Single Review – Miranda Lambert – ‘Baggage Claim”
August 12, 2011
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Admittedly, I was a bit nervous listening to Miranda Lambert’s new single. I didn’t want to be disappointed or feel like she was squandering her talents. Revolution remains my current favorite mainstream country album and it was released almost two years ago. The quality of the material was top-notch and the album took Lambert to the heights I knew she was destined for after her third place finish on Nashville Star eight years ago.
But after hearing “Baggage Claim” I have to say I’m quite pleased. The track retains all the elements of a classic Lambert song – attitude, loudness, and the use of backing vocalists (which in this case happen to be Josh Kelley) on the chorus. The production has this gypsy like quality to it with the guitar work throughout that I’m really digging. It’s new and different and sounds like nothing else going for ads on country radio, which in a sea of “I’m Country” anthems is more than a good thing.
Lyrically, it’s a novel idea because it presents a tired theme in a fresh light. The metaphor of luggage in a baggage claim to the baggage of a failed relationship seems obvious at first, but if it were, it would be a cliché by now. But the cleverness of the metaphor can’t disguise the lightness of the lyrics that keep the song a hair below Lambert’s best work. But it’s very catchy and cannot help but grab your attention.
Unfortunately though, her trademark loudness gets in the way here. While it doesn’t hinder appreciation of the lyrics, the overall track is congested. A thinner arrangement (without the hard-hitting drums on the bridge, for example) would’ve struck a better tone and given Lambert room to inject even more anger into her vocal performance.
Despite the shortcomings, “Baggage Claim” displays how much Lambert has grown over the last two years by bringing new elements to her sound. Sonically, this sounds something Sheryl Crow would record and when I first heard it and the track brought to mind “Every Day Is A Winding Road.”
By varying the production just slightly, Lambert ensures the track doesn’t sound like a second-rate knockoff from Revolution but an introduction to a new project. It’s a solid addition to her discography and succeeds in wetting our appetites for the November 1 release of Four The Record.