Monday, October 15th, 2018

Pistol Annies – Got My Name Changed Back

The happiest song about paperwork we’ve covered in a good while…


Katie Gill: Nominally, the Pistol Annies are a trio. But considering that Miranda Lambert sings on all the verses, it’s preeetty obvious that this is her track — Lambert venting her frustrations with her recent high profile divorce from Blake Shelton in the best way possible: a country song by a female singer about how men are garbage. This is bright, fun, and simple in a way that feels downright effortless. There’s heart and fun in the lyrics: the “road whore” line is a perfect intake of breath and a whispered “ohhh girl you tell him.” The backing harmonies bring the whole thing together for a final product that’s catchy as hell.

Julian Axelrod: Divorce is such a country staple it should have a shrine in the Grand Ole Opry. But the Annies find a new twist on a well-worn subject by zeroing in on the specifics: court dates, judges, and endless hours at the DMV. Lambert paints a routine post-divorce ordeal as the rebirth of an independent woman, and Presley and Monroe’s rousing harmonies reaffirm her strength. The song gets even better if you imagine her divorce attorney ripping those sweet guitar solos in court.

Stephen Eisermann: This song is the delicious blend of country music and The Go-Gos that I never knew I needed. The theme and attitude that Miranda sings with throughout the track feels familiar to Pistol Annies’ style, but the cheeky “yeah-yeahs” provide an injection of life that feels fresh. The last verse feels a bit underdeveloped compared to the other three, but this is too much fun to really care about that. 

Rebecca A. Gowns: Something about the production sounds off to me. The tracks sound too compressed; the reverb in the lead vocal is strange combined with the background vocals; almost as if it was recorded in completely different rooms and mixed together by different people. In any case, once I get past the tinny sound, I love the song itself — love the lyrical content, love the tune — and I’m sure this is one hell of a song to hear live, especially that jamming harmonizing outro.

Anthony Easton: Precise lyrical details over some of the better picking I’ve heard in country suggest a hard domesticity and a welcome rough energy. It’s so joyful in how hard-hearted it is, especially the line, “I broke his heart and I took his money.”

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The phrasing is a little clipped here — there are so many great lines and Miranda Lambert doesn’t get to luxuriate in them as much as I know she can — but ultimately that’s a minor quibble in the face of how much fun the rest of “Got My Name Changed Back” is, with its constantly driving beat and ridiculous array of guitar breaks. 

Tobi Tella: Miranda Lambert is a treasure, and this song shows exactly why. On it’s own, it’s alright — fun, I guess, but super repetitive. But her natural charisma makes this into a statement — taking back ownership of her life, starting with her name. It’s not groundbreaking, but I’ll take this over all of the interchangeable bro-country.

Alfred Soto: The best singers and songwriters in America return with feather-light brand reminding. They can do better and they will.

Edward Okulicz: The Annies are spinning their wheels a little here, coasting on goodwill and trying to breathe sass into something that’s perky but perfunctory. Lord knows each member has tonnes of charisma, but this comes across like a skit (with dead punchlines) at best and at worst, like a taped-together highlight reel of greater glories. Try it, you can A-B most of this song with previous Annies and solo material.

Katherine St Asaph: You know how a clothing retailer — let’s say, in this metaphor, a rockabilly store, the kind with poofy circle skirts and bustier tops with sassy cherries or lips and whatnot — exists for a few years, then all of a sudden they switch their clothes from cotton blend to cheaper polyester? That’s Hell on Heels versus now.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: A Pistol Annies song in name only, really, but I suppose there’s a conceptual beauty to singing about a recent divorce and having the song be credited to you and your longtime friends. As much as I could talk about the instrumental breaks feeling celebratory, or the “yeah yeah” harmonies sounding endearing, “Got My Name Changed Back” is not nearly as robust a single as we’ve come to expect from the all-star supergroup. There’s a sprightly but firm recklessness to the track that’s meant to register as an exciting sense of freedom–from an ex, from the tedium of divorce proceedings — but the instrumentation makes it all seem slight. Some of these lyrics are spoken with such confidence (“He got along good with a couple road whores,” “I broke his heart and I took his money”) that it actually makes the whole song seem less serious than it should. The presence of these lines in a rather low-stakes song is presumably meant to make them more biting, but it just makes them easier to ignore.

Taylor Alatorre: There are a lot of feminist anthems about topics that I as a man cannot directly relate to, which is often the entire point. But here is a sentiment that, if not reflective of universal experience, should at least be universally understandable. I like my last name, I wouldn’t give it up lightly, and if I ever lost my reason to give it up, I would go to every length possible to get it back. Including spending an afternoon at the DMV. That one line powers the entire narrative, because it anchors the tale in quotidian reality and provides a clear temporal contrast with the years wasted in divorce court and a doomed marriage. The focused and workmanlike arrangement, filtered through the tossed-off immediacy of the performance, gives the sense that this was written and recorded as the ink on the documents was still drying off.

Reader average: [8] (1 vote)

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One Response to “Pistol Annies – Got My Name Changed Back”

  1. The sound of the latest album is over-compressed. The producer and the mastering engineer wrecked the music.