Single Review: Miranda Lambert, “If I Was a Cowboy”


“If I Was a Cowboy”

Miranda Lambert

Written by Jesse Frasure and Miranda Lambert

This is like one of those word association games that gives you three minutes to write down every word you can think of that’s associated with “cowboy.”

It attempts to make some commentary about gender roles, but the line that’s intended to be the payoff – “If I was a cowboy, I’d be the queen” – doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that it’s preceded by her fully embodying a male cowboy throughout the song.  It comes off as a pale imitation of Taylor Swift’s “The Man” –  “If I were a man, I’d be the man” works a lot better than this does.

All that being said, Lambert sings it well and the production has a few creative flourishes that echo the soundscape of Kacey Musgraves in the Golden Hour era.   In that regard, it’s an improvement over the Wildcard project.  But it’s still a long way off from the creative heights of Platinum and The Weight of These Wings.

Grade: B-

1 Comment

  1. Kevin, I have been thinking a lot about your review since I first read it back in December. I just felt you missed the spirit of the song.

    After recently watching the Trey Fanjoy produced video of this song, I had to return to the comments section weeks later.

    My mind immediately leaps to what Mel Brooks did with the western in “Blazing Saddles” or what Quentin Tarantino did to the genre with “Django Unchained.” I know both is politically charged and divisive while trying to be playful and artistic with topics that challenge comedy.

    Isn’t Lambert’s song really a fun, revisionist, and country & western music take on the most gendered of American myths?

    Lambert sees the appeal and allure of the historically male cowboy life but isn’t about to surrender a drop of her female identity to be the best one of the bunch. She wants the best of both worlds.

    I think the title “Queen of the Cowboys” is deliciously inviting,subversive and challenging. It might be country music’s first western themed non-binary song, no? Lambert needn’t surrender her gender identity to role play in a largely male myth. Neither can contain Lambert.

    Maybe as “Queen of the Cowboys” Lambert is offering to disarm our expectations of what being a cowboy even means in 2022.

    Where is Roy Rogers when you need him to discuss his queen?

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