Written by Alina Monzón. 10 November 2014.
“Two Black Cadillacs” is a song from Carrie Underwood’s album Blown Away. This song sticks out from the rest of the songs in the album but it was also one of the most popular. Underwood, along with Josh Kear and Hillary Lindsey, they wrote a song that told a story that could hook the fans right from the start. In interviews with Underwood and through the song, fans and other listeners can see how the song develops and tells a story of revenge. The message would be that women should not be underestimated and that men should be careful.
Underwood’s song talks about two women and a man. One of those women is his wife but the other is his mistress. The listener knows this when Underwood sings that the Cadillacs were “for his wife” and “the other for the woman who loved him at night”. The two women had no clue about the situation and when they did find out, they took it into their hands to take revenge. The song continues and the listener, if they pay close attention, will realize that the two women killed the man. The song uses different elements and is structured in a way to be suspenseful and develops the story well. The listener isn’t sure at first about how the guy died, but if they listen to the end they will be even more surprised.
First of all, the song’s style helps with the development of the story. Clarity, which is how clear and how easy it is to understand, is definitely found in this song. The songwriters wrote the songs with easy to follow words and phrases which make it easier to figure out the story. She uses words that anyone that speaks English would use on a normal basis. Another stylistic feature, the vividness, is one of the main elements that the song uses to get the message across. In basic terms, vividness is how the words are put together to paint a picture in the mind of the audience. “Two Black Cadillacs” uses lots of phrases to paint a picture. Right from the beginning of the song it says “Two black Cadillacs driving in a slow parade. Headlights shining bright in the middle of the day”. Just in those two lines, a person can set the scene for what is going to happen.
Throughout the entire song, the three songwriters did a good job in helping the audience picture what is going on even until the end where it says “They shared a crimson smile and just walked away and left the secret at the grave”. One could see that the two women did not feel any guilt for what they did to the man even at the funeral because “they didn’t bother to cry”. Underwood said in an interview that “it’s such a visual song, you can see it all playing out in your head when you’re listening” (Wolff). The purpose that Underwood and the other writers had in painting a picture in the mind of listeners is evident in “Two Black Cadillacs”. The song does a great job with using style to help the listener understand the message of the song.
Another way that the song gets its message across is with the way that the song is structured. This song has the form of verse-chorus-bridge, which is found in most modern songs. The way that the song is structured also contributes to the message. The verses of this particular song give most of the details about the story. In these sections, the audience finds out the background information about what happened to the guy and why it happened. With so many details in the verses, the message is clear to the point where people who would listen to this song should know what exactly happened. The chorus repeats 3 times and talks about how the people thought about the guy that was killed. Also in the chorus, the listener will notice that the two women did not cry over the death of the guy. When a person is first listening to the song and hears the chorus for the first time, it will add more suspense to the song.
The bridge is where it all ties in and it is obvious that there was a murder and the people that killed the man were the wife and the mistress. This is where the listener learns how the guy died. In an interview with Underwood, she said that “you have to listen to the whole thing. You’re sucked in, from the beginning, from the music, and it’s just, you know somethin’s gonna happen” (Wolff). The bridge, which is towards the end of the song, is what the writers wanted people to hear so they could fully understand what was happening. They might have had some initial thought on how the guy died, but in the bridge the listener by have been surprised because they weren’t expecting the women to have been murderers. The structure of the song made the story come together and is one of the ways that the writers achieved having a suspenseful and vivid effect on the listener.
“Two Black Cadillacs” is a dark song, which fits in the album in that aspect, but the story of infidelity, revenge, and murder makes it unique. Underwood, Kear, and Lindsey used stylistic devices and the structure of the song to help the listeners fully understand what the song was all about. The way that the song was written, the listener will see the message that they were trying to portray. Women are often seen as weaker and more gentle but the song showed the complete opposite.
|0:00||Intro||drums, piano||Just two instruments that make the beat the song will be in. There is no singing and the piano is what is noticed the most.|
|0:08||Verse 1||“Two black Cadillacs…”||Instrumentation is the same as intro. The last word of each lines is sung longer than the rest.|
|0:39||Chorus||“And the preacher…”||In the chorus, we hear about that others thought about the man. The women also have a secret that no one else knows about.|
|1:12||Instrumental||“Two black Cadillacs…”||The background voices sing “two black Cadillacs”|
|1:20||Verse 2||“Two months ago…”||The story continues and we find out the women were going to take revenge. That adds more suspense to the story.|
|1:51||Chorus||“And the preacher…”||This chorus seems to be more upbeat than the first. Sings “bye, bye” with more emphasis.|
|2:24||Instrumental||“Two black Cadillacs…”||Is the same as the first time but when Underwood sings “yeah” it is longer than before.|
|2:32||Bridge||“It was the first…”||The story is clear now because we find out that the man was murdered by the two women. Also, we learn that the women did not feel remorse for what they did.|
|2:51||Chorus||“And the preacher…”||Music picks up again and “bye” is sung even longer than before.|
|3:35||Outro||Instrumentation is calmer||The music is much more calm than at any other part of the song. It sounds a bit dark which is good because that feeling is found throughout the entire song.|
Wolff, Kurt. “Behind the Song: Carrie Underwood’s ‘Two Black Cadillacs’”. Radio.com. 3 Apr 2014. Web. 5 Nov 2014. http://radio.com/2014/04/03/behind-the-song-carrie-underwoods-two-black-cadillacs/.
Wolff, Kurt. “Carrie Underwood Says ‘Two Black Cadillacs’ Is Dark but ‘Juicy’”. 26 Nov 2012. Web. 5 Nov 2014. http://wycd.cbslocal.com/2012/11/26/carrie-underwood-says-two-black-cadillacs-is-dark-but-juicy/.