Single Review: Miranda Lambert, “Baggage Claim”

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August 2, 2011

A swing and a miss.

Give Lambert her usual credit for adventurousness: the production on this kiss-off number is rustic and snappy, like some lost 70′s folk-rock nugget. And “Baggage Claim” is an artist’s work, not an assembly-line knock-off; we certainly haven’t heard this central metaphor before.

But it’s not a clever enough metaphor to deliver the good dis it means to, nor is it silly enough to earn points for camp. It’s just kind of…lame.

Throw in a pinched vocal, and the thing just sounds like a throwaway ditty that no one was clear-eyed enough to throw away.

Grade: C

Listen: Baggage Claim

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  1. KatieNo Gravatar says:

    i’m usually a huge Miranda fan but I just can’t get into this song. Bad, bad, bad.

  2. AaronNo Gravatar says:

    After making strides artistically with songs like “White Liar” and “The House That Built Me” it was somewhat expected for Miranda to take a stumble. She’s done that with this song…hopefully the new album contains better material than this first single.

  3. DevinNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t really have too many feelings towards the song yet (though the fact that I didn’t even bother to listen to it all the way through probably says enough…).

    But I have to say that the male background vocals, which I assume are Blake Shelton, just sound really misplaced and off in this song. Another small strike against this song for me, I suppose.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I like it, but I do think that it’s a stretch. I like some of the individual phrases in the song more than the concept as a whole. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the background vocal is Blake Shelton’s, unless he’s distorting it quite a bit.

  5. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I am beginning to strongly dislike country’s constant use of clapping in songs, especially when it doesn’t fit the mood of the song.

  6. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely like the production, and there are a few clever lines here and there that I like, but the central title hook is a bit of an eyeroller for me.

  7. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still too easily won over by a good clap line, I’ll admit.

  8. Jonathan KeefeNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not ready to start full-on catastrophizing over it, but I’ll admit I’m concerned about her next record. First we have the just plain stupid album title that she insists on defending, and now this underwhelming lead single.

    Dig the production on this a lot, and I’m 100% with Leeann on the handclaps. And, unlike Revolution, it doesn’t sound like this single was recorded too loudly. The male backing vocals sound like Chris Stapleton, formerly of The Steeldrivers, who also sang back-up on Miranda’s cover of “Time to Get a Gun.” If Blake’s able to approximate Chris Stapleton, he’s an even better singer than I thought.

    The mixing on the lead vocal is strange– “pinched,” yes– and the song itself is really no great shakes. The hook is just too forced to scan as clever, and the overall conceit just isn’t enough to sustain a whole song.

    So this makes her 1-for-4 (which, admittedly, I love “Me and Charlie Talking” far more than most others seem to or should) as far as lead singles go. Not cause for alarm necessarily, but, well…

  9. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, I thought Chris Stapleton too, but wasn’t sure.

  10. JakeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t really like the background vocals at all! It sounded way better on the live versions that were on youtube.. Anyways I don’t think it’s that bad of a song. Also I don’t think it will flop with radio like previous lead singles but it probably won’t make #1. Honestly I love the name for the album and I’m not worried one bit! Come on this is Miranda Lambert we are talking about!

  11. KeithNo Gravatar says:

    Oh wow… This song really is bad. The only good thing about it is the production. Any hope that she’ll pull a Big and Rich and reuse it for another song – one that is hopefully a little better?

  12. SamBNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve only listened to this once, and wasn’t thrilled by it. It doesn’t really feel like a strong first-single from the album.

  13. TomNo Gravatar says:

    …i’m at the point that i cheer almost any song that doesn’t feature the words: bonfire, backwoods, backroads, small town, etc., prominently in it.

    having said that, it’s quite amazing what can go through an artists mind waiting for the suitcase.
    full marks for the idea and only a minor deduction for the endresult. i like it.

  14. RussNo Gravatar says:

    It’s gonna be interesting to see how Miranda balances two projects at one time. From what I’ve heard of the Pistol Annies project, I like it a lot and you just hope that she didn’t mail in her solo project to promote that. I almost wonder if they took what would’ve probably not been a single and used it as a lead single because it sounded different enough from “Hell on Heels” so as to promote both.

    That being said, its still Miranda Lambert and even sub-par for her and many endearing moments and elements. As Dan pointed out, it still challenges and makes an attempt at something interesting, which is better than just throwing something out there with no thought.

  15. Adam JamesNo Gravatar says:

    Miranda needs help picking good singles. The only song in recent memory that I remember being a good single was “HOuse THat Built Me.” The rest were just decent album tracks that should have stayed that way imo.

    This tune is kind of in the same boat imo, good album track, but not necessarily single-worthy, though it’s got a good groove and the metaphor, while obvious, is one I haven’t heard used before.

  16. ShannonNo Gravatar says:

    Love this song. Production is fun and not nearly as loud as the Revolution album. Can’t wait for her album.

  17. Hard TimesNo Gravatar says:

    Country radio could do a lot worse and usually does.

  18. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    The first time I listened to this I was reminded of “Dead Flowers”. Weak. Especially for Lambert. Revolution was just fine even with that lead single. I’m eagerly waiting for the album.

  19. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    I at least like the sound of this song better than “Dead Flowers”, though “Dead Flowers” was lyrically stronger.

