Miranda Lambert is the kind of small-town girl who escapes so that she can terrorize convenience-store clerks, gas- station attendants, and guilty married men in any number of idealized small towns all across America. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the follow-up to 2005’s Kerosene, begins with Lambert plotting revenge on a boyfriend who thinks making bail will end his troubles. “He ain’t seen me crazy yet,” Lambert sings, and sure enough, the next song finds her finessing a bad transmission somewhere near Missoula and commiserating with locals at the Quickie-Sak who need something wet to “wash me down out of this dry town.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a conceptual wonder. “Famous in a Small Town” makes wise about “the telephoto lens of fame,” while “Guilty in Here” recalls the self-conscious aggression of Elvis Costello and the Attractions playing country on Almost Blue. Lambert turns the Rolling Stones on their heads when she sings, “I don’t think I have any more room underneath my thumb.” Her distracted, sexy vocals glide over an overstated drum attack and an amusing selection of sound effects, and she sounds cooled out on Carlene Carter and Susanna Clark’s “Easy From Now On,” which proves this wild child is big-town savvy.