Miranda Lambert was one of country music's most exciting 21st-century upstarts, crash-landing into the consciousness when she placed third on the country-idol competition Nashville Star in 2003. Her first two albums turned heads for her straight-shooting songs about life as an outlaw of womanhood. On Revolution, her third, she established herself as an artistic force, leaning into rock-influenced sounds as she continued to express her singular point of view on thrashing country-rockers and lacerating ballads alike. Revolution opens with "White Liar," a stomping rocker that combines its soaring chorus with fingerpicked guitars and a bridge that gives Lambert's lyrical task-taking a twist. Other tracks, like the chiming "Me and Your Cigarettes," which has a power-pop snap, and the anthemic "Heart Like Mine," which juxtaposes fantasies of drinking wine alongside Jesus with a grimy guitar solo, double down on Lambert's wild-woman status amidst more rock-leaning arrangements. Lambert's cover of folk hero John Prine's 1976 lament "That's The Way That the World Goes ’Round," meanwhile, adds a pop-punk bounce to its head-shaking chorus, turning it into a 21st-century eyeroll that's capped off by a frenetic banjo solo. But it’s Revolution’s most bruised moments that reveal Lambert’s growth as a songwriter and singer. Lambert's vocal on the slow-burning elegy "Dead Flowers" is astonishing, adding woe to her descriptions of the mundane cruelty that transpires as two people drift apart. And the crystalline "The House That Built Me" peels back Lambert's tough-girl persona in a search for healing that takes her back home. Revolution reveals the deep emotional roots of Lambert’s renegade image in surprising and heart-rending ways, combining musical innovation and songwriting classicism in a way that she’d ride to country’s upper echelons over the next decade.

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