Miranda Lambert received an Album of the Year nomination in the 2017 CMA Awards for The Weight of These Wings, the most ambitious project of her career. There are many reasons she deserves to win.
Lambert let the music do the talking in the painful aftermath of her divorce from Blake Shelton, writing and recording a massive double album on which she poured her heart out in songs ranging from tragic and heartbreaking to sassy and funny. Lambert took a new road artistically for The Weight of These Wings, focusing on a singer-songwriter approach to the new material that displays a new maturity compared to her past work.
The first single from The Weight of These Wings, "Vice," showed Lambert spilling her guts in a way that she never has before, while "We Should Be Friends" shows off a sly sense of humor. Lambert is also nominated for Song of the Year for "Tin Man," the album's third single. The devastating heartbreak ballad directly addresses the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, telling him, "you don't know how lucky you are" because he does not have a heart to break.
That kind of vulnerability and heart-on-her-sleeve honesty is just one of the reasons Lambert deserves to win Album of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards for The Weight of These Wings. Read on below, and see if you agree or disagree. Let us know in the comments section!
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Lambert's always been an artist who could hold a listener's attention over the course of an entire album, but she's taken a step beyond any of her past work with The Weight of These Wings. The double album contains 24 new songs, and Lambert had a hand in writing all but a tiny few of them. She separated the album into two parts, with Disc One titled The Nerve and Disc Two titled The Heart. Making a double album in this streaming environment is bold enough, but a conceptual double record from a major name country star takes unheard-of audacity, and it actually worked. The Weight of These Wings has been certified platinum.
Lambert went on a year-long songwriting binge after her divorce, and she worked with a wide variety of co-writers. The result was easily the most diverse album of her career touching on mainstream country, a touch of blues, folk and Americana influences. There's an embarrassment of riches in terms of great country albums in 2017, but Lambert's is the most diverse by a wide margin.
Lambert has always been one of country music's most fearless songwriters, but she took it to a new level on The Weight of These Wings. She took on rumors head-on with "Vice," and didn't shy away from heartache on "Tin Man," but it's unfair to characterize The Weight of These Wings as just a divorce record. It's also an album of reinvention that finds Lambert back on solid ground by its end, sharing a sweet duet with new man Anderson East on "Getaway Driver" and looking to the future on "I've Got Wheels."
Lambert didn't hold back for The Weight of These Wings, which comes off like a diary of her hardest year that happens to be set to music. Part of the trick of being a public figure is knowing what not to say and when not to say it, but Lambert throws that away on this album, showing fans what she's like at her worst and most broken on songs including "Ugly Lights" and Vice."
"Vice" co-writer Josh Osborne recalls that Lambert was hurting, but open to anything when they met with Shane McAnally to write.
"To her credit — and honestly, I think this is why she is such an acclaimed and successful artist — she was just like, 'Everything's on the table,'" he tells Taste of Country.
A Huge Risk Deserves a Huge Reward
Yes, there are other bold albums nominated for Album of the Year in the 2017 CMA Awards, and certainly, all of the albums that got the nod are deserving in various ways and feature great songs and great performances. But nobody risked as much as Lambert, who has spent a decade building a career that relied in no small part on airplay from country radio. She bypassed that for The Weight of These Wings to write and record a slate of songs that, although they have garnered less radio airplay than some past albums, have connected with fans in a way that is perhaps more personal than ever before. That's exactly the kind of audacity we should be supporting in country music, and just one final reason why Miranda Lambert deserves to win the 2017 CMA Award for Album of the Year for The Weight of These Wings.