Written by Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne
“When it hurts this good, you’ve got to play it twice.”
And with that, Miranda Lambert is back.
“Vice” is a stunningly strong record that more than fulfills the seemingly limitless weight of expectations that Lambert carries upon her shoulders. Sharply written, exquisitely performed, and creatively produced, Lambert has never demonstrated more confidence on record.
Kicking off with an a cappella opening that celebrates the “hurts so good” feeling of melancholy country songs, Lambert creates one of her own as she goes through a litany of vices that aren’t explicitly stated, so much as subtly revealed through a compelling character sketch. There’s the vice of drink, for examplee, which she describes as “sweet salvation waiting on the dining table” that she downs “before it even melts the ice.” She talks about slipping on new identities as casually as a leather jacket, as you can always find her “where my reputation don’t precede me.” She’s “addicted to goodbyes,” and returns to the bathroom sink she’s sung about before but is “not looking in the mirror” this time.
Lambert’s taken on something of an elder stateswoman role in country music as of late, but it’s apparently fueling a restless creativity just at the moment where she’d be forgiven for – no, almost expected to – rest on her laurels by settling into the familiar groove that’s gotten her there.
Such a path is the one vice she will not embrace. Thank God for that.