On the caution-vs.-candor scale, its not hard to figure out where Miranda Lambert comes down. "Im really not careful at all," she says. "I probably should be. I pretty much dont have anything to hide, though. I never hid anything growing up. My parents were PIs, so I really couldnt."
She may have become a songbird instead of snooper, but in her own fashion, Lambert is following in the family business, as a private investigator of the hearta trade she recommences with relish in her third album, Revolution. The 25-year-old stars biggest hits have tended to be her boldest songs, so shes not about to put a lid on her plain-spokenness now.
"I mean every word I say in every lyric of every song on this record, and every record Ive ever done," she declares. "I would never take back one word or lyric or point Ive ever made, because its part of who I am. And there are plenty of artists who wouldnt do so much of that, if thats the kind of music youre into. But if youre into honesty, I have the records for you," she laughs.
In her most successful single to date, "Gunpowder and Lead," Lambert declared that some little girls are made less of sugar and spice than more combustible substances. And the title track of her 2005 platinum debut, Kerosene, established her in the country music firmament as a figuratively and maybe even literally incendiary personality. But it may be no mistake that the new albums title, Revolution, could be taken as similarly aggressive or just a simple pledge of personal reinvention.
"Im a little more stable in my life, and not the crazy, wild-eyed kid that was writing Kerosene at 18," she says. "Ive been through a lot and grown up a lot on the road. And Ive always kind of been a little older than my age anyway. I have the regular 25-year-old small town girl side to me that likes to make cupcakes and live on a farm, and then I have this rowdy, crazy, headbanging, rock-star-girl side that is my life on the road. I feel this record shows more a complete picture of who I am.
On one end of the gamut lies the hard-rocking, vengeful "Sin for a Sin," cowritten by Lambert with Blake Shelton, in which it sounds like there might be the hint of a homicide. "Maybe, maybe not," she laughs, refusing to commit to an interpretation. "Its basically about cheating, love gone wrong, and the death of something, whether its love or a person? Thats trademark Mirandathe song on my record that most sounds like me from Kerosene or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Nobody really gets to live out all their fantasies; I just get to sing mine in songs."
At the other end of the Revolution-ary spectrum is the tender but still thoroughly realistic "Love Song," cowritten with Blake and two members of Lady Antebellum. "A song called Love Song I would never think would be on my record," she admits. "You know what I mean? Because I just dont sing songs like that. But this song is about real people in real love, not the fairy tale. And you know, I guess Ive reached a point where, its all right to maybe love somebody.
Miranda is an artist of many complementary qualities that only appear on the surface to be contradictions. You can even see it in some of the magazine covers shes appeared on. She was recently the focus of her first cover story in Country Weekly, after previously fronting an issue of No Depression, a publication usually devoted only to non-mainstream, critically acclaimed, alt-country singer-songwriters. Shes equally at home on the cover of First, a womens magazine ("Mirandas Bliss Tips!"), and Garden & Gun (which trumpeted her as "The New Loretta Lynn"). People named her one of 2009s "100 Most Beautiful People" just a year after Esquire named her "Terrifying Woman of the Year."