Single Review: Miranda Lambert, "Mama's Broken Heart"

After three weak singles from Four the Record, ranging from mediocre to flat-out dud, the Miranda we know and love is back.

Ever since her “Kerosene” days, Miranda Lambert cialis buy has built a calculated image as country music pistol-packing bad girl, but that image works best when it’s not beating us over the head a la “Fastest Girl In Town.”  When she’s able to further her chosen persona without sacrificing her art, and to enhance it with a sense of underlying vulnerability, that side of Miranda can be the driving force behind some truly great music.

Songwriters Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kasey Musgraves give Lambert a most striking character to work with in the verses of “Mama’s Broken Heart.”  Right from the angst-ridden sigh with which she begins her delivery, Lambert inhabits said character with style and spunk, turning in one of her most dynamic interpretive performances to date.  Ripe with clever lines such as “I numbed the pain at the expense of my liver,” the lyric details this scorned woman’s self-destructive means of catharsis, while wisely leaving her ultimate revenge for the listener to imagine.

Nowhere does “Mama’s Broken Heart” indulge in empty audacity.  It even manages to weave in subtext commentary touching on generational gaps – with the narrator’s mother coming from a “softer generation where you get a grip and bite your lip just to save a little face” - as well as the sexual double-standard seen in society’s tendency to tolerate rage in men, while expecting the woman to “Powder your nose, paint your toes, line your lips and keep ‘em closed.”

Alongside the song’s deceptively deep lyrics, the off-beat arrangement is an engaging listen in itself, with light drum tapping and clipped, sneaky-sounding guitar licks leading up to an explosive chorus.  On one of my grumpy days, I might have called out the chorus for being too loud, but on a song that already amounts to a musical hissy-fit, even that aspect feels darkly appropriate.

“Mama’s Broken Heart” playing alongside Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs” will no doubt impart a much-welcome blast of drama to country radio in the new year.  Miranda Lambert thus sets the musical bar high for 2013, and delivers her best single since “The House That Built Me.”

Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves

Grade:  A

Listen:  Mama’s Broken Heart

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8 Comments

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8 Responses to Single Review: Miranda Lambert, "Mama's Broken Heart"

  1. JasonNo Gravatar

    Yes! This is easily one of my favorite songs from an otherwise weak album. And it’s definitely the best single from the album yet, though I wonder how well it will do at country radio. It reminds me of “Only Prettier,” which I also loved but didn’t quite light up radio.

  2. JakeNo Gravatar

    Great review! Just a shame it’s coming late in the album cycle!

  3. TomNo Gravatar

    …sadly, the writers forgot about the probably most important ingredient of a potential radio hit: a hook with a melody.

    otherwise, it’s a gripping sort of tune and i don’t quite understand how kacey musgraves could overlook the fact that her hit “merry go round” works so well, because of the simple – almost nursery rhyme style – catchiness of the hook.

    somehow, i only can see this one really taking off, if the number of dj’s with dislocated shoulders reaches a new all time high at the same time.

  4. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Spot-on review.

    Still find myself singing about those rusty kitchen scissors sometimes – one of my favorite opening lines in a while. And I appreciate that this song kind of ‘gets’ that Miranda’s persona is dress-up, but that that exaggerated shtick can (and should) be used to address issues of substance.

    I kind of agree with Tom about the melody, though – even in Musgraves’s stripped-down performances, the chorus just doesn’t fully zing. That, and I do think it’s still a little too loud, even for its intent. I wish they could have found a less obnoxious way to crank the volume, anyway. Still a solid A- in my book, though.

  5. ShannonNo Gravatar

    Fantastic review–I thouroughly enjoy your reviews Ben.

    I’ve been itching for this to be a single since the album came out. I wasn’t happy with the choice for “Fastest Girl in Town” and can only hope we get a follow up “Dear Diamond” release.

  6. bigzNo Gravatar

    good review. i love the song . i agree that this shoud have been released first than Fastest Girl In Town. fiery Miranda is back!

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