Certain Songs #1148: Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene”

Album: Kerosene
Year: 2005

Those of you who don’t really pay any attention to popular contemporary country music are probably at least know the name of Miranda Lambert, and maybe even know that she’s one of the hugest country stars in the world. Hell, you even know that she was married for awhile to that country guy on that singing competition TV show. Or maybe even know that she got her recording contract after not winning an earlier country-based singing competition TV show.

I just realized that I’ve been writing about her as if she hasn’t sold millions and millions of records, but at the same time, I don’t think she’s ever fully crossed over into the mainstream, like Taylor Swift has, so it seems like there’s a gap between how big she is in the country world vs. how big she is in general.

And man, I can’t blame you if you don’t really follow popular contemporary country music, but here’s the thing about Miranda Lambert: if you haven’t heard her records, you’re completely missing out on someone who has been at the top of her game for over a dozen years now.

And it started with the titular opening track to her major-label debut, “Kerosene,” which jumps out of the speaker with backward echoed guitar fading into an insta-hooky guitar riff, followed by a relentless double-timed snare the drives the song like a stolen car trying to escape a police helicopter.

Meanwhile, Lambert is singing about her broken heart, guitar riff responding to nearly every single declaration.

I gave it everything I had
And everything I got was bad
Life ain’t hard but it’s too long
To live it like some country song
Trade the truth in for a lie
Cheating really ain’t a crime
I’m giving up on love ’cause love’s given up on me

Later on, there’s some crazy harmonica, and more guitars piled on, as Miranda burns it all down because love’s given up on her.

If you’re a Steve Earle fan, “Kerosene” might seem familiar, as after writing and recording it, she realized that it was reminiscent of his “I Feel Alright” — mostly in her phrasing — that she should probably give him a co-writing credit.

Official Video for “Kerosene”

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