Thursday, November 26th, 2020

Miranda Lambert – Settling Down

I guess she’ll have to settle for another place on our sidebar…


[Video][Website]
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Nortey Dowuona: A soaring guitar welcomes in the the sharp, sliding bass, twisting additional slide guitars and hopping, spinning drums with the little grace notes from banjos as Miranda proudly stands within the mix, pushing it outwards to insert a slinking guitar shriek, then she opens it wide, expanding it until it has all overflowed to the very bottom, everyone watching and cheering and plucking fleas out of puppies. Miranda finishes off her guitar and nuzzles a little puppy too.
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Thomas Inskeep: “Am I settling up/or settling down” is such a superb lyric, one that says so much about a relationship, and asks so much, too. It’s the kind of lyric one expects from Miranda Lambert, who is first and foremost a great songwriter. Additionally, this gets a honeyed Lambert vocal and some great production from Jay Joyce (the kicky drums on this sound so good), making for a single that goes down as smooth as Tennessee whiskey.
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Lauren Gilbert: I’m 29, turning 30 next month. I have a lease and a pet and houseplants; I spend my weekends cleaning and I’ve started to bookmark Pinterest DIY ideas. And like Lambert, I have ambivalent feelings about this. I miss airports and sketchy sublets and feeling like I wasn’t tied to this place and these people. I miss getting lost, overdrafting my bank account and staying out for longer than I should. None of that was good for me, of course; my life is quieter now, but more comfortable; when I leave the house, I bring a map and a spare phone battery with me, and I don’t get lost. And it is not without some wistfulness I stand barefoot in my own kitchen, missing the life I used to have, but still choosing this one.
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Alfred Soto: The pedal steel lick, complementing the title conceit, goes up and down, while Miranda Lambert rides a once-in-a-lifetime melody, at once winsome and confident. She’s been coming up at least three on every album since Kerosene. Can the best contemporary recording artist in America keep it up? Sure.
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Jessica Doyle: This is clearly aimed at the middle-aged mom market, so, as the minivan-driving, two-kids-stuck-on-Zoom-calls-six-hours-a-day-supervising, Country Club Murders-series-reading representative of that demographic, I feel obliged to comment. (It’s not a bad series, although, like Lambert and her onscreen love interest, Ellison and Anarchy have become increasingly unreachably flawless over time.) Unfortunately, “Settling Down” is below mediocre. The interesting lead-in of the muttered pre-chorus is wasted. (It seems, in the prechorus, like Lambert needs to gather strength to articulate her dilemma, let alone confront it; but there’s no strength in the chorus.) The lyrics are 50% forgettable, 25% forgettable nonsense (“Should I lean on you, or should you lean on me?” If you don’t see it balancing out over time, the relationship isn’t worth keeping), and 25% Miranda Lambert comparing herself to a pigeon. I’d be gloomy at the thought that maybe we middle-aged moms don’t deserve better, but we received much better decades ago, so this really isn’t worth worrying my partially-gray schedule-addled head about.
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Edward Okulicz: Part of growing up isn’t just ruing lost youth, it’s thinking about lost other selves from the roads not taken. The “I am two things at once!” conceit in the chorus is a little stale, but Lambert’s a consummate performer and makes it work. It helps that it’s a character she’s been building for 15 years now. And in the face of a line as great as “I could love a picket fence if it wrapped around the world,” complaining about two ballad singles in row is just pointless; this is one of her very best.
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Juana Giaimo: Just like the action of settling down, the song doesn’t offer anything new, but it still sounds nice. The lyrics are full of questions, but it seems that she already knows the answer and happily embraces this warm sunny melody. 
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