Single Review: Miranda Lambert, “Vice”

Miranda Lambert

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.

Grade: A


  1. this song! Been on repeat for days. So refreshing to have a Country Star continuing to push boundaries & sounds so great while doing it. Great lyrics are also something much needed on radio – Kudos to Miranda!

  2. Songs about drinking and sex when having a good time = crappy Bro Country Grade F. Songs about drinking and sex when hurt and depressed = ‘stunningly strong record’ Grade A.

    Truth is, there’s not really that much difference. At the end of the day, it’s all about someone who is compensating for something missing in their life by getting drunk and having irresponsible sex.

    • It’s all in how it’s written and performed. There is obviously more nuance to it than your generalized analysis. Not every party drinking song is bad and not all emotional drinking songs are good, but this one happens to be good, even very good.

  3. This cements Miranda as a true superstar. This single release is getting attention that is usually reserved for people like Adele. Everyone is buzzing about this song across all genres. I can’t think of another time when someone remained so relevant for so long so consistently. This means that Miranda still has not peaked. She really is in the same league as the classic stars like Loretta and Dolly and Tammy. This song cuts the edge and still sounds like a radio hit.

  4. The melody is still weak to me, but it’s strong overall.

    The only real drawback of this for me is that even though it came out after the CMA eligibility year, it will be enough for voters to hand her yet another Female Vocalist trophy despite her not doing anything during the actual CMA year.

  5. The lyrics are good, but I definitely agree that the melody is weak. Combined with the awful vocal effects and bland (non-country) instrumentation, this song is very boring to me. I’d give it a C at best.

  6. I love VICE!!! I knew she would put out a “serious” record and not some same ole same ole.. She done him wrong song! It brilliant and I’d expect nothing less from Miranda!!!

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