Coming off a critically acclaimed and award-winning album, Revolution, Miranda Lambert was worried about delivering an equally creative and compelling set. She approached the creation of Four the Record with a blank mind and an open heart. Being awarded the Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards for the second year running humbled the Texas native, and what she could never have expected was scoring another number one album on the Billboard charts.
Well, all the accolades and praise are worth it. What Lambert has been able to brew on Four the Record most artists dream of doing their whole lives. She's pushed boundaries even further than before, and while she's embraced her country roots, she has also bought into commercial success. Get ready, Lambert--you might need another trophy case or two for all your hard work.
The opening track, "All Kinds of Kinds," penned by Phillip Coleman and Don Henry, is a circus-like themed dedication to the millions of different people in this world. "Ilsa was an acrobat who went and fell in love with that Horatio the human cannonball," Lambert sings on the first verse. With an eclectic pump organ and slide acoustic and clavinet, the track hums along quite steadily. She then notes in the chorus that "ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds." The second verse talks about a congressman "with closets full of skeletons" who likes dresses, and a pharmacist who takes her own pills. The lyrics are cleverly snapped together and create lasting portraits of real people. The melodic line is infectious and transforms an intriguing observation about the world into a self-empowerment anthem. We could all take a lesson from Lambert that different and interesting people are what make our world worth experiencing. The background vocals by Henry and Stoney LaRue heavily soak behind Lambert's powerful delivery and add an extra layer to a poignant performance.
"Fine Tune," written by Natalie Hemby and Luke Laird, draws comparisons of Lambert's heart to a car that's "missing all the vital signs." With steel drums, electric guitar, and robotic vocals, "Tune" is a surprise in and of itself. She laments that she has an "engine of a heart that would not start, had to jump it so much, it hurt." Her love of a man that "pulled up in a rescue truck" was the only way she could be saved. Lambert's brazen use of imagery of tools, cars, trucks, and keys culminates in a thought-provoking track. She expresses her relief that the man of her dreams has shown up: "Oh my god, you turned all my loose strings. You're the love innovator." She then compares herself to a guitar, thus the title of the song. Two cuts in, and Lambert has already proven her capability of exploring raw and complex sounds. The multitude of elements that comprise "Tune" caramelize it as an album gem.