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  • Writer's pictureHugh at ZephyrHillMusic

Behind the Lyrics: Carrie Underwood - Out of that truck

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

In this series of ‘Behind the lyrics’ I take a closer look at what makes certain songs have the ability to take us deeper. I look at a wide range of country artists, from Billboard toppers to the undiscovered and unsigned. I like to uncover the story between the lines and highlight where the lyrics are special, unique or generally make me say “I wish I’d written that!”.




In previous blogs you may well have heard me say that I look for songs that are not about the typical country music topics of trucks, beer, and girls. So when Carrie Underwood dropped this new classic it was as much of a surprise to her listeners as perhaps me choosing this song!


Truck - Yes!

Beer - Yes (okay it’s wine!)

Girls - Yes!



This song is a demonstration of the perfect mastery of going with the cliché but delivering a strong song with great imagery and emotional content.


Let’s see how she does it:


Verse 1 beckons you in with all five senses. The smell of the shampoo, the mix tape playing, the visual strawberry wine stain which triggers your taste buds too, and the touch of her nail polish left on the tailgate. She is physically ingrained in the truck, and it’s got their history stamped into it almost literally!


The Chorus opens with a strong alliteration - “stick shift chevy” and the remainder is heavy with near perfect rhymes. We are treated to nine full lines all building up to the punchline title, that really builds anticipation. Nothing is forced; each rhyme word is chosen wisely and fits naturally into the narrative of the story. We are left under no illusion that the guy might have moved on, but good luck forgetting about her with all those physical reminders.


Verse 2 speculates that he is fixing up all those reminders in the truck to eliminate the memories, so she suggests that he can do all that but he can’t remove the memories from his head.


Of course we only hear the story from her side, so we can only guess why they are not together anymore. In my opinion she is not over him, because there is no meanness or revenge expressed towards him. She is not slashing the tyres or keying the side like she does in ‘Before he Cheats’! Her ex seems to have moved on fast, but have they really?! It’s a still hopeful angle on the relationship recovering, and not vengeful or sad.


The Bridge really just continues the same thoughts as verse 2 until the line


“I’m the one you’re thinkin’ ‘bout”


Which further affirms the thought that she hopes all those reminders might eventually bring him back.


I love how American’s name stuff, so many US town / state names sound like song titles e,g Waxahachie, Memphis, Alabama. This song gives us a cool truck name; Silverado Silhouette. Using specific details like that rather than just the cliché Chevy (although that is used in Chorus) makes for a better song. It also creates the perfect image too, with the word play doubling as her ghost still sitting in the shotgun seat. I could imagine these lines being the first to be penned, and then the whole story of the song coming about as a result.


In terms of the language used in the song, it isn’t very conversational, it's written like we are party to the images and pictures she has in her head, as she almost romances the stories. It is fueled by metaphors throughout, as one thing takes on the characteristics of another.


So what's the take home from this song for us songwriters? Maybe we need to consider a different angle if we want to tackle a classic country music topic. Perhaps it’s not the partner that leaves them; maybe you’ve heard the joke that eventually someone will write a country song where a guy’s self-driving car leaves him! Well I haven’t heard that one yet so perhaps there it’s still up for grabs. Maybe telling a classic ‘she/he left me’ song backwards, or it’s looking for a positive angle on breaking up, perhaps we could call that “break up for the make ups”. Anyone done that yet? Instead of a drinking song, write one about dry January, or fully embrace the drink culture but twist it with some word play - Ginuary!


Happy writing. Until next time.


Written by: Hugh Webber



Bio

Hugh has over 20 years experience as a songwriter and creative collaborator. Personally mentored by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, and a year at the London Songwriting Academy. Find out more here




Written by Carrie Underwood / David Arthur Garcia / Lydia Grace Vaughan


Verse 1

Yeah, I bet that shotgun headrest still smells like my shampoo

That messed up tape deck's still stuck playing that mix I made for you

Yeah, that's my strawberry wine stain

My nail polish on the tailgate

So much of me left I bet you must get deja vu


Chorus

When you're runnin' around in that stick shift Chevy

I bet it drives you crazy

Thinking about us on every

Other back road, baby

You got someone new on your bench seat

Trying to forget me lately

But my memory's stuck

So good luck

Trying to get me out of that truck


Verse 2

So go on touch that paint up where I scratched the driver's side

That won't take back all our weekend for no reason rides

Yeah, I bet the left side of the flatbed

Will always be mine in your head

Even though it's not me counting stars with you tonight


Chorus


Bridge

Ooh, you can shine it up, you can clean it out

Spin those tires all over town

When the music's up and the window's down

I'm the one you're thinkin' 'bout


My Silverado silhouette

Still shotgun riding in your head


Chorus


My Silverado silhouette

Still shotgun riding in your head



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