With the release of her new music video for “Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood skips the religious iconography and draws on So You Think You Can Dance interpretive talent to show off her personal side. This time it’s not the highs or lows of lovesickness, it’s spiritual strength. And it takes just that – strength – to show off your religious side when you are a mainstream celebrity.
Just over a month after releasing the audio, the music video for “Something in the Water” landed. For a mainstream artist’s work, the song does not hold back, containing these lines:
Then it hit me like a lightning late one night
I was all out of hope and all out of fight
Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I’m changed
The American Idol alum has been linked to Christianity for mainstream listeners since her megahit “Jesus Take the Wheel” hit the airwaves in 2005. Those surfing YouTube have also racked up over 27 Million views on just one user’s post of Underwood’s powerful “How Great Thou Art” performance.
“Something in the Water” is more than a colloquial reference to Jesus or a performance of a sacred hymn. It is a declaration – one with a little more reach than her statements of faith in interviews. Many musicians have reeled back when rumors of their spirituality have made the newsfeed, such as when 2000s rock-group Evanescence of “Bring Me Back to Life” fame pushed back against any claims of Christianity in their music (a pushback that came complete with expletives).
But obviously Underwood’s not inching back. Nor are others.
Just a week after Underwood released her genuine statement in song, Owl City released “You’re Not Alone.” Owl City grew popular with their song “Fireflies” and their collaboration with “Call Me Maybe” star Carly Rae Jepson on “Good Time.” In “You’re Not Alone” Owl City’s Adam Young, a mainstream artist who is also a Christian, collaborates with crossover Christian artist Britt Nicole declaring in their song: “You rescue me, and I believe that God is love, and He is all I need from this day forth for all eternity.”
Meanwhile, Interview Magazine released a story in which self-embattled star Shia LaBeouf of the Transformers movies and Disney’s Even Stevens television show (among other roles) declared that while filming his new movie Fury, starring Brad Pitt, LaBeouf “found God,” saying with more than one of his own expletives, “I became a Christian man, and not in a ****** ******** way – in a very real way.” He credits Pitt for showing him the way.
LaBeouf has been on a rollercoaster of statements over the last year, plagiarizing, apologizing, wearing a bag over his head, and all-around making us wonder if he’s pulling a Joaquin Phoenix. In Fury, he does play a Christian character… so maybe that was inspiration as well, or maybe this is all news-cycle stunt. If his statements of faith are just PR as the cynics would have us believe, it is a sad day for the actor. If they are real, it is a bold day for him.
For Underwood, the boldness comes with great support, her fans taking to Twitter to show their support and buying up the song in initial numbers that have outdone any of her other releases (including her other 18 #1 hits). Her statement rings genuine for devout fans, and the country music industry has long had ties to religious communities of traditional ilk, making her statement only a surprise for its publicness and not its content. It’s not surprising that she believes; it’s surprising she said it so bluntly on iTunes, the radio, and across mobile devices playing her music video on YouTube.
Celebrities have a unique role in our society, shaping views on beauty, money, success, politics, and even religion. Their silence is often a statement that one should not talk about one’s spiritual self, that faith is something to be hidden away, maybe even something to be ashamed of. Especially when you have an active, positive spiritual life of belief. Celebrities can catch flack for talking about religion publicly. Just ask Tom Cruise. Or LaBeouf. Perhaps there was something in the water this last month, but for whatever reason, it seems that a few brave souls are willing to go against the typical flow.
And what are your thoughts? Does this song ring true for you? Did you buy it? Did you buy LaBeouf’s declaration? Should fans even be in the position of deciding if a celebrity’s faith is “true” or not? (Hint: Nope.) Sound off in the COMMENTS below and SUBSCRIBE above and on Twitter.