Miranda Lambert breezes into the headquarters of her Nashville record label and apologizes for her leopard-print bandanna and pigtails. "I didn't feel like doing my hair today," the country superstar says, grinning like she's not really that sorry. She's wearing motorcycle boots, a black leather jacket and a white T-shirt with a bull on it, and her electric-pink lipstick perfectly matches her big Gucci purse. "My manager gave this to me for Christmas – I would never buy myself a Gucci bag," Lambert says. She flashes a big wink. "But I love it."
Lambert has earned the right to splurge. All four of her previous solo albums have each sold a million copies, and she and husband Blake Shelton are country's Jay Z and Beyoncé. Lambert's fifth LP, due in June, is called Platinum; she co-wrote the title track at her glitzy Nashville condo. "We're almost on the top floor," she says. "But I don't want to sound pretentious. It's about platinum records, but also the color of an Airstream, and the color of my hair. It's a campy, fun song."
Lambert, 30, made her name with rip-roaring revenge anthems like 2007's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," but lately she's been feeling more contemplative. The new LP has tender songs about the demands of beauty, like "Bathroom Sink," and self-effacing, funny ones, like "Gravity's a Bitch." ("It's like, 'Whoa! I gotta do some lunges!'" she says.) "I'll still shoot a two-timing man if I need to," she says. "But I'm not just burning houses down anymore. I have more to sing about."
With their strong female perspective and emotional complexity, Lambert's songs are a corrective to Nashville's proliferation of babe-and-truck jams. "What are they calling it, 'bro country'?" she says. "I love those songs, but for a minute there, it felt like girls ran the show. We have to save this thing we've made – Carrie [Underwood] and Taylor [Swift] and me."
Lambert will soon visit Shelton in L.A., as well as hang out at her ranch in Tishomingo, Oklahoma – where a new law recently allowed restaurants to serve mixed drinks. "We're hoping an Applebee's or a Chili's will come in," she says. "The town is growing. We're getting a Dollar General on my side of town – I'm very excited." She smiles. "It's the little things."
This story is from the April 10th, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone.
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