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Perky and Menacing, Packing 'Gunpowder and Lead'

Singer Miranda Lambert is country music's latest Great Blonde Hope.
Singer Miranda Lambert is country music's latest Great Blonde Hope.

At 23, Miranda Lambert is country music's latest Great Blonde Hope, a refugee from the American Idol-esque TV series Nashville Star whose album Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has become a crossover hit. Lambert possesses outsized talent and a personality that seems at once bubbly and menacing, like Kristin Chenoweth if she were packing heat. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is appealingly nervy and dark — never more so than on its crackling opener, "Gunpowder and Lead," which outlines the tale of a woman lying in wait for her abusive boyfriend, shotgun in hand.

The latest in a line of new-school country revenge anthems, "Gunpowder and Lead" ranks somewhere between Carrie Underwood's tire-slashing tour de force "Before He Cheats" and the Dixie Chicks' cheerily murderous "Goodbye Earl." Like those tracks, it's perky and demented ("I'm gonna show him what a little girl's made of / Gunpowder and lead"), charming and creepy. It starts with a car on a highway, ends with a shotgun blast and unfolds like a woman-in-jeopardy Lifetime TV movie, a '50s pulp novel and a Quentin Tarantino film all rolled into one.

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Allison L. Stewart
Allison Stewart is a writer living in New York. It's entirely possible to see her work in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, No Depression, Rolling Stone or any number of other places. Or to miss it entirely, which is just as likely.
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