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Track Review

Everyone needs an anthem.

You, know, that sort of adrenaline-pumping melody that gets in your bones and helps you tackle your fears on the playing field of life.

Carrie Underwood's latest single, “The Champion,” is that kind of anthem. Produced for Super Bowl LII and featured in NBC's 2018 Olympics coverage as well, this track scored a touchdown when it was previewed during the NFL playoffs and later debuted as the official Super Bowl anthem.

Combining pop, rock and country sounds (and featuring rapper Ludacris as well), "The Champion" strives to offer something for everyone, to deliver an “unbreakable, unstoppable” win for many fans.

Rocky, Ali, Underwood

The promotional Super Bowl video for this song features Underwood belting it out in a short, silver dress in front of images of NFL players (with more cameos from former players following later on). She vows, "I'll be the last one standing/Two hands in the air." She insists, “I live for the battle/I’m a soldier, yeah.” And she exclaims, “I'm a fighter like Rocky/Put you flat on your back like Ali.

Underwood then slaps an Ali-like exclamation point on the end of that first verse: "Yeah, I'm the greatest, I'm stronger/Paid my dues, can't lose, I'ma own ya, ay.”

Then the perspective shifts a bit, with Underwood pondering what might be said about a champion's legacy: “When they write my story/They're gonna say that I did it for the glory/But don't think that I did it for the fame, yeah/I did it for the love of the game, yeah.”

The song's chorus oozes superlative confidence: "I am invincible, unbreakable/Unstoppable, unshakeable," Underwood proclaims. "I was made for this, I was born to win/I am the champion."

Rapper Ludacris, for his part, unleashes still more descriptors that capture what it means to be a "born champion." It's quite a list: "courage," "honor," "patience," "motivation," "consistent," "integrity," "innovative" and "optimistic." He concludes his contribution by rapping, "They say that every champion is all about his principles." It's a terrific addition from an iconic rapper whose material hasn't always been that heroic.

For the Love of the Game

Underwood's latest hit was just the latest expression of her long promotional partnership with the NFL. (She's been singing the intro to NBC's Sunday Night Football since 2011.)

But this song's inspiring and empowering messages about what it takes to be a champion resonate well beyond the gridiron, too. They roll off the field and into the spirits of anyone who needs to be reminded that they're made to be more than average. Instead, Underwood's latest declares that we’re made to be victorious, no matter what life may throw our way.

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Performance

Hit No. 1 on iTunes.

Record Label

Capitol Nashville

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Released

January 12, 2018

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