Dissection of Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” Music Video

Miranda Lambert vice video

Miranda Lambert’s much anticipated “Vice” music video was released today, and this is one video that has the fans and media talking. Perhaps many people awaited the video with certain expectations of a literal treatment that follows the lyrics laden with honesty, which could be why eyebrows are raised today and many aren’t quite sure how to respond.

To be honest, “Vice” is very much open to interpretation, even as it pertains to the song itself. Before I heard the song, I received several different messages from friends, none of which was alike. One thought the song was deep and dark; one thought it was about sleeping around; one thought it was about being an alcoholic, but no two ideas directly overlapped. It can be said that the music video followed suit, making interpretation a key factor while viewing.

As subjective as this video might be, we thought a dissection of the treatment might open some eyes and start turning wheels that might have been flat at first. To begin pumping some air for you, let me paint a picture. Remember the beginning of Wizard of Oz when it is black and white before Dorothy ends up walking us through her dream in color? If you are only looking for sex and alcohol in the “Vice” video, you are waiting for a tornado to lift you off your feet and drop you into a world of colors and layers.

Prepare to be involuntarily swept away.

Rather than a record player opening the video, as one would expect, “Vice” begins with a tire spinning to the scratching of the needle on vinyl. We find Lambert in a wrecked vehicle, climbing her way out on to a deserted road. Immediately, I saw the car and thought, “This is symbolic of her life. It has spun out of control and she has crashed.” As the camera pans over the leaking fluids and the broken glass, we see her entire life shattered while she lays in the middle of the wreckage. You know that saying “you have to hit rock bottom” in order to get better? Lambert snaps out of her “unconsciousness” with the opening beat of the music, symbolizing the fact that she is finally starting to see herself for who and what she is — but is she really ready to climb out of the mess she’s made?

It doesn’t seem so.

Attempting to regroup, Lambert finds herself alone in a desolate world of emptiness, looking around for something or someone familiar, but she has built a life that lacks those things. To fill the voids that her vice has helped her create, she begins to travel down a road of past and future regrets, looking for the next quick fix. However, she doesn’t get far before she turns around and takes a quick glimpse at the destruction, ultimately deciding to appear unaffected, symbolizing that the necessary rock bottom is yet to be achieved.

Though somewhat literal in its setting, Lambert is next seen walking through a ghost town, only coming across a few signs of life: a woman who not-so-coincidentally holds a newspaper with the word “CHAOS” boldly printed on the front as Lambert croons about her addiction to goodbyes; two children blowing bubbles, representing the innocence that once was; a bird that mimics her behavior — flying away as fast as it came into the picture; and the bartender who serves up the poison that brought her to this point.

As soon as Lambert makes herself comfortable in the bar and succumbs to her demons, she is seen, once again, traveling alone down a road on foot, paying close attention to crosses on the side of the road; something that could hit a little too close to home sooner than later if she continues on the destructive path. The bridge is upon us and as Lambert delicately sings “standing at the sink, not looking in the mirror, don’t know where I am or how I got here,” she is seen in the middle of a crossroads, looking every which way and not knowing which direction is right.

As she comes to terms with the fact she is still not ready to turn over a new leaf and start her life over, she admits the only thing she knows how to find “is another vice.” Just like that, a car with nobody driving comes down the road toward her and she climbs in the backseat. Lambert blindly relinquishes self control and heads off, crying out that she is another vice.

Hopefully that helps open some eyes to the intricacies of the video. It is pure genius and worthy of every award for which it is eligible. Kudos to all involved and the magical direction of Trey Fanjoy.

What did you take away from the video when you watched it? What symbolism did you notice? We can’t wait to hear your individual interpretations!

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Triciamelise@yahoo.com'

    The video is genius…the lyrics are genius, which I have a completely different interpretation from any of your friends 😉
    If you notice, the video starts where it ends. As the song starts, we come up on the wreckage of a black Cadillac…..We then see Miranda, who appears to be confused, which in my opinion, symbolizes her emotional state. As she tries to make sense of what happened, she pulls herself from the back seat of the wrecked car, on to the gravel road and starts walking. She stops to look back at the wreckage and sighs before continuing on. Fast forward to the end of the video, which shows Miranda walking down the same gravel road- the camera shows her glance over at 2 crosses on the side of the road….hmm could this represent the death of her relationship with Blake? As she’s standing at the crossroad, we hear the lyrics, “Don’t know where I am or how I got here. Well the only thing that I know how to find Is another vice” and up pulls a black Cadillac and she gets in the back seat…

    1. Awesome thoughts :). Thank you for sharing them!

  2. rhondathacker77@yahoo.com'

    I agree with most of your interpretations but I sorta think the two crosses represented the death of 2 people. Miranda herself and Blake, if you will, the death of their marriage. The video is raw with the lack of emotion Miranda shows. The darkest part to me is how she has no hesituation about climbing in the car without a driver. Not caring where it was headed or who was driving. That ending left me with a dark feeling. One I’m not sure I like.

