How Miranda Lambert Makes Happy Sound Sad

Flipping the Script on Nostalgia

In a new story in Billboard, Miranda Lambert and songwriters Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally reveal how her new song “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” evolved over the course of the songwriting session.

And, man, did it evolve.

The duet with Little Big Town “went from like a Kid Rock summer song to like a 1970s slow jam,” according to Hemby.

For example, where Kid Rock might sing about sipping whiskey out of the bottle and summertime in northern Michigan in a one-dimensional way, this new Lambert song paints a different picture. One where you’re goin’ against your upbringin’, smokin’ and drinkin’, and then years later, “I think about us now every time that I go out smokin’ and drinkin’.”

“We just talked about our childhood, mostly our teenage years, and how we either tried to get away with things or thought that it was so cool that we could drink or smoke,” added McAnally. “It’s supposed to feel like those high school years where you’re not an adult, but you’re not a kid anymore.”

Lambert remarked in the story that she doesn’t want to move backwards, “but I definitely like looking back there.”

But one of the things Lambert does best, besides looking back, is her ability to surprise listeners with an unexpected take on a theme.

“I can always take a happy song,” she said, “and make it sound sad.”

Check out the lyric video:

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.