Album Review : Miranda Lambert’s ‘Four The Record’

Country chanteuse Miranda Lambert has had a dream run over the last 2 years. Her 3rd album ‘Revolution’ debuted at # 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart in 2009, two of the five singles released from the album went to # 1 on the Hot Country Songs Chart (including the first # 1 single of her entire career, ‘The House That Built Me‘), she won her first Grammy this year for Best Female Country Vocalist, four Country Music Association Awards including Video, Song and Album Of The Year, sold over 1.4 million copies of the album, which presently spends its 109th week on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart after receiving a Platinum certification earlier this year. And there seems to be no slowing down for her this year as well. Her 4th album ‘Four The Record’ just debuted at # 1 last week on the Billboard Country Albums Chart, becoming her 4th consecutive # 1 album on chart, with the highest first week sales of her career. She also charted at # 1 earlier this year as a part of her girl group The Pistol Annies with their début album ‘Hell On Heels’. Oh and she also got married to fellow country superstar Blake Shelton this year.

Like all her previous albums, Miranda keeps it surprisingly fresh, feisty and real with ‘Four The Record’ and in the process remains one of country music’s most committed and undiluted vocalists. There’s no sign of a pop cross-over like her fellow country divas Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Rather there’s a steady influence of country legends Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard throughout the record.

Miranda’s song-writing abilities shine through yet again, especially on the first single ‘Baggage Claim’, a sassy song that deals with the baggage of an exhausted romance.

Although no individual single on the album reaches the heights of her biggest hit ‘The House That Built Me’, the album is her most consistent work till date. It’s strange that the album has no happily-ever-after ballads, considering that Miranda did have a fairy tale wedding this year. ‘Safe’ is one of the few songs song that comes close though, along with the stunning ‘Oklahoma Sky’, the concluding song of the album and a standout track, which is a haunting ode to her new marriage and love.

‘Nobody’s Fool’ is another personal fave, her vocals sound great on this bluesy-country-rock number, and the lyrics are great. (‘all my friends say “hey don’t you know him”, and i’ll try to play it off cool…when they ask i’ll just say he’s nobody, and me, well i’m nobody’s fool’).

Another standout track on the album is ‘Dear Diamonds’, a song about a bride taking a secret with her to the altar.

Husband Blake Shelton makes the customary appearance for a duet with Miranda on ‘Better In The Long Run’, a song that deals with, of all things, a relationship that’s run its course. (“One more down to drink you off my mind.”) And here I was expecting a soaring Garth/Trisha kinda ballad. Oh well!

The other tracks are diverse, and yet cohesive, as they maintain the pace of the album. Opening track  ‘All Kinds Of Kind’, ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’, ‘Look At Miss Ohio’ and ‘Fastest Girl In Town’ have pretty much kept me hooked on to the album for a while now.

Overall, Miranda Lambert sets the record straight with ‘Four The Record’. She’s ruling the game, she’s here to stay, so deal with it.