Since her divorce from Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert has kept fairly quiet. Sure, the country singer has been on tour with Kenny Chesney visiting stadiums around America and even started her own relationship with musician Anderson East, but neither of these things was anywhere near as tabloid-ready as Shelton's romance with fellow The Voice judge Gwen Stefani. Now, though, it's clear she's ready to speak out about lost love and the effect it had on her. Just listen to Lambert's new single "Vice," a track that certainly seems to be about her breakup with Shelton.
On the song — Lambert's first since her divorce — she doesn't ever use Shelton's name or even reference her divorce, but Shelton's presence is felt on this track. Or maybe, his lack of presence is what is so striking on this track, which has Lambert getting vulnerable. It's something new for the country singer, whose 2014 album, Platinum, asserted her as a tough chick who could hang with the bros of country, throwing back a few beers.
On fierce tracks like "Little Red Wagon" and the Carrie Underwood duet "Somethin' Bad," where they were cast as country music's Thelma & Louise, Lambert made it clear she was wasn't to be trifled with, but "Vice" is sad and sorrowful. This isn't a breakup anthem; she's not digging her keys into the side of Shelton's pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive like Underwood once did on "Before He Cheats." She's taking a moment to look at what she could have done better in the past. It's almost a get back on your feet anthem that has the musician looking inward to what she needs to do to better herself for her next relationship.
Before their divorce, Lambert and Shelton faced many breakup rumors, including that they had cheated on one another and each had drinking problems that caused tension. This track, written by Lambert, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, has the singer copping to mistakes she's made. "Another vice, another call, another bed I shouldn't crawl out of," she sings. "At 7 a.m, with shoes in my hand said I wouldn't do it, but I did it again / And I know I'll be back tomorrow night." Some may want to read into this line as proof her marriage ended because of her cheating, but it really seems like the musician is trying to say that she is someone who looks for things to fill her emptiness. Maybe it's a man, maybe it's a drink ("Sweet salvation on a dining room table / Waiting on me, where the numb meets the lonely," she sings. "It's gone before it ever melts the ice."), but all are her vices, a form of escapism, that she's realized she needs to deal with if she wants to move forward.
When she says, "Maybe I'm addicted to goodbyes," Shelton could be on her mind, but it also gets at what it's like to be a touring musician, who spends more time on the road then at home. Something that would definitely be hard on a marriage — perhaps, even more so if your husband is on the same schedule. Saying goodbye becomes a constant and a way to leave behind anything that you don't really want to deal with. "Standing at the sink looking in the mirror," she sings. "Don't know who I am or how I got here/ The only thing I know how to find is another vice." Somewhere along the way, she lost herself and losing a husband is sure way to realize that.
This breakup made Lambert look inward and realize she isn't blameless in her breakup. This song is therapeutic, allowing her to get a few things off her chest. To talk about who she is without Shelton. This isn't an F-U to Shelton, but instead an apology. Maybe to him, but definitely to herself, for not dealing with her own vices. In the end, this track isn't really about Shelton at all. It's about Lambert figuring out what her next step is.
The past is the past, but Lambert's ready to change her future. And while the track may come off as sad, it's clearly not representative of how the musician is feeling currently. The photo above shows she's not pining for Shelton, but trying to learn how to love again with another man. This song could be as much about Shelton as it is about her new love, her next love, the one she doesn't want to say goodbye to just because it's the only thing she knows how to do.
This track is Lambert laying her cards on the table, letting everyone know, she's done wrong before, but she's working on it. It will be interesting to hear what else she's working on when she eventually drops her as-yet announced next album — over a year after she said goodbye to Shelton and the person she used to be.