Miranda Leigh Lambert (born November 10, 1983) is an American country singer and guitarist. She 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 Records, includes the #1 hit "Over You", 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. Between 2010 and 2015, she was married to fellow country singer Blake Shelton.
- Kerosene (2005)
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2007)
- Revolution (2009)
- Four the Record (2011)
- Platinum (2014)
- The Weight of These Wings (2016)
- Wildcard (2019)
With Pistol Annies
- Hell On Heels (2011)
- Annie Up (2013)
- Interstate Gospel (2018)
Tropes present in her work:
- An Aesop:
- "Gunpowder and Lead" (about a domestically abused women fighting back against her husband) makes an argument for Second-Amendment rights and the importance of armed protection.
- "Me And Your Cigarattes" is all about how conservative Christians shouldn't be judgemental.
- Album Title Drop: "Bluebird" has the line "And if the house just keeps on winning, I got a wildcard up my sleeve".
- 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."
- Childhood Home Rediscovery: "The House That Built Me" is about a now-famous touring musician who tours her childhood home, long after it had been sold to new owners. She gets to walk through the house, her childhood bedroom, the backyard, and elsewhere, recalling memories of growing up and learning about life and values.
- Chronological Album Title: Four the Record.
- Cigarette of Anxiety / Drowning My Sorrows: "Hard Staying Sober."
- Cover Version: On each of her albums, starting with "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" she has included a cover of a song originally written by and/or recorded by an Americana/folk singer-songwriter including the Emmylou Harris hit "Easy From Now On," written by Susanna Clark and Carlene Carter, Patty Griffin's "Getting Ready," to name a few of the covers on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, John Prine's "That's The Way That The World Goes 'Round," Fred Eaglesmith's "Time To Get a Gun" on Revolution, Danny O'Keefe's "Covered Wagon" on "The Weight of These Wings" to name a few.
- Deal with the Devil: Referenced in the chorus of Hell On Heels. Possibly metaphorical; then again, in view of how insanely effective they are at taking men for all they're worth, possibly not.
- Divorce Assets Conflict: "Got My Name Changed Back" has a lyric about Miranda bragging that she takes all of her ex-husband money.
- Domestic Abuse: In "Gunpowder & Lead", the narrator plans to kill an abusive husband.
- Early-Bird Cameo: She sang guest vocals on Buddy Jewell's debut album nearly a year before releasing anything of her own.
- Gay Aesop: One of the characters in "All Kinds of Kinds" is a "congressman with closets full of skeletons / And dresses that he wore on Friday nights."
- Genre Deconstruction: Her main theme in her songs (when not outright using subversion) about the stereotypes of the image of a good, docile woman in country music and shows that women who abide by this tradition are spineless and miserable. Best shown in "Mama's Broken Heart".
- Going Home Again: "The House that Built Me" is about returning to where one grew up and made herself because by returning to one's roots, to those happy memories and feeling one's parents' hopes, we can heal. Memories of the journey that brought us today are important and soothing."I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself."
- Gold Digger: The title track from the Pistol Annies debut album, referenced above, is this up to eleven. The trio enumerate their collective takings: a diamond ring, a GTO, a big piece of land down in Mexico, a pink guitar, a Lincoln Town Car, a high-rise flat in Hollywood, a yacht, and a credit card that the sucker in question is apparently still paying for... and the refrain is, "Baby I'm coming for you."
- 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."
- Here We Go Again!: "Vice" is Miranda admitting to her flaws of being The Alcoholic and having meaningless hook ups but she can't do anything to stop it because of her loneliness. The music video also employs this trope: When Miranda is about to make a decision at a crossroad, a car comes up to her and she went to its backseat similar to her position at the start of the video, implying that it will crash like that car.
- 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.
- Lighter and Softer: Undoubtedly because of her marriage to Blake, Platinum and Four The Record notably contain less gritty songs compare to the other albums.
- Loudness War: A common fault of Frank Liddell's production is his choice of neophyte sound engineers, particularly on Revolution. Many of her up-tempo songs are a hot mess over way-too-loud guitars, and sometimes even the ballads suffer ó even "Over You" has a lot of clipping and a screaming solo before the last verse. Even worse, this is often a Zig-Zagged Trope for Liddell ó "The House That Built Me" is just Lambert's vocal and acoustic guitar, and is nowhere near being an example of this trope.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Somethin' Bad" jumps right in with an A Cappella refrain.
- Mixed Metaphor: "Wildcard" can't seem to make up its mind what it's even about:And if the house just keeps on winning
I got a wildcard up my sleeve
And if love keeps giving me lemons
I'll just mix 'em in my drink
And if the whole wide world stops singing
And all the stars go dark
I'll keep a light on in my soul
Keep a bluebird in my heart
- 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.
- New Media Are Evil: "Automatic" has shades of this:Hey, whatever happened to
Waiting your turn, doing it all by hand
'Cause when everything is handed to you
It's only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seemed so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic
- "Not So Different" Remark:
- "Only Prettier", which is the point of view of a Cool Loser talking to an Alpha Bitch: "We're just like you, only prettier."
- In a more serious fashion, "All Kinds of Kinds" uses a variety of quirky examples to illustrate the joys of life, saying that "Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning / It takes all kinds of kinds".
- Not Your Daddy's X: "This ain't my mama's broken heart".
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: The subject of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend".
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: She is by far the most commercially successful Nashville Star contestant, although it took her a bit longer to get there.
- 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.
- The Something Song: "Airstream Song."
- 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
- "Got My Name Changed Back" is basically one big Take That towards Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani (who she lumps in as one of the "Road Whores" her ex got along with).
- 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
- 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."
- Victorious Childhood Friend: "Me And Charlie Talking", as she sings about it dawning on her that a Childhood Friend is the one she needed all along.
- Vocal Tag Team: On both of the Pistol Annies albums, all three alternate on lead vocals.
- Wanderlust Song: "New Strings".
- Wham Episode: "Vice", in a meta sense. This is the first single from Miranda ever since her divorce from Blake and request that the details being kept private. Most country fans assumed that Blake is in the wrong, but "Vice" is basically Miranda admitting her flaws of being The Alcoholic and sleeping with other men that contributed to the end of their marriage.
- 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.