  20. KatieNo Gravatar says:

    I really love all 3 of Miranda’s prior albums. But, I’m a little worried now that this new one might turn into Sugarland’s “The Incredible Machine” & I’m not ready for that, not by a long shot. One “Incredible Machine” was enough to deal with.

  21. Martin in NYNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t like this at all. Very disappointed. I do not think Miranda’s always made great choices with her single releases. Songs such as “Desperation” and “Time to Get a Gun” would have been great single releases from the last two albums. This is really second rate to me. It sounds like she’s not in charge of it or that she is trying to hard to be different. I am a huge fan and appreciate that she pushes the envelope artistically. I hope the album is better. And what I’ve heard from the Pistol Annies really sounds good.

  22. kerwinklarkNo Gravatar says:

    Meh to the song? Yet at least it is not as loud as “Dead Flowers”.
    She sounded like Pickler in this one.

  23. LeahNo Gravatar says:

    Love the song! This song is 100x better than most of the crap currently on country radio! Seems like many are quick to jump on the negative train. I for one really like the feel and sound of the song! Love Miranda!!

  24. HeatherNo Gravatar says:

    Love Miranda empowering women. No need to have a no good man draggin’ ya down!:) Love that Miranda’s sound is always new and original.

  25. Noah EatonNo Gravatar says:

    My main gripe with this release is how obviously, but bizarrely, processed Lambert’s vocals are this go around. It sounds as though she’s more forcefully stressing and un-stressing the scansion of an iambic literary verse rather than singing here. In result of this, she comes off as too squeaky at less fitting moments and, conversely, too restrained at moments where she obviously is selling the kiss-off, including “So come and get it!”. She just overreaches with her combative mode of phrasing here.

    The sound is so badly compressed here much like most of “Revolution” was too. In spite of that, I have to admit I do like the flourishes of organ pipe here. And once you get your head around the loudness wars, the production is actually a nice change of pace from most else country radio is presently churning out. To my ears anyway, you hear some mid-70′s rock and roll and blues music flavors here, and that makes a welcome respite from the format’s fervid obsession with mid-to-late 80′s stadium rock and hair metal vintage. It has that late summer block party jam ambiance to it, which is a compliment by the way, given I’ve found certain block party jams to be monotonous and uninspired in my time.

    Lyrically, I can admire Lambert and her co-writers for attempting to tackle a different extended metaphor and fitting it exclusively to song………..but it comes across as a bit distant. There’s no sense of character unraveled in this set of lyrics, no personal details or descriptions. And for the aforementioned reason regarding Lambert’s vocal style……….it makes this listen all the more frustrating. Because while “Revolution” succeeded in having this reflective quality to many of its songs, where Lambert would introspect to some extent what it is that makes her as cunning, unrefined and rebellious as she is………this recedes into that sort of song that I imagine some will still be able to relate to, but more just as a green screen canvas to put their own toxic relationships in perspective………..not to dig any deeper beneath the surface of HOW a relationship got to where it did.

    All in all, I’d probably rate this a little higher than Kevin here. I’d say a B-, since this is still much more interesting than most else on the radio dial presently and also because I realize my expectations were sky high for “Four The Record” following “Revolution”, so rating it lower would probably just be my cognitive bias getting in the way. The production is decent, it has a nice groove, and though lyrically it isn’t that deep, at least it tries its hand at a metaphor that isn’t as cliched. Lambert’s vocals take a step back, however, and I’m praying this isn’t indicative of how the rest of “Four The Record” sounds.

  26. JayJayNo Gravatar says:

    I actually really love this song. I mean, it’s not Bob Dylan-level poetry but it’s darn fun to sing along with really loudly in your car. I bought it off iTunes and even giggled a little bit with the last line that doesn’t get played on the radio.

    I was genuinely surprised when I clicked on here and saw all the negative impressions it left on people. I think it’s pretty much typical Miranda Lambert. It’s in the same wheelhouse as “Gun Powder and Lead”, “Crazy Ex Girlfriend”, “White Liar”, “Kerosene” and all the rest of her “I’ll kick your butt” songs. It’s not like she was going to come out of the gate on this new album wearing a Versace evening gown and singing a Diane Warren ballad.

    If you do hate the single and are a Miranda fan, I wouldn’t look too much into it. I mean, when “Dead Flowers” premiered it caused so much wailing and gnashing of teeth it was like reading Dante’s Inferno. But when the album came out, it was much ado about nothing. She’s never been a champ at picking lead off singles. I don’t care for “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” or “Me and Charlie Talking” but loved those respective albums as a whole.

    I really hope Baggage Claim does well for her. I’d much rather hear that on my radio than the 75048th spin of “Country Girl Shake It For Me” or that dreadful “Homeboy” song that my local station is currently so fond of.

  27. Ben FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t hate it; I just find it kind of mediocre, especially for Miranda. But yes, I will still take this over “Homeboy.”

  28. Leeann WardNo Gravatar says:

    Turns out that it’s actually not Chris Stapleton on background Vocals, but Josh Kelley.

  29. DevinNo Gravatar says:

    I meant to post this a few weeks ago when I found that out. I always listen really closely to the background vocals and it still doesn’t sound like him to me…Oh well.

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