Miranda Lambert, "The House That Built Me"
Though she's well-known for incendiary tunes like "Kerosene" and "Gunpowder & Lead," Miranda Lambert demonstrates how beautifully effective she can be with a tender ballad in "The House That Built Me." The song chronicles a young woman who visits her childhood home to reconnect with her past, and Lambert promises the new owners that if they'll just let her in, she "won't take nothin' but a memory from the house that built me." The lyric is filled with the kind of powerful visual details that make a great country song, and Lambert's achingly vulnerable delivery underscores the emotion. This is the latest single from her "Revolution" album-recently named album of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards-and great performances like this one show why the Texas bombshell has risen to the top. -Deborah Evans Price