Is Carrie Underwood's New Song A Low-Key Message To Mike Pence?

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/ACMA2018/FilmMagic.
Wondering if Nashville is red or blue? One of country music's biggest stars just dropped one of the most highly anticipated songs on her forthcoming album. It happens to be in favor of love, using language that both the left and the right will find very familiar.
Carrie Underwood dropped the track listing for her forthcoming album Cry Pretty (out September 14) last week and my corner of Twitter was very curious about one song title in particular: "Love Wins." The phrase was popularized after the 2015 Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples. Many were hopeful it would be a statement song from a leading voice in country, along the lines of Kacey Musgraves' landmark hit "Follow Your Arrow," to help legitimize a marginalized community.
While the song's title takes a very strong stance by invoking that phrase, the song itself is a little more...vague.
The issue Underwood stands most firm on in "Love Wins" is that of divisiveness. She'd like you to know we're all stronger when we stand together and that we should have faith that the current "madness" (honestly asking: is that a Trump reference?) will pass. And, of course, that we should be kind to and understanding of each other. These are all good things and worth a conversation in the current political climate, which is highly divisive. But what is the real message in "Love Wins"?
Some idea of the point of the song can be gleaned by looking at the songwriters who worked with Underwood on the track. We have David Garcia, the man behind the ubiquitous summer hit "Meant to Be" from Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha, who also happens to be an eight-time GMA Dove Award winner for his Christian songwriting and production. And then there is Brett James, who was a writer on Underwood's previous hit, "Jesus Take the Wheel." So, both have a history of Christian-adjacent songwriting. After that Supreme Court verdict, there was a bit of a reclaiming of the phrase "love wins" by the Christian community, who used it to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ — a figure who was all about love and giving to your fellow man.
In the hands of Garcia, James, and Underwood, the phrase's meaning is a little murkier. Is it a rebuke of hateful people who march with tiki torches, take children away from their parents, or marginalize entire groups of people and seek to divide us with hate? It might be.
It is not, however, a full-throated show of support for the LGBTQ community. Equal rights, of any sort, aren't mentioned. But, given the more-conservative audience that Underwood reaches, a little reminder about the importance of love isn't a bad thing. There's always a chance that Mike Pence is listening.

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