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Music Reviews

MPAA Rating
Genre
Country
Performance

Debuted at No. 3.

Record Label
RCA Nashville
RELEASED
November 1, 2011
Reviewer
Adam R. Holz
Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert

Four the Record

Miranda Lambert's first three albums have done much to secure her status as country music's fiercest femme fatale. Mess with Miranda between her verse and chorus, and she might just pour kerosene on your house and burn it down to the ground. It's a take-no-prisoners attitude that's yielded three platinum albums and made her one of the genre's most popular singers.

So what happens when a woman with an affinity for shotguns, cigarettes and flammable liquids—at least in the songs she sings—ties the knot, as the 28-year-old did with fellow country singer Blake Shelton earlier this year? Does she trade in gunpowder and whiskey for daisies and diamonds?

Not quite.

"That crazy girl inside of me will always be there," Miranda told USA Today recently. "I don't think getting married or becoming a mom would change that part of my personality—it just adds to my personality."

Pro-Social Content

"Safe" glories in the feeling of security that a strong and healthy relationship provides. Miranda promises her man, "I'll spend forever making sure I can erase/Every tear you ever thought about crying/ … I'll keep you safe." Likewise, "Oklahoma Sky" is an unsullied ode to love and land ("All our sorrows swept away forever/Each and every tear washed out to sea/There ain't no goodbye/With your hand in mine/Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky").

"Same Old You" acknowledges that a relationship full of drink and drugs is going to be destructive ("Another lonely night/With that same old whiskey morning/It's the same old you/ … Well this time I done some thinking/And I think I'm done with you/'Cause until I get to leaving/It's just the same old me, too"). Likewise, "Baggage Claim" boldly tells a deadbeat dude where he can pick up his metaphorical bags and skedaddle to.

"All Kinds of Kinds" strives to affirm every individual's value, but …

Objectionable Content

… it also focuses on a cross-dressing politician to make its point about tolerance: "Thomas was a congressman with closets full of skeletons/And dresses that he wore on Friday nights." Turns out the rest of the family has some issues, too, like Thomas' pharmacist wife who drugs herself and their children while waiting for "Thomasina" to come home: "Phyllis was a pharmacist, a dab of that, a pinch of this/Concocted to suppress her appetite/When the children were fiddlin', she'd slip 'em some Ritalin/And wait for Thomasina to arrive/ … It takes all kinds of kinds." Then Miranda drops the hammer on those she sees as self-righteous moralists for what she describes as ignorant intolerance: "Now some point a finger and let ignorance linger/If they'd look in the mirror they'd find/ … It takes all kinds of kinds."

"Fastest Girl in Town" is vintage Lambert. "I got the cigarettes/You've got a lighter," she sings. "And when the sun goes down we'll start a little fire/Ain't no use trying to slow me down/'Cause you're running with the fastest girl in town." When the police pull her and her beau over, she advises, "Throw out the bottle, and I'll hide the gun." We also hear about bullets, more guns, a car that "can really haul some a‑‑" and these lyrics, "Let's go to town for a little while/I'll be wearing nothing but a tattoo and a smile."

"Fine Tune" naughtily winks at all sorts of suggestive automotive double entendres. "Easy Living" alludes to make-up sex after an argument (and includes "b‑‑ch"). A prodigal on "Look at Miss Ohio" claims, "I wanna do right, but not right now." "Mama's Broken Heart" finds a rebellious daughter flaunting all her mother's stern societal conventions.

On "Dear Diamond," a newly married woman confesses to her diamond ring that she's been unfaithful and vows never to reveal that indiscretion. "Baggage Claim" threatens to burn an ex's belongings … and uses an s-word to describe them. Breakup songs "Better in the Long Run" and "Nobody's Fool" tell stories of heartbroken women trying to drink their disappointment away.

Summary Advisory

Miranda's right: Marriage hasn't expunged the "crazy girl" inside her. At least it hasn't expunged the crazy character she loves to play.

When it comes to the values the singer actually hopes to live by, however, things get old-fashioned in a hurry. In a recent interview on the Country Music Channel's website, she sang the praises of long-term marriage and talked about how her parents' faithfulness was a model she hoped to embrace in her own marriage to Blake. "Divorce is not an option," she said. "That's what my mom has always said. That's what I'm gonna take to my marriage. It's so cool to have that example set for me my whole life."

Too bad the example she's setting for her fans isn't as consistent.

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