Pistol Annies — “Hell on Heels”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | July 28th, 2011

pistol anniesSongwriters: Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe
The long, winding and ominous opening guitar chords of the semi-supergroup Pistol Annies’ new single act as a clear warning: things are about to get real. Real good, that is.
In a space where contributions by female country artists skew polished and positive, “Hell on Heels” is a departure in both form and function. Its twangy, brash admission of some seriously seductive scamming by Miranda Lambert and her real-life posse is as easy as taking candy from an adulterous baby, only the candy here comes in the form of fancy guitars, beachfront properties and luxury cars.
As collaborators, the ladies lend a bit of Highwaymen flair to the overall project by creating a broader narrative composed of a group of distinctive characters. Led by Texas-native Lambert as “Lone Star Annie,” the Pistol Annies include Angaleena Presley (who co-wrote Ashton Shepherd’s spunky “Look It Up”) as “Holler Annie” and the grievously underappreciated Ashley Monroe as “Hippie Annie.”
Those personalities play into the song itself, which gives each singer ample time to shine. Three chorusless verses in a row showcase Presley’s straightforward lambasting, Lambert’s dismissive swagger and Monroe’s almost motherly pity – only this time around, the sad tear in her voice reflects the pain and suffering of her conquests, not her.
But beyond its cleverly delivered lyrics and well-framed production, the best part about this initial showcase is the clear intent that seems to drive both the song and the group behind its singers. Just like the women in the song know their talents and use them well — ”I done made the devil a deal/He made me pretty/He made me smart/And I’m gonna break me a million hearts” — it’s exciting to see what could easily come off as a novelty act or vanity project for Lambert is actually an interesting, unusual presentation of three very talented country music artists.
On “Hell on Heels” in particular, Lambert, Presley and Monroe successfully toe a fine line between special and untouchably precious, understated and fleetingly forgettable – presumably, of course, all while wearing heels.

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  1. Ben Foster
    July 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Great review of a great song! It perfectly sums up everything I loved about the song, but couldn’t quite put into words.

  2. Carrie
    July 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I. Love. This. Song.

  3. Leeann Ward
    July 28, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Great review and amen.

  4. Blake Boldt
    July 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I’m pretty sure country radio’s never going to figure out what to do with Ashley Monroe, so it’s nice to see her get some recognition in some way.

  5. Rick
    July 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I love that picture of the Annie’s! It reminds me of that place in LaGrange Texas that ZZ Top sang about and was featured in that Broadway musical that starred Dolly Parton for a spell! (lol) In this case Ashley Monroe could rightfully be nicknamed “Madame Annie” instead…

    I think the guitar intro to this song drags on way too long. If it was musically “tastier”, as in Hank III’s intro to “Low Down”, I wouldn’t mind so much.

    I do hope the Annie’s project helps Ashley’s solo career, but either way it will put some money in her pocket, and that’s fine by me! Go Ashley!

  6. Shannon
    August 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I’m loving this song. Can’t wait to get a hold of their debut album. I’m sure it will include many gems!

  7. kevincorcoranjr
    August 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I agree, this review perfectly sums up everything that is Pistol Annies :) They are such a talented group… I cannot wait for my copy of the album to come! I pre-ordered.. so now i just have to wait by my mailbox on aug. 23rd!

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