“We Should Be Friends”
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.