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Throwback Thursday: Miranda Lambert, ‘Airstream Song’

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly series showcasing an album, single, music video or performance of a bygone era and its personal and/or cultural significance.

I was doing laundry this morning. My Apple Music on shuffle, this now-classic deep cut came on, and I was once again struck by its sobering simplicity. For anyone who follows me on any social media, you’ll know my life and my future have been unclear. Things have a way of working on a two-year cycle, it seems, much like a traditional album era. “Gypsies never get tied down,” Miranda Lambert ruminates of her own feelings of uneasiness and wandering heart. “Airstream Song,” decorated with pensive guitar lines drawing her vocal through the breezy melody with loose insight, depicts her yearning to be a slave to the open road, fated to break a heart or two before high-tailing it to the next town.

Found on her oft-lauded landmark album Revolution, which contains such signatures as “White Liar” and “The House That Built Me,” this tumbleweed anthem carries with it a tender heaviness: remaining unchained can be a paralyzing cross to bear. But self-discovery is only ever fully realized when you take a risk, regardless of the price you might have to pay. “Sometimes I wish I lived on a mountain / Drank from a stream instead of a fountain / I’d stay there, on top of the world / But I was born a red dirt girl,” she sketches in her mind’s eye, trailing off various windowless vignettes. “Unbridled, or tethered in tide, safety of the fence or the danger of the ride / I’ll always be unsatisfied…”

Lambert leaves the song drenched in unquenchable ache, much like her own unnerving restlessness forever blowing across fictional landscapes. She will never feel quite content, but there is a comforting warmth that comes with knowing and embracing that unpredictability. Similarly, I might not know where I’m headed next, but I’ll let the music (and the thrill of uncertainty) drive me forward.

Listen below:

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Jason Scott

Editor-in-Chief of the Badlands, spinning those B-Sides. Love Parks & Rec. Addicted to high-priced coffee drinks, alt-country and synth-pop, and never know when to quit. Got a cat named Jake--and she doesn't like you very much.