Miranda Lambert rose to fame in 2003 as the third-place finisher on the first season of the musical competition Nashville Star
. After singing backing and duet vocals on first-placer Buddy Jewell's debut album, Lambert secured a contract with Epic Records
Nashville. Her debut album Kerosene
was released to critical acclaim and strong sales, although its singles did not perform well (the title track, at #15 on Hot Country Songs, being its best showing).Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
followed in 2007 on Columbia Records
, due to the closure of Epic's Nashville branch. This album brought her into the top 10 for the first time with the single "Gunpowder & Lead". It also got critical acclaim for its revengeful material. Revolution
in 2009 includes her first and second number one hits, "The House That Built Me" and "Heart Like Mine". 2011's Four the Record
, her first album for RCA, includes the #1 hit "Over You", which she wrote with her husband, Blake Shelton
, and three more Top 10 hits. Platinum
, released in 2014, became her first album to top the Billboard 200, and includes the hits "Automatic" and "Somethin' Bad", the latter a duet with Carrie Underwood
Lambert is known for her comparatively grittier style. Although it took her three albums to top the charts, Lambert has been a longtime critical darling, with several Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards, plus a Grammy for "The House That Built Me".
Lambert also recorded two discs with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley as the side project Pistol Annies.
- Kerosene (2005)
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2007)
- Revolution (2009)
- Four the Record (2011)
- Platinum (2014)
Tropes present in her work:
- The Big Easy: "Somethin' Bad", a duet with Carrie Underwood, is about two bad girls seeking out some fun in New Orleans.
- Book Ends: "Gunpowder & Lead" both opens and closes with the sound of a door creaking.
- Breakup Bonfire: "Kerosene".
- Censored Title: "Old Sh!t" and "Gravity Is a B**ch."
- Chronological Album Title: Four the Record.
- Cigarette of Anxiety / Drowning My Sorrows: "Hard Staying Sober."
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- Domestic Abuse: In "Gunpowder & Lead", the narrator plans to kill an abusive husband.
- Good Bad Girl: Played with in "Fastest Girl in Town": Lambert uses the pre-existing construct of the good-hearted, free-loving party girl to keep the listener on the hook until it's revealed that she isn't really that good-hearted at all.
- Gray Rain of Depression: "Greyhound Bound For Nowhere" starts with the line, "Rain on the window makes me lonely."
- Last Note Nightmare: "Gunpowder & Lead" tells the story of a woman planning to shoot her abusive husband. If the listeners haven't realized the story yet, the song abruptly ends with a loud shotgun blast.
- Loudness War: A common fault of Frank Liddell's production, particularly on Revolution. See this article for more information. (However, Liddell said that he invoked this on "Only Prettier".)
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Somethin' Bad" jumps right in with an a cappella refrain.
- Ms. Fanservice: At many of her concerts and magazine covers, Miranda is dressed in a white strapless T-shirt and jeans, arguably — given that she is very attractive — a fashion statement for many women in their 20s and early 30s.
- Mood Whiplash: "Gunpowder & Lead", a song about a woman planning to shoot her husband after he beat her, is followed by "Dry Town", a much sillier song about the singer's frustration with breaking down in a town with no alcohol to be had.
- Not So Different: "Only Prettier", which is the point of view of a Cool Loser talking to an Alpha Bitch: "We're just like you, only prettier."
- Not Your Daddy's X: "This ain't my mama's broken heart".
- Sanity Slippage: The video for "Mama's Broken Heart" has Miranda play a buttoned up 50's society housewife who lets her brittle facade finally shatter behind closed doors. Never has eating a plate of vegetables been so hilariously violent.
- Take That: Went after The Grammy producers and general society for accepting back Chris Brown so easily after he beat up Rihanna and physically abused her and for being a convicted felon
"Chris Brown twice? I donít get it. He beat on a girl," she tweeted, before adding "Not cool that we act like that didnít happen. He needs to listen to Gunpowder and lead and be put back in his place. Not at the Grammys."
Before singing, Lambert pulled a poster out of the audience reading "Take Notes Chris Brown."
"Get a good picture now, put it on Twitter," she said, while holding the poster up. "Iíve been in a world of hurt with Chris Brown fans lately ...
but see, I just have to speak my mind because where I come from beating up on a woman is never okay.Ē
- Technology Marches On: In "Automatic", she laments that this is happening in the world and reminisces on the way things used to be "back before everything became automatic".
- The Runner Up Takes It All: Buddy Jewell initially outshone her on the charts (his had two top 3 hits, a number 1 album that went gold; Kerosene was a number 1 album that went platinum but its singles didn't fare as well). However, Jewell's momentum died on the second album, while Lambert has only continued to gain momentum with each successive disc.
- Öbut she has been promptly zig-zagged by Season 4 winner Chris Young, who has managed five consecutive number 1 singles (despite a false start on the first album) even though his three albums haven't sold nearly as well.
- The Something Song: "Airstream Song."
- Vocal Tag Team: In Pistol Annies, some songs have all three of them sharing the lead, or just one of them leading and the other two harmonizing.
- Wham Line: "Over You" initially sounds like a breakup song, until the last line of the bridge: "It really sinks in, you know/When I see it written in stone." Then you realize it's actually about a former lover who's died.