Miranda Lambert’s “Revolution” is one of my favorite country albums of all time. Even though the lead single, “Dead Flowers,” wasn’t the one that brought her career to the level it is now, it’s my number one single from Lambert off of the album. “Revolution” was an artistic masterpiece, and no matter how talented of an artist you are; following the album and trying to match it’s success would be an impossible feat for anyone. That’s why when Lambert announced she was going to have out two albums in the same year, one as her girl group the Pistol Annies, and one as a solo artist, I was worried. I thought her artistry was going to be stretched too thin. She’s not the kind of artist to listen to demo tapes from hit songwriters, and her albums are always of songs she wrote or covers of artists she respects. How was she going to be able to keep the Revolution streak going with two projects in the same half of one year?
“Baggage Claim” was rushed out to radio today after a YouTube video of Lambert performing it on tour last week grabbed country music fans’ attention. The catchy song is her first time co-writing with Luke Laird, borrowing him from Carrie Underwood’s hit making machine, and another one with friend Natalie Hemby. The song has a groovy guitar throughout the entire track, which for once, isn’t too rock or loud like “White Liar” or “Only Prettier.” Lambert’s tough-as-nails image is still there, but toned down with this lead single. It follows the radio friendly sound of “Heart Like Mine,” with a little more of a bite but without the Jesus controversy.
While the song doesn’t have the same spitfire that “Kerosene,” “Gunpowder & Lead” or “White Liar” had, Lambert’s writing continues to improve with each release she sends to radio. Instead of trying to prove who she is, she’s confident enough to write something catchy and not worry about trying to stand out too much at radio. She doesn’t have a reason to come in guns drawn and yelling.
One of my favorite lines from the single is: “behind every woman scorned / is a man who made her that way.” The single easily could have fit right in on “Revolution,” sounding just like a sister song to “Me & Your Cigarettes,” it doesn’t stray too far from her third album’s sound. It’s disappointing in that way, after Lambert said “Four the Record” was going to push her limits even farther and be completely different from her last album. So far, it’s sounding pretty similar. I wasn’t expecting another anthemic “Gunpowder & Lead” but something to show her progress as an artist. That’s not to say that the song isn’t good, it’ll be a hit on radio and with fans, but she is capable of much stronger material.
The song is cute, catchy and the lyrics are Lambert’s classic man-hating relationship-killing image. There’s nothing brand new or exciting about the song, which is far superior live when she can rock it out. It’s a song that I want to love, but I can’t call it my absolute favorite Lambert release. It’s a good song, a song I like and have on repeat, but it might not break my top 5. While some critics are lauding her use of metaphors throughout the song, it’s not the first time that she wrote a song like this, “Dead Flowers” is full of just as many.
Overall, it’s a good tune, a catchy little fling, but not the strongest single Lambert has ever released. It’s fun, it rocks live, but “Four The Record” will need to do better than this to have another “Revolution” for the Texan firehouse. It’s a song you can enjoy, but if you’re expecting another “Kerosene” you may want to pass on this one and wait for “Hell On Heels” on the 23rd instead.
The cover art is pretty neat, though. I’m sure PETA isn’t loving it like I am.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
POTENTIAL: Top 10 Mediabase hit
ALBUM: Four The Record