Finally this hour, the latest from country music star Miranda Lambert. Her first two albums debuted at number one on the country chart. She's just released her third called "Revolution," and our critic Will Hermes says it's even better than the last two.

WILL HERMES: Let's get this out of the way first: Miranda Lambert has a thing about firearms — which is maybe understandable for a Texan raised by two private investigators. She had a Top 10 hit last year with "Gunpowder and Lead," a provocative song about a woman, an abusive man and a shotgun. And guns figure in two songs on her new record — although only one of them gets fired.

(Soundbite of song, "Time to Get a Gun")

Ms. MIRANDA LAMBERT (Singer): (Singing) I put a bullet in my radio. Something just hit me funny, I don't know. Just pulled the trigger going down the road…

HERMES: Now, I'm not a gun owner, but I know how she feels there. More seriously, I also understand the song about feeling threatened and vulnerable — which is different from saying, I agree with its logic.

(Soundbite of song, "Time to Get a Gun")

Ms. LAMBERT: (Singing) Mary says she's worried about her stuff and her kids. Never known anybody had a gun and her daddy never did. But I think it should be up to me 'cause it's all said and done. Somebody's got to walk into the night and I'm gonna be that one. It's time to get a gun. That's what I've been thinking.

HERMES: Then there's the song about perpetual dissatisfaction and restlessness. I understand this one, too.

(Soundbite of song, "Airstream Song")

Ms. LAMBERT: (Singing) Sometimes I wish I lived on a mountain, drank from a stream instead of a fountain, I'd stay there on top of the world. But I was born a red dirt girl. Unbridled, or tethered in tide, safety of the fence, or the danger of the ride, I'll always be unsatisfied.

HERMES: I love the matter-of-fact way she sings, I'll always be unsatisfied, which is a fine example of how great country — besides twangy hooks and snappy wordplay — often shares confidences like unguarded bar conversations. Miranda Lambert's latest batch of songs nearly all have that quality — even the simple love songs, or the potentially maudlin one about revisiting a former family home.

(Soundbite of song, "House That Built Me")

Ms. LAMBERT: (Singing) Up those stairs, in that little back bedroom, where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar, and I bet you didn't know under that live oak, my favorite dog is buried in the yard.

HERMES: Miranda Lambert delivers the songs on "Revolution" in an impressive variety of arrangements and voices - from quiet, acoustic Southern girl confessions to biker chick rock and roll hollering. They're all convincing, and they make up not just her best record, but my standing pick for country record of the year.

(Soundbite of song, "That's the Way That the World Goes 'Round")

Ms. LAMBERT: (Singing) Well, well, that's the way that the world goes 'round.

BLOCK: The new album from Miranda Lambert is called "Revolution." Our reviewer is Will Hermes.

(Soundbite of song, "That's the Way That the World Goes 'Round")

Ms. LAMBERT: (Singing) …and you think you're gonna drown, that's the way that the world goes 'round. That's the way that the world goes 'round. That's the way…


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