Miranda Lambert‘s song “Strange” from her recent album Palomino paints a picture of contradictory, metaphorical weirdness in a time that was just that: weird, strange, and unprecedented. Lambert wrote the track with songwriters Natalie Hemby and Luke Dick on her Tennessee ranch in 2020. This was at the height of the pandemic. She, Hemby, and Dick recently spoke to Billboard about their process for the song. They spoke specifically on how it became a reflection of the confusing pandemic times we all found ourselves in.
Natalie Hemby came up with the line “Times like these make me feel strange” from the chorus, as well as the opening line “Coyotes on my left and wolves on my right.” She told Billboard, “I just felt like I didn’t know who the good guy is and the bad guy is here. Was everybody bad? I don’t know. Sometimes when you’re walking through things in life, it’s not until after it’s over with that you can put it into words.”
The contradictory elements in the song were meant to represent the back and forth of information and misinformation that came out around the beginning of the pandemic. The images are intentionally vague throughout the verses, creating a sense of the unknown. Hemby described it as a sort of “Alice in Wonderland” element, where things are whimsical and confusing. Lambert described it as a “house of mirrors.” It feels like both until you get to the chorus.
The chorus of “Strange” takes all that confusion and misinformation and shakes them off. Now it’s time for fun, for doing things that make you happy when everything is kind of falling apart. It takes the line “Times like these make me feel strange” and turns it on its head. Now it feels like Lambert is saying, “I’m feeling strange anyway. I’m just going to embrace it and do whatever I like.”
How Miranda Lambert’s ‘Strange’ Became a Response to Weird Pandemic Times
The chorus of Miranda Lambert’s “Strange” is really the jewel of the song. Sonically, the guitars definitely reflect the strangeness of the lyrics. But it’s those lyrics that give it real influence.
Lambert told Billboard, “The chorus, we wanted it to lift and sort of be an anthem, and not creepy in any way. Just like, ‘Have fun, get a drink, get out of here, go on vacation’ — whatever you got to do to stay sane through all this weirdness. I wanted it to be an anthem uniting people. The pandemic definitely was the strangest thing we’ve all been through, but that’s just a piece of it.”
“Strange” is one of the best songs off of Palomino, personally speaking. The album is some of Miranda Lambert’s most polished work to date, and it shows how she’s grown as an artist. “Strange” perfectly encapsulated how we all felt about 2020, and how we’re still feeling two years later. It’s definitely an anthem, but it’s an anthem to weirdness, and how we all want to escape the strange.