Miranda Lambert Is All Nerve, Heart and Grit on 'The Weight of These Wings': Track-By-Track Review
By Sophie Schillaci
With a tumultuous and triumphant year under her belt, Miranda Lambert is back with some of her best work yet.
But fans looking for explosive breakup tunes in the vein of "Gunpowder and Lead" or "Kerosene" won't find it here. Instead, Lambert offers deliciously subtle clues into her psyche, showing off her songwriting prowess like the pro that she is, complete with an abundance of nerve and heart -- as well as grit and classic country vibes.
Joining Lambert on the ride are producers Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf, and Eric Masse, along with a powerful stable of co-writers. Among them: Lambert's boyfriend, Anderson East; longtime pals Ashley Monroe and Gwen Sebastian; Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance; and Nashville hitmakers Shane McAnally, Natalie Hemby, and Liz Rose, among many, many others.
The Weight of These Wings, Lambert's double album consisting of "The Nerve" and "The Heart," is out Nov. 18.
Read on for key lyrics and our take on each of the 24 tracks.
1. "Runnin' Just in Case" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Gwen Sebastian
Lambert opens the record on nearly a full minute of somber instrumentals, building anticipation of the lyrics to come. Even at its softest, Lambert's voice is chock full of emotion, setting the tone for a story about life on the road -- a theme she'll carry through "The Nerve." While the opening track is largely introspective, Lambert also knows what the fans want to know, and she waits until the song's final 30 seconds to deliver the heartbreaking lyrics. "I carry them around with me/I don't mind havin' scars/Happiness ain't prison/But there's freedom in a broken heart."
Key lyrics: "It ain't love that I'm chasin'/But I'm runnin' just in case."
2. "Highway Vagabond" Written by: Luke Dick/Natalie Hemby/Shane McAnally
Now that she's bared a bit of her soul, Lambert challenges you not to groove along with this delightfully catchy track about "livin' like hippies" and "singin' for your supper."
Key lyrics: "Caravan like a wild west show/I don't care, man, as long as we go my way/Singin' for you supper/Get off one and get on the other/Highway vagabonds."
3. "Ugly Lights" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Liz Rose
Lambert goes full country on this deceptively upbeat song about drowning her sorrows at a local watering hole, watching a crowded room of women and men with "pockets full of rings." As for her: "I'll be sitting here alone when the ugly lights come on."
Key lyrics: "I drink too much to fall apart/That's how I fight this broken heart/So what if I feel comfortable in here."
4. "You Wouldn't Know Me" Written by: Shake Russell
The singer's personal life is moving as fast as the banjo solo in this classic country tune.
Key lyrics: "You wouldn't know me if you saw me here/I'm changing day to day, that's right/You'll never know me by asking how I've been/You'll never keep up that way."
5. "We Should Be Friends" Written by: Miranda Lambert
Classic Lambert, "We Should Be Friends" proves exactly what kind of gal pal she is and feels like it could fit right in on any of her albums. We just have one question: Is she accepting BFF applications?
Key lyrics: "If you borrow dresses like you borrow time/If you dream all day and drink all night/If you're looking for love but willing to fight/Over men and mamas and Miller Lite/Well then/We should be friends."
6. "Pink Sunglasses" Written by: Rodney Clawson/Luke Dick/Natalie Hemby
Lambert shows her optimism on the rockin', play-it-on-repeat take on seeing the world through a pair of (discount store) rose-colored glasses.
Key lyrics: "For $9.99 I'm perfectly disguised/When I'm walkin' by I wanna roll my eyes/In my pink sunglasses."
7. "Getaway Driver" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Anderson East/Natalie Hemby
In the album's first love song, it's not boyfriend East that Lambert is singing about. Instead, it could be the other way around! Lambert co-wrote the track with East and Hemby, crooning about a fiery woman who treats her love's "heart like a stolen car/All the while, she had the key."
Key lyrics: "Standing in the line of fire/I'll be right beside her/I'm her getaway driver."
8. "Vice" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Shane McAnally/Josh Osborne
In the album's first single, Lambert pours her heart out as she croons about running from town to town -- always finding another vice.
Key lyrics: "Don't know who I am or how I got here/The only thing that I know how to find/Is another vice."
9. "Smoking Jacket" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Lucie Silvas
The Texas native dials up the sexy on this one, spinning a scenario so vivid you can practically see her slinking around a smoke-filled parlour room, all red lips, blonde curls and glamour. Oh, and that voice.
Key lyrics: "I want in a man whose heart is tragic, but he makes his magic every night on me."
10. "Pushing Time" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Foy Vance
Arguably the simplest and sweetest track on the album, just try to fight back the tears as Lambert throws caution to the wind for a new love. (The whole thing is so beautifully romantic, we couldn't pick just one key lyric.)
Key lyrics: "I didn't plan on falling fast/I didn't know I could be kissed like that/Now I'm trading miles for minutes/This bed's too big without you in it."
"They say only time can tell/You already know me well/If it has to end in tears/I hope it's in 60 years."
11. "Covered Wagon" Danny O'Keefe
Fans who bought tickets to Lambert's Keeper of the Flame tour over the summer have already heard this catchy cover -- but it's still a welcome and fitting addition to Lambert's Wings narrative.
Key lyrics: "Headed for the country/Can't nothin' keep me here/Feel so free and easy/Like a funky pioneer."
12. "Use My Heart" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Ashley Monroe/Waylon Payne
With candid, straightforward lyrics, acknowledging an ongoing struggle with intimacy, Lambert explains the inspiration behind "The Nerve" and "The Heart," just in time to move to the second half of her story.
Key lyrics: "The thought of loving you just makes me sick/I don't have the nerve to use my heart."
1. "Tin Man" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Jack Ingram/Jon Randall
Lambert's "Heart" begins on a somber note, urging the classic Wizard of Oz character to be careful what he wishes for.
Key lyrics: "If you don't mind the scars/You give me your armor/And you can have my heart."
2. "Good Ol' Days" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Brent Cobb/Adam Hood
The 32-year-old superstar yearns for the simpler life on this midtempo track.
Key lyrics: "To find the truth, I'm willin'/To start back at the beginning/Of the good ol' days."
3. "Things That Break" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Jessi Alexander/Natalie Hemby
In what appears to be her closest reference to divorce, Lambert classifies herself as "a bull in a china cabinet," singing about holding "a heart so tight it shatters." The end result is, simply put, heart-shattering.
Key lyrics: "I'll leave it all in ruins/'Cause I don't know what I'm doin'."
4. "For the Birds" Miranda Lambert/Aaron Raitiere
For anyone burned out on fiery political debates, here's the antidote: Lambert singing her own platform, supporting "the sun, the breeze and old dogs sleepin' at your feet," being "anti-yuck" and "anti-stuff that sucks." Amen.
Key lyrics: "I'm for questions, I'm for freedom/Celebrating every season/For the leaves and the trees and the dirt/I'm for the birds."
5. "Well Rested" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Anderson East/Aaron Raitiere
East and Lambert are back together for this heart-tugging ballad about struggling to move forward in a new relationship with the past not quite far enough in the rear-view.
Key lyrics: "It's your tail that you're chasing/It's the past I'm erasing/And your heart can't be tested/When it ain't well rested."
6. "Tomboy" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Aaron Raitiere
With Lambert's "Tomboy," you "get what you get." And no, she doesn't need a man -- or a boy. "Move along, boy."
Key lyrics: "She'll destroy all your dreams and ride out like a rodeo queen/Know what I mean. She's a tomboy."
7. "To Learn Her" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Ashley Monroe/Waylon Payne
Lambert tackles complicated love and loss in this classic country offering.
Key lyrics: "To love her is to learn her/Some things you just can't learn."
8. "Keeper of the Flame" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Liz Rose
It's easy to see how "Keeper of the Flame" inspired an entire tour. The triumphant, anthemic song solidifies Lambert's place as a country icon and just begs for a chorus of voices singing along from inside a stadium.
Key lyrics: "I'm the keeper of the flame, the teller of the story/Keeper of the flame, for the ones that came before me."
9. "Bad Boy" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Natalie Hemby/Liz Rose
Even Lambert can't resist to lure of a bad boy on this infectious track -- even if she knows she knows better.
Key lyrics: "Bad boy, driving me mad boy/Ooh, I got it bad, boy, for you."
10. "Six Degrees of Separation" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Nicolle Galyon/Natalie Hemby
It's a small world after all... when reminders of an old relationship linger at every turn. Something tells us this is probably a daily struggle for both Lambert and her famous ex.
Key lyrics: "Six degrees of separation/You're all over this damn nation/Well I'm out of your reach geographically/But you still find a way to get ahold of me."
11. "Dear Old Sun" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Terri Jo Box/Gwen Sebastian
When life is looking bleak, "Dear Old Sun" serves as a welcome reminder that the sun will keep on rising and setting as "our little world" goes 'round.
Key lyrics: "Well you melt the snow and you grow the roses/And you dry the tears and you freckle noses/Our little world revolves around you comin' up and goin' down."
12. "I've Got Wheels" Written by: Miranda Lambert/Gwen Sebastian/Scotty Wray
And just like that, Lambert ends this journey on an uplifting note, flawlessly explaining The Weight of These Wings. Our takeaway: Even when she's down, never count Miranda Lambert out.
Key lyrics: "Sometimes these wings/Get a little heavy/And I can't stay between the lines/But I'm rockin' steady/When I can't fly/I start to fall/But I've got wheels/I'm rolling on."