WHO IS SHE? The former third-place finalist from a long-ago season of Nashville Star. The ex-wifre of Blake Shelton and current wife of a New York City police officer (take that, Gwen). The sometime Pistol Annie. And the Grammy-winning country-rock spitfire behind songs and albums like Kerosene, Gunpowder & Lead and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
WHAT IS THIS? Her seventh major-label release and the followup to 2016’s The Weight of These Wings, which was a fittingly weighty and contemplative double album released in the aftermath of her split from Shelton.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Lambert getting back to her old self and kicking up her heels again. After years with veteran Nashville producer Frank Liddell, she teams here with the hipper Jay Joyce — whose resume includes Cage the Elephant and The Wallflowers along with Keith Urban and Eric Church. Joyce’s influence is impossible to miss — these songs sport everything from hick-hop grooves to new wave synthesizers and power-pop choruses. But rest assured that Lambert is no fool; while she stretches her fishnet-clad legs into poppier terrain, she never strays too far from the white-trash country-rock fare that keeps her fans in hog heaven.
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Still Crazy After All These Years.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While slamming Tequila shots and drunk-dialing your ex.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Rebellious, adventurous, empowered, irreverent, unrepentant, unvarnished, naughty, invigorated, sassy, rural.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? If you’re after redneck country-pop singles, start with White Trash, Way Too Pretty For Prison and It All Comes Out in The Wash. If you want something heavier, go for the loud, hard-driving Locomotive. For something swampier, there’s Holy Water. And for more contemplative fare, try Settling Down and Bluebird. If that sounds like an eclectic collection, you’re right.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘You know, once you get past all her tough-chick posturing and hard-drinking shtik, she’s actually a far more talented songwriter than most people realize.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? There are enough hits and hooks here to keep this near the top of the rotation for a while.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE DESSERT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Something with a hard shell and a sweet, soft center. Like a deep-fried Twinkie, maybe. But with tequila injected into the middle.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? She’s spending some of her time in New York City these days, so she can probably use the rent money.