Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Miranda Lambert – Little Red Wagon

Apparently we still kinda like her…


Anthony Easton: I think of an update of “Brand New Key”, but the narrative is cleaner and it isn’t twee at all. In fact, it’s more of a rocker than a lot of country, moving out of its genre much like Sam Hunt. Why doesn’t Miranda get love for her genre fuckery from critics who love the boys?

Alfred Soto: Lambert, at the peak of her sass, takes the Bo Diddley beat on a ride in a rickety four-wheel vehicle whose axle’s draggin’. No subtext here that she doesn’t turn into text, just a performer luxuriating on guitars and a never-to-be-dissipated sense that she’ll be underrated by male critics and listeners.

Maxwell Cavaseno: This has got to be one of the doofiest, silliest songs I’ll hear all year and I am so far from mad about that. Somewhere, Miranda Lambert is possessed by her hyperactivity, annoying someone driving a vehicle by making funny faces and doing bad impersonations. Miranda Lambert is the kind of person who not only sees the unnecessary sequels to past-their-prime comedian vehicles, SHE MEMORIZES THEM. Someone please protect us from Miranda Lambert, who is having the time of her life.

Mo Kim: Lambert puts on one of the most delightful mean girl acts I’ve heard in a while, matching a bull ride of an instrumental with snotty HAs, digging into the one shit-bomb she gets to drop, and trailing off at one point into an improvised string of taunting noises that wins you over through audacity. The paint on this is glossy but the metal is rusted; it stings.

Cédric Le Merrer: You can hear a few thousand dollars being spent on making it sound more “professional” than the original, with no definitive argument to be made for them being well spent or wasted. What wins this to Miranda is one thing: her oohs and aahs. I love my apron and my dog does tricks too, and I have no desire to go on the road or have long blond hair, but no one else can turn the sass to eleven like Miranda.

John Seroff: Depending on my mood, I might call this my favorite song off my favorite album from last year, so that explains my score but here’s the why: the chicken scratch guitar; the structure of a half dozen small explosions and a nice long pause before letting off the final firework; a lyric sheet that rejects Johnny and June dichotomies; the Gene Krupa drums; the “ya da dada da da da dada” bit that could’ve spilled right out of “Been Caught Stealing”; Lambert’s willingness to cannonball in with growls, coos and snarls and not give a good diva’s damn how she hits the water; the furnace blast of “I got long / blonde / hair / and I play guitar / and I go on the road / and I do all the shit you wanna do,” which might be a rebuke to dwindling good-ole-boy Nashville dominance or might be the most withering response to critics (imagined or real) since Taylor’s “Mean”. If anyone other than Miranda had forwarded a country-swing-rock-fusion single, I would’ve backed away slowly, but “Little Red Wagon” does it and does it right, all in just under three minutes thirty. Short, sweet and clever.

Edward Okulicz: Yes, album five is probably a bit late to be recording a song that sounds like the theme to a sitcom version of your life, but bitching about that just seems churlish.

Katherine St Asaph: Almost pop-punk, in energy, chords and bratty meanness. If you ever doubt Miranda Lambert as a performer, listen to Audra Mae’s original and its decent rockabilly, then how every second of Miranda’s crackles.

Scott Mildenhall: Equal parts glam rock, Burundi beat and rock & roll, this could be incredible, but Lambert’s goading is unbelievable and tiresome in almost every form it takes. By and large her performance is over the top, in effect underselling the sentiment.

Ian Mathers: I mean, I probably would have lost it at “backyard swagger” even if the song was better, but that chorus is kind of brutally uncatchy. The initial build is a lot more promising than the payoff; full credit for this being the same kind of laundry list of boasting/personal branding her male counterparts do regularly, but I don’t find it interesting there either.

W.B. Swygart:Lawnge. Blawnde. Haare.” So much to love here, but for some reason it feels like it boils down to how there’s no way that guitar solo — that massive, gaudy, squawking fart of a guitar solo — lasts for less than 10 minutes live, then Miranda introduces the band while the drummer just tickles the hi-hat for another 15, cos this is Miranda Lambert at her most Because Miranda Lambert, and it’s a magnificent sight. The way she half-arses that “dat dat dada-da-daaa” out of the corner of her mouth, or spits out “sheeee-it” so hard it dings your ear canal on the way in — the swaggahh is just devastating. She sticks out her chin and asks: “Who better than me?” Not that your answer is of any relevance to her, of course. She’s that good, and oh boy does she know it.

Brad Shoup: Miranda and crew put some meat on this and then tore it right back off the bone. The damn thing starts off like the kickoff of a stadium-prog record, the solo flashes like fucked-up casino neon, and Lambert knows just when to call for coos, and when to let harmonies curl like blue smoke. So how hard would it’ve been to cut the “backyard swagger” line?

Reader average: [7.25] (8 votes)

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2 Responses to “Miranda Lambert – Little Red Wagon”

  1. Ian’s Back’s Back (In Trade Paperback)

  2. I was frankly unaware this was a cover… not sure if that lowers my opinion or (as Kat points out) Miranda’s enlivenment of the song makes a difference. In any case: