“Dead Flowers” Bring Miranda Lambert’s Acting to Life

Sometimes a song is so purely brilliant, it doesn’t need much of a video. Think about Sugarland’s “Stay.” Simple and sparse in terms of instruments, cameras and even makeup.

I thought that would be the case with Miranda Lambert’s “Dead Flowers.” That it was such a well-crafted song, she could just stand there and sing and it would make an excellent video. But like so many times in her evolving career, she has exceeded my expectations.

First of all, she can really act. Not that that’s a mandatory requirement of country singers, but, God, does it make the video powerful. She is singing that this guy “ain’t feeling anything: my love, my hurt or the sting of this rain,” yet she’s the one doing a great job of looking numb and hurt and kind of used to the pain. And what I think makes Lambert unique is her ability to channel that emotion she’s acting out into her voice. This time it’s anger, which comes through loud and clear toward the end of the song. It’s the little nuances — like how she never ever smiles during the entire video — that reveal how deeply she’s feeling the lyrics she’s singing.

Secondly, the way the video was shot, with this sepia tone, makes it look a little vintage. Which feels right since this kind of love-that’s-lost-its-luster trouble has been around forever. It may just be a video trend right now, but this time it seems more like a relevant statement about the song that just a gimmicky post-production trick.

I’d put money on this one for all kinds of video of the year awards.

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