Miranda Lambert, ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ – ToC Critic’s Pick [Listen]
A dog-faced boy, a cross-dressing congressman and a can't-help-herself pharmacist all play a starring role in 'All Kinds of Kinds,' the daring new single from Miranda Lambert. This song's story is as far from country Main Street as you can get, but the singer's message of inclusion and acceptance is the ultimate unifier.
For Lambert fans, this track is among the many highlights on 'Four the Record,' but few would have guessed she or her record label would have the nerve to ask radio to spin it. Some will be offended by the characters in her colorful (to say the least) story. But the singer has the perfect answer to those quick to disparage her new friends:
"Now, some point a finger and let ignorance linger / If they'd look in the mirror they'd find / That ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning / It takes all kinds of kinds," Lambert sings before the mid-tempo cut comes to a close.
Before she gets to the might-be-autobiographical final verse (Lambert didn't write 'All Kinds of Kinds,' but you wouldn't know it), her character and morals are all over this song. We learn who she is because she was courageous enough to not only cut a brilliant song with a truly meaningful and impacting message, but actually build her album from it. 'All Kinds of Kinds' is the first track on 'Four the Record.' Ilsa, Hortatio and their carnival chums are the first people we meet on what was a very highly anticipated album in November 2011.
"Thomas was a congressman with closets full of skeletons / And dresses that he wore on Friday nights / Phyllis was a pharmacist, a dab of that, a pinch of this / Concocted to suppress her appetite," she sings during the second verse. "When the children were fiddlin' she'd slip 'em some Ritalin / And wait for Thomasina to arrive / Cause ever since the beginning to keep the world / spinning / It takes all kinds of kinds."
Stoney LaRue sings along during each chorus as a melodic steel guitar sets the stage for what's to come. 'All Kinds of Kinds' is a true one of a kind -- there's simply nothing in country music like it, yet it feels familiar because it plays upon and celebrates the unique characteristics we're taught to muzzle in day-to-day life. She's the first to step out of line, proudly raise her freak flag and invite us to follow in a way that feels significant -- not cartoony. The song is unlikely to top the charts (fifth singles from an album rarely do), but by simply releasing 'All Kinds of Kinds,' Lambert cracks open a new door for artists to squeeze through.
Listen to Miranda Lambert, 'All Kinds of Kinds'