No. 23: Miranda Lambert, ‘Gunpowder and Lead’ – Top Country Songs of the Century
This is the first Miranda Lambert song to appear on this list of the Top Country Songs of the Century list, ranked at No. 23 because of its success on the radio and influence on the industry. Again and again, Lambert has changed the sound of music recorded after the year 2000.
“Part of what’s always been so important about her as an artist is just yanking people away from a very formulaic kind of recording that they do in Nashville," ToC's Sterling Whitaker pointed out during the quest to choose the best songs of the modern century. “You can’t overstate how different sounding it was and how it led people away from making real factory records."
Lambert wasn't the first female country singer to kill (or threaten to kill) a man, and "Gunpowder and Lead" is not the only song on this list with that theme. From there she found success with "White Liar" and "Only Prettier," examples of the type of sass she struggled to find a foothold with prior to this release from the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend album. Her first Top 10 hit went multi-platinum and led to a string of copycats in country. Killing men became kind of cool — an irony that would only become clear years later, when the male dominance on the radio and in the industry reached its zenith.
About this list: Taste of Country’s Top Country Songs of the Century were decided by a panel of country music experts and fans using sales and chart data, a song’s social and musical impact and lyrical integrity. Select artists were also surveyed. You’ll hear from several throughout the list.