Four The Record
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2011 release, the fourth album from the award winning Country songbird. Apart from her extremely successful solo career, the former Nashville Star contestant spends her off time as wife of fellow Country superstar. superstar Blake Shelton. Features the single 'Baggage Claim'.
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I held off from reviewing this album because I had my own expectations and Miranda didn't live up to them. However, after sitting on this album for over a week, I realize what a wonderful album it is. Its country, but Miranda is pushing country to a much needed edgy route. You can hear the growth and you sense this is a much more personal album for her. The songs are not as accessible sounding as the songs of "Revolution", but this album is much deeper.
All the songs are great, but I particularly love "All Kinds of Kinds" (the message), "Fine Tune" (you have to listen to believe it), "Fastest Girl in Town" (bad girl's anthem), "Mama's Broken Heart"(fiery), "Dear Diamond" (hardcore country), "Same Old You" (sassy), "Easy Living" (Hank would be proud of this one), "Over You"(moving) and "Better in the Long Run" (soulful). But my absolute favorite song is "Oklahoma Sky" because every time I play the song, I feel like I am on air.
I highly recommend you purchasing this album. It's the evolution of a real artist!
Take "All Kinds of Kinds," for example. This song is a contemporary anthem in praise of our differences and the contributions of diversity to the fabric that makes us exceptional as a people. If you see the characters in the song as the left-behind, abnormal fringes of society, you've missed the point of this Phillip Coleman song. She has real empathy for the love that the acrobat has for a human cannonball and is non-judgmental regarding the still-functioning marriage between the transvestite Congressman and the drug-taking pharmacist. The antagonists, instead, are those who would seek to condemn without understanding, pompous hypocrites always in ample supply, particularly in the evangelical hinterland (cf. "bush league population sign"). Tolerance and acceptance, we can see, are often as rare as ibex sightings. "Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning/It takes all kinds of kinds." Indeed.
Another song away from the Lambert-as-rebel metaphor was the heartfelt "Over You," a song that Lambert wrote herself with her now-husband, Blake Shelton. The song is about the injustice of the untimely death of the young. Lyrics like "They say I'll be okay/But I'm not ever going to get over you" are as ubiquitous as re-runs of "Andy Griffith." But the plaintive, "How dare you?" brings an edge that elevates the song above the commonplace. Understandably, the song is among the top three in downloads off the album. The song was supposedly inspired by the death of Shelton's brother in a car accident, but by the time the cut was ready for production, it plays like a love song--plain, simple, and genuine.
One of my favorite songs on the album is Lambert's duet with Shelton, "Better in the Long Run," which captures the visceral and helpless feeling we all know only too well when we're in the vortex of a troubled relationship: "I can't not love you just because/You say it's better in the long run." The song works largely because the metaphors work. An evocative metaphor hits the listener a lot harder than a gaggle of whiney words and explanations: "cheap red wine straight out of a coffee cup" and "now we're out of gas and too far out of town." The theme rings true whether you're in Tupelo or Kurdistan. The song, like "Over You," is not about rebellion as much as reconciliation, of coming to terms with an ending that we fatalistically accept as inevitable but with a paradoxical sense of both immediacy and remoteness. One of the song's co-authors was Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, and there is definitely a Lady Antebellum-ish feel to the lyrics and music.
Time will tell the direction of Lambert's future work. My own forecast is partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. If the thundershowers of her "Miranda as rebel" persona appear at all, it will be increasingly infrequently.
If you like Miranda and don't have all her albums.......get them.