Miranda Lambert

Last week, we shared NPR Music's best music of 2019 in the form of nearly two dozen lists our staff and contributors made collaboratively. Today we're handing over more private treasures. The albums listed below are personal favorites from our staff, ranked from one to 10. The lists themselves are also presented in order of best to worst. Just kidding.

Four years after consultant Keith Hill's comment that women artists on country radio were best thought of as garnish — tomatoes, as in "hot" — added fuel to what was already becoming a major debate about sexism in country music, gender-equity activism in the genre has reached a tipping point.

NPR Music's Top 15 Songs Of November

Dec 2, 2019

Stream this playlist via Spotify or Apple Music.

There's still some fight in 2019 left. Some of November's best songs come from late-year album contenders, some are stand-alone singles and still more point to what's ahead in 2020. We say, "Bring it on!"

The 62nd Grammy Awards nominations are here, and it appears to be Lizzo's year to lose.

The singer, songwriter, flutist and rapper was nominated across five of the night's top categories, including song of the year, record of the year, best new artist, best pop solo performance and best R&B performance.

Lil Nas X was nominated for best new artist, album of the year (for his debut record, 7), and record of the year, where his Gen Z opus "Old Town Road" is up against Post Malone, Bon Iver, Swae Lee, H.E.R., Ariana Grande, Lizzo and Billie Eilish.

Behind the microphone in a club a fraction of the size of her usual venues, Miranda Lambert was nervous. "We always get a little jittery when we play in Nashville," she admitted briskly, "'cause the energy is high and the expectations are high."

In 1985, a team of country-music legends formed The Highwaymen, a supergroup combining the talents of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson.

Miranda Lambert really knows how to announce a new single. For "It All Comes Out in the Wash" — a cute-as-hell country bop that reminds us that "hard times do eventually pass," as she put it in a press release — Lambert filmed her shirtless husband doing laundry. You know, as one does.

It's not enough to make list after list. The Turning the Tables project seeks to suggest alternatives to the traditional popular music canon, and to do more than that, too: to stimulate conversation about how hierarchies emerge and endure. This year, Turning the Tables considers how women and non-binary artists are shaping music in our moment, from the pop mainstream to the sinecures of jazz and contemporary classical music. Our list of the 200 Greatest Songs By Women+ offers a soundtrack to a new century. This series of essays takes on another task.

Last night in Nashville's CMA Theater, Miranda Lambert described Pistol Annies' work dynamic as a rolling slumber party. But — to turn a phrase that is, as Lambert herself might say, corny as hell — these women are wide awake.

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