Story Behind the Song: Carrie Underwood, ‘Wasted’
Carrie Underwood's 2007 single "Wasted" was co-written by Marv Green, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges. The song, included on Underwood's debut Some Hearts album, began earning airplay on country radio before even being released as a single and, once officially released, became the country superstar's fourth consecutive No. 1 hit. "Wasted" spent three weeks in the top spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and has been certified platinum.
Below, Green, Lindsey and Verges tell The Boot about how the smash hit came to be.
Marv Green: Sometimes a song starts with a melody, sometimes with an emotion ... but this song really just started with throwing out that title, "Wasted." I liked the different meanings of wasted ... like, obviously, drinking too much alcohol. But I also liked the idea of using wasted with time ... wasting too much of your life. I like to look at words like that. I just thought it would make a striking title.
Troy started playing a few of those verse chords and started to do the groove of the song. And Hillary is one of those people that sings something sometimes and makes you go, "Sing that again!" She actually sang that whole first line: "Standing at the back door, she tried to make it fast, one tear hit the hardwood ..." and that definitely got us going. That's when I came up with that next line, "Pouring raindrops back into a cloud," and Troy just took it from there.
Hillary Lindsey: Troy started playing grooves, and the melody just came out. I wish every day was like that!
I do remember having a clear visual of it though. When I said it, I was literally seeing a tear hit the floor. Troy has these throw rugs on top of hardwood floors at his house, and I was actually seeing glass shatter, in my head.
Troy Verges: Marv and I were just jamming around a little bit. I wasn't thinking of anything particular, lyrically. I was just trying to find something that felt good. Hillary just started singing that first line. That was all internal for her, but that little moment for her was really important for us, because everything stemmed from that one opening verse.
The story took off from there. We wrote the first verse, then tried to decide whether to write the whole song about her story or go on to a new story. We ultimately decided to change gears and come over to a new story for the second verse.
Green: There's a story where these two people could be connected -- the woman in the first verse and the guy in the second verse. But in my mind, it was open as to whether they knew each other or didn't know each other. Maybe these two characters are completely separate, and they're just tied together in a song.
As a writer, it's fun to see how people will interpret a song, but it's always interesting. When I saw the video, it was so beautiful, really cool -- all black and white, looked like they filmed it in Florida, on the beach. And in the video, these two lives were definitely connected.
Verges: We wanted to leave it open. People have been interpreting it both ways. In my mind, they didn't know each other at all; they were separate stories. But people have taken it as both people related. I love that about songs, that different people can take different things from them.
Lindsey: In my mind, they were always separate. I was just really into the moment, into the characters, when we were writing. The melody and the groove felt good, but I just really loved the sentiment of the song ... the chorus and the characters. They're so colorful.
I wasn't even getting past, once we demo-ed it and pitched it, who would get it. I wasn't thinking about that when we were writing it. I just know that when Marv said that line, "Pouring teardrops back into a cloud," I just freaked out over that line. That made me smile really big!
Green: It was a great co-write ... it really felt like we all lyrically and melodically contributed.
This story was originally written by Marianne Horner, and revised by Angela Stefano.
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