Miranda Lambert is bringing country music back.
The singer has been tearing up the charts lately and just scored a big album debut, but music critics see her as doing something even bigger.
In her album Platinum, Miranda Lambert not only steps outside the traditional boxes drawn for female country singers, she destroys them. Instead of singing about the usual tropes (which The Atlantic identifies as: explosive woman done wrong, heartbroken woman done wrong, or lady in love), she instead attacks the restrictive ideas perpetuated by country music.
“You don’t know nothin’ about girls,” she sings in the album’s title song.
Rolling Stone noted that Miranda Lambert is keeping country music fresh in an era when all album sales are down.
“At a time when music superstars’ sales have diminished with every release — poor Mariah Carey‘s Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse sold 58,000 before dropping out of the top 10 — Rolling Stone cover star Miranda Lambert is going in the opposite direction,” the report noted. “First-week sales of her albums have totaled 40,000, 53,000, 66,000, 133,000 and, with this week’s Platinum, 179,000.”
Atlantic also noted that Lambert takes the album beyond the traditional sounds of the country music genre.
The report notes:
“All That’s Left” could soundtrack a swingin’ dance for those fans still pining for the ghost of Lefty Frizzell, while “Smokin’ and Drinkin,’” finds Lambert singing nostalgic, quiet-storm country a la Lady Antebellum. Lambert’s compelling in this mode—see also “Holding on to You,” meticulous country soul, which slips in soothingly after “Somethin’ Bad,” a duet with Carrie Underwood that has all the sensitivity of a battering ram. “Gravity Is a Bitch,” sounds like a mix of cocktail jazz and a vaudeville routine, with cartoony piano and a funny narrative about aging. The jaunty hand-claps and sharp, strummed rhythm of “Priscilla” make it a strong candidate for the album’s second single.
Miranda Lambert has already scored a huge personal milestone with the album — her first No. 1 album debut on the Billboard 200 chart. Platinum, her fifth album, sold 180,000 copies in its first week, knocking the venerable Frozen soundtrack out of the top spot.
As she’s been changing country music, Miranda Lambert has also undergone something of a personal transformation. Last year, the singer was told she needed to lose 40 pounds, a request Lambert said made her initially a little uneasy.
“I’d think, ‘But I’m not obese. I’m only a size 8. I really don’t even need to lose 40 pounds. I thought I only needed to lose like 15, but now that you mention it, dang, I do look kind of bad! Thanks for bringing that to my attention, a–hole.’ “
But Miranda Lambert got on a strict diet and exercise program, and at this year’s CMT Awards, she showed off a 45-pound weight loss.