If there’s one artist I wish people would take a chance on, it’s Miranda Lambert. For the third time in a row, she’s created a CD that expresses a range of emotions through incredible craftsmanship, witty lyrics, heartfelt singing, and slick production. Even more impressively, she manages to do this while maintaining one of the strongest artistic identities in the country genre. Her unique brand of defiant feminism makes another blond reality show winner seem like a cardboard cutout. No name-dropping here, but you can probably guess the reference.
The title of her third LP, Revolution, is both a misnomer and the perfect name for this album. Upon learning the title, I assumed I would be in store for the same defiance and rebellion Lambert’s superlative second disc, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, exhibited. Alas (or fortunately), Revolution takes Lambert’s sound in a softer and more mature direction. Granted, her personality shows through, but she’s grown up now. Love, loss, and relationships are treated with a greater degree of nuance and subtly. The lead single, Dead Flowers, laments a relationship that does not seem to quit. “I feel like the flowers in this vase/He just brought ‘em home one day/Ain’t they beautiful, he said/They’ve been here in the kitchen and the water’s turning gray/They’re sitting in the vase, but now they’re dead. Dead flowers.” It’s this sort of powerful imagery and creative writing that makes Revolution feel like a more even and complete CD than any of Lambert’s earlier efforts.
That being said, the only slight disappointment is that Revolution doesn’t contain any songs that are as dramatic as some of the best moments of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This time, there aren’t any bar fights, yet Lambert does manage to inject her special brand of spunk on a few numbers. Only Prettier is a kiss-off to some sort of rival. Perhaps is a political statement, perhaps it’s a message to a certain blond singer, and perhaps it’s just directed at anyone. The writing is good enough to translate the song to a variety of situations. Her choice to cover That’s The Way the World Goes Round also shows her feisty side.
I do have to say, I think I prefer Revolution for its artistic consistency. Two of the best songs Lambert has ever recorded appear here, yet they’re both subtle and elegant—characteristics that didn’t apply to her previous works. Heart Like Mine has Lambert accepting her flaws with dignity and a bit of humor and The House That Built Me is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard this year (or ever, for that matter). With Revolution, Lambert shows that she’s the real deal. This is one carnival ride actually worth taking. Get the hint?
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Savage Songs: Dead Flowers, Only Prettier, Heart Like Mine, The House That Built Me