Country Radio programmers have a problem with women. It’s so bad that female artists personally thank the radio station on Twitter for every airplay. Maybe the misogynists in their audience are more likely to complain if they hear a female voice? Who knows. In any event, they shouldn’t pander to misogyny and sexism. As Vince Gill says in his recent Rolling Stone interview,
Look at that poster [points to a Rolling Stone cover from 1980 with Dolly Parton], look at the history that women have provided this music. It’s every bit as important as anything the men have done. It’s grossly unfair, and grossly one-sided. … I had a really great conversation with Lee Ann Womack one time. She was trying so hard to do the music that really wasn’t her. She’s such a brilliant country singer. She said, “Well, I can’t get on the radio if I don’t.” I said, “Well, you might get on the radio a little bit, but you’re getting on the radio with something that is certainly not your heart. Go be what makes you great.
[That Rolling Stone article has a stupidly misleading headline, by the way, implying that Vince Gill has something against women in country music, which as you can tell from the quote above, he doesn’t.]
Miranda Lambert has been wrestling with the same problem as Lee Ann Womack. Makes great records, can’t get airplay. Even does a radio-friendly edit, but still can’t get airplay.
Platinum is her way of saying fuck you to Country radio. If they’re not going to play her stuff, she’s going to make the records she wants to make, complete with swears and sarcasm.
Give or take Carrie “Helium Balloon Voice” Underwood’s presence on “Somethin’ Bad”, Platinum is a fucking brilliant record.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you blonder,” she sings on the title track.
You don’t need to be a fighter
Honey, just go one shade lighter
You’ll acquire everything you want
When your roots grow out
And things go South
Hey, go back to the salon!
What doesn’t kill you
Only makes you blonder
My heels and my hotel
They just got taller
Somethin’ bout platinum irrefutably
Looks as good on records as it does on me
There are collaborations with the always excellent Little Big Town (“Smokin’ and Drinkin'”) and The Time Jumpers (“All That’s Left”), and a sly acknowledgement of what it’s like to be married to country superstar Blake Shelton (“Priscilla”). For the record, Miranda Lambert is twice the artist that Shelton is. He’s good, but he sings a lot about good ol’ boys and trucks, like almost all the male vocalists in Nashville do at the moment.
What comes across most strongly on this record is the cussing. Mild perhaps by hip hop standards, song titles like “Gravity is a Bitch,” or “Old Shit” will guarantee that she won’t get country radio airplay. More fool them. We’ve all seen Nashville, and we all know how tiresomely moralistic the red states can be, but it’s all hypocrisy, all this celebration of trucks and guns and booze, while marginalising and judging women by completely different standards.
We look we got it made, don’t we?
On their arms and always on their minds
Rings, we gotta wear the real big rings
Big smiles like figurines
Big hair for the real big kind
When they turn it on and slick back their hair
We turn around and the world’s right there
Woman to woman, I’m starting to see
What happened to you is happening to me
How’d you get him to yourself?
Between the whistle calls and Southern dolls
It’s enough to put a home through Hell
He’s always in high demand
How do you or don’t you get the love you want when everybody wants your man?
It’s a difficult thing being Queen to the King
And I feel ya
Great record. Buy it!