Finally, Miranda Lambert‘s 8th studio album, “Palomino,” is here, and I’m definitely ready to do some actin’ up. I’ve been waiting with sequined cowboy boots on for new Miranda, and “Palomino” did not disappoint. It’s a masterpiece of her signature sound, like her old work but polished up to a gleaming shine. Grown-up, sophisticated, yet fun, flirty, and karaoke ready. “Palomino” is a heartfelt look into Miranda Lambert’s growth as an artist.
Miranda Lambert’s New Album ‘Palomino’ Gives Texas Desert Vibes
“Palomino” opens with Actin’ Up, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Actin’ Up” feels like a subtle anthem; it’s not loud and in your face, but it does inspire a sense of freedom and independence. “I wanna see the desert from a painted palomino / Senorita need to have a little fun / I’m actin’ up,” Lambert sings in the chorus.
The imagery is rich in “Actin’ Up,” as it is throughout the entire album. Lyrics like “sunset ride” “hear my rhinestones rattle,” and “a Colorado high / a California glow” call to mind tangible images, things we can see and hear. But Lambert also delves into the figurative in “Actin’ Up”: “velvet rodeo,” “I got a heart on fire, boy, don’t you wanna hold it,” and “looking for the lightning, when I find it then I rhyme it” are poetic images. It’s clear that Miranda Lambert has always had a strong grasp of how to mix descriptive and figurative language, and “Actin’ Up” is no exception.
In His Arms is a romantic ballad about a lonely cowgirl missing her cowboy; again, the imagery is so rich. This is one that was originally on “The Marfa Tapes” by Jack Ingram, Jon Randall, and Lambert. There are a few studio cuts of “Marfa Tapes” tracks on “Palomino,” but they give different vibes and textures. On “The Marfa Tapes,” this song is rough and raw, as was that entire album. But on “Palomino,” it’s polished and tight. “In His Arms” is a simple song that evokes feelings of fulfillment even when you’re missing someone.
Next up is another “Marfa Tapes” studio cut, Geraldene. I like to think of “Geraldene” as the anti-“Jolene.” The speaker knows that Geraldene has all the men wrapped around her little finger. But, she “can’t take a man from me, now Geraldene.” Where Dolly begged Jolene not to take her man, Lambert’s character is confident that her man won’t stray for Geraldene. This song is definitely a karaoke bop waiting to happen.
‘Tourist,’ ‘Music City Queen,’ and ‘Country Money’ Round Out ‘Palomino’ to Perfection
Tourist is like the background music to every trip I’ve ever taken or want to take. I put this song on repeat and looked through my photos from a summer trip to Glacier National Park and just reveled in the memories. “So I roam from town to town / Taking snapshots of the world / and I laugh away the lonely / And give a local bar a whirl,” sings Lambert. This is the vibe I try to cultivate when I travel; just enjoying the moments, trying all the local spots, shopping thrift stores and taking photos on film. “Tourist” really does it for me, personally. It’s a song about picking up and moving on, about an itch to roam that you can’t quite scratch. Just a backpack, a camera, a stack of postcards, and an idea.
Featuring the B-52’s, Music City Queen tells the story of the titular showboat that floated down the Cumberland River, and all the characters she attracted. This song is like a drag show; it calls to mind sequins, big hair, fishnets, and overall just being “flashy and trashy.” It’s perfect for the B-52’s, and their distinct sound melds so well with Lambert’s. In all honesty, it reminds me of going on the gambling boat with my grandmother, so A+ job there, Miranda.
Another favorite of mine is Country Money, which blends country with some alternative influences (we call that ya’llternative). This song has a complete cast of characters, all women making their own money and owning their own businesses: Connie Johnson with a cattle farm in Wisconsin, Carol Jean with her chickens, and the Carter Sisters with their moonshine still. This song is a smooth female anthem, slick and slow, about making money off the land. It’s empowering musically and lyrically; it makes me want to walk down a long, fancy hallway in dirty boots and a cowboy hat after I’ve just paid off a big loan to the bank. It just vibes, y’all.
What ‘Palomino’ Means To Me
Overall, “Palomino” is, in my opinion, Miranda Lambert’s best work to date. Yeah, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” holds a special place in my heart, but “Palomino” is at the top of my list right now. It’s about freedom, independence, self-love, and having fun; that’s something I can definitely get behind. Miranda Lambert has grown as a writer and a singer, and “Palomino” feels like her most polished work. While her revenge songs remain some of my favorites, this album feels like a place Miranda Lambert was always trying to get to artistically. In short, it’s heavenly, and I need to be on the back of a horse looking out over the desert, like, yesterday.