Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Miranda Lambert: Four the Record [RCA, 2011]
Lambert's not in it for another "Kerosene," not with the Pistol Annies ready whenever she feels like a joy ride. She's in it for another "The House That Built Me"--a heartsong that lets housewives-they-wish forget their day jobs for the length of a bathroom break. She's too brand-savvy to lead with the soft stuff: "All Kinds of Kinds" stars a cross-dressing congressman, "Fine Tune" links Auto-Tune to sexual excitation, and the Angeleena Presley-assisted "Fastest Girl in Town" ends with Miranda abandoning her man for the cop who caught them speeding. But this does wind down into your basic quality country album. Corn is fine with me--the two-sided "Safe," say. "Dear Diamond," "Oklahoma Sky," the oh-so-soulful Blake collab "Better in the Long Run"--they're cornball. A-