The short version: While fun, “It All Comes Out In The Wash” signals a severely underwhelming return for Miranda Lambert.
- Writers: Miranda Lambert, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose
- Rating: 6/10
The long version: We’ve been here before with Miranda Lambert, haven’t we?
Granted, the situation has mostly stayed the same, but the times sure haven’t. With Lambert, it’s hard not to approach a conversation about her art in the current day without pulling back the curtain a little. Because after the end of her high-profile marriage to Blake Shelton, both parties went through a career revitalization period in very different ways. For Lambert, she recorded a double album in The Weight Of These Wings in 2016 that, for as much critical acclaim as it received, didn’t bring her “back” as far as chart success was concerned.
And now here we are again, where, without going into the full details, Lambert has had an … interesting 2019, to say the least. Either way, we’re right back here again, where the big hype surrounding her new single, “It All Comes Out In The Wash,” was that it was her attempt to move on and reclaim that old spark. Unlike The Weight Of These Wings, however, this wasn’t another attempt at flirting with independent country production, but rather a return to her artistic form, which is really all the more evidenced by her other new song, “Locomotive.”
Sadly, while “It All Comes Out In The Wash” shows a few improvements for Lambert in certain departments, as a lead single and her first new song in over three years, this can’t help but feel severely underwhelming.
Of course, it doesn’t help that this song shares so much in common with a certain song off The Weight Of These Wings, “We Should Be Friends,” which wasn’t one of the better cuts either. The percussion is way too heavy in the mix to the point where it overtakes the other instruments, the guitar drives the song on groove rather than a consistent melody … or any melody at all, and like that song, this is just messy all around.
Still, there are a few positives. Despite the choppy, unappealing verses, Lambert’s flow is quite smooth and consistent, and you can tell from her cheerier tone that she’s got some life back in her, which is always great to hear. And to the song’s credit, the bass guitar is surprisingly prominent for a mainstream country song and drives it admittedly pretty well. If it’s going to play to a kitschy lane, at least it has a decent, if very messy, body to it. Still, while I do think Jay Joyce is actually a very refreshing fit for Lambert as a producer this time around, some of his worst trademarks still linger – the vocal production on the chorus is absolutely horrible and buries Lambert way too deep into the mix, and the interweaving of the backing vocals keeping time with the guitar licks aren’t flattering in the slightest.
But alright, obviously most of this may be able to be forgiven if the lyrics can do some of the heavy lifting, and, to be honest, I’m still trying to get a grip of what this song is trying to say. I get that the hook is trying to play toward a double entendre of “wash” in its literal tone and as an act of redemption, but it sure doesn’t come across that well in the execution. Sure, spilling ketchup on yourself from a bump in the road isn’t a big issue, and that’s actually a creative, cute sentiment that shows this song’s bright spots, but events such as your sister getting knocked up or getting frisky with your boss aren’t exactly in good taste, or things that just exactly “go away.” Sure, the overblown sentiment is the entire point, but it’s just not pulled off that well.
And if I’m coming across as more negative than I probably should be, it’s because Lambert’s usually able to stick the landing better with these kinds of songs. But “It All Comes Out In The Wash” is a track that gets a few things right and a whole lot wrong, and if this is really the lead single, I don’t see it being her big return to the format. Not bad, but not exactly great either.