On Monday, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton dealt a major blow to diehard fans with the announcement that they’ve divorced after four years of marriage. For nearly a decade, it seemed no one could dethrone them as the new reigning prom king and queen of country music; they’d ostensibly been crowned the Faith Hill and Tim McGraw of Nashville’s next generation. But with the marriage now dissolved and Miranda reportedly having already packed her bags (and animals) at their Oklahoma ranch, we’re already overwhelmed with heartache. To Miranda’s advantage, though, she’s got an entire career’s worth of songs to refer to while she copes. (Never forget, she once wrote an entire album called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.) We made a playlist of ten Miranda Lambert songs she might want to consider playing through each stage of her divorce.
1. “Dead Flowers”
We’ve all been there: Trapped in a relationship that’s run its course, waiting for someone to admit there’s no use pretending anymore. Miranda’s written those parting words a hundred times, in song, but now that her marriage has finally ended, so has that suffocating fog of uncertainty. Whenever those thoughts inevitably creep into her head about how they could’ve worked things out had they just made a little more effort, she should listen to “Dead Flowers” and remember why there’s no use going back.
Of course, accepting that the past can’t be undone doesn’t come easy. In fact, it comes with a lot of desperation; that unshakeable feeling Miranda describes in this song of figuring it’s better to settle for a loveless relationship than to start from square one. (“There’s danger in frustration,” she warns.) But this is a song from her sophomore album, released eight years ago. Hopefully listening to it now might give Miranda the assurance she needs to believe that walking away can be for the best, and that there’s no shame in wishing it weren’t.
Many of us exit a relationship wounded, with a chip on our shoulder; it’s okay to bleed a little. Sometimes it helps to put up a front like Miranda does in this song and mask the pain with a tough exterior. If your heart’s been broken, wouldn’t you have the urge to break a few back? It’s all in the name of collateral damage. It might be a short-term fix, but damn, it’ll feel good.
4. “Mama’s Broken Heart”
The trouble with subterfuge, of course, is that it almost always winds up backfiring. At some point, Miranda will eventually lie to herself about how well she’s actually doing post-breakup, and, after all those years of singing about a cocktail of tears and liquor, maybe life will begin to imitate art. It’s a good thing she has her mama’s “softer generation” method for moving on from an ex to guide her — no matter how much she may have scoffed at the advice a few years ago.
5. “Love Your Memory”
Once the hangover subsides and the reality of loneliness sinks in, that’s when Miranda will really need to find companionship in her music. With a song like this, she doesn’t have to mourn Blake so much as miss him. That’s a healthy part of healing, and learning how to miss memories of happier times with the love of her life will put her on the right track to recovery. It’s not about erasing all that they shared; it’s about learning how to be okay with both the good and the bad memories of their time together.
6. “The House That Built Me”
Miranda sang this song about small-town blues and how it feels to find peace with your past, but it applies to her divorce, too. Miranda and Blake built more than a home (or two) together, they built a life. It probably shaped her in more ways than Miranda even realizes. Right now, she might be feeling a little ungrounded, just as she was in this song. Maybe she can use it as a therapeutic means of making peace with a newer part of her past.
7. “Mama, I’m Alright”
If there’s one person other than herself who’ll give Miranda the courage to stand on her own two feet, having weathered yet another storm, it’s once again her mama. These lyrics need to become her new mantra: “I’ve seen how hard the world can be / My step is sure and I know my name / I’m strong just like you prayed I’d be.”
8.”Gunpower & Lead”
Miranda made fantasy revenge plots her personal brand right out of the gate, and none have been as cutting as “Gunpowder & Lead.” Look, we have no idea what the circumstances were that led to her and Blake’s split, but for his sake, let’s hope it was amicable. (The song describes an abusive relationship.) But given the language used in the couple’s first statement since the divorce (“This is not the future we envisioned”), there’s bound to be some residual anger in the aftermath. We wouldn’t blame Miranda for indulging in a little torture porn.
9. “I Can’t Be Bothered”
When you’re past the point of allowing an ex to waste space in your thoughts, you’ve won. So if after Miranda’s done getting all the payback plotting out of her system, she’s able to say she “can’t be bothered to miss [Blake] anymore,” we’ll know she’s in a good place. Happiness takes work, but she’ll get there.
10. “Little Red Wagon”
Let’s just ignore the fact that at one point in this video, Miranda stunts a bedazzled belt with the words “Mrs. Shelton” on it. Because there comes a point in every divorcée’s life when she has to get back in the saddle, and only one song comes to mind that’ll get Miranda’s, ahem, swagger ready for when that times comes. May we suggest Sam Hunt for a rebound?