Miranda Lambert, sad country songs, dive bars… 3 of my favorite things wrapped into one beautiful song.
Miranda has been exploding recently, that’s really not a secret. Almost everything she’s been putting out has been pure gold (hello Marfa Tapes) and she’s been getting the praise and recognition that’s absolutely deserved for it.
But one thing that can happens when someone is on this runaway train of success is some pieces of gold fall through the cracks and don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Miranda’s last studio album Wildcard was top to bottom fantastic, with “Bluebird,” “Tequila Does,” and “It All Comes Out In The Wash” being the big hits from the record. But the last song on the project might be the most underrated song Miranda’s ever put out, which is saying something, I know.
“Dark Bars” is a twist on the typical drinking alone in a bar song. She’s still there, drinking by herself, but she’s not there because of heartbreak, or loneliness, or really any problem. She just likes the atmosphere, the people, the music, the sights and scents.
The chorus is obviously great, but what makes this song is the descriptive, well-worded verses.
We start by setting the scene:
“I’m here for the habit Complementary matches The pretty bartenders The smoke and the mirrors The unhappy hour The bitters and sours Where nobody knows me Where I can be lonely”
And then setting the mood:
“I can be reckless I can be desperate An invisible stranger Secrets never in danger And it ain’t nothin’ fancy ‘Cause the manager, Nancy She’s an old jukebox junkie She plays nothing but country”
This song really hits me, because I’ve always liked to do this. My life is pretty damn good, but there’s nothing better on a Friday night than grabbing a corner bar seat by myself, having a few drinks and listening to live music in a dive bar.
She hits on something core to a lot of country music fans, the connection we have with deep emotions that draw us to sad songs and dark bars.
You don’t have to be in pain to enjoy a environment where it’s okay to feel it.
That’s what makes this song, and Miranda Lambert, so special.