In 2007, girls everywhere were thrilled when Carrie Underwood released her second album, Carnival Ride. Being one of those girls, I can remember getting home from school and immediately putting the CD on my boombox. I memorized the entire album. I can distinctly remember belting out the words to her hit song, “All-American Girl.”
Looking back, it makes sense as to why Underwood’s music resonated with girls everywhere. No longer a small-town girl herself, Underwood’s roots and universal relatability in her lyrics shines through even 14 years later.
“All American Girl” became Underwood’s seventh “Billboard Hot 100 Top 40” single and charted at No. 1 on the “Billboard Hot Country Songs” chart. ‘The song was also Underwood’s seventh No. 1 single, as well as her sixth consecutive country No. 1 single. Its success classified the song as certified platinum. Co-written by Grammy-nominated songwriter Kelly Lovelace, Lovelace gave insight into creating the smash hit.
“We thought we needed to write something uptempo, since we already had a ballad / mid-tempo song finished. Lovelace recalled, “We’ve got this one thing that could be uptempo called ‘All-American Girl.'” Underwood laughed and said, “It’s not about me, is it?” We said, “No, it’s about this husband and wife, and the husband always wanted a boy, but he ended up with a girl.” She said, “Great, sounds like my dad!”
Carrie Underwood: A Voice for All-American Girls
The song’s nationwide success could be attributed to the small-town, American themes we grew up around. The song describes a familiar pattern: a father hopes he’ll have a baby boy, but they end up having a baby girl “when the nurse came in with a little pink blanket, all those big dreams changed.” As the girl grows up, she falls in love and gets married (she’s got another man wrapped around her finger.) After the song reveals they’re expecting “one of their own,” she asks what her husband is hoping for, and he replies with “one just like you, an all-American girl.”
Underwood has said the song is autobiographical as she is the youngest of three daughters. Underwood’s father has some experience watching his girls grow into successful women who now have their own families.
The music video is also loosely based on Underwood’s life. She acts as a vet and a waitress, all jobs Underwood has had at some point in her life.