Miranda Lambert released her eighth studio album, “Wildcard”. It features 14 songs and runs 49 minutes long.
“Wildcard” is her fourth studio album released under the record label RCA Nashville. However, Lambert worked with producer Jay Joyce for the first time on this album.
This new producer is evident with a fresher and more upbeat, rock-and-roll sound. Lambert has been known to have a bit of a rock-and-roll pull in her music. This is evident in her early work, with songs such as “Kerosene,” “Gunpower & Lead,” “White Liar,” and more. Almost every album prior to “Wildcard” has featured at least one heavily rock-influenced song. However, almost half of “Wildcard” is made up of heavily rock-influenced songs. Lambert is credited with co-writing credits for every song on this album.
Lambert, a badass country girl, makes it known that she remains totally in charge of her own destiny.
This tone is immediately set with the album’s opening song, “White Trash”, in which Lambert explains that she has worked her way up the ladder but will always remain the same at her core.
The second song, “Mess with My Head,” focuses on a relationship that Lambert allows to continue and mess with her head. However, it implies that it never affects her confidence. The sense of retained confidence is expressed through the driving drum and the hard guitar riffs. This is reinforced in the third song on the album, “It All Comes out in the Wash”. In this song, Lambert confidently sings that “Every little stain, every little heartbreak, no matter how messy it got” can all be erased in the washing machine.
The song “Settling Down” focuses entirely on being self-aware of internal desires and how Lambert’s decisions align with these desires.
“Holy Water” is the most old-school country rock and blues influenced song on the album with its funky bass lines and weeping guitar. “Way Too Pretty for Prison” immediately follows “Holy Water,” in which Lambert lists alongside Maren Morris all the reasons they cannot kill their exes as they would not enjoy prison.
The powerful, driving, train-like guitar guiding Lambert through “Locomotive.”
The album then takes a turn into more vulnerable and sentimental territory, capped off with “Pretty Bitchin’” and “Tequila Does”. In these songs, Lambert expresses gratitude for her career, fans, life, and the idea that she does not have to have others’ reassurances to feel confident in herself.
The album closes out on a softer tone with a slight reality check for the listeners; Lambert might be a well-known singer, but she is still a human. “Track Record” addresses Lambert’s past attempts at love while “Dark Bars” expresses her desire to find sanctuaries in which she can be largely anonymous.
Lambert’s affinity for rock is front and center in “Wildcard”. While her staples appear in this album – songs about revenge on exes, defending the right to different lifestyles, admitting country tendencies – Lambert displays a willingness to evolve. With slightly gentler lyrics, even in the more aggressive songs, “Wildcard” reflects Lambert’s desire to sit and allow her life experiences to permeate this album.
Overall, the album hits.
Rad Tracks: “White Trash,” “It All Comes out in the Wash,” “Holy Water,” “Pretty Bitchin’,” and “Tequila Does”
“Wildcard” is available across all major streaming services!