Queen of country music Miranda Lambert returns

There are many good reasons to stay in love with Miranda Lambert. First and foremost is because she’s one of the few female mainstream country artists that sings honestly about life. That seems like a no-brainer, since being boldly truthful is one of the cornerstone values of country music. However, the style that many of us love so much has become lifestyle music and bro-country trash -- if you believe the radio, at least.

With Platinum, Lambert sings a lot to the girls, and sometimes to the guys, about the realities of being a women these days. “Somethin’ Bad,” her new duet with Carrie Underwood, speaks to Lambert’s mischievous side, while “Little Red Wagon” finds her putting the brakes on some overly forward male. “Girls” speaks truth to a man that just doesn’t understand how women think.

Lambert is at her best whenever she’s a little nostalgic. Her big hit, “The House That Built Me,” gave an inkling of good things about to come because “Automatic” reminisces over the days before technology sped things up so much. “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” may look on the surface like a follow up to “Somethin’ Bad,” but is in truth another nostalgic song. It’s one that thinks back on younger, restless days when young people would do things they might later regret. But the sights and sounds of those days make her think back on “the one that got away.” It’s about things that bring these back memories, more than anything else.

One reason to love Lambert a little less is the fact that she cusses a whole lot more on this album. Granted, it’s mostly only the “S” word, notably in the song “Old Sh!t.” But it's a word Lambert uses more than a few times throughout. Then there’s “Gravity Is a B**ch.” Granted, many people talk that way these days and it’s not unusual to hear these words on nightly TV. Maybe it’s old fashioned, but there’s something really sad about hearing a woman cuss so much.

Cussing aside, though, Platinum is a strong album. You can listen to aforementioned Underwood albums and hear a good voice singing generic country-esque songs, but Carrie is not moving the style forward with any personal imprint of her own. Lambert, on the other hand, with her direct honesty is carrying on traditions first started with greats like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. There is some really strong material here. Blake Shelton may come into your living rooms with The Voice every week, but we know who the most talented member in that couple is. The smartest one is the blonde one.