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Music Review: Country star Miranda Lambert takes risks, wins big with fifth album 'Platinum'

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Miranda Lambert, "Platinum" (RCA Nashville)

Country star Miranda Lambert describes her fifth album "Platinum" as transitional: She wanted to show the maturity of an award-winning artist who has turned 30 and settled into marriage.

But don't worry, she's still the wildest risk-taking Nashville singer roaring through the back roads. She frontloads the new 16-song collection with a saucily slurred lyric about the power of bleach jobs ("What doesn't kill you only makes you blonder" she cracks in "Platinum") and another ("Little Red Wagon") that rips a would-be Romeo with a string of putdowns delivered with punkish glee.

Yes, Lambert continues to grow. But at her core, she continues to celebrate the colorful drama of working-class lives, punching them up with the freshest country rock arrangements this side of Eric Church. The way she reflects modern women, complete with risqu� word play and edgy humour, is what makes Lambert a fully three-dimensional country star.

"Platinum" only falters when Lambert leans on country clich�s, as when she waxes nostalgic about a pre-digital world in her recent hit "Automatic" and on a one-dimensional tale ("Something Bad") about wicked women that wastes a duet pairing with fellow superstar Carrie Underwood.

But, as usual, Lambert is as entertaining on album tracks as she is on radio hits. From the western-swing throwback ("All That's Left"), recorded with dance-floor revivalists The Time Jumpers, to a cheeky send-up of celebrity marriages ("Priscilla"), Lambert keeps proving that life, in all its messy glory, is much richer than most of her Nashville peers ever suggest.

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