Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Album Review: Miranda Lambert – The Weight of these Wings

Weighing in at two discs of twelve tracks each ‘The Weight of these Wings’ is, naturally, quite a stuffed album of country-pop songs but it doesn’t feel on first listen to really have much to hit home. ‘We Should Be Friends’ on side one feels like a catchy, fun country pop song and ‘Pink Sunglasses’ which follows, with its stuttering guitars, does something a little different, but there’s something a little muddy about the production on the album, the gritty texture on the vocals not winning me over. ‘Smoking Jacket’ is another highlight of side one with its gentle lyrics and complimentary production style and feels like Lambert back on form. ‘Pushin’ Time’ is a more emotive entry into the album and brings some much needed heart to the LP. ‘Covered Wagon’ adds a bit more guts to the CD with its classic references and gutsy style, whilst ‘Use My Heart’ wraps up side one in a slow way.

Side two starts with ‘Tin Man’ but it doesn’t particularly kick off the album as you’d expect, offering as it does quite a sombre and downbeat start to things. ‘Good Ol’ Days’ with its rockier heart feels like the energetic song the album has so far been lacking, whilst ‘Things That Break’ and ‘For the Birds’ keep things moving along at a jaunty enough pace, in particular thanks to the bounciness and traditional country sound of the latter. ‘Tomboy’ is the first real highlight of side, its jaunty sunniness proving a winner, and follow up ‘To Learn Her’ with its country-blues feel and well written lyrics is probably my favourite of the twenty-four songs thanks to its overall confident style. ‘Keeper of the Flame’ keeps up the pace and enthusiasm and call out title, and ‘Bad Boys’ sparks some much needed confidence, singable sections and attitude, proving that sometimes the better tracks can be found in the dying moments of an album.  The balls shown in ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ continues the much needed injection of energy into the album with another spunky number, and as we jump past ‘Dear Old Sun’ to ‘I’ve Got Wheels’ the album is at least tied up in a strong number.

There’s plenty of music on show here from Miranda Lambert with varying elements but there’s not really enough excitement, variety or stand-out tracks to really justify a double disc and some editing would have made it a stronger standard LP. The album really makes its biggest impact in the closing quarter but in some ways that’s too late to really make this come across as a strong collection. I’ll give it another spin later to see if it settles in but at the moment I can certainly take it or leave it. (6/10)

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