As a big fan of Miranda Lambert, I’m always eager to hear of
new singles, but each time she surprises me with her (or her label’s) choice. ‘All
Kinds of Kinds’ is not what I would have picked, and I would have expected
commercial soft rock love ballads like ‘Safe’ or ‘Better In The Long Run’,
although personally I’m glad they have been left unreleased. As a fifth single
from her award-winning album ‘Four The Record’, ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ may be
destined to trail off in the charts, and perhaps not be promoted as much as it
should while Miranda focuses on recording the new album.
It’s certainly an interesting choice, that may lay the
ground for Kacey Musgraves to finally release ‘Follow Your Arrow’. Written by Phillip Coleman and Don Henry and championing
the different types of people that inhabit this Earth, Miranda sweetly sings
about cross-dressing congressmen, prescription drug addicts and people covered
in tattoos as nonchalantly as a country singer could. It’s a positive message,
one that opens the album and opens the floodgates for the colourful characters
that inhabit her songs. However, it does prefer to couch its message of equality
in circus imagery and fantasy, rather than direct comparisons with the real
world (for the most part), and she missed a vital opportunity to come out in
support of gay rights, among other things.
With more and more country artists campaigning for and
publicly displaying their support for equality, ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ could have
been the soundtrack, although I’m not sure, despite her songs about shooting
ex-boyfriends and setting things on fire, Miranda is ready for potential
full-on controversy. Perhaps (and it’s not something I’d like to believe), she
simply doesn’t agree with the strive for gay rights, or she doesn’t think the
majority of her fans will. It’s a complex topic in country music, and while I
applaud Miranda releasing a song which alludes to such a message, I am a little
disappointed she didn’t go the whole way. She is, after all, country music’s
leading woman at the moment, particularly if you take into account all these ‘Year
of The Woman’ claims.
Aside from the lyrics, if you were expecting more of the
edgy country rock sound from Miranda, you’ll be surprised. ‘All Kinds of Kinds’
is not exactly a ballad, but is much gentler than her other singles, full of
the sweet sounds of acoustic guitar, mandolin, steel guitar, light percussion,
and with a little unthreatening tone-y electric guitar. And instead of leaning
on a guitar solo to carry the song, instead there is a good minute of
instrumental at the end, with an extended intro in the same vein. The music
doesn’t change much throughout, and stays mostly on the same levels and
dynamics, with the exception of a delightful instigation of the drums at the
second section of the first verse. This eludes the common tool in country music
of bringing in the drums as the second verse kicks in after the chorus, but of
course we know Miranda is not exactly conventional. To add a little suspense,
the bridge drops down and builds back up again, although the final chorus never
really kicks off, giving up before it even really gets started.
I like ‘All Kinds of Kinds’, it shows potential, but I’m not
sure if it’s single material. It simply doesn’t sound like a typical summer
hit, and while that is cause for critical merit, the charts are not so forgiving.
However, with Miranda’s current popularity, both with fans and in the industry,
and her marriage to Blake Shelton (who is arguably even hotter right now), she
may just surprise me. She often does.