Miranda Lambert Makes “Strange” Pick for Next Radio Single

Miranda Lambert has always had a strange relationship with country radio, to say the least. She’s the most awarded woman in country music history, and clearly a top tier performer of the last 20 years, but has only racked up four #1s at country radio over that time period.

Furthermore, Miranda Lambert’s singles commonly outperform on the consumption-based Billboard Hot Country Songs chart compared to the radio airplay charts, meaning an appeal for her music is there, it’s just not always represented on radio. Her last single “If I Was a Cowboy” stalled at #12 on radio, but got to #8 on Hot Country Songs. Her song “Tin Man” co-written with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall got to #15 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards, and won the ACM Song of the Year. But it only got to #22 on the airplay charts.

Of course, that script is flipped for many male artists in country music, whose singles are artificially propped up by mainstream country radio. But that’s another story. What’s interesting here is that for the second single from her current album Palomino, Miranda Lambert chosen the song “Strange” co-written with Luke Dick and Natalie Hemby.

Extremely timely, the mid-tempo song delves head first into the unusual moments we’re all living through that have left many of us with unsettled feelings. Lines within the song such as, “Urban feels suburban, Main Street ain’t Main” and “Couple hundred dollars feels more like change” will immediately resonate with listeners, if radio adds it to the rotation and they actually hear it, of course.

One of the more country-sounding tracks from Palomino, the song looks to take that unusual uneasiness we’re all feeling, and alleviate it by reminding us all that sometimes all we need is a deep breath. But it’s this verse that makes the release of “Strange” to country radio extra delectable.

“Country don’t twang, rock ‘n’ roll ain’t loud
Every elevator only ever goes down
Everybody’s lookin’ for a little cheap fame, yeah
And times like these make me feel strange”

A lot of today’s mainstream country doesn’t twang. Career elevators do only seem to go down as artists age. And Tik-Tok stars like Walker Hayes are all the rage as country music sells its future for the sugar rush of today. Not exactly a protest song or even an especially pointed jab, it’s nonetheless gratifying to think these sentiments will find their way behind enemy lines and be played on mainstream country radio, even if “Strange” falters in the teens like it probably will.

Or maybe it won’t. Maybe it will do even better. We do all feel like we’re living in strange times, and the best of art reflects the time in which it is created. At least, when it’s given the opportunity to.

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