Album review: Miranda Lambert's 'Four the Record'
Country firebrand Miranda Lambert took a quantum leap forward, artistically and commercially, with her third album, “Revolution,” which ushered her from promising newcomer to the front lines of contemporary country music. This successor represents a further evolution of her talent as both creator and interpreter.
She may never get entirely away from the hell-bent-for-leather persona that first brought her to attention with such hits as “Kerosene” and “Gunpowder and Lead,” a character facet that resurfaces in “Fastest Girl in Town,” a feisty but somewhat obligatory-sounding declaration of independence she wrote with her Pistol Annies moonlighting partner Angaleena Presley. It's also there in “Mama's Broken Heart,” a music video-ready song written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves.
Fortunately, Lambert's also willing to let her tender side show, resulting in some of the album's most moving numbers. Two songs she wrote on her own highlight her growth as a writer: “Safe” is a disarmingly vulnerable profession of love, and “Dear Diamond” cracks open a window on a dark secret that haunts her.
Her winsome delivery of Allison Moorer's “Oklahoma Sky,” written for Lambert about her recently adopted home state where she's putting down roots with new hubby Blake Shelton, is evidence that the Grammy Award she collected last year for best country female vocal shouldn't be a one-time occurrence.
"Four the Record" (RCA Records Nashville)
Three stars (out of four)