Yes, yes, country songs, love life, long and winding road full of heartbreak and sorrow on the way to lasting happiness.
The 37-year-old singer-songwriter, leading the 2020 CMA Awards field with seven nominations, has been telling her story in her music throughout her career—and her story has included a whole lotta love and heartbreak, along with the ferocity, resilience and empowerment that Lambert's fans have come to expect from her ballads and more plucky offerings (generally served with a healthy side of cheek) alike.
"Love is a hard road sometimes and it's been a roller-coaster ride for me, but I'm definitely thankful for all the ups and downs because I've had some really good songs come out of it," Lambert, who had resettled in Nashville at the time, told the Tennessean in August 2018. "You've got to take the bad parts and put them on paper and then move on to the happy parts."
She's certainly got the hardware to show for it, including 29 Academy of Country Music Awards (she was named Female Vocalist of the Year for nine straight years), 13 Country Music Association Awards and two Grammys, including a win for Best Country Album in 2015 with Platinum.
And fate also recently penned a happy update to Lambert's story: On Jan. 26, 2019, she married New York police officer Brendan McLoughlin in a small ceremony, but waited until Valentine's Day to share the good news on social media.
"I met the love of my life. And we got hitched!" she wrote. "My heart is full. Thank you Brendan McLoughlin for loving me for.... me. ❤️ #theone."
While basking in the glow of holy matrimony makes it a little tougher to dip into the recesses of one's soul to mine for past sadness, Lambert's latest love story is ongoing and ripe for the sharing, which she already started doing on last year's Wildcard, her seventh studio album.
But if you prefer the emotional roller coaster, Lambert's discography will still get you there.
"I make it my mission every single time I step on the stage that no matter what, no matter where I am, I want to make you feel everything you could possibly feel," Lambert told an audience in Knoxville, Tenn., in March 2018. "I want you to feel sad, mad, happy and nostalgic and really pissed sometimes. That's my favorite."
She continued, "And part of feelings is also heartbreak unfortunately, but fortunately for me, I can use it for my art or whatever. I like to write sad songs. I like to listen to sad songs, so I want to sing y'all one."
With that, she launched into "Tin Man," knowing that a whole bunch of people in that crowd were benefiting from the solidarity and catharsis of swaying in the night to a song about how hard losing love can be on anyone—or anyone with a heart, at least.
That one's pretty self-explanatory, but a tour of Lambert's lyrics turns up all kinds of messages about what she was experiencing at any given time.
So in honor of her record-setting CMA Awards haul (her 55 nominations through the years makes her the most-ever nominated female artist), her 37th birthday (she's celebrating Nov. 10) and the happiness she's found in "Settling Down" with McLoughlin, here's a guide to the secrets she's been sharing with us in song:
Lambert took a break from writing after Wildcard was finished, and then the coronavirus forced a break from touring, so the desire to make music again this summer was real.
"I'm still very much in it," she assured Songwriting magazine in August. "I'm obsessed with it, I love it, I miss it, I start to crave it. I haven't written a song since Wildcard was finished and I'm getting the itch. It's something that I can't not do, I have to do it. I can't explain why that happens; you start to crave it because there's a release in it."
Lasting love is indeed the name of the game these days, and she's perfectly happy to share that with the world, along with whatever other emotions she happens to be experiencing at any given time.
"My job is to be honest," she explained. "I started my career songwriting from exactly my point of view and from my heart, so I feel like from my perspective I give everything in those songs. It's whenever people ask me personal questions and I'm like, 'You know what, all the answers you want to know are right there on the record.'"
She added, "You just have to listen for it. I use it as therapy, that's what we get to do as songwriters. It's an awesome blessing, getting to use our words to heal ourselves and hopefully in the process we'll heal other people, because we're not the only ones going through hard things."
The 2020 CMA Awards airs Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. on ABC.