Review: Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder & Lead”

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December 15, 2007

“Gunpowder & Lead”
Miranda Lambert
Songwriters: Miranda Lambert & Heather Little

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There are two villains in country music songs about spousal abuse: the man who does the abusing, and the society that allows it to happen.   With her bold new single “Gunpowder & Lead”, Miranda Lambert speaks in the voice of a battered woman ready to defend herself at any cost, after the man who abused her has been set free to do so again.

It’s unnerving to hear this topic dealt with in the first person, when so often it’s a narrator telling the story in songs like these.   Tori Amos and Madonna have done abuse songs in the first person, but Lambert’s breaking new ground for country music.   Which wouldn’t matter much if she didn’t do it so well.    The stroke of brilliance was focusing the song completely around the moment of tension: her waiting at home with a loaded shotgun, ready to defend herself after he makes bail and comes back home to finish the fight.

She tells some of the back story (“Slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll.  Don’t that sound like a real man?”), and vehemently insists of what she’ll do to him when he busts through the door (“His fist is big but my gun’s bigger. He’ll find out when I pull the trigger.”)   But we never find out if she follows through, and that’s a good thing, as the murder itself would overshadow what Lambert accomplishes with this song.  She captures the inner monologue of a battered woman ready to take matters into her own hands, and it’s a tortured mixture of desperation and determined survival.

Grade: A+

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13 Comments

Category: Single Reviews

13 Comments so far

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  1. Sam says:

    I would argue that we possibly do find out what happens at the end of the song, with the gunshot. I really do think that should have been left out.

    Other than that though, I agree totally, fantastic song!

  2. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar says:

    Although I liked the CD more than Kevin when we initially reviewed the album, I regarded this track as the weakest track on the CD. I stand by that initial opinion – it ain’t country and it ain’t very good. A C- at best

  3. Matt C.No Gravatar says:

    The single version lacks the gunshot at the end of the album track and I think that significantly improves the song for the reasons that you explain.

  4. KevinNo Gravatar says:

    It also doesn’t have that weird mumbling thing at the beginning and the end. The song works so much better starting with just the acoustic guitar lick.

  5. Sam says:

    Ah, in that case, I retract my comment! Now I just need to find this version :)

  6. Kent says:

    Good song, for sure. Good tune, and it’s catchy. The lyrics are good too. It’s good to see her take matters into her own hands when things get nasty.

    On another note, if anyone has heard Brave New World by Hedley (a Canadian rick band), I’d love to hear your opinions on it. It is also about domestic abuse.

  7. Leeann says:

    I love this song and the CD as a whole!

  8. JerryNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, this song is very chilling, kind of scary too. I’m glad they at least didn’t show what happens at the end on the released version, I agree it would overshadow what she accomplishes in the song. But this is very hardcore. Her last single was good, this is just chilling and I think this is probably her worst single to date.

  9. DarbyNo Gravatar says:

    I would just like to congratulate Miranda on her first top ten single!!! She is now number nine on Billboard’s Hot Country songs. She has waited a while for this to happen and hopefully now that she has one, all the others will come more easily. I love this song and Miranda as a whole! CONGRATULATIONS!

  10. The Andy says:

    Well, for a bunch of country fans no one seems to know much about guns. The shot at the end is from a pistol, not a shotgun, so now you can rest at ease knowing no one got hurt. I’d like to think that 50 Cent was recording in the booth next door and the gunfire got out of control.

  11. BethNo Gravatar says:

    From someone that has been in a situation like this…I think the song is awesome.

  12. BethNo Gravatar says:

    You think the song is too risky…have you seen the video where she takes the shovel out of the barn to dig a hole for him…lol

  13. Ashley SmollenNo Gravatar says:

    U r amazing,finally someone speakin from the heart, We have all been there. Love ya chicka keep it u

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