Lyrics Uncovered: Miranda Lambert, ‘Vice’
Miranda Lambert's "Vice" lyrics are bringing a brutal honesty back to country radio, and according to one of the songwriters, that's exactly what Lambert intended.
Lambert has said that the song was written right in the middle of the emotional maelstrom she was going through after she and Blake Shelton announced their divorce last July. Grammy-winning songwriters Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally had no idea what to expect when they walked into a co-write with the country superstar.
McAnally had written songs for Lambert, but not directly with her, while Osborne had only met her in passing. They found her open to any and all suggestions. Still, both men were acutely aware of what she was going through.
"We have a tendency from the other side to look at it and not look at them as people, but when you're sitting in a room with somebody like that, you're very aware of it," Osborne tells Taste of Country. "You're trying to be sensitive to what we're gonna write about — how raw are the nerves allowed to be?
"To her credit — and honestly, I think this is why she is such an acclaimed and successful artist — she was just like, 'Everything's on the table.'"
The songwriting session flowed so freely that Osborne can't remember who tossed out the title, but the "Vice" lyrics were collaborative, he recounts.
It really is written from a point of view that I think is a relatable point of view. A lot of people struggle with things that are their weaknesses.
“Another vice, another call / Another bed I shouldn’t crawl out of at 7AM with shoes in my hand / Said I wouldn’t do it, but I did it again / And I know I’ll be back tomorrow night,” Lambert sings in a confessional song that has been widely interpreted as addressing her own personal failings during or after her marriage.
"It's written so much on the line of, it could be real, or it could be a character. And we purposely — and will continue to — leave that open to interpretation," Osborne says. "It really is written from a point of view that I think is a relatable point of view. A lot of people struggle with things that are their weaknesses."
He came away impressed not just with Lambert's raw honesty, but her songwriting ability.
"In every write with her, she is the driver of the write. She has a great sense of what she will and won't say, what she will and won't sing, what kind of melodies work for her voice ... she is an amazing songwriter," he gushes. "Even if she wasn't this big superstar act, I would want her on my calendar to write with her. She has a great take on ideas and a great way with words. It's just interesting to have somebody that you've liked their music for a long time, and then you get in a room with them and they live up to your expectations."
Osborne didn't know until just days before its release that "Vice" would be the lead single from Lambert's upcoming album.
"They kept a real tight lid on the project. I wasn't even 100 percent sure she'd cut this song," he shares, adding that he still doesn't know if she has cut other songs they wrote together for her as-yet-untitled next album.
In a twist that could only happen in mainstream media, the additional notoriety from Lambert's divorce has arguably raised the anticipation for "Vice" and helped it make a big splash online and at country radio.
"That doesn't happen in country music a lot. Obviously we have big stars in our format, but when they blur that line and become part of pop culture, unfortunately it takes a situation like the Blake and Miranda thing, where they're a very public couple," Osborne states. "It's interesting to see how she's always been a big star, but now she's more like ... she's a celebrity."
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