Song Review: Miranda Lambert, “We Should Be Friends”

I can sum up my reaction to this song in one word: Yuck. If Miranda Lambert wants to make a triumphant return to country music prominence, she’s going to have to do a lot better than this.

Once upon a time, Lambert was the woman in the genre, flush with radio success, critical acclaim, and industry awards. Her golden touch has failed her in recent years, however, and she abdicated her throne by laying low for some time after her high-profile split with fellow country singer Blake Shelton. She returned to mild applause this year with “Vice,” the mediocre leadoff single for her new double album The Weight Of These Wings, and has now selected “We Should Be Friends” as her follow-up song.

Whoever was in charge of the production of this song should be fired immediately, because this thing sounds awful. It sounds like it was recorded at a dive bar with a bad sound system, and that the guitar player was standing twenty feet away from their microphone. The drums are way too prominent in the mix, especially early on, and there’s nothing else here to carry the melody—on several verses, the drums are pretty much all you hear. Seriously, I could have done a better job arranging this junk with freaking Garageband.

Lambert doesn’t get a pass here either—she’s the sole songwriter, so she has to answer for what amounts to a checklist song (complete with strange images and awkward syllable stretches) that tries desperately to connect with middle-aged women. While songs like this can work if they’re paired with a great vocal delivery (Martina McBride’s “This One’s For The Girls” is a great example), Lambert’s delivery has never sounded worse on a song than it does here: Her voice sounds thin, her flow on the verses is choppy, and her tone grates on your ears like nails on a chalkboard. Her trademark eff-you attitude is still apparent throughout the song, but it’s not enough to save something this bad.

Overall, “We Should Be Friends” is such a large step backwards for Lambert that it calls her entire future in mainstream country music into question. Given her stature and the rise of the independent country scene, of course, it’s likely Lambert doesn’t really care—she’s got the freedom to make whatever music she wants to make. However, if this track is indicative of her future sonic direction, someone else can have my seat on the bandwagon, because I am out.

Rating: 3/10. Go back and check out some of Lambert’s past singles, because this one’s not worth your time.

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