Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Miranda Lambert – Bluebird

Lambert makes a little bluebird in our souls…


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Alfred Soto: The title should make readers with the most stalwart hearts tremble, but “Bluebird” is a lithe mid tempo number with drums that booms and a Lambert who trills even through life-gives-you-lemon cliches rehearsed nine years ago
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Joshua Minsoo Kim: Lambert draws from a Bukowski poem of the same name and refracts the meaning of the titular bluebird. I always understood it to be about emotional guardedness, of the need for posturing as defense mechanism, of the impossibility of vulnerability after being wronged. Lambert sees it differently: such an avian creature represents an optimism that transcends suffering. I can see it if I squint: Sometimes, it’s best to keep such thoughts close to your chest when the rest of the world is eager to drown you in cynicism.
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Brad Shoup: Yeah, she’s a rhymer, able to pair sleeve and drink without tilting the listener’s head. This is dreamier than I expected, with an electric sitar figure and foggy steel keeping things gauzy. But there’s a firm backbeat, locked to Lambert’s hip: a perfect driving tune.
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Stephen Eisermann: No matter how novel the wordplay might seem, Miranda Lambert, with her emotive vocals and southern charm, never comes as across as annoying. Instead, “”Bluebird”” finds a nice balance between being a reassuring, mid-tempo, country-pop bop and a laundry list of annoying inspirational quotes. Sure, my eyes rolled a bit while listening, but I also couldn’t stop smiling. 
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Joshua Lu: The majority of Wildcard feels derived from “We Should Be Friends,” with the dominant, somber part of The Weight of These Wings left behind. Even on the more melancholic songs, sadness is expressed with cheeky turns of phrases, offsetting every frowning moment with a wink and a nudge. This style of lyricism, like a sprig of brightness in a murky cocktail, is a mainstay of country music and Miranda Lambert’s discography especially. On “Bluebird,” though, it feels more earned than usual as she coos through metaphors about her determination in the face of hardships. These metaphors do lead to genericness — it’s unclear what exactly she’s struggling through — but it’s still enough to bring a grin to your face. 
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Thomas Inskeep: “If love keeps givin’ me lemons, I just mix ’em in my drink” is such a great lyric, and such a Miranda Lambert lyric (the song was co-written with Natalie Hemby and Luke Dick), it practically gets the entire song over just on that one line. But it’s more than that: Jay Joyce’s production is nice and airy, allowing different elements to peek through, like a mandolin here and a bassline there. And Lambert’s vocal is perfectly easygoing, very “I got this.” Even though nothing about “Bluebird” sounds like an album’s first single, this should’ve been Wildcard‘s first single.
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Michael Hong: Over the past decade and more, Miranda Lambert has effectively played every trope of a woman in country music when it comes to romance — the vengeful woman scorned, the heartbroken holding it together for appearance’s sake, even the treacherous heartbreaker — but she was almost always a chaotic storm of a force. It’s then a great pleasure to hear that Lambert in settling down loses none of the charms of her histrionics and what would have been a plain country song about ageing is made adventurous by the way Lambert seems to sneer on the chorus and her playfully optimistic knack for wordplay. Every setback is shrugged off with the casual nonchalance of someone who’s finally content. You’ll have trouble finding someone who’s handled turning 35 better than Miranda Lambert.
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Edward Okulicz: Applauded as a kicker of asses, Miranda Lambert also excels at pensive balladry, as she does here. A whip-smart lyricist, she can make a wordless hook — this song’s repeating melodic coo — speak chapters. She’s a cataloguer of sometimes outsize mistakes, but she’s realistic and optimistic. And as such a well-rounded character on record, when she sings something simple like “I’m a keeper” and “I’m a giver,” it means something. So while “Bluebird” isn’t her terrifying peak, it’s a great song and a reminder of what a well-rounded artist she is. Even her second-string ballads beat most artists’ first, especially when so tenderly performed and lovingly produced. Best on the record? No, not even close. But when you’re the best in the business, it doesn’t matter.
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Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Miranda Lambert has been releasing songs like this — beautiful, cleverly written, self-aware nuggets of country-pop– that it’s almost hard to appreciate how good each individual one. “Bluebird” is the best thing she’s done since “Vice,” a breezy take on self mythology that makes itself something grand through its self-effacement. Every detail is carefully wrought, the trills of mandolins and swoons of the guitars complementing Lambert’s voice expertly.
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Alex Clifton: An issue I’ve had with bro country is that country is a great genre for storytelling, but so much of it comes across as generic. Miranda Lambert, of course, bucks that trend and makes this song all her own–her fingerprints are all over this, and I believe every word she sings. There’s an immense sense of calm on “Bluebird” I admire, particularly with the lines of “keep a light on in my soul/keep a bluebird in my heart.” As we go into 2020 and the world gets more terrifying each day, I hope to bring this peace with me throughout the year.
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Katherine St Asaph: It’s absolutely only the title that reminds me of “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” though they share a similar midtempo geniality. If anything, the cooing and the optimism and the utter lack of meanness make this a strange fit as a Miranda Lambert song, but I suppose she’s earned some OOC.
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