First Hit #1: July 2, 2005
Carrie Underwood manages the impossible and has a slightly unique American Idol single. Well, slightly, they recognize that she has a distinct country twang so they threw some steel guitar on the track, a recognition that she’s not a pop star, but a country pop star. But Inside Your Heaven is still an American Idol single, so it’s a bit of generic uplift, though at least it’s more about a specific relationship than it is about the general love of fans and the assembled masses. Underwood is actually one of the better country acts out there, and of American Idol’s many winners, she’s one of the few that seems like the singing competition wasn’t really necessary – she’s ambitious, but she’s also kind of pushing for an image that doesn’t quite fit the hero to millions thing American Idol likes to push, instead going for a much more specific country girl aesthetic, someone who doesn’t take much crap – the single Before He Cheats, for an example of that side – and also is trying to present what women in rural areas want to aspire to be. Inside Your Heaven is much more generic than the Underwood’s subsequent singles, but it’s part of a much more generic competition. The real test is what comes after, and Underwood post-Idol is a much more compelling personality.
Also, Inside Your Heaven sounds like the world’s worst sexual innuendo.