No doubt about it: Miranda Lambert knows what's up. After giving us two of last year's riskiest and most rewarding singles (“Gunpowder & Lead” and “More Like Her”), she previews her forthcoming album with another sharp lament that, once again, finds her charging into thematic territory most of her peers wouldn't even glance at for radio release.
Alas, the same cannot quite be said for Lambert's musical territory this time around. As a character sketch of a quietly suffering woman, “Dead Flowers” has some of the most original lyrics you're likely to hear on mainstream radio this year, b
ut the track itself sounds about as bland as can be, with an arena-rock treatment eerily similar to Rascal Flatts' “Take Me There” (seriously, listen to them in succession) that does more to dull the song's edge than to sharpen it.
Of course, that same hitch also makes it sound more immediately radio-friendly than just about anything else Lambert has yet released, so there may be overdue commercial rewards to her for taking this route. I have a feeling that many people will really like this, and it may even convert some folks who haven't gotten into Lambert yet. They might end up surprised by how much more interesting some of her previous efforts are, but hey: as gateway drugs go, you could do worse.
Listen: Dead Flowers