Pistol Annies — “Hell on Heels”
Songwriters: 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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