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Kristin Smith

Album Review

Miranda Lambert may have been relatively quiet since her last effort, 2016’s The Weight of These Wings. But she’s now back in full swing, topping the country album chart with her seventh studio album, Wildcard.

That last effort concentrated largely on Lambert’s widely publicized divorce from fellow country superstar Blake Shelton. But this time around, while she still dips into heartbreak, Miranda is focused on other things.

From her Southern roots and alcohol consumption to love and regret, Lambert’s 14-track effort is laced with both rock and country. It’s sure to give fans a fresh taste of the Miranda they’ve come to know through the years—a taste that’s almsost always on the spicy side, one way or another.

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“Bluebird” declares that no matter how many tough seasons of life she rolls through, Lambert plans to keep pushing forward in optimism: “And if the whole wide world stops singing/And all the stars go dark/I’ll keep a light on in my soul.” She also looks for the positive and makes the most of her day in “Pretty B–chin’.”

Lambert, who is now remarried, wonders what it means to be “Settling Down”: “Be a jet-set Friday or a Sunday hometown girl/I could stay a little lonely or let you get to know me.”

“How Dare You Love” finds the singer thinking about the man she loves: “Leave me, you’d never, this is forever, knock on wood/Tender in my chest, to h— with the rest, we’re right as rain.” Similar thoughts are heard on “Fire Escape.”

In “It All Comes Out in the Wash,” Lambert seems to suggest that past mistakes can somehow be cleansed in time (though she stops quite a ways short of recognizing Jesus as the source of true forgiveness): “Every little stain, every little heartbreak/No matter how messy it got/You take the sin and the men and you throw ’em all in/And you put that sucker on spin.”

“White Trash” insists that Lambert’s Southern roots will never fade, no matter how much money she makes. Similar themes are heard on “Locomotive.”

In “Holy Water,” Miranda paints a picture of a corrupt smalltown church (“Mmm, they’re sellin’ snake oil from the pulpit/At the church on Main/They’re makin’ deals with the Devil/In the good Lord’s name”). It’s the kind of song that can be heard positively, in that she realizes what’s happening is wrong …

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… or negatively, in that Lambert might still be heard as glorifying this bad church’s bad behavior.

“Way Too Pretty for Prison,” featuring Maren Morris, finds two women plotting (in pretty specific detail) to take the life of an unfaithful lover, although they decide against it in the end (“Antifreeze and Gatorade/Arsenic in his lemonade/Takes just one snip to bleed his brakes/But we ain’t gonna do it”).

In “Mess With My Head,” Miranda confesses that she used to be better off before a certain man came around (“You treat my mind like a hotel room/ … Maybe it’s wrong, but it feels right to me”). And even though he lies, she willingly takes him back (“I let you mess with my, mess with my bed/Waking up to a wreck with blue jeans on the floor”). Miranda also recalls some of her messy past relationships in “Track Record.”

Poor decisions (“You spill the beans to your mama, sister got knocked up/In a truck at the 7-Eleven”) and mistakes (“You got frisky with your boss at the copy machine”) are laid bare on “It All Comes Out in the Wash.”

We hear multiple references to intoxication and alcohol consumption (such as wine, beer and hard liquor) on the songs “White Trash,” “It All Comes Out in the Wash,” “Holy Water,” (“I believe amusing, personal communion/Can lead you right to the light”), “Locomotive,” “How Dare You Love,” “Way Too Pretty for Prison,” “Pretty B–chin’,” “Dark Bars” and “Tequila Does.” In “Fire Escape” there is a metaphorical reference to smoking marijuana.

A few profanities such as “p-ss,” “h—” and “d–n” are each uttered once or twice.

Summary Advisory

While writing and recording her last album, Miranda Lambert said that the entire process was therapeutic for her as she learned to grow and heal through divorce and unwanted publicity. And while this album certainly finds Miranda reflecting on the past, it’s far lighter than her previous work.

The album title itself is something Miranda describes as fitting: “It’s where I’m at as a person. … It feels like a queen of hearts to me and I need to be the queen of my own heart.”

But where she is as a person isn’t exactly kid friendly. Yes, there are plenty of sweet moments here that talk about love, perseverance and new beginnings. And while that’s all positive, there are still plenty of tracks that jump deep into murky waters as they openly discuss sex, intoxication, poor life choices and revenge.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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