There is always a degree of audacity involved in releasing a double album, a touch of hubris that can just as easily break an artist as is can make them. Six album’s into her recording career, Miranda Lambert’s decision to go the double-album route with The Weight of These Wings isn’t particularly precocious, but considering that Lambert has given each disc a distinct name – The Nerve and The Heart – one wonders whether she might have been better served by releasing the 24 tracks collected here in two tranches, instead of as one 94 minute lump.
Besides a noticeable difference in production value – The Nerve is appreciably rougher around the edges than The Heart – there really isn’t a lot to distinguish the two discs. To start to untangle the two halves of the record one needs to look at the credits. Lambert had a hand in writing each of The Heart’s tracks, whereas The Nerve is frequently Lambert delivering the words of others – that being said, Lambert is the sole author of We Should Be Friends, which, as the album’s second single, will undoubtedly appeal to many with its asserted affinity for the salt-of-the-earth types.
Lambert’s southern drawl might be perfectly at home in the US country music scene, but to an international ear it can diminish her vocal performance, as songs like Vice, Smoking Jacket, and Things That Break show that her voice is quite pleasing when she doesn’t lean into her regional accent too heavily. The Weight of These Wings is certainly a genre album, and Tomboy stands out for its blending of the genre’s tropes with Lambert’s idiosyncrasies, but Six Degrees of Separation swerves of into indie-rock, while Ugly Lights and Pink Sunglasses applies a heavy garage/lo-fi aesthetic which somewhat sits at odds with the surrounding tracks.
While it is great to see an artist take a gamble by releasing a double album, The Weight of These Wings doesn’t feel like a true double album, rather it feels like one poorly curated album where someone unable, or unwilling, to trim the fat and tighten up the final product.