Dirty Laundry

Album: Storyteller (2015)
Charted: 48
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Songfacts®:

  • Not the Don Henley song of the same title, this is a tale of a man whose cheating ways are uncovered after his woman finds lipstick and wine stains on his clothes. The cut was penned by regular Underwood collaborators Hillary Lindsey and Ashley Gorley as well as Sam Hunt's main songwriting wingman Zach Crowell.
  • The track was produced by Jay Joyce (Little Big Town, Eric Church), one of six he helmed for Storyteller. It was the first time that Underwood had worked with Joyce, who crafted an edgier sound thanthe country star's previous material. "I want to grow, and I want to change, and I want my music to reflect that," Underwood said, "and I felt like I just needed things to switch up a little bit in order to achieve that."
  • Underwood is singing in character in this one. She married the professional hockey player Mike Fisher in 2010, but has plenty of previous relationships on which to draw from when she needs to get into the mind of a woman with a deceitful beau. Some of her other songs that take on this topic include "Before He Cheats," "Undo It" and "Two Black Cadillacs."
  • Carrie Underwood explained the song's storyline in a video. "It's a take on a cheater in a familiar way, with the lipstick on the collar and the red wine, and, like, there's all these telltale signs that he was with another woman, and it shows on his dirty laundry," she said. "But it's also, like, she airs it out for the whole world to see - you know, metaphorically and literally, airs his dirty laundry out to the world... She's gonna tell everybody everything, every low-down, dirty thing that you did. So it is - it's a woman fed up, but she does something about it, too: She kicks him out, and she also kind of ruins his reputation."
  • Although the song isn't about household chores, proud mother Carrie Underwood told The Boot that its title resonates with her. "I feel like I do laundry every day," she said. "I'm not sure where it all comes from. There's only three of us, and one of us is very small, so I'm really not sure how we have so much. I'm still a mom, first and foremost. Like, this morning, I was like, 'Oh, it's going to be a really busy day, so I'm just going to be here and just play with him.' That's what I got for it. We both had to change our clothes. So, it happens."
  • Carrie Underwood declares here to her cheating man:

    All those midnights sneaking in
    I'm late again, oh, I'm so sorry
    All the Ajax in the world ain't gonna clean your dirty laundry


    The songwriters were especially pleased with their use of a word that doesn't normally crop up in country songs. Zach Crowell shared with Taste of Country:

    "When we came up with the Ajax line, we loved that line. 'Ajax' we knew was a buzz-y word to say, and a bizarre word to say," he explained. "No one else is really saying the word 'Ajax.' When I think of Ajax, I typically think of shower cleaner and tub cleaner, and we were like, 'Do they make clothes detergent?' So we Googled Ajax detergent, and we were all super-excited when we saw that they do make laundry."

    "We were excited, 'cause we could use our word correctly," Crowell continued. "We knew that word was a buzz-y word, especially in the melody and the post-chorus part that it's in. We knew that would be a cool line, if we were lucky enough for someone to record it. Anytime you can find a word like that, find a buzz-y word that lyrically fits and melodically fits, you kind of get excited about it, because it's hard to do. Those words stand out."
  • The black-and-white video was directed by Shane C. Drake. The American music video director has worked with many leading artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Paramore, Fall Out Boy and, Panic! at the Disco, but this was his first collaboration with Carrie Underwood.

    Shane C. Drake uses imagery of various women scorned as well as quick shots of assorted wild animals to accompany the story that Underwood tells in the song.

    "I really connected with Shane's artistic vision for the video," said Underwood. "It's all about emotion and that moment when a woman has finally reached that point, after the heartache, of being done with a relationship."

    "Shane had the idea to include some beautiful animals that represent the parallels between human and animal behavior and instincts, which look great interwoven with visuals of emotional women and men," she continued. "It gave us a way to portray one of my songs in a way we've never done before."

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