“Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert

Grade: A

photo by Randee St Nicholas/Sony Music Nashville

The odds are pretty good that if a country song contains fire, revenge or mental instability, Miranda Lambert will be the voice behind it. The difference with her new single, “Mama’s Broken Heart,” is that this time she didn’t write it. That hardly matters, though. A great song is a great song, regardless of who is in front of the mic. It just adds fuel to the fire (yep, went there) that Ran already has a penchant for pissed-off poetry, a track record of hits about wreaking havoc on ex-lovers, and a believable edge in her voice that has you dialing “9-1” and waiting to press the second “1.” To provide an innocent, angelic contrast to Miranda’s venomous vocals, the Oklahoma-by-way-of-Texas spitfire brought in one of the song’s co-writers, rising star Kacey Musgraves, to provide background harmonies.

A great vibey production that features an echoey wah-wah from an electric guitar and a chugging honky-tonk bass line helps punctuate Miranda’s melodic swagger and also makes “Mama’s Broken Heart” stand far apart from its chartmates.

Kudos to the writers on this anthem—Kacey, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally—for pushing the musical envelope with a track that even sounds like a nervous breakdown, in the best possible way. For a real treat, check out Kacey’s demo on YouTube

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