The third single from Four The Record finds Lambert revisiting familiar territory as the gun-touting tough girl brought to life in “Kerosene” and “Gunpowder and Lead.” Both of those hits succeed because they were fully formed statements of both artistic and personal fury, fueled by infidelity and pent up rage. The formula also worked wonders when refined into “White Liar” and, to a lesser extent, “Baggage Claim.”
Now, it just seems silly. Co-written with fellow Pistol Annie Angaleena Presley, “Fastest Girl In Town” is the most immature of these singles yet, opting for regression over growth in an attempt to add another dimension to her well-worn persona – she’s a fast driver with a lead foot. Problem is, Lambert cannot be badass behind the wheel without explaining why. Without probable cause for her actions, none of this has a purpose.
When she sings “My reputation follows me around, just makes me want to give them more to talk about” in the second verse, it’s like she’s responding directly to anyone who feels her rise at country radio has compromised her artistic integrity. She’s surely displayed her vulnerability more often than not lately, but its helped her grow artistically credible and kept her from being pigeonholed. (We’ve all seen what being pigeonholed has done to artists over the years – Gretchen Wilson, anyone?)
If she’s out to prove she’s still a tough cookie, couldn’t she found a better way to say it than this? I mean who would’ve thought Lambert would sing such lines as:
I see the blue lights, we better run
Throw out the bottle and I’ll hide the gun
If he pulls us over I’ll turn on the charm
You’ll be in the slammer and I’ll be on his arm
Call it growing up, a new maturity, or whatever you want but the Lambert we all know would never turn on the charm for a police officer. She’d be in the slammer long before settling as his arm candy.
But if there’s a bright side, she got the packaging right. If country has to go in a rocker direction, this is honestly the best production we could ask for. At least the aggressive guitars are called for this time around and though they’re loud (and a far cry from traditional country) they never hinder Lambert’s vocal. It’s just too bad she didn’t deliver a more substantive lyric worth being heard.
Couldn’t her label have chosen “Mama’s Broken Heart” instead?