I’ve made no secret of the fact that I felt Platinum was a subpar album. It had some decent moments, but it veered way too far from the style that I’ve always loved about Miranda Lambert’s music.
As a fan of Lambert, I am hopeful that this will be a return to what makes Lambert so special and that she will put out an album that truly tells the story of what she’s been through over the past eighteen months.
But double-albums are risky. Josh over at Country Perspective recently wrote a piece on the length of albums and how long albums scream filler material (the piece is well worth reading, and you should definitely check it out). Double albums are that concept on steroids. And while they can work, it takes something really special to do so.
Lucinda Williams’ last two albums have been double albums. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone was a 20-track double album, and it worked, but there probably could have been two or three tracks trimmed off without hurting the overall product. The Ghosts of Highway 20 was essentially a double album – it was 14 tracks on two discs, but a lot of that was due to the length of some songs: only three of the fourteen tracks clocked in at less than 5 minutes; five clocked in at over six minutes, and the final track was over 12 minutes long. And with both of these albums, it’d be hard to call any of the tracks “filler.” I can see how each track worked into Williams’ vision for the album.
Jamey Johnson’s The Guitar Song was a double album of 25 songs, but he had a concept behind that: a harder, darker album followed by a lighter, slightly more upbeat collection. Each collection of itself was only 12 or 13 tracks. Neither overdid itself.
For a double album to work, it needs to be more than just some additional material added in. There needs to be a purpose. Indications are that Miranda has a purpose in mind for this: her Instagram post which initially revealed the double-album indicates the telling of a story (the hallmark of great country music).
Time will tell if this double album will live up to the stories it has to tell. I’m cautiously optimistic.