Single Review: Miranda Lambert, “We Should Be Friends”

“We Should Be Friends”
Miranda Lambert

Written by Miranda Lambert

One of Miranda Lambert’s many formidable strengths is her ability to portray women as complex: The far too common and far too dismissive read on her work is that she relies simply on bad-girl tropes, when the reality is that she’s always been willing to delve far deeper into what makes modern women tick. “We Should Be Friends” is akin to standout “Only Prettier” from her stellar third album, Revolution, in how it finds common ground in contradictions and creates a fully-realized persona that hinges on a distinct point-of-view.

Over an upbeat, jaunty production that is far more radio friendly than was the unconventional (albeit still brilliant) “Vice,” Lambert pens what amounts to an open letter, inviting people of different stripes into her social sphere. At a time when so many people seem to be retreating into self-reinforcing bubbles and echo chambers, Lambert’s approach is refreshing and all the more welcome. “If you’re mind’s as cluttered as your kitchen sink… If you’ve got some guts and you’ve got some ink,” she offers, “Well then, we should be friends.”

It’s an appealing prospect, really, in that Lambert seems ready to welcome shitkickers (“If you’re looking for love but willing to fight/Over men and mamas and Miller Lites”) and level-headed folk (“If everything your daddy says/Is something you can put stock in”) alike. She isn’t just listing off a list of rural signifiers to create yet another “us versus them” type country song that so many of  the genre’s men have beaten to death over the past decade. Instead, her vision for her friends list is far more interesting and inclusive.

Lambert’s turns of phrase are a reminder that she’s among the wittiest and sharpest songwriters of her generation– “I can judge the cover ’cause I wrote the book/On losing sleep and gaining weight/On pain and shame and crazy-trains,” is a line even the great Brandy Clark would kill to have written– and her performance is laid-back and ingratiating.

Whether or not radio gets on board remains to be seen– Lambert’s track record at radio has been spotty from the outset of her career– but the song boasts a memorable hook and the melody in its chorus lends itself to singing along. Charming in all of the best ways and legitimately clever in its writing, “We Should Be Friends” is like “Shiny Happy People” filtered through the lens of Lambert’s one-of-a-kind, warts-and-all artistic voice.

Grade: A


  1. A seems like a very generous grade. After first listen I would say a B- seems more fit. Good but just a little generic-sounding. Looking forward to listening to the album!

  2. Some of Miranda Lambert’s songs I think are brilliant. For example, The House That Built Me might rank as one of country’s great masterpieces. I have come to appreciate her immensely, yet not all of her work do I find appealing. However, I am curious about the statement that radio has not always been kind to her. It seems she has been one of the few female mainstays on commercial radio for some years now. And that has been a good thing – I mean that she does seem to get much airplay from my perspective.

  3. @ Brian Lacey

    Compared to pretty well every woman other other than Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, Miranda has certainly had plenty of radio support. But, by any other comparison, her track record is spotty.

    The following singles all peaked outside the top 10: “Kerosene,” “Famous in a Small Town,” “More Like Her,” “Only Prettier,” “All Kinds of Kinds,” “Little Red Wagon,” and “Vice.”

    The following singles all peaked outside the top 20: “Me & Charlie Talking,” “Bring Me Down,” “New Strings,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Dead Flowers,” “Smokin’ & Drinkin’.”

    She has 3 #1 hits and 7 other top 10s, compared to 13 singles that missed the top 10. So I think it’s fair to say that her track record at radio has been hit-or-miss.

  4. I like the concept and some of the writing, but I’m not that big a fan of the execution. That guitar tone on the solo is weak as heck, and Miranda just sounds a bit too thin and snobbish to me. Now, if Brandy Clark had sung this and put it on her latest album, I’d probably be all about it. It fits Clark’s vocal style so much better than Miranda’s.

    I’d agree with JoJo’s grade of a B-.

  5. Thanks, Jonathan. Those are helpful points. And certainly I would love to see her get more airtime. Along with Ashley Monroe. And Margo Price. And a lot of other great female artists. (Faith Hill just emerged with a new album which I am trying to assess this week!) Heck, there are a lot better male country artists who are not getting airplay compared to some of the ones that are. Yet, all this aside, Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel to all!

  6. @Jonathan Keefe

    Wow. That summary of Lambert’s chart performance you posted in the comments really put her status at radio into perspective. It also brings to light her team’s questionable choices for lead singles (at least from the measure of radio success). But still, there are tons of male artists whose momentum gives them instant-radio hits regardless of how terrible the quality of the song might be. It seems unfair that an artist like Lambert has to again “prove herself” with each new radio single (again, speaking only in terms of airplay).

    I can’t imagine the levels of success she’d have reached in the 90s when interesting female artists with a unique point of view appeared to have a much easier go of climbing airplay charts. Lambert is stylistically much closer to Patty Loveless and Mary Chapin Carpenter than she is to her comtemporaries.

    Anyway- well written review as always.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.