Carrie Underwood may be releasing her first album as a missus (she wed professional hockey player Mike Fisher in 2010), but don't expect marital bliss to rub off on her lyrics. Blown Away, out May 1, contains multiple songs about infidelity, including the twangy ''Two Black Cadillacs'' and the scorching title track. ''You know I don't sing love songs,'' Underwood, 29, tells EW. ''So that means I have to write more cheatin' songs! I love strong female anthemic songs. And what better way to feel like a strong woman than getting over a guy with power and grace and in-your-faceness?'' Read on to find out how her musical education was shaped by such ladies, from Karen Carpenter to Courtney Love and a few men, too. (Here's looking at you, Billy Idol.)
The song that makes me think of my childhood
''Top of the World,'' The Carpenters
''I remember going to my grandma's house on the weekends and my parents would listen to the oldies station. It was only a 45-minute drive, but it seemed like three hours each way. Whether you love it or don't like it, Karen Carpenter just had a unique, velvety, and deep voice; she didn't sound like anybody else.''
The first song I ever sang in public
''Somewhere Out There,'' Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
''I have photographic evidence of me singing 'Jesus Loves Me' as a 3-year-old in church with another kid. And apparently I stole the mic and brought the house down. But the first one I remember singing on stage was 'Somewhere Out There' from An American Tail. I was around 7, and my choir teacher at school asked me if I would sing it. My parents told me that I needed to move around the stage, so for the entire time I just walked back and forth from side to side while I was singing there's videotape of it. I watched it recently, and I don't know why on earth Mrs. Cooper would have asked me to sing. I don't think I would have been like, 'Yes! This child needs to have a solo!'''
The album that reminds me of my first crush
Yourself or Someone Like You, Matchbox Twenty
''When I was in seventh grade, I totally had a crush on a guy who was older than me, and he listened to alternative music. So he was into Days of the New and stuff like that, and more poppy stuff, too, like Matchbox Twenty. I started listening to more alternative music and liking the whole grunge thing. That was a fantastic album.''
The song that reminds me of my time on American Idol
''Could've Been,'' Tiffany
''I think most people would think of [Heart's 1987 power ballad] 'Alone.' I don't know if I would. The whole time before you're on camera is when you have songs in your pocket. So that Tiffany song that I did on the first live show was definitely one that I wanted to do. Because I was like, 'Nobody is going to expect this song!' And I've always loved it, ever since I was little.''