Miranda Lambert’s new album “Platinum” (out June 3) picks up where the singer/songwriter left off with 2011’s “Four The Record,” when she continued to blow past those who might have written her off as a one-note show, all bombast and arsenal. On “Platinum,” Lambert again showcases her skills as a confident, charismatic vocalist and a top-shelf songwriter, capable of sharp observations and—an even more rare quality among country stars and spitfires alike—scorching introspection and vulnerability.
It’s a diverse, ambitious record that manages to be both wide ranging yet cohesive in the sum of its parts. So even as the artist explores wildly varied themes, emotions and musical styles, “Platinum” is, unmistakably, Miranda Lambert. “You can’t pull one over on her,” says co-producer Frank Liddell, who has worked with Lambert on all five of her records, plus two Pistol Annies albums. “I can’t try to make her sound different than she wants to sound. It’s just all in her heart and in her gut, ‘this is who I am,’ and when we go in the studio, that’s what you’re chasing. There’s nothing else really we can do but make a Miranda Lambert record, because anything straying from that path one bit, we’re gonna get caught. She is, too, and she knows it.”
Lambert comes across, both on the album and in conversation, as very comfortable in her own skin, an observation she accepts. “At 30 years old, having lived and done a lot of things in my career and my life, I have a different take than at 20 when I was makin’ Kerosene,'” she says. “But, I also do not have near the stuff that Reba would have to say, I have so much more to learn and do. I’m just right here smack in the middle of it, hopefully. If I’m lucky, I’m in the middle of it, because I want to go so much farther and wider with my career and my empire, really.”
In laying the foundation for her “empire,” Lambert has built both respect from her peers and a fiercely loyal fan base. In addition to enough awards to fill an Airstream, Lambert has charted 22 titles that have spent a combined 442 weeks on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, led by the Grammy-winning “The House That Built Me,” which spent 22 weeks on the chart in 2010. All of Lambert’s previous four albums debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Album’s chart, and have moved a combined 5.2 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Lambert spoke easily and openly about a wide variety of topics, much appearing in the recent Billboard cover story. Plenty didn’t, like when we asked her if her husband Blake Shelton REALLY tweeted the cell phone number of Adam Levine, Shelton’s co-judge on The Voice.
For the record, Lambert’s not sure. “I texted Blake, ‘did you do that, did that just happen?,'” she replies, laughing. “I’m guessing it was a publicity ploy, I don’t know for sure. He wouldn’t actually do that. Blake’s pretty mean sometimes, but not that mean. He would have brought the wrath of Adam, because Adam has done some crazy shit. He sent us a nine-foot-tall, seven-foot-wide cover of himself as People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive,’ he sent that to our house. So I wouldn’t even want to know his revenge if Blake did that, so I don’t think it’s real.”
As to whether Shelton and Lambert, country music’s power couple, might ever tour together, “I think it’s close to time, if we’re going to,” Lambert says. “There would be nothing better than being able to hang out with my husband on tour, we’ve never actually done that. We’re getting to the point where we want to slow down, we don’t want to tour as much, so I think it’s now or never, if you ask me. If we want to collaborate we should, if we want to tour together we probably should start thinking about it.”
Lambert points out that she and her husband have very different musical styles. “Also, just the scheduling, we have two different labels and management companies and producers,” she adds. “There’s so much more behind it than just saying, ‘let’s go on tour.’ That’s sounds great when you’re driving back roads drinking a beer, then you start the ball rolling and it’s a thousand other things come into play. I’m sure we will eventually, it’s just got to be the right time and the right way. I’m a very strong minded female, I’d be, ‘I want it this way, this is my band, my bus, and I’m sure he’s like, ‘never mind.'”
And, of course, Lambert talks about the songs on “Platinum.” Here’s her take on several the album’s tracks.
“Girls” (written by Nicolle Galyon/Natalie Hemby/Jimmy Robbins)
Lambert sings convincingly of a “fighter with a centerfold face,” in a pulsing mid-tempo featuring soaring harmonies and inventive background vocals. “I get pitched 100 ‘Gunpower & Leads’ and I’m like, ‘give me something I can’t write, I can write those all day long.’ I like to hear things where I go, ‘damn, I wish I’d written that.’ Natalie [Galyon] is a freak of nature, she’s such a great writer,” Lambert says. “I heard [“Girls”] and it was like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s so true.’ Girls, we’re so complicated, can’t live with us, can’t live without us. I feel like that song says that so well, it’s so beautiful. Every girl I play it for is like, ‘that’s me!’ and that’s what you want, it’s so relatable and powerful. Even guys, ‘oh yeah, that’s my girl, that’s my wife, that’s my mom, that’s my daughter.’ I love songs that make you feel something and this one definitely does.”