Saturday, February 24, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Review: Miranda Lambert's 'Platinum' is her best yet

There's no denying the real rebel in country music's reigning royal pair. Miranda Lambert has become Nashville's wildest, twangiest card — hell-raisin' dervish onstage, sonically restless innovator on record — and routinely makes hubby Blake Shelton's Boys 'Round Here Skoal-and-Schlitz shtick seem rote.

The 30-year-old Texas singer-songwriter is edgy with her Pistol Annies side crew, but she's become downright revolutionary as a solo star. New album Platinum, released Tuesday, is her most genre-bending work yet. Fuzzed and distorted in places, pop and punk in others, the album swings from old-timey saloon stomp (Gravity Is a B----) to indie-rock lament about insecurity (Bathroom Sink) to roots-rockin' hip-shaker detailing her sudden similarity to Elvis' bride (the gossip-juicer Priscilla).

There's also a psychedelic Beatles vamp (Two Rings Shy) and a dumb-fun Def Leppard-y duet with Carrie Underwood (Somethin' Bad) to make sure this thing definitely does go platinum. Most of it works and works well, especially the bolder first half. Lambert loves a big ol' buffet, take what you want, leave the rest.

Like contemporary male counterpart Eric Church, she's transcended country if only because country — think Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum — has remained stationary, safe while she has deconstructed the whole dang thing. She was an outlaw at first (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Gunpowder & Lead) then allowed herself to evolve (Dead Flowers, The House That Built Me) and hone her voice, tone, curiosity.

The former reality-show contestant is now a celebrity, a Grammy winner and one half of a power couple that has grown up and grown famous together. Much like her beloved Loretta Lynn, Lambert has stayed captivating as she's become richer and less like us. She strives to create things never heard before, all without losing a sing-along center and staying truthful and real.

Platinum finds a successful woman unsure of her fame and doubly wary of the pedestal on which she and Shelton have been placed. So she goes after all that with gusto. With primary help from pal and co-writer Natalie Hemby (who also penned Little Big Town's Pontoon and Toby Keith's Drinks After Work), Lambert works through strengths and weaknesses, good days and bad. That several of the songs long for a simpler time, such as No. 1 hit Automatic, whimsically profane Old S---, is understandable.

Oh, she's still a feminist with a wink and a shotgun. "What doesn't kill you only makes you blonder," Lambert quips on the boys-beware title cut, an odd, subversive blast that sounds as if she and her rowdy, harmonizing pals busted into a L'Oreal commercial and shook the joint up.

She's less sure about her role as Shelton's bride, especially on Priscilla, maybe the best thing she's ever recorded. Addressing Elvis Presley's most famous bride circa '67, she sighs: "You and me share a unique position / Married to a man who's married to attention." The song, which borrows acoustic thrust from George Michael's Faith, has already raised a ruckus, with tabloids sniffing trouble in paradise. But kudos to Lambert for letting the marital trials and truths fly.

Bathroom Sink, which she wrote alone, is about staring into the mirror and seeing someone less than perfect staring back: "It's amazing the amount of rejection that I see." It could have been a slow ballad, but Lambert does what she does best when feeling cornered. She shreds guitars and sheds light on how she's now made five killer albums in a row and come to rule Nashville: "I try not to waste too much time at the bathroom sink."

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Comments
SoundBytes: The Shadowboxers, Lit, O-Town, Saba, Wolfgang Gartner and more

SoundBytes: The Shadowboxers, Lit, O-Town, Saba, Wolfgang Gartner and more

— The Shadowboxers will open for their mentor Justin Timberlake on May 15 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. You might remember the pop-rock group from their several performances around the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game in Tam...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa Bay’s Ries Brothers playing Parkland shooting benefit concert with Austin Mahone, Saigon Kick, more

Tampa Bay’s Ries Brothers playing Parkland shooting benefit concert with Austin Mahone, Saigon Kick, more

The Ries Brothers were driving to a gig in Corpus Christi, Texas, when they heard about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland."We played Fort Lauderdale like two days before it happened, so it was really bizarre," said...
Published: 02/22/18
Review: Mary J. Blige, fresh off Oscar nominations, unleashes soulful fury on Amalie Arena in Tampa

Review: Mary J. Blige, fresh off Oscar nominations, unleashes soulful fury on Amalie Arena in Tampa

It took 10 songs and a solid half hour of furious funk for Mary J. Blige to stop strutting and dancing to sit and sermonize on matters of faith and fidelity."I'm going to say it for you, because I'm a little crazy," she told nearly 6,500 fans Wednesd...
Published: 02/22/18
Imagine Dragons coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Imagine Dragons coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Let's be honest: Imagine Dragons are probably the most successful rock band of this decade.They're not the only group to debut in the 2010s who can also headline arenas, but they're definitely the only one to have such enormous crossover success on a...
Published: 02/21/18
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Published: 02/21/18
Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron talks touring at 50, being the ‘Two Princes’ guy and more

Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron talks touring at 50, being the ‘Two Princes’ guy and more

Go back and read Rolling Stone's 1993 cover story on the Spin Doctors — yep, that's a thing that actually happened — and the first quote from singer Chris Barron jumps out."I don't want to be 50 years old and be out on the road with my vo...
Published: 02/21/18
Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

BROOKSVILLE — From Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars and Carlos Santana — tunes from all over the musical spectrum.Those are a taste of the old and new favorites audiences can enjoy when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra presents its Spectrum...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
SoundBytes: Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Dua Lipa, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and more

SoundBytes: Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Dua Lipa, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and more

— Prog-punk and emo will meet this summer when Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday embark on a summer tour that stops at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 7. The Story So Far will open. Tickets are $29.50 and up. Click here...
Published: 02/20/18
Snoop Dogg, T.I. to headline inaugural Halftime Music Festival in Tampa

Snoop Dogg, T.I. to headline inaugural Halftime Music Festival in Tampa

Are you ready for an all-new hip-hop festival in Tampa?Snoop Dogg and T.I. are scheduled to headline the inaugural Halftime Music Festival on May 5 in the North Lot of Raymond James Stadium. Also on the bill: Karol G, Baby Rasta y Gringo and Brytiago...
Published: 02/20/18
SoundBytes: Glass Animals, Katt Williams, Natalie Prass, Lee Ann Womack and more

SoundBytes: Glass Animals, Katt Williams, Natalie Prass, Lee Ann Womack and more

— British alt-rock outfit Glass Animals is coming to the Ritz Ybor on July 24. Knox Fortune will open. Click here.— Katt Williams is returning to the USF Sun Dome on April 14. Tickets are $49 and up. Click here.— It's been a while s...
Published: 02/19/18