    1. That’s deep about the crosses. Great interpretation!

  3. ashley.chappell09@gmail.com'

    The thing that jumped out at me the most was the end of the video, with the car driving itself, where she is getting in the backseat of a car that appears to be the same from the opening scene. Upon watching the video again, it actually appears that she is crawling out of a backseat window.

    Did anyone else see that?

    For me that spoke volumes. It was like she knows the outcome if she gets in the backseat of that car, yet she still chose to do so…something so many people can relate to, I’m sure!

    I love this song and the video <3

    1. Great catch!

  4. Jfk70@aol.com'

    Great dissection of the video. And I doubt it that this is the video that anyone would have expected. And it is a nice artistic change from much of what is being produced these days. After all how “artistic” would it really have been for her to simply act out the literal translation of her lyrics.

  5. Yes! Completely agree. Love seeing a well thought out video that starts conversation and requires deep thinking.

  6. Shipp8@gmail.com'

    I personally think that video should have shown Blake Shelton in the car because she wrecked his life too. He was the unwilling victim in all her “depth” and he was forced to go through his own journey because she forced him into that car / onto that path.

    In other words, while I don’t hate Miranda, her focus on only herself here shows me so much. What about the vows she made? They other people hurt. In the end all I saw was someone who cheated trying to justify the cheating by making it “deep”.

    Just my opinion.

  7. abc@msn.com'

    Beth, this has nothing to do with her wrecking Blake’s life, he did that on his own. She is illustrating what happened to Her life. the wreck is the mess of the marriage blowup, whatever occurred. She is not the blame for all of the destruction.

  8. abc@msn.com'

    Blake is no Victim, takes 2 to Tango, every action causes a reaction. He is just as responsible for the ‘wreck’ , that is what the car represents, the turmoil, upside down symbol that their love story journey became.

  9. hensa@aol.com'

    To me the song represents how someone can be shattered and lost after a life changing event. She takes momentary comfort where she finds it, and moves on destination unknown..
    I admire that she assigns no particular blame to anyone, nor does she seek revenge.
    A very grown up song from a woman wiser than most.

  10. Elafave4@hotmail.com'

    Hank Williams died in the backseat of a Cadallac in the middle of nowhere. That’s the only thing I noticed.

  11. kimreyfamily.jk@gmail.com'

    At the end of the song, there’s some, almost ghostly, background vocals. What is she saying?!?!? I’ve read a couple different things, but it’s not published in the lyrics. I have no idea why, but it’s driving me crazy!!!

  12. angela.murray@lindsey.edu'

    To me the opening of the song shows what appears to be a straight road, no chance of wrecking. The video then shows her unconsious her left hand laying outside the wreckage. The video She awakens dazed and confused, the video goes to her face with her left hand beside her cheek (without a wedding ring). As she climbs out of the wreckage over the broken glass you see the cash laying there, she stands up without picking up anything to take with her. She pulls her boot on her bloody injured foot (like her life, after the divorce it contained some heartbreak but she managed to pull off the image of being okay). Miranda then begins walking away from the wreckage only to turn and grab her chest as she takes a deep breath (as she realizes what she has survived). The video then shows her walking through the middle of an abandoned town, she’s in the center of the road (like her life in the limelight all eyes are on her) She then tosses away a frilled jacket that looks like something from the past, (like that part of her life is over), the lady is seen with the magazine showing CHAOS on the front, reminding us that since the announcement of their divorce this has been what the papers have published (her life in chaos). Miranda is seen walking past the kids playing with bubbles as if that were a dream for her future that now only seems gone. She walks past the building that looks like it belongs in a small town, she goes into a bar and takes her earring off to pay for the beer, lights a cig (in the beginning she left the money “it was like she was starting over on her own”. She is then seen walking past the crosses as she glances at them one appear to have something yellow and pink flowers, the other has black on it. It’s feels like she’s saying that in that wreckage the marriage didn’t just die, but also that girl that had existed. She then stands at the crossroads trying to figure life out and which direction to go next, when another cadillac pulls up without a driver, she climbs in without knowing what direction she will go (in the beginning she was in the drivers side, however now she knows that she’s not in control, that life is, and she’s no longer the driver.

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