I blame the existence of this song, which was one of the two massive clinkers (along with “Jesus Take the Wheel”) that sabotaged Underwood’s reputation early on, primarily on Nashville record executives trying to create a tamer version of early Miranda Lambert. You see, the year before they released this turd, Lambert had come out with her debut album and its title track, “Kerosene”. This was before Lambert really went mainstream even in the Country sphere, but the song had gotten a lot of attention from those who had heard it for being the kind of blazing woman-scorned Country-Rock scorcher that had never been seen before in the Country genre at the time.
The record executives clearly wanted to harness this new genre model, but they felt the need to tone down the song’s sheer violent rage when they made their copy, and that was their mistake. If you take “Before He Cheats” literally, it comes across as the stupidest attempt at revenge ever conceived: infidelity isn’t something you can go to jail for, but vandalism is, and according to the lyrics, she literally signed her crime by “Carv(ing) her name into his leather seats”. Meanwhile, if you take it as an over-the-top revenge fantasy, then frankly it’s pretty lame. You fucked up his car. Big friggin’ whoop. “Kerosene” climaxes with Lambert gunning down her cheating ex and his new girl in the street…that’s how you do a revenge fantasy.
Verdict: Even if this wasn’t an absolutely moronic song (which it is), the very existence of “Kerosene” makes checking it out a complete waste of your time.