "R&R :: Going for Adds :: Country". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Kira Isabella, 'Quarterback' [LISTEN]". Taste of Country. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "HitShop Records Signs Canadian Country Singer Kira Isabella". All Access Music Group. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Saxberg, Lynn (18 November 2014). "Music Review: Grown-up version of Kira Isabella exudes natural style, talent". Ottawa Citizen. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Nicholson, Jessica. "MusicRowPics: Kira Isabella". MusicRow. Retrieved 16 May 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Soto Andrew (11 December 2014). "The 40 Best Country Songs of 2014". Spin. Spin Media. Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Aaron, Charles (1 August 2014). "Is Country Radio Ready for a Song about Date Rape?". Wondering Sound. eMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Kira Isabella Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Kira Isabella Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard.