Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Miranda Lambert: Platinum [RCA, 2014]
Sixteen songs in an hour, half with her name on them and half farmed out, add up to 2014's most ambitious and accomplished big-ticket album. Pragmatically, Lambert front-loads the hookiest material, getting us to track 11 or 12, with four of her cowrites tailing off just slightly at the end. Among those, "Holding On to You," although not quite a grabber, mixes formal exercise with idealized autobio the way pop songs do, a connubial hymn it's hard to imagine Blake Shelton deserving--and hard to imagine Miranda Lambert deserving if he does. I also fall for its opposite number, the Miranda copyright "Bathroom Sink," a crucible her mama taught her to clean at 16--she doesn't like what she sees in the mirror there and doesn't like that she's still fighting with her mama either, but she takes her meds and faces the day. I must also mention "Platinum," about her records and hair, and "Gravity Is a B**ch," about her breasts, thighs, and girlfriends. Nor are the farmed-out sure shots any shorter on sass. Apolitical de facto feminism at its countriest. A