Miranda Lambert’s new album “Platinum” (out June 3) picks up where the singer/songwriter left off with 2011’s “Four The Record,” when she continued to blow past those who might have written her off as a one-note show, all bombast and arsenal. On “Platinum,” Lambert again showcases her skills as a confident, charismatic vocalist and a top-shelf songwriter, capable of sharp observations and—an even more rare quality among country stars and spitfires alike—scorching introspection and vulnerability.
It’s a diverse, ambitious record that manages to be both wide ranging yet cohesive in the sum of its parts. So even as the artist explores wildly varied themes, emotions and musical styles, “Platinum” is, unmistakably, Miranda Lambert. “You can’t pull one over on her,” says co-producer Frank Liddell, who has worked with Lambert on all five of her records, plus two Pistol Annies albums. “I can’t try to make her sound different than she wants to sound. It’s just all in her heart and in her gut, ‘this is who I am,’ and when we go in the studio, that’s what you’re chasing. There’s nothing else really we can do but make a Miranda Lambert record, because anything straying from that path one bit, we’re gonna get caught. She is, too, and she knows it.”
Lambert comes across, both on the album and in conversation, as very comfortable in her own skin, an observation she accepts. “At 30 years old, having lived and done a lot of things in my career and my life, I have a different take than at 20 when I was makin’ Kerosene,'” she says. “But, I also do not have near the stuff that Reba would have to say, I have so much more to learn and do. I’m just right here smack in the middle of it, hopefully. If I’m lucky, I’m in the middle of it, because I want to go so much farther and wider with my career and my empire, really.”
In laying the foundation for her “empire,” Lambert has built both respect from her peers and a fiercely loyal fan base. In addition to enough awards to fill an Airstream, Lambert has charted 22 titles that have spent a combined 442 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, led by the Grammy-winning “The House That Built Me,” which spent 22 weeks on the chart in 2010. All of Lambert’s previous four albums debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Album’s chart, and have moved a combined 5.2 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Lambert spoke easily and openly about a wide variety of topics, much appearing in the recent Billboard cover story. Plenty didn’t, like when we asked her if her husband Blake Shelton REALLY tweeted the cell phone number of Adam Levine, Shelton’s co-judge on The Voice.
For the record, Lambert’s not sure. “I texted Blake, ‘did you do that, did that just happen?,'” she replies, laughing. “I’m guessing it was a publicity ploy, I don’t know for sure. He wouldn’t actually do that. Blake’s pretty mean sometimes, but not that mean. He would have brought the wrath of Adam, because Adam has done some crazy shit. He sent us a nine-foot-tall, seven-foot-wide cover of himself as People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive,’ he sent that to our house. So I wouldn’t even want to know his revenge if Blake did that, so I don’t think it’s real.”
As to whether Shelton and Lambert, country music’s power couple, might ever tour together, “I think it’s close to time, if we’re going to,” Lambert says. “There would be nothing better than being able to hang out with my husband on tour, we’ve never actually done that. We’re getting to the point where we want to slow down, we don’t want to tour as much, so I think it’s now or never, if you ask me. If we want to collaborate we should, if we want to tour together we probably should start thinking about it.”
Lambert points out that she and her husband have very different musical styles. “Also, just the scheduling, we have two different labels and management companies and producers,” she adds. “There’s so much more behind it than just saying, ‘let’s go on tour.’ That’s sounds great when you’re driving back roads drinking a beer, then you start the ball rolling and it’s a thousand other things come into play. I’m sure we will eventually, it’s just got to be the right time and the right way. I’m a very strong minded female, I’d be, ‘I want it this way, this is my band, my bus, and I’m sure he’s like, ‘never mind.'”
And, of course, Lambert talks about the songs on “Platinum.” Here’s her take on several the album’s tracks.
“Girls” (written by Nicolle Galyon/Natalie Hemby/Jimmy Robbins)
Lambert sings convincingly of a “fighter with a centerfold face,” in a pulsing mid-tempo featuring soaring harmonies and inventive background vocals. “I get pitched 100 ‘Gunpower & Leads’ and I’m like, ‘give me something I can’t write, I can write those all day long.’ I like to hear things where I go, ‘damn, I wish I’d written that.’ Natalie [Galyon] is a freak of nature, she’s such a great writer,” Lambert says. “I heard [“Girls”] and it was like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s so true.’ Girls, we’re so complicated, can’t live with us, can’t live without us. I feel like that song says that so well, it’s so beautiful. Every girl I play it for is like, ‘that’s me!’ and that’s what you want, it’s so relatable and powerful. Even guys, ‘oh yeah, that’s my girl, that’s my wife, that’s my mom, that’s my daughter.’ I love songs that make you feel something and this one definitely does.”
The good news? Miranda Lambert has completed her much anticipated, though somewhat overdue, fifth album. The bad news? You have to wait until June 3 for “Platinum,” a full two years and eight months since her last LP.
Why the wait? Lambert released an album with her Pistol Annies trio in 2013 and extended her tour. She also decided she was at a place in her career where she’d earned the time to fulfill her entire creative vision, and it simply took time.
“From the day you kinda go I need to start looking for songs and writing songs, it feels like no matter how much time you have, you’re rushed,” Lambert said. “And so I didn’t want to rush it at all. To me it’s all about timing and making sure that you can feel like you can finally sit there and go, OK, the album’s done, and never have a moment where you go, I wish we could change that or I wish we had a different song.”
An early listen reveals the singer’s most ambitious album yet. At 16 songs, “Platinum” sprawls across genre and style and expands on her already adventurous sense of song choice. She says everyone urged her to trim a few songs and conform to the usual country conventions.
“Now when you listen to it as a whole, what do you take off?” she asked.
The album paints a picture of Lambert’s life as she reaches 30. She wrote or co-wrote eight songs and chose the others based on how they reflected her personality or world view.
The first single, “Automatic,” suggests returning to a slower time and way of thinking. She contemplates her self-image in “Bathroom Mirror,” takes on tabloid scrutiny in “Priscilla” and teams up with several guests on songs that underscore her range and willingness to experiment.
The collaboration with Carrie Underwood on “Something Bad” brings together two of country’s most popular stars.
“We’re really rocking in country music and we’re coming together as a force,” Lambert said. “To me, like, if you’re sitting on the front row, you might want to scoot back. It’s a force. It just feels exciting to me. I’m ready to rock.”
Add Miranda Lambert’s upcoming album to the many good things that are Platinum. Set to release June 3, Platinum is not only a song on the album but it also represents a way of life for her. “Platinum is my hair color, and my wedding ring, and the color of my Airstream and the name of one of my favorite beers,” she said. “It’s about a lifestyle.”
Miranda, who wrote half of the album’s 16 songs, described the album like a picture. “All 16 songs together make up a picture, and without one of those songs, it just looks like abstract art,” she said. “I wanted it to be perfect; I wanted it to matter,” she continued.
“There’s humor on this album, and nostalgia, and it’s feminine,” said Miranda. “There’s girl power, not in the ‘I’m gonna burn your house down and kill you, but more where I am as a 30- year-old woman and wife. I’m more settled in life, embracing the good and the bad, and that’s all reflected on Platinum. I still blaze around – but in a less chaotic way,” she laughed.
Of the album, Sony Nashville Chairman/CEO Gary Overton said, “Platinum is Miranda’s best album yet! When the album was finished, she asked us to live with the new music for several weeks before we started talking about single choices, marketing ideas, etc. She knew how special this album is and wanted us to ‘hear’ it like she did. All we could say was ‘Wow!’”
“Automatic,” the first single from Platinum,got off to a historic start for Miranda. It was her highest-charting first week at radio, debuting at #35 and #26 respectively on the Country Aircheck and Billboard country airplay charts. The song currently resides inside the Top 20. Written by Miranda, Nicolle Galyon and Natalie Hemby, “Automatic” is available for purchase at http://smarturl.it/mlautomatic and at all digital retailers.
Miranda will perform the song on Sunday, April 6, at the ACM Awards, which airs live from Las Vegas on CBS. The reigning, four-time ACM Female Vocalist of the Year has seven nominations this year including Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year. Fan voting for Entertainer of the Year will begin on Monday, March 24, at noon PT at www.VoteACM.com and will close during the third hour of the live ACM broadcast.
Eight months since the release of her last single, Miranda Lambert is excited to introduce, “Automatic,” the first song from her forthcoming album. Written by Miranda, Nicolle Galyon and Natalie Hemby, the autobiographical song reflects on the days of pay phones, learning to drive a stick shift, driving to Dallas to buy an Easter dress, recording the country countdown on her cassette recorder and more.
“‘Automatic’ is a song about the good life,” said Miranda of the single that is available to radio on Wednesday, February 5. “It’s about slowing down, taking a breath and remembering what it’s like to live life a little more simply. It’s not about going back, but reminiscing about what it was like to hang laundry on the line and wait for it to dry and my dad teaching me how to drive my ’55 Chevy that I still have but don’t drive nearly enough,” she said. “The song brings back good memories and it reminds me to take a deep breath and to remember that getting there is half the fun.”
“Automatic” is the debut single from Miranda’s fifth album, which will be released later this year. “It’s always exciting and little bit nerve-wracking to release a new album,” said Miranda. “We’ve been writing and recording since last summer and I’m ready for the fans to hear my new music.”