Miranda Lambert's 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks

Randee St. Nicholas
Miranda Lambert

Over the past decade, Miranda Lambert has set a standard among female vocalists in country music that won’t be equaled anytime soon. Her streak of wins as the CMA and ACM Female Vocalist of the Year speak for themselves as far as her strength in picking and delivering solid material that will stand the test of time.

A look at ten of the most essential Miranda Lambert songs reveal an artist who can tear out your heart with a ballad, and then in the next moment – she can threaten to rip you to pieces – literally – with an uptempo song of rage. Whether showing her good or bad side, here are ten Lambert moments that stand as some of her best singles moments.

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10. Miranda Lambert - "More Like Her" 

This 2008 track from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was the first example of Lambert showing her more vulnerable side, and also proved her continuing growth as a vocalist. Lambert performed the gripping ballad on the 2008 CMA Awards, stealing the show with her flawless delivery of a ballad that personified the term strength.

9. Miranda Lambert - "Kerosene"

The title track from her 2004 debut album was proof that Lambert was going to be a little something different as a vocalist. In other words, you would be a fool if you messed with her – or messed around on her, as her significant other found out when he saw his possessions go up in a smoky flame. The song definitely struck a chord with listeners, as well. It was her first platinum single.

8. Miranda Lambert - "White Liar" 

Lambert added another trademark to this song – a little bit of her sometimes sinister sense of humor. The lyrics – which she co-wrote with Natalie Hemby – revealed a woman who was indeed getting the last laugh on her cheating mate – by having an affair herself. The singer handled the performance with the right amount of sarcasm, making for a song that just narrowly missed the chart pinnacle.

7. Miranda Lambert - "Little Red Wagon" 

Was her cover of Audra Mae’s song of independence a little bit cheesy? Sure, but that was the appeal of it. Lambert exuded a fun and flirty side on this song of a woman defining her boundaries in a relationship in the way that Marilyn Monroe might have had she ever recorded a country song. Still, a performance that sizzles to this day!

6. Miranda Lambert - "Tin Man" 

It’s difficult to include a current single on these lists, but in the instance of this track – co-written with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall – it’s more than justified. Lambert offered a vocal performance that stands as one of her most sensitive and evocative, making for one of the top highlights of country radio in 2017 – for the stations that played it.

5. Miranda Lambert - "Baggage Claim" 

The lead single from her excellent Four The Record proved that she had lost none of her sass due to her success. Telling her man to leave his ego – and past loves – at the proverbial door, the singer was at her fiery best here – making this another timeless Miranda Lambert song.

4. Miranda Lambert - "Famous In A Small Town"

A song, that at least to my ears, tipped the hat to a bygone era in country music, bringing to mind some of the great 70s compositions of Tom T. Hall. Now, it might be a stretch to compare Lambert to the "Storyteller," but in terms of making the ordinary seem a little less so – even in a town of a few thousand where everyone knew everyone – she and Travis Howard did exactly that in this memorable performance.

3. Miranda Lambert - "Gunpowder and Lead" 

The song that brought Lambert her first top ten hit remains a classic due to its’ handling of a social issue that made her a voice for female empowerment and strength. It was a lyric that Lambert knew first-hand, with her parents taking abuse victims into her home. The gunshot at the end of the album cut version of the song kind of served as the exclamation point of this composition that many knew all too well.

2. Miranda Lambert - "Over You"

Lambert and then-husband Blake Shelton combined their considerable talents for this emotional track which was inspired by Shelton’s memories of an accident that killed his brother. Due to the nature of the song, he couldn’t perform it – but Lambert took it, and delivered a performance worthy of the CMA Song of the Year trophy.

1. Miranda Lambert - "The House That Built Me"

Combine the vocals of Lambert with these lyrics from Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, and the resulting factor is a performance that stands as not just the greatest Miranda Lambert song yet, but one of Nashville’s best moments this millennium. It was the first single of her career that Lambert didn’t have a hand in writing, but in recording this ballad about a woman reminiscing fondly about her previous life, she proved that she was an artist who cared more about the art of the song than simply the credit – and in doing so, recorded a song that will stand with the best of all time – of any artist.