Miranda Lambert - 'The Weight Of These Wings'

Many readers will probably already know that I am not the biggest fan of Miranda Lambert however the premise behind The Weight Of These Wings and even the album artwork itself intrigued me and ultimately prompted a purchase. One thing that immediately struck me is the considerable amount of slower, more stripped back tracks on this double release. Whilst I know a lot of country music fans who prefer Miranda's rockier style, I have often thought her strongest on the more delicate tracks which, in my opinion, is supported here.

Tin Man for instance is arguably the strongest track Miranda has ever released. At it's core it is actually incredibly sad however Miranda delivers it with a delicate vulnerability that really connects with the listener and leaves you appreciating the strength of the track rather than wallowing in the sadness behind the lyrics. The soft and simple production provides a backdrop that supports Tin Man well and allows Miranda's vocal to travel comfortably over the top, all in all a highly impressive track.

Whilst not the softest track on the album, Tomboy is another strong addition. I'd definitely be interested to see this as a possible future single, a distinctly playable track that urges you to listen again and again. Opened by a catchy guitar hook and grounded by a solid drum line, Tomboy manages to take elements of both Miranda's rockier and softer tracks and create a cohesive track with a lyrical story that Miranda delivers through a slick vocal performance.

Upon first listen I didn't expect myself to like For The Birds but the more I listen to the album as a whole the more I find myself coming back to the track. With a similar overall instrumental feel to Tomboy but with some more grit, For The Birds has an intriguing traditional country edge paired with a relatively heavy production that is, overall, surprisingly successful. It is a track that I imagine a lot of people will very quickly find themselves singing along to with it's high spirited lyrics and appealing overall sound.

Unfortunately there were also some tracks that I really didn't like on this album. Six Degrees Of Separation for instance is just frankly messy. The vocal line is incredibly discordant and when placed alongside the pounding instrumentalisation the listening experience is certainly not the nicest. Whereas tracks like Pushin' Time and Tin Man offer Miranda the opportunity to deliver a really emotive, heartfelt vocal this just feels a little throwaway, it's a shame as there is evidence throughout this album that she is a stronger artist than Six Degrees Of Separation would have you believe.

The same could also be said for Pink Sunglasses. Lyrically it is quite literally a track about pink sunglasses and that paired with the uncomfortable overall production and odd spoken sections leaves a track that certainly doesn't stand up to the rest of the album, a distinctly bizarre inclusion.

Whilst the intrinsic idea behind Ugly Lights isn't a bad one the way the overall track is brought together feels a little grating. It would be interesting to hear this song tweaked a little to push it towards a lighter production and smoother vocal, it would arguably allow for a more expressive vocal to come forward.

Track listing....
1) Runnin' Just In Case - Miranda Lambert, Gwen Sebastian
2) Highway Vagabond - Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally
3) Ugly Lights - Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Liz Rose
4) You Wouldn't Know Me - Shane Russell
5) We Should Be Friends - Miranda Lambert
6) Pink Sunglasses - Rodney Clawson, Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby
7) Getaway Driver - Miranda Lambert, Anderson East, Natalie Hemby
8) Vice - Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
9) Smoking Jacket - Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Lucie Silvas
10) Pushin' Time - Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Foy Vance
11) Covered Wagon - Danny O'Keefe
12) Use My Heart - Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Waylon Payne
1) Tin Man - Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall
2) Good Ol' Days - Miranda Lambert, Brent Cobb, Adam Hood
3) Things That Break - Miranda Lambert, Jessi Alexander, Natalie Hemby
4) For The Birds - Miranda Lambert, Aaron Raitiere
5) Well-Rested - Miranda Lambert, Anderson East, Aaron Raitiere
6) Tomboy - Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Aaron Raitiere
7) To Learn Her - Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Waylon Payne
8) Keeper Of The Flame - Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Liz Rose
9) Bad Boy - Miranda Lambert, Mando Saenz
10) Six Degrees Of Separation - Miranda Lambert, Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby
11) Dear Old Sun - Miranda Lambert, Terri Jo Box, Gwen Sebastian
12) I've Got Wheels - Miranda Lambert, Gwen Sebastian, Scotty Wray

The twenty-four track double album is an intriguing decision to release as in my opinion, a lot of listeners who aren't strictly die-hard Miranda Lambert fans may be put off by the sheer number of songs. There are also a lot of various takes on heartbreak offered here and it would have been nice to hear a wider variety of topics considering the overall size of the album. Each CD could have quite feasibly stood on it's own as a singular album and twenty four tracks is - at least for me anyway - a little too much Miranda. This is not to say that there isn't some success here and it is certainly nice to see that rocky sound pulled back slightly but Miranda still has yet to convert me to a steadfast fan.