Single Review: Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert, “We Were Us”

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06:  Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban perform onstage during the 47th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 6, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)I remember you both, and I wish you still were.

Five years ago, if someone said that Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert were going to do a duet, there’d be good reason to be excited.  An A-list superstar pairing with an up-and-comer, both of whom were making some of the most interesting and innovative music under the country umbrella? What could possibly go wrong?

So much has, a mere five years later. Interesting has morphed into overbearing. Innovative has become predictable. “We Were Us” showcases the worst excesses shared by both of these artists today.  It’s this stubborn insistence that bigger means better, that louder vocals mean deeper meaning,  that mixing vague feelings with trivial details somehow adds up to something that is…universally specific? Specifically universal?

The goodness is still there underneath it all, you know.  That signature Urban banjo.  Lambert’s distinctive edge in her vocal.   But it’s like trying to find diamonds in a tornado.  It’s simply more effort than it’s worth.

Written by Nicolle Galyon, Jon Nite, and Jimmy Robbins

Grade: C

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19 Comments

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19 Responses to Single Review: Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert, “We Were Us”

  1. Amen! What a shameful waste of what could’ve been a powerhouse collaboration!

  2. Agree on all accounts. But I do find the incredibly catchy underneath all the noise.

    “But it’s like trying to find diamonds in a tornado” – great line, Kevin.

  3. bobNo Gravatar

    Agree with your rating – the “excesses” you mentioned noted. If a free download were offered I’d pass because I know I wouldn’t play it.

  4. I do like this, good melody, good performance, ok lyrics.

    One issue for me is that the chorus is over the top production wise.

  5. BrianNo Gravatar

    wired Combo not a bad song

  6. GloriaNo Gravatar

    Where’s the shameful waste?? It’s at the top of the charts and could be there for a while. I love the song and totally disagree with this sucky review! Makes no sense.

  7. I agree completely with this review. And it reminds of an Emmylou Harris quote I read a while back in one of those quotes-by-country-stars books and it went something like “People tend to equate emotion in music with how hard the drums hit.”

  8. BuddynoelNo Gravatar

    I struggled with this song because the production made it sound excessively loud, especially in the chorus parts. It’s hard to understand people when they are yelling at you. I know because I used to be married.

  9. Noah EatonNo Gravatar

    This is just…………..too short and fleeting.

    I don’t know if I’d rate it that low. It’s a passable song, and I would have given it a weak B- to strong C+. But this has no qualities whatsoever that will ensure it staying power, regardless of how well it is selling digitally.

    I’d say the highest point of this track is Lambert’s vocals on her verse. I think there are among the best she has sounded on a radio single to date (along with “The House That Built Me”, “Dead Flowers” and “All Kinds of Kinds”). Urban’s vocals are good as always too, though he doesn’t exactly escape his comfort zone.

    It’s the cacophonous production that gets in the way here, though, and robs the song of any intimate connection to the listener.

  10. Louie MNo Gravatar

    ^ I agree. Miranda sounded really great in this single. Even in the CMA Awards, I actually thought she gave a solid vocal performance compared with her previous awards show appearances which were more about attitude than singing (“Mama’s Broken Heart” in ACMs and “Fastest Girl in Town” in CMAs last year.

    Keith is also fantastic. My favorite part of the song is when he sings “just jumping in”

  11. Noah EatonNo Gravatar

    I think Lambert can be a truly powerful singer when she really wants to be, but just as often as not, Lambert confuses power with poignancy. And I can’t help but feel all power usually translates to no purpose.

    “The House That Built Me” was effective because the aching vulnerability Lambert put on display was powerful in its own right and single-handedly made the song a modern classic. Her dialed-down and good-humored read of “All Kinds of Kinds” only enhanced the inclusive message of the track and wouldn’t have worked if she was inflecting an attitude-soaked vocal upon it. Even with “Only Prettier”, she clearly exudes attitude, but in a fun-loving way that didn’t diminish the appeal and vibe of the cut.

    Indications are that Lambert’s fifth album will be decidedly looser and funner than her previous efforts because she has acknowledged she has focused heavily on songs about fictional murder and heartbreak to this day, and she now feels the need to stretch herself into lighter territory. As long as she is wise in her song selections and co-writes songs of her own with the depth, social commentary and cheekiness of a Pistol Annies cut, I’m optimistic she’ll do just fine with that.

  12. VickiNo Gravatar

    The listener has to struggle hard to understand what the singers are saying in the fast talking, yelling section of this song. Their voices do sound great together and I agree with all, what a song they could have had. But I’d give this one a B, for their voices and the few times they sing solo.

  13. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    You were being overly generous giving this mess a “C”. It’s not a complete trainwreck so I’d give it a “D”, call it misguided and leave it at that.

  14. Six String RichieNo Gravatar

    The production was mainly what kept this song from working for me. Particularly I felt that the drums were too loud and the vocals seemed too quiet in comparison. Lyrically this isn’t that special either, though. Very predictable details for a break up song. Has anybody else noticed that all country break up songs make a reference to a song the character can’t listen to anymore?

  15. This is my least favorite Lambert recording, I think.

  16. JQNo Gravatar

    I agree with all of that but…..it is just sooo damn catchy.

  17. I dun know why you guys do not like this song. But to me it is the best.I really love the miranda.

  18. TomNo Gravatar

    …it’s typical keith urban fare – catchy stuff with some banjo for good measure and an extra shot of twang by miranda lambert at the beginning this time round. nothing really new, nothing much different, just something that does the trick.

  19. VincentNo Gravatar

    Really?!? C grade for We Were Us? You must be kidding. It’s a fun feel good song and the target is the younger generation, which is effective. My friends really love this song and it’s that type of song which when you heard on the radio, you’ll maximize the volume and just sing along. Also, Keith’s and Miranda’s voices compliment each other which I’m surprised. We Were Us was one of the favorite performances in the CMAs and until now I still re-watch their performance. I’m hoping for another Keith and Miranda collaboration because it’s just too good.