This New Music Tuesday brings some highly anticipated summer albums including Miranda Lambert’s Platinum and Lucy Hale’s Road Between. With the release of these two album begins the influx of summer albums, full of reminiscently sunny songs that capture your attention and inspire you to roll the windows down. Both of these albums hit the mark for summer releases, while still remaining true to who the artist is (or in Lucy’s case, wants to be).
Miranda Lambert – Platinum
While Miranda was vocal about this album being different, a little tamer, a little less girl burning your house down; it definitely stays true to who she is. It possess all the wit and attitude from her previous releases, but begins to grow up a little, looking back on experiences and where they’ve brought her now. She remains a strong woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone, and if you love Miranda, that is most definitely one of the reasons you do. Her songwriting is real and expressive, there are no frills and sweet words here that have absolutely no meaning, it’s chock full of real life. The explosive Little Red Wagon is a dismissive and eye-rolling ode to a man who is more of a drain on life than a source of happiness. There’s the hilarious yet bittersweet track, Priscilla, an obvious look at her life with husband Blake Shelton. She allows listeners to take peak inside her insecurities, but more importantly, she allows them to take a look at the veil she holds in front of them and how fragile it can be. It’s the reason Miranda can take a song and immediately make it hers, the ability to inject her experience into it, whether she put pen to paper for it or not.
One of my favorites is the laidback duet with Little Big Town, Smokin’ and Drinkin’ very much because of the subtle, soft style. While so much of Miranda’s sound is about revving the engine and going 100 miles an hour, I also find so much of her charm in these softer moments (much the same way I adore the song Automatic). It’s a different side of her, and one that I enjoy immensely when it pops out. Another highlight is Bathroom Sink, from first listen any woman in the world will immediately understand the sentiment within the lyrics. The insecurities that each of us feel every day, how hard we strive to be something that maybe we’re not, and the regrets we carry with us because of our failures. It’s both a stark reflection of women today, and at the same time, somehow feels uplifting to see that a huge star like Miranda can talk about those things so openly. It remains, at the moment, my favorite song on the album. It’s about as close as country music can come to feminist rock.
Overall, Platinum is a hit from all angles. From the funny moments to the poignant, Miranda Lambert explodes from within the instrumentation and proves that she’s truly deserving of every ounce of success she’s had.
MUST LISTEN: Bathroom Sink, Priscilla, Two Rings Shy, Automatic
Lucy Hale – Road Between
The Memphis native has spent the past few years working tirelessly, not only to make this album, but to make her mark on country music without being intrusive. Her warm voice and subtle accent drips over every track, heightening the emotion with hushed whispers and confident belts, making for a truly diverse vocal sound that proves she’s a singer first and foremost. The album itself possess beautifully produced tracks (thanks to incredible talent Mike Daly), plenty of light banjo and guitar picking are litter through the instrumentation, and the lyrical stories are absolutely in place. With writing from the likes of Kacey Musgraves and hitmaker Hillary Lindsey it would be impossible not to find a track you don’t like. While the album verges on strong pop/country, with lush choruses full of walls of background vocals and hooks that become instantly head turning, it possesses all the fun of a light-country summer album. You won’t find heavy twang or bluegrass inspired sounds here, but you’ll definitely find tracks that are perfect for hot days by the pool. The duet with Joe Nichols, Red Dress is fun and memorable, while Goodbye Gone blasts off with a foot stomping beat that gets you moving, and the sweet Kiss Me reminds you of the one you can never really let go.
While Lucy shines on uptempos, where she allows her voice to capture the energy and essence, there are definitely moments where she could use a little more grit. She’s polished and clean, each word pronounced exactly the way a vocalist is taught from the beginning of their education, and while that’s perfect in theory country music demands dirt. Overall, the album has fun tracks that will keep you dancing into the summer, and a few wistful ballads that girls across the world will definitely relate to. I can’t wait to see where Lucy grows from here, being that this is her first album, I can only see her getting better.
MUST LISTEN: Red Dress, Kiss Me, From the Backseat, Road Between
Other selections for New Music Tuesday include:
John Mayer – XO
Old Crow Medicine Show – Sweet Amarillo
LP – Forever For Now
Lana Del Rey – Shades of Cool