Song of the Day #5,057: ‘Wandering Spirit’ – Miranda Lambert

Friday, April 29, was akin to a national holiday here at Meet Me in Montauk, as it marked the release of a brand-new Miranda Lambert album.

Palomino is the country superstar’s ninth solo studio album, and her first since 2019’s Wildcard. Last year, she released The Marfa Tapes, a lo-fi collaboration with fellow singer-songwriters Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, an album that — like this one — was inspired by our COVID times.

A few years ago I declared that Lambert is my favorite musical artist, and certainly my favorite of those still actively recording. Palomino certainly isn’t going to change that opinion. It’s a typically excellent release from a woman who hasn’t taken a wrong step yet.

I’ve noticed many reviews of the album making a point to call out Lambert’s impressive consistency. List the first nine albums of any artist you can imagine and I bet you’ll find at least one weak spot. Or the records will fall into obvious tiers.

Not so for Lambert. I could make a good case for every one of her albums landing in the top three, which makes ranking all nine an absolute nightmare.

I’m sure not attempting that this week, but I’m doing something almost as pointless — ranking the songs on Palomino. Nothing on this record is worth skipping, but I’ll do my best to present them in order of my preference (based on a handful of listens).

#15. ‘That’s What Makes the Jukebox Play’

This is a slow ballad offering up a tour of the lonely hearts at a neighborhood dive bar. On most of Palomino, Lambert tells other people’s stories, getting away from the confessional songwriting of recent albums. I gave this one my bottom slot because it’s pretty straight-forward musically, and it’s the sleepiest track on a mostly upbeat album.

#14. ‘Music City Queen’

An unlikely collaboration with the B-52’s, of all people, this is a rollicking party song complete with ‘Rock Lobster’-style callouts from Fred Schneider. This song will be a blast live, especially if Lambert can bring the Georgia New-Wavers with her.

#13. ‘Wandering Spirit’

Palomino‘s lone cover is this take on the title track from a Mick Jagger 1993 solo effort. I was going to describe this song with an adjective I used on the previous one, “unlikely,” but I guess by now it’s clear Lambert rarely does the obvious. ‘Wandering Spirit’ is a great choice for Palomino, thematically, because this is an album all about getting out on the open road, exploring new places, and doing all the things Lambert (and the rest of the world) were unable to do during lockdown.

When all twelve of the Apostles try to ring me on the phone
Take a message but I won’t return their call
For I have no eyes to see him and I thought I lost my way
And I know I’ve lost the keys to the door

And I climbed the highest mountain and I looked down at the sea
And I saw a ship a-sailing to the shore
I took a passage to the East and then I journeyed to the West
And I made love from Battambang to Baltimore

And I said, oh, am I running in a race
I said, oh, am I getting anyplace
And I said, oh, can I make it

I’m a wandеring spirit
Wandering spirit, yeah
Wandering spirit
And I’m a restless soul

I was a glutton at the banquet and I spilt the finest wine
Trod the pyramids and ruins of Angkor
And I kissed the Mona Lisa and had breakfast with king
And I touched the nerves of nature in the raw

And I said, oh, am I running in a race
I said, oh, am I getting anyplace
And I said, oh, can I make it

I’m a wandering spirit
Wandering spirit, yeah
Wandering spirit
And I’m no place to call my own

I said, oh, am I running in a race
And I said, oh, am I getting anyplace
And I said, oh, can I make it
I can’t make it

I’m a wandering spirit
Wandering spirit, yeah
I’m a wandering spirit
Wandering spirit, yeah
I’m a wandering spirit
Wandering spirit, yeah
Wandering spirit
Yeah, and I’m no place to call my home

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,057: ‘Wandering Spirit’ – Miranda Lambert

  1. Peg says:

    Reminds me of Dolly Parton hope that’s ok to say 😊

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    Okay, now that I am off a cruise ship and on land with a decent internet connection, it’s time to play catch-up lest I lose status as your most loyal commenter! I do, however, wish to thank Peg for holding down the commenting fort in my absence!

    So now my comment…I’ve never embraced Lambert the way you and your family have, but I do get why you like her so much. She is certainly country plus (or modern country), which I tend to like far better than traditional country. Also, very cool of her to cover a Jagger song.

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