Smoke Break

Album: Storyteller (2015)
Charted: 43
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  • Carrie Underwood penned this song with frequent collaborators Hillary Lindsey and Chris DeStefano. It tells the stories of a "small-town, hard-working woman just trying to make a living" and a "big-city, hard-working man just trying to climb the ladder."

    "The song itself is one of those story songs I feel like everybody can relate to, about how life is so hectic," the singer explained. "And it's so nice when - if and when - you actually get to step away for a second. We all need that, and we all need that time to ourselves and to get to take a break."
  • The song was produced by Jay Joyce, who has also worked with Eric Church, Little Big Town and Emmylou Harris. The track features a rockier, edgier sound than Underwood's previous material. "I want everything to have its own space and look different, sound different, feel different," Underwood said. "So I've been working with another producer, as well as with Mark Bright, who I'm always gonna love, but getting things a little different, and it's been fun."
  • Responding to a fan's question about the song during a Facebook chat, Underwood detailed the inspiration for the song, "We were writing and kept taking breaks to go outside because we were getting a little stuck on a song we were already working on," she wrote. "It was so beautiful outside that we had a hard time focusing, so we decided to write a song about taking breaks! 'Smoke Break' seemed like a great title, so we ran with it!"
  • Some people criticized the song's lyrics contending that it promoted smoking:

    Sometimes I need a long drag
    Yeah I know it might sound bad, but sometimes I need a smoke break

    Underwood, who is a non-smoker, responded to the critics on her Facebook page: "The song itself is just kind of one of those story songs that I feel like everybody can relate to, about how life is so hectic and it's so nice when, if and when, you actually get to kind of step away for a second."

    The singer went on to state that the song is not a pro-cigarette anthem, but instead is a tribute to sneaking away from your responsibilities and taking a minute to breathe. "And we all need that, we all need that time to ourselves to get to take a break," she said.
  • The song's music video was directed by Randee St. Nicholas, who also shot Underwood's CMT Awards-winning "Blown Away" clip. The visual focuses on several individuals who are working hard including a singer played by Underwood driving in the Mojave desert to a gig. Her pick-up truck overheats, and she gets a ride from a young woman. The characters that the video centers on are all brought together for Underwood's performance of the song at a dive bar as they let loose after a hard day of work.

    "For the storyline, I really just wanted it to be mainly about strong women - strong, beautiful women who are doing everything that the boys do," Underwood told Entertainment Tonight. "And, at the end, we all get together and have our break."
  • Carrie Underwood, Chris DeStefano and Hillary Lindsey penned the tune during a songwriting session on June 3, 2014 at the singer's cabin in suburban Nashville. The temperature outside was mid-70s, and when the trio found themselves stuck on a different idea they grabbed their coffee cups and headed out to a fountain on the lawn in order to clear their heads. This happened a second time and the threesome jokingly referring to it as a "smoke break." Underwood suggested that maybe "Smoke Break" could be the basis of a song, so DeStefano fetched his guitar, and they penned the track in about 45 minutes.
  • Storyteller debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums. This meant that Underwood became the first ever artist in the survey's history to post six consecutive career-opening chart-toppers.


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