Behind the Song Lyrics: “Mama’s Broken Heart,” Miranda Lambert

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

It’s the story of an all-consuming, heartwrenching breakup and a mother’s disdain for anything unseemly. It’s the song that embodies the cutting judgment behind the southern “bless your heart” expression. It is “Mama’s Broken Heart,” performed by country songstress Miranda Lambert.

“Mama’s Broken Heart” sounds like a revenge country ballad with enough angst to put a few punk songs to shame. Lambert has a tendency to pick these types of tracks—just listen to Lambert’s earlier tracks “Kerosene” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” to get an idea of Lambert’s bread and butter. The song itself was written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves to tell the story of how one woman lost control after a breakup.

I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors / I screamed his name ’til the neighbors called the cops / I numbed the pain at the expense of my liver / Don’t know what I did next all I know I couldn’t stop, Lambert sings. 

The story develops further as the woman’s mother gets involved. Go and fix your makeup girl, it’s just a breakup / Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady / ‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together / Even when you fall apart, the song continues from the mother’s point of view.

Ultimately, the woman has the last word in response to her mother’s advice: But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart

This dramatic sonic tale ended up on Lambert’s fourth studio album, Four the Record, in 2011 and was later certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. “Mama’s Broken Heart,” however, wasn’t originally written for Lambert. 

“‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ is a song that I kind of had to ask for,” Lambert previously stated. “Kacey Musgraves is a girl I grew up with back in Texas, and we used to write together a lot and kind of went our separate ways. I don’t think I was supposed to be pitched the song, but her sister actually shot some pictures at mine and Blake [Shelton]’s wedding, and she was there, too. At our rehearsal dinner, I went over and asked her; I was like, ‘Are you gonna cut this song, or can I have it?’ And she was like, ‘I’ll think about it for a couple of days.'”

“She e-mailed me and said, ‘You can have it if I can sing harmony.’ So that’s her singin’ the harmonies on it,” she continued. “I had to actually beg for this song, and so I’m thankful that she gave it to me ’cause I love ‘Mama’s Broken Heart.'”


Listen to “Mama’s Broken Heart” below.

Photo Credit: Sony Music.

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