Miranda Lambert gives us a complete look into her hurt, anger, heart, and mind on her new record ‘The Weight of These Wings’, the country star’s first release since her tumultuous divorce from the industry’s prince, Blake Shelton.
You can understand and appreciate Lambert’s point of view. On an album where she sings about going somewhere, you see her sense of longing and wanting to be wanted. She’s in search of someone, something, anyone or anything who will accept her. One way to cope with the trauma in which she endured is out of sight, away from the public. Nevertheless elimination from this ordeal isn’t an option for a celebrity, much less a country artist whose plain-talking ability is something that she relies on.
The temptation to escape versus the resoluteness to be understood — that tension brings to life ‘The Weight of These Wings’, which also reflects Lambert’s perplexing relationship with Nashville assembly.
Twenty-four songs split into two halves (one called ‘The Nerve’ and the other ‘The Heart’), this striking double album analyses the same failed marriage Shelton shared through music in his release, ‘If I’m Honest’.
But where he was polished and concise, she’s thoughtful and meandering, moving casually between ballads and rave-ups, confessions and accusations, songs about giving up on love and songs about looking for it again.
“I’m hard on things that matter / Hold a heart so tight it shatters,” she sings in “Things That Break,” and that’s just one of the many instances of Lambert’s uncertainty in regards to what went wrong.
This project was produced by Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf and Eric Masse. The music deepens that unsettled feeling with arrangements and compositions that feel raw, at times even incomplete, even by current country standards. In ‘Pushin’ Time’ you can hear what sounds like the rustle of a lyric sheet as Lambert sings over stark acoustic guitar, while the brandish ‘Bad Boy’ starts with a flubbed beginning.
“What’s the intro?” Lambert ask as the song starts up again.
‘Ugly Lights’, about staying too late at the bar, has the dilapidated low-fi vibe of a demo. And ‘Pink Sunglasses’ is not a complete song in the context as we know; it stretches out a swampy blues riff and a joke about the power of “positive plastic” for four minutes.
Miranda Lambert’s project is not the product of dispassion or bewildered thinking. On Twitter and on her website, the singer is promoting ‘The Weight of These Wings’ with the phrase “Double album, one story,” which speaks to a decision in her approach. She wants to describe sloppiness in a clear way, to take back some control of an account that others (including Shelton) have framed too neatly.
That’s what you get from one of the album’s most uptempo songs, ‘Keeper of the Flame’, in which she refers to herself as “the teller of the story.” The job may be one she was propelled into, but it’s hers for the keeping